Pet

Pet

Pet anime series cover art
Pet

Series Overview

Pet (ペット) was one of the strangest anime I watched during the winter 2020 season. Originally I wasn’t going to watch it at all, but then I saw the OP and it made it look decent. Unfortunately, the series didn’t really get decent until the last few episodes, and everything before that was kind of bad.

This series was made by Geno Studio, which is a relatively new studio under the Twin Engine production company, which itself is only about five years old. And if you look at all the anime made by Geno Studio and produced by Twin Engine, one thing you’ll notice is that Pet is the lowest rated on both lists.

I bring this up because there’s a very vocal minority who will have you believe that Pet is actually one of the greatest anime around. But, I’ll be discussing all of that in more detail later on in this review. For now, let’s take a look at the plot of the series.

Pet is a psychological thriller about a gang simply known as “the company” which uses people with psychic abilities to destroy the minds of their enemies. Not everyone in the company has psychic abilities, but those who do refer to their power as using an “image.”

With the help of their image, they’re able to infiltrate the minds of others, alter memories, and even “crush” them, which puts the victim in a vegetative state. In order to control these psychics, the company has devised a structure of “pets” and “handlers” — with pet being the term for psychics who are controlled by someone in the company.

Then, there are also “babies” which are pets without the ability to function on their own. Company members without an image can use the image of a baby.

Characters

The four main characters of this series are Tsukasa, Hiroki, Satoru, and Hayashi, with Katsuragi being a major supporting character.

Let’s start with Katsuragi, because he’s the only normal guy out of this bunch. Katsuragi isn’t an image user, but is a fairly high ranking member of the company who oversees a number of image users, including those four listed. However, I’m not really sure I would call him a handler; he’s almost Satoru’s handler, but Satoru isn’t really a pet at this point.

Satoru and Tsukasa are both image users who work for the company, but aren’t company employees — that’s a role generally reserved for people who aren’t image users. They both started out as pets themselves, but have grown out of that role into a new role known as “crushers.” These are the people who crush anyone who threatens the company.

Hiroki and Satoru from the anime series Pet
Hiroki and Satoru

Hayashi was originally the handler of both Tsukasa and Satoru. He was first Tsukasa’s handler, but then gave Tsukasa up to the company so that he could take in Satoru. In that regard, Tsukasa and Satoru are sort of like brothers since they were both raised by Hayashi. But, they each took away very different lessons from their time with him.

And lastly we have Hiroki, who’s the only current pet I can think of in the series. There’s a baby and there are crushers, but Hiroki is the only true pet in the current timeline. He’s Tsukasa’s pet, which means he’s completely loyal to Tsukasa, who as I mentioned works for the company.

These characters all have pretty complex relationships with one another, but that doesn’t really come to the forefront until late in the series.

200 IQ Required

So let’s talk about the response to this anime. Like I said, it does get pretty decent towards the end. For the majority of the series the various characters are kind of doing their own things, but once all of their plot lines come together it gets pretty interesting. The problem is that the series took a long time to get there.

I don’t necessarily think that a series being a slow burner is a bad thing, but there needs to be a reason for that being the case, and there needs to be a payoff which is worth it. Violet Evergarden and Steins;Gate are two good examples of this.

In Violet Evergarden, Violet’s character is slowly being built up as she learns to express herself. Her journey to emotional maturity is central to the whole series, so it’s worth taking time to do it right. Likewise, in Steins;Gate, the whole first 12 episodes are slowly building towards everything that’s going to happen in the second half.

Pet doesn’t really do this. It’s like 8 or 9 episodes of buildup out of 13 total episodes, and a lot of that buildup isn’t really needed. All the truly complex character relationships come in at the end of the series — all that was being built up before that is what pets, images, babies, etc. are.

Tsukasa as seen in the Opening from the anime series Pet
Tsukasa as seen in the Opening

And this is the main issue with the series as a whole, which I saw a lot of people who liked the series not understanding. They seemed to believe that the people who didn’t like Pet were getting too confused by all the psychological stuff being introduced in it, but that’s not the case.

Sure, the first episode doesn’t really explain things, but after that, everything generally makes sense. The problem with the series wasn’t that it was too confusing, the problem was that it simply wasn’t good in how it was trying to explain everything. I can’t even tell you how many times the concept of “back doors” into the mind was explained, but it just needed to be done once.

After establishing a concept, you don’t need to re-establish that concept every time it’s used. It’s not that hard to understand, but people who think this series is great somehow thing everyone who doesn’t like it just don’t understand it.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Pet is a 5/10. Most of the series is probably in 4 territory, and then the final couple episodes may be up to a low 7. But if you enjoyed this series, I’d suggest you check out Babylon from the previous season. I think that series was a better psychological thriller, even though the ending was terrible.

Also, I do want to praise Pet for one thing, and that’s its use of multiple languages. The main characters of the series are all Japanese, but the company is actually based in China. This means that we get both Japanese and Chinese dialogue going on, and they actually did it right.

Remember in Vinland Saga when you had Danes and English both speaking Japanese, but unable to understand each other? That’s not the case in Pet. The Japanese characters speak Japanese, the Chinese characters speak Chinese, and there are a few characters who are bilingual. That’s how it should be done.

If you enjoyed this review, or found it helpful in any way, let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Loading Likes...

4 Replies to “Pet”

  1. Grasping the jargon and the dynamics properly only rewards you with understanding the meat of the characters, and it seems that the series didn’t over-explain things enough for you to understand what the titular “pet” is. Tsukasa is an employee, an image user and in practice still the company’s pet, Satoru is an image user and the company’s pet, and Katsuragi is a crusher (a lower level psychic than an image user). “Pet” is an unofficial (as far as there are “official” terms) derogatory term for these clueless obedient kids. What fans know is that all details matter in Pet – knowing the extent to which Tsukasa has internalized the company’s policies while being the biggest victim of them is absolutely required for his motivations – and it does require some attention span.

    1. And here we have someone who thinks Pet requires 200 IQ to understand.

      Nothing you’ve said here is anything new to me. All of this is understood through simply watching the series. I’m just giving a basic overview of the series here, not going extremely in-depth with it. Thank you for proving my point, though.

      Also, the one thing I’d say you’re wrong about here is Katsuragi being a “crusher.” Katsuragi can’t crush anyone, and he’s never referred to as a crusher. Instead, he basically serves as the handler for Satoru and Tsukasa, who are referred to as crushers.

  2. Katsuragi is a crusher and crushed Yokota (Kenji’s friend who didn’t go to Bali) in episode 2 as well as Satoru’s grandma in episode 4, both toppling over and losing their minds on-screen. The boys are just much better at crushing. Well, you’re proving my point on your end.

    1. After going back through those episodes I’ll say you’re correct about episode 4. However, in episode 2, that was done through Satoru. Katsuragi is a former crusher, but is incapable of crushing anyone in the current timeline without the help of an image user.

Leave a Comment

Bitnami