We use the term ‘Frankenstein’ to indicate a soulless monster, cobbled together from the parts of other corpses. It’s even used in reality TV, to indicate that things have been cut and pasted together to give a different impression than what happened originally. But for this show, “Frankenstein Family”, (also known as “Creatures Family Days”, “Shiyan Pin Jiating, Jikken-hin Kazoku”), it’s more to indicate they are a caliber of monster or mutant, but I guess “Mutant Family” might have a bigger connotation problem than merely being called ‘Frankenstein’.
We have above us what started out as a normal family, but mom and dad, biophysicists or DNA Engineers or scientist loonies, experimented on their children, with (as we see later in the show) no clear purpose in mind for doing all of this, except to prove they could do it.
This is not the ‘after’ shot; this is the new before shot, them in their normal state (left to right):
A plant girl (Ashise)
A mind reader (Suishi)
A spider girl (Aisley)
A dog boy (Snow)
A Brainiac (Tanis)
Our Brainiac is trying to figure out how to come up with a potion or a formula or some kind of magic bullet that will allow them to be normal and not have to always hide away who they are. Of all the children, he was NOT modified, so he is that caliber of genuine genius. Making things worse, mom and dad have been carted off by the police or some other caliber of legal entity, for all of their horrible and hideous experiments, leaving the kids bereft.
And since they have led a cloistered life, they do not know HOW to interact with people, so things go off the rails pretty quickly and Tanis has to move heaven and earth to keep them all together and not have them end up in a glass jar filled with formaldehyde. They can kind of look normal, but it doesn’t last too long, as that form is the unnatural one, not how they look currently.
The show presents their challenging life and all the gyrations Tanis goes through to (a) keep the family together, (b) have them interact with society positively, (c) come up with that formula to save them and (d) wonder about mom and dad.
There are certainly a lot of shows out there about how hard it is to fit in, and, although this one had a really good reason for it, I felt that things just were not explained well enough. Adding to this is that the other children don’t WANT to conform. They appear to be content with their lot, or maybe they are settling. Yeah, right, sure, it would be nice to be ‘normal’, but that probably isn’t going to happen, so that’s life.
But even with the threat of discovery and being broken apart, there was a real lack of urgency. I felt sorry for these people, but I didn’t feel these people. The one you should have connected with, Tanis and all the labors he went through (less Herculean, more Sisyphean), I did feel that I was held at arm’s length with it.
Binging is not that good. You really need a caliber of breather between the episodes. The stories are basically how are they going to survive another day without being discovered and it can get labored with all of the efforts that net little positive results.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (The monster aspect is odd)
Plot 8 (How can misfits fit in?)
Pacing 7 (Gets a bit maudlin)
Effectiveness 6 (Maddingly inconsistent)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 6 (Feels strained)
Overall 7 (Got a bit too soap opera for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I hope this one works.