Dr Stone Anime Series Review (Season 1)

Dr Stone Series Review

Dr Stone Is An Upbeat Post Apocalyptic Story

There’s no denying that six months ago, when Dr Stone first rolled out its early episodes, I was somewhat less than impressed. It wasn’t until around six episodes in that Dr Stone really got my attention. There’s reasons for that and I’ll get into those soon but the important thing is that once Dr Stone got my attention, it didn’t lose momentum again. This is a story that continually builds on past events toward a future outcome and builds on the characters and generally gets more and more interesting. The only real and glaring issue with season one is that it builds up to a war that hasn’t happened yet and now we’re all waiting for a season two.

The first episode of this anime is decent enough and sets up the story introducing three characters: Senku, the high school genius, Taiju, his goofy friend, and Yuzuriha, Taiju’s love interest. Each of these characters work well enough and Taiju’s attempted confession just as the world gets turned to stone is entertaining enough, but nothing in the first episode really grabbed me. Watching the interactions in the next few episodes as Senku and Taiju took their first steps to reviving other characters was interesting enough but I could have easily walked away from Dr Stone at that point.

Dr Stone

Comparing these early episodes to later ones I can’t help but feel the issue is the chemistry within the cast itself. While I have no issue with any of the initial characters and find most of them interesting individually, though Yuzuriha being cast as damsel in distress a lot didn’t do much for her, as a group they weren’t really greater than the sum of their parts. They were just who they were on screen with the other characters.

While this doesn’t feel like a big deal early on, the contrast with the interactions between these early characters and the characters Senku meets later at Ishigami village is dramatic. Characters like Kohaku and Chrome, Kinro and Ginro have beautiful synergy bringing life to the story and it makes things so much more fun.


While that is definitely a personal opinion, there was a tangible improvement in the viewing experience once Senku left Taiju and Yuzuriha behind. The story also seemed to gain momentum as there was now a clear antagonist opposing Senku’s goal of building civilisation again. This gave Senku more of a goal than just surviving and building technology. He had to prepare to deal with immediate threats and also win over a village that distrusted outsiders. Overall, things definitely picked up and just kept getting better from that point.

Now, the basis of the story is that Senku is trying to bring back science and there is plenty of discussion about how things work and how to make various bits of technology. By and large this is pretty accurate though some of it is overly simplistic and they most definitely improve in leaps and bounds without anywhere near enough set-backs given the scale of what they create. Particularly in the final episodes where there is a flurry of activity and invention after invention is churned out on the path to creating Senku’s ultimate ‘weapon’ for dealing with the upcoming war.


Still, it is exciting watching characters respond to innovations like glasses or even simple foods. Again, it is a little simplified with a lot of positivity and many pitfalls of the modern world kind of overlooked for the sake of narrative convenience, but the tone is consistent through the show and to be honest the enthusiasm for science that the characters have is kind of infectious.


Visually Dr Stone is a nicely made anime. Early episodes rely heavily on natural backgrounds that while beautifully drawn all look much the same and so it isn’t the most visually interesting anime to look at with one pile of rocks and group of trees looking much like another, yet the visual quality is solid. Movement is also pretty fluid and as the characters begin moving about there are some fairly interesting scenes that come along. My favourite was the personification of poisonous gas and ultimately it is those moments that stick with you once you are done viewing.


The character designs are all very nicely done. I’m still wondering where the villagers get their blue dye for their clothing but the characters are distinct and fun enough to look at. I still think Senku looks like a Velociraptor from Jurassic Park when he smiles but his design is fine. However this anime does like its exaggerated character reactions and you will some of the most ridiculous face and body contortions ever at times. It works and it is consistently used throughout the season with most the characters having moments of eye-popping, jaw-dropping, or withered looking appearance. It conveys the tone of the scene well even if reality is kicked far away.

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Ultimately, Dr Stone is just a lot of fun. It delivers a lot of familiar sequences and puts its own spin on it or just embraces what it is. The science is pushed to absurd levels and speeds and the show just gives you a smile and dares you to criticise. The fighting tournament is over within episodes with each fight delivering an unexpected outcome (or at least gets to the expected outcome in an unexpected way).

The cast continues to grow and each character contributes a different skill to the overall group in a way that feels perfectly natural even while it seems fairly unrealistic in reality that they would have exactly the people they need altogether. It all makes sense but doesn’t and you either embrace what Dr Stone does and enjoy it, or you could pick it apart but I think you’d miss out on a lot of fun.

