Bem is one of numerous anime series’ that made its debut in summer 2019, and this is the second time it has been remade. In the big city, Sonia, a detective who is trying to do the right thing, gets transferred to the “outside” where corruption runs rampant as cops takes bribes from criminals. However, that’s the least of the “outside’s” problems since the area is full of dangerous and unknown creatures. The only ones truly capable of combating these creatures are other monsters. One of these monsters is Bem, who wears a dandy suit in his human form. Accompanying Bem are two other monsters who take the form of children, Belo and Bela. So, what is it that drives this series? Allow us to explain.
One theme that is quickly established through Sonia is how wishes to redeem herself. From the get go, audiences can see that she wants to do the right thing, but it unfortunately cost her her career, and forces her to a dead end beat. Despite her transfer, Sonia doesn’t allow it to keep her down and is still motivated as ever to fight for justice. She refuses to partake in taking bribes like her peers, and if a crime happens, she won’t ignore it. While Sonia has nothing to redeem for her own personal sake, she wants redemption for justice and that’s what drives her. She sees something wrong, she will do what she can to make it right even if it goes against her superiors. As for the titular Bem, there is a story of redemption for him and his companions but we’re going to get there as we progress.
As an extension of redemption, corruption is another theme portrayed in this series. The world is full of ugliness and unfortunately, it comes from the highest authorities in the world of Bem. Through Sonia’s story she has to fight the corruption within her own police department. As previously stated, she sees her own fellow officers take bribes for the sake of “keeping the peace.” Politicians are being killed off for mysterious reasons as they’re tied to suspicious activities and greedy corporations are allegedly behind the monsters. As a result of greed, people in the “outside” are resorting to low means either to survive or gain power.
What It Means to Be Human and What it Means to Be A Monster
Another key element to Bem is the main trio’s journey of hoping in becoming real human beings. Physically becoming a human is one thing, but what about spiritually and emotionally? Yes, monsters are mercilessly killing people but the anime also does an excellent job of showing that real humans are no better. Just because someone is physically human, does that automatically make them better than demons? Certainly not! When it comes to being a monster, just physically being one based on old stories is one thing, but acting maliciously is another.
Bem, Belo, and Bela have frightening abilities and can take forms that could be in your nightmares for months. Just because they look that way and have insane abilities, does that automatically make them bad? The anime instantly answers this question based on the fact that they combat other monsters and genuinely wish to protect humans and even interact with them. So, why become human? For starters, it’s indicated that Bem, Belo, and Bela can’t age. Belo and Bela assume the forms of children and who wants to be stuck as a child forever (ok, maybe not the right question to ask)? They want to live a meaningful life and by being human, they can get that full appreciation of what that means as they grow old, experience love, and let time get the best of them like a normal human being would live.
Not only do most of these themes hold true for the 2019 edition, it even holds true with its previous installments as well. Through the point of view of individuals who are monsters, it gives audiences a new perspective on things. Based on the folklore, mythologies, and religions of numerous cultures, the monsters always get a bad reputation and that’s obvious. However, what makes a monster? Is it how they look? How they act? Or both? If we’re going to answer if it’s based on how they act, then why do they act the way that they do? Were they born to act that way? Or were they raised to act that way? When you look at humans, it’s rather obvious so why can’t it be the same with monsters, and that’s what Bem best addresses.