Kaibutsu-kun is a fantasy comedy series that aired in 2010 staring Ohno Satoshi as the titular Kaibutsu-kun. It’s an odd series to say the least I am not sure who the demographic was exactly. Based off a manga of the same name it involves the prince of Monster Land Kaibutsu-kun being forced from his home of luxury and spend some time in the human realm. The interesting twist? His own father the current king of Monster Land sent him there to rot until he matures. Alongside him he has representatives from the other monster clans which include Dracula played by Yashima Norito , Ueshima Ryuhei as Werewolf, and Choi Hong Man as Franken. The monsters are reflections of the classic monsters and they share very similar traits we would recognize from their respective lore. Together they are trapped in human world until he “helps the humans and grows up”. It’s honestly a very mediocre show, I expected more because the characters are all unique but story wise there is not very much to brag about.
Once in Human world Kaibutsu-kun comes across a bullied young boy, Ichikawa Hiroshi (Hamada Tatsuomi). Hiroshi doesn’t have any friends because he lies quite a bit and he has a reputation of being untrustworthy. He befriends the monsters and with the help of his sister Ichikawa Utako (Kawashima Umika) they all grow and learn from each other. Each episode Kaibutsu-kun deals with a new concept something humans take for granted and he experiences all the ups and downs with it. For instance he is introduced to the concept of money and he initially just blows a lot of money he found, but over the episode he has to learn the meaning of hard work and earning a pay check… Yeah real riveting stuff. Another one deals with why lying to people is bad and one where we learn to respect the elderly.
While the day to day episode plots are boring and just clichéd fish out of water stories everyone has seen a million times, there is a very interesting overarching subplot. A third world called Demon realm is rising in power with their ultimate ambition to take over all three worlds and unite them under their rule. The Demons headed by Demorina (Inamori Izumi) work each episode to manipulate humans and gain their souls. When they have enough souls they believe they can resurrect an old demon leader who would crush the armies of Monster land. That would have made for a much more interesting story; these guys should have been the main characters! Their plots are semi successful and they are featured in most every episode but always in the background unfortunately.
The characters we do get prominently are actually cool even though their plots are dull. My favorite would be Dracula. He’s the most knowledgeable about our world having “sampled our culture before”. He has some good scenes with Kaibutsu-kun where he explains hard truths such as love or death. He also has very comedic scenes with the other two. He’s no Christopher Lee but he’s a decent Dracula. Ichikawa Hiroshi is another character that helped the series I enjoyed his development. He was never the typical perfect kid you see in most dramas he has major ups and downs and even points where he does things that are flat out wrong. His development mirror Kaibutsu-kun in some interesting ways and their friendship was the anchor the show needed. Ohno Satoshi is an excellent actor and it’s almost sad to see him take this role as seriously as he does, he’s far and beyond the best actor involved and everyone else looks to be just hamming it up.
The structure of each episode is very typical they really didn’t want to step to far out of this fish out of water learning/growing box witch I think weakened my experience. I mean it has by far the most insane premise I have ever encountered in a drama, and if you watch for a few minutes I think you’ll agree the mixture of monsters, demons, sets and costumes is really unique. But they take that idea and slowly water it down to a mediocre execution. The first episode is the best the others didn’t leave too much of an impression on me. I think this show is worth giving a try if you go in with the right mindset of a played for laughs comedy but again I did lose interest by the end.