A second season has aired. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the second cour of season one and feel this is an anime that took a little bit of time to set itself up but it was worth waiting through those slower opening episodes. Whether or not this anime continues to build on these successes in season two remains to be seen but there’s more than enough promise in the story and the characters to suggest that it will be worth waiting for.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Anime Series Review

Special 7 Series

Special 7 Is A Rough Draft For A Much More Interesting Story

When Special 7 first aired I definitely had some reservations about the series. My initial thoughts captured in my first episode review can be summed up as:

“…episode 1 certainly set a tone that indicated I would enjoy this series but probably not recommend it…”

Karandi – Special 7 Episode 1 Review

By and large, 12 episodes and a recap episode later and that was more or less my feeling about the series. It has fairly low production values, a reasonable concept for a story but pretty low ability to execute said story in a way that is actually interesting viewing. For a story set in a future where there are elves and vampires and you have a terrorist organisation worshipping a dragon and on a mission to bring dragons back to the world you have to wonder how they managed to make viewing each week so bland.


Given the studio, Anima&Co, at time of drafting this post had no other anime listed in MAL possibly some of the problem comes from inexperience or lack of resources but either way it makes this anime one that at its core is exactly the kind of story I like and yet is executed in such a way that I didn’t even bother writing my thoughts individually for the final three episodes because, despite actually being a climax and finishing the story, I just had that little to say about those episodes.

Special 7 kicks of with Nanatsuki, a newly minted police officer, getting involved in a bank robbery. There he meets the suspicious Ichinose, though it turns out Ichinose is actually a detective. After the incident is resolved Nanatsuki is recruited into the unit, Special 7, that is responsible for investigating the crimes of a terrorist organisation known as Nine.


In case you haven’t noticed this anime has a real thing about numbers. Each of the members of special 7 have a number in their name and each episode title has the number of the episode as part of the title. Special 7 has 7 members which means it makes perfect sense. The terrorist group being called Nine makes no sense until a reveal right at the end and even then it is a blink and you’ll miss it moment, not to mention if they’d never given us that information nothing would have changed in the story regardless. It all felt a bit tacked on.


The real problem with Special 7, outside of the poor visuals (seriously, who makes a dragon look that lame other than Arifureta and then Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life – okay, 2019 was not a good year for dragon animations, moving on now) is that everything is there but it is all really bland. The characterisation of the seven members of the team is barely there and with the exception of Bellemer, the self-proclaimed Ninja-Homunculus who more or less is there to act cute and do the fast typing hacker thing, most of the members of the team are largely interchangeable outside of their special skill. And as we barely meet anyone outside of the team it means there’s not one character in this anime you walk away from the show feeling you know anything about other than something about justice being a good thing.


The flat characters could be overcome by a compelling and tightly woven narrative but here we have so much bloat and incredibly slow pacing. If we cut out the key parts of the central narrative, stream lined it a bit and actually hit them with some drama or tension this could possibly be a pretty incredible story, unfortunately here you will be picking out the bits that matter and trying to find anything of interest the rest of the time.

Then we finally get the conclusion of the story. I won’t spoil it but I will give the anime points for giving us an actual conclusion. I’ll even give it points for the conclusion even kind of making sense with the information given leading up to it. Where I’ll question it is in the sudden ‘believe in yourself’ or ‘believe in you teammates’ power-up that more or less decides the outcome. I’d expect something like this from a shounen or a magical girl anime but prior to this point Special 7 had mostly been a police anime and had held off on random character power-ups despite the fantasy trappings.


I still did enjoy this well enough. I finished it and in a season where I ended up not finishing a lot of anime I started largely because of work getting much busier than anticipated, I clearly liked this enough to want to know how it ended. However, I also feel this is one anime that is going to quickly be forgotten and I kind of feel that’s appropriate.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Stars Align Anime Series Review

Align Series Review

Soft Tennis and Family Drama

What’s a boy to do when he’s just started a new school where a childhood friend has asked him to join a failing club to help reinvigorate it and prevent it from being shut down? Ask to get paid for his services, naturally. That’s the opening act of Stars Align or Hoshiai no Sora and it is an interesting start. It would have been nice to see this transactional nature of their relationship expanded on but after a couple of episodes it is more or less forgotten in amongst a host of other dramatic happenings.

And by and large that is the problem with Stars Align. There’s great ideas and lots of potential and some scenes that just really hit the right mark, but nothing ever gets the time it needs to be developed or have impact. The story introduces one idea and then jumps just as quickly to the next.

