It doesn’t matter if you have never watched the original anime series of Humanoid Monster Bem (妖怪人間ベム), which first aired in 1968, I am sure that you can still enjoy BEM as much as I did.
The 2019 remake, BEM, makes innovative changes on its story settings and follows a completely authentic script, which set at the coastal city of Libra (リブラ). A bridge separates the crime-filled town, named “Outside” from the city center, “Upper Town”. Wondering at the street of “Outside”, three yōkai, BEM, BELA, and BELO, try to fit into the human society, while protecting humanity from evil monsters.
The anime intentionally imitates the camera techniques in film-making. The use of aerial shot, dolly shot and freeze frame gives an astonishing sensory experience that one can only find in movies.
I particularly like the scene when everything starts from the tip of the raindrop. It adds a touch of sadness echoing the theme “Water” of the first episode, while the soft jazz background music completes a classy atmosphere.
The appearance and personality of the three protagonists have been largely modified, bringing a breath of fresh air to the series. BEM may be the one that changes the least, but his stylish dandy look certainly makes a favorable impression.
▲Bem from the 1968 anime series
▲Bem from the 2019 remake
Bera, who is originally a 28-year-old elegant lady, is transformed into a teenage girl with red hair named BELA. The eight-year-old Bero also becomes a teenage boy named BELO. His sharp tongue steals the spotlight, contrasting the curious and innocent Bero from the original series.
▲Bera from the 1968 anime series (Left) and BELA from the 2019 remake
▲Bero from the 1968 anime series (Left) and BELO from the 2019 remake
The addition of the new character, Sonia (ソニア), brings depth to the story. As a female police officer who is newly transferred to the “Outside”, she is expected to be the key person of the story. Sonia has a strong sense of justice and refuses to accept the illegitimate money offered by the local gang, even though every other officer of the “Outside” did.
Sonia witnesses the monster form of BEM, when he was trying to stop another monster to attack humans. Sonia is intimidated by Bem and shoots him with a gun. But I wonder how she will response once she learns Bem’s desire of becoming human and the fact that he is very much like a human despite his monstrous appearance.
Seeds have been sowed when the defeated monster confesses that he is a human-transformed monster by a doctor. The mysterious woman appearing at the end of the anime also heighten the expectation of the following story.
▲ The mysterious woman refers to Bem as the Alpha
One last thing I have to say is that the OP is so cool that I love every part of it.