First Impression: Pet

The physical world is immense and full of possibilities—good and bad. But the world inside our minds is even more vast, full of imagination, potential, and horror. There are those in this world that live within their minds: children who can read their parents thoughts and find themselves lost in them, unable to ever form a world of their own; gangsters who can manipulate minds to others’ destruction and their own financial gain; and “Crushers” whose name indicates a psychic power, one that for their victims is far worse than a simple assault. This is the world of Pet, where no thought and no person is safe.

There’s so much that needs to be said, but so little I feel I’m able to convey about episode one of Pet, the new anime based on a short manga series. And I think R86, who also viewed the first episode, agrees: It’s a mashup of the mind and one that left me engaged, disturbed, and confused. Episode one is structured unusually—we get glimpse into perhaps the character who will be the protagonist in the opening minutes, and he’s a solid guy, one that I’m already rooting for, but the rest of the episode is spent subtly establishing this world and the antagonists, men doing evil deeds with the might of the dollar and power of their minds. The violence is sometimes graphic, but the show is all the more frightening because this psychic power (whose rules we’re only just learning) is both realistic and horrific. It feels as if no one can challenge its authority.

In the final minutes, the character who receives the most screen time, one who may be a one-off, being used narratively to introduce characters and the psychic power, is presented in an unexpected situation, one that left me confused about the true power of the “crushers,” as they’re known. But I’m okay being confused at this point, because I think that’s the intent. Pet feels like Christopher Nolan decided to do an R-rated anime, and as such, I’m willing to give it time to unfold, seeing that there could be something brilliant down the line, and what’s been shown thus far is already engaging and of high quality (particularly the animation). I’m not sure I’ll truly enjoy this show, but I’m already at the point of appreciating it as something quite special.

Episode one of Pet features disturbing content, body gore, and a short yaoi scene—caution advised for some viewers. You can stream Pet on Amazon Prime.

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