Now, it has been widely said, and criticised that the series got cut short and was supposed to have 24 episodes. The thing is, the content we got here needed at least that many episodes and it was apparently only half the content. There’s just so much going on and I often felt like I just wanted this story to hit the brake on adding new content and actually just let us absorb the current situation.

Image from Stars Align

Likewise the other boys in the soft tennis club who are super jaded and unmotivated take very little time to get on board with the idea of actually trying.

While the anime does an excellent job after that point of making the group fairly charming and fun to hang around, there’s a real whip lash effect as you remember just how lazy and apathetic the crew were when you first met them and there seems little motive for them to turn around given the majority didn’t seem to care if the club closed and Maki’s not exactly the most motivational new comer ever as his observations on the team are cutting and quite barbed (accurate though).


Despite the short comings of this anime though it was still an interesting watch. While the pacing and the sheer number of dramas it wanted to force into 12 episodes didn’t do it any favours and its penchant for tonal shifts between the happy rising school club and the disastrous home-lives of the characters made for slightly uncomfortable viewing, Stars Align still manages to have some impact.

That’s largely because while the big picture is a mess of someone throwing paint balls at the screen for too long, those individual scenes and sequences are pretty effective as long as they remain self-contained. It’s only when you try and thread it all together that you end up with a bit of an issue.

If we look at only the tennis parts of the anime we have a fairly mediocre sports anime. New kid comes to the school and is enlisted into a club no one has any expectations for. There’s lots of training sequences, some practice matches and then a tournament where the penalty for not winning a match at the tournament will be the closure of the club. It’s as stock standard as it comes and there’s not a lot here in terms of the tennis itself to really draw the audience in as the animation is pretty ordinary, the matches are skipped through pretty fast and the conclusions are more or less inevitable.


That isn’t to say it isn’t kind of fun, but if they’d relied on the sports aspect to be the draw they would definitely have missed the mark as it can’t possibly compare to the big-hitters in the sports anime genre. Part of it might be that tennis is less team based, though they are playing partners. It means that relationships grow between pairs within the game but the team itself is largely sidelined. The other part is probably that the matches just really lacked any wow factor.


That lack of wow factor isn’t helped by the teams facing opponents who are all more or less the same in how they react. The opponents throughout the whole season get little characterisation other than getting to look down on our team of wonder-boys before they get shocked when the underdogs actually put up a fight and then they either lose because of shock or temper or they pull themselves together to fight back. If they’d spent more time on the matches possibly they could have done more with the rival players but by and large they are all pretty forgettable, including the guy who ends up hanging around for the rest of the season.


The family drama aspect on the other hand goes for the shock factor approach to drama though after the fourth kid’s home life is revealed it is really hard to really emotionally invest. This kid has an estranged father who is violent and steals money, this one’s mother hates him, this one is adopted and has issues, this one’s parents look down on him, this one’s father broke his arm, and so on and so forth.

Each one of these reveals is done well but doesn’t have anything before or after it to really build on the moment. We cut to the scene, see something horrible, and then we move on to another tennis game or another character’s drama.


Stars Align seems to want to reveal the unhappy home lives so many live and in small moments it succeeds at pulling back the veil on the happy normal life of kids to see what they are dealing with when they return home. However, in the short space of time it had with the amount of characters and drama it introduced, it meant that none of these characters ever got the chance to work through anything and it is more an info-dump of their home life then a part of the story.

The two main characters, Maki and Toma might be the exceptions as we have returned to their home dramas on multiple occasions but even then the season ends with a cliffhanger on both their lives and there’s no certainty we’ll ever see any kind of conclusion.


Ultimately, I liked Stars Align but as a narrative it is incredibly flawed. The great moments scattered throughout it make it watchable but not recommendable given overall it remains unsatisfying and inconclusive. If it does by some miracle get an ending (it was meant to be 24 episodes but was cut short) then maybe that will change my opinion but I’m not unhappy with having watched it during the Fall 2019 season. While it didn’t live up to its potential it had its moments.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Reviewing all the drama in Stars Align.

Images from: Hoshiai no Sora. Dir. K Akane. 8Bit. 2019.

Shinchou Yuusha: Kono Yuusha ga Ore Tueee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru Anime Series Review

Cautious Series Review
Shinchou Yuusha (Cautious Her)

We’ll Go Hunt The Demon Lord Just as Soon As The Hero Is Done Training

It’s an already crowded market the comedy isekai one and that’s the field Shinchou Yuusha somewhat courageously stepped out on (weird given this hero kind of doesn’t take any risks).

The real problem with the majority of entries in this category being that most of them take the exact same approach to the comedy: give the hero one ridiculous gimmick and surround him with characters that each have one joke and repeat ad nauseam. That doesn’t mean they can’t be entertaining but if you’ve watched one comedy isekai you have mostly seen them all and the only real difference is in whether or not you enjoy this gimmick or that zany cast of characters or not.

Certainly many of these entries fall into the below average category through sheer lack of effort as they tiredly march out the tropes with no effort to add some glitz or sparkle and still expect audiences to eat them up with delight. Fortunately, provided the characters here click with you, Shinchou Yuusha is actually not all that bad and is at times quite entertaining.


How Does Shinchou Yuusha measure up?

For a lot of viewers in the early episodes, they were thrilled with Ristarte, the blonde and busty goddess novice charged with saving a difficult world from a demon lord who summoned Seiya, a hero who has amazing stats but is ridiculously cautious. For me, Ristarte was tolerable at best but her scenes and her shtick of panting over Seiya or exploding with rage and shouting were actually the low point of the early episodes.

Again, to each their own and some people found her hilarious. I just found her irritating and at times her actions made me feel just a bit uncomfortable.


What saved this show from an early drop was Seiya. His point blank refusal to go adventuring at the goddess’ request until he’s trained up his skills and stats, his withering glare and laconic nature all worked perfectly at providing some balance to Ristarte’s noisy presence on the screen for most of the early stages of Shinchou Yuusha.

Seiya, as a hero who is doing the heroic thing but very much in his own manner, was great to watch as he kind of scratched an itch I’ve had for a long time to see a hero who didn’t just hope for a power up mid-fight but one who actively prepared and held-off on racing in to save the day until he was sure he actually could.

While this wouldn’t work in a story played straight as it would be hard to get behind such a hero it certainly works for a comedy and to be honest I found Seiya to be pretty amusing from start to finish. Admittedly, if he’d been by himself that would be a pretty flat show so I’ll accept that we needed Ristarte’s exuberant character early on for the anime to function.

Cautious Hero falls quickly into a pretty straight routine. Ristarte tells Seiya about the next town, threat or step on the quest and Seiya refuses to budge until training. He then trains solo or enlists the aid of another god to train, usually resulting in the breaking of that god’s fundamental personality, before Ristarte pushes the issue and Seiya declares he is perfectly prepared and they go and face whatever the next thing was. Which is usually then utterly destroyed fairly quickly because Seiya is in to overkill in a very big way.


It is pretty formulaic but each step introduces new characters, either through the gods and goddess who train Seiya, or through the people he meets and interacts with in the world he is trying to save. The party expands when he takes on two dragonkin as bag carriers (they were supposed to assist him in saving the world but whatever) and he also has a few run-ins with various other groups who are trying to save the world but feel Seiya’s brand of heroism is somewhat lacking.

That doesn’t mean the story doesn’t start feeling a little stretched but for the most part things sail along at a good pace until we arrive at the climax when things definitely escalate and the formula breaks just enough to deliver a pretty exciting and very firm ending to the series.


That solid ending is definitely a tick in favour of Shinchou Yuusha. The story feels nicely complete and we aren’t left waiting for a continuation that may or may not happen. Not to mention, the final episodes were pretty dramatic. Though that gave the small problem of the comedy elements feeling a little out of place in those final episodes when the comedy had been driving the majority of the show up until that point.

Visually this anime is completely unimpressive. While the character designs are fine they aren’t exactly standing out from others in the genre and then the action is to be honest minimal. Sword fights consist of characters mostly standing still with blurred limbs and swords flailing across the screen or lights flashing before something explodes and things end. Even sequences where characters are just talking and interacting feel oddly lacking in animation. When we throw in fairly forgettable music on top of that we’re looking at an anime that cut a fair number of corners in its production and while it isn’t broken there’s nothing here that is going to be a draw for a viewer.


As I said at the start, for those who enjoy comedic isekai, Shinchou Yuusha is an anime that isn’t breaking free of the pack but it does what it set out to do well enough. Some of the jokes are too repetitive and really pushing to hard to actually be funny, but the cast are pleasant enough to spend time with and the story resolves well. Overall, while this one isn’t the best comedic isekai I’ve watched it certainly isn’t the worst and due to my enjoyment of the protagonist I mostly had a pleasant time with this one and was particularly happy with the ending. However your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for these sorts of stories.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Ascendance of a Bookworm Anime Series Review

Bookworm Review

Solid Supporting Cast and World Building Save the Day

My early reviews of Ascendance of a Bookworm (or Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen) were anything but positive. The protagonist of the story, Main, yet another reincarnated Japanese person in a fantasy world, endlessly moans and whines. Her disdainful attitude toward those around her really grated and made it hard to feel anything other than contempt toward her as a character which also made it kind of hard to get behind anything she was doing.

What kept me watching Bookworm initially was the world building going on and what sold me on the series at the mid-way point were the supporting characters.


Ascendance of a Bookworm is the story of Main (or Myne depending on which episode you are watching and who provided the subtitles – it changed at least twice during my watch on Crunchyroll) who wanted to be a librarian because she loved books. Then she died and was reborn in a world where books were incredibly rare and more or less out of reach for those who were not of noble birth. She sets herself the goal of making her own books though lack of funds, resources, and the fact that she’s a sickly child all get in her way.

That said, the plot isn’t really as important as the characters because this one takes a decidedly slice of life approach to an isekai tale. While Main’s goal gives it some direction there’s a lot of day to day life on the screen and to be honest those parts are actually the better parts of the story despite my lack of love for slice of life.

There are many isekai stories that choose to set themselves in a pseudo-medieval setting complete with walled towns and class distinctions. However, where most anime given the society of their world a very shallow look with maybe one or two episodes looking at slavery as an institute, the world’s they build don’t feel overly real or functional outside of the story itself.

Even That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime that spent a great deal of time with Rimuru building his town never felt overly real as everyone just seemed to be on equal footing and happily working away on the next project without complaint. Ascendance of a Bookworm breaks this trend by spending a great deal of time establishing the world that Main has been born into.


Main has been reborn as a soldier’s daughter and her mother sews or something along those lines. The children are expected to help with gathering wood in the forest and after their baptism to take on apprenticeships. Starvation in winter is a very real concern if they don’t all play their part to ensure they have enough supplies. As the season continues we learn quite a bit about the merchant class and the season ends with a brief (albeit fairly lacking in subtlety) introduction to the church and we’ve started getting hints about the state of the nobles in the city.

While a lot of this isn’t super exciting, it all works to create a backdrop for the story that feels so much more real. Main’s actions have consequences in this world and they don’t just effect her but have real implications for her family and her associates.

Ascendance of a Bookworm

While there are a lot of things I didn’t like about Main as a character, seeing her slowly interacting with more of the world and feeling like this really was a world that could be explored was definitely worthwhile. This is one aspect that will get me to watch the second part of this when it returns in 2020. I’d love to see more of this world and how it changes Main. Because the world has had an impact on her.

While at first she was so incredibly critical and disdainful of the world, she’s slowly gaining an appreciation of the people around her and their efforts and more and more it feels like she’s accepting her life in this world.

Which leaves us to discuss the supporting characters. Honestly, as much as I would complain about Main I would love to heap praises onto the supporting cast. Main’s family, Lutz, Otto and Benno are brilliant and all of them work to slowly chip away at Main until she becomes something resembling an actually decent lead character.

The moment Main realised she actually didn’t want to leave her family was a truly great moment and one that should definitely be experienced. Admittedly, it probably wouldn’t have had the same impact if Main hadn’t been such a turd in the first place but it was so nice to see her finally respect and even love the family that had fought to protect her and raise her. The tragedy of knowing their real child died before Main reincarnated into her weak body is one that underlies every interaction and makes Main’s acceptance of her family so much more profound.

The question of whether they will continue to accept her if they knew their real daughter was dead is one these episodes hasn’t explored but it will be interesting to know if the story ever goes there.

Maybe season 2 of Ascendance of a Bookworm gets into that.


Particularly as the story did go there through Lutz. Now Lutz deserves his own ballad. He’s there helping Main when she can’t walk, when she gets lost, when she over-reaches. He is clearly in love with her and yet stays beside her as a friend. That said, he isn’t an idiot and he isn’t a doormat. Lutz pulls Main up firmly when he needs to and he is the character who calls her out on not being Main.

This is something else that rarely happens in these stories of reincarnated characters (though normally they are reborn rather than taking someone else over anyway) Still, it was a nice touch and a moment that really made Lutz’s contribution to this story clear. He isn’t some patsy or the muscle at Main’s disposal but a real character with his own dreams and thoughts and he’s a brilliant shining light in a series that has a lot of solid supporting characters.


Visually, Ascendance of a Bookworm works well enough. The slice of life nature of the show means that there isn’t a huge amount of action to animate but what is there is done well enough and the character designs and settings are all functional enough. The music is fairly nondescript and forgettable though there are some fairly solid performances by the VA’s as they give the right emotional notes at the right times.

It took me a long while to warm up to Ascendance of a Bookworm but I am glad I saw the season through. Ultimately, the positives of the series outweigh the negatives, with my only real issue with the series being a personal dislike of the protagonist. That said, it is a slow moving story and not one that is overly thrilling unless you are into more slice of life and world building stories.

Still, I’ll be looking out for the continuation as I do want to know what happens next and I want to see more of this world. If you are looking for a slightly different kind of isekai to the adventure or parody ones that seem to permeate the genre then Bookworm may be exactly what you need.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

All episode reviews of Ascendance of a Bookworm.

Images from: Ascendance of a Bookworm. Dir. M Hongou. Ajia-Do. 2019.

Hataage! Kemono Michi Anime Series Review

Kemono Series Review

Pro-Wrestling Meets Isekai Fantasy

While I’m a fan of isekai stories and fantasy I’ve never been much for straight out comedy and I am really not a fan of wrestling so the synopsis for Hataage! Kemono Michi (or Kemono Michi: Rise Up) didn’t exactly fill me with a sense of excitement. Surprisingly, despite some of the comedy not landing for me, the slightly repetitive nature, and visuals that seem increasingly lazy, I can’t say I actually disliked Kemono Michi. For all the things I might criticise about it I still actually had fun watching it most weeks and when you go in expecting nothing that’s actually enough.


The story is about Genzo, a pro-wrestler known as Animal Mask, who during his ‘final match’ is transported to another world by a Princess who is summoning a hero to defend her kingdom from the demon beasts. Only, Genzo loves animals, including his dog Hiroyuki who was summoned with him, and so he uses his wrestling moves to plant the Princess on her head, exposing her butt to her guards, before running from the palace. After a bit of dithering, he concludes that he is going to open a pet shop in the fantasy world given it was the dream he was working toward before being summoned.

Kemono Michi is more or less as advertised.

And that’s pretty much it. Genzo joins forces with Shigure who ends up being the voice of reason as Genzo does ridiculous things but the two work reasonably well on screen as Shigure berates Genzo about something and Genzo continues to just do whatever he wants. They are also joined by a dragon girl and her vampire servant and other characters such as members of the adventurers guild, a banker, and various others drop in and out of the story usually to bring one gag or another to life. It isn’t exactly deep and though there are a couple of attempts at commentary on the isekai genre, that really isn’t its overall point.


I really did like that Genzo didn’t just go along with the whole ‘summoned hero’ role. So many isekai stories has a character summoned and whether they do it grudgingly or willingly they step into the hero role without all that many questions. Genzo outright refuses to slay the demon beasts. When pressed later in the season about defeating the demon lord he asks why that’s his responsibility. At no point does he take being the hero particularly seriously. As Genzo points out, he’s a pro-wrestler.


Another thing I really liked was the inclusion of the giant ant. They never really explain where it came from as it just shows up drinking with Genzo and Shigure and then every episode you see it working in the house or yard with Genzo. The ant is an incredibly valuable character taking care of a lot of the menial work and at times being the most useful member of the crew, but the character never speaks and isn’t really directly acknowledged by the other characters until the final episode where Genzo directly speaks to the ant. The ant appearances each episode were definitely worth watching for.


The other characters, such as Carmilla and Hanako, are more hit and miss and depending on your sense of humour, mileage will definitely vary. I wasn’t a big fan of episodes that focused on that pair but they weren’t annoying enough to kill the show for me.

What the anime does less well is keep things fresh. Shigure starts out as a pretty amusing character and her ongoing gag of ‘finding’ swords dropped by other heroes (usually after Genzo has thrown them through a wall) was funny enough. She’s also the one really looking out for Genzo in terms of helping him achieve his dream, even when he seems to lose sight of the goal. Yet, by the mid-season, Shigure was definitely getting less screen time and largely that is because other than her standard jokes she didn’t bring anything new to the table.

The anime opted for introducing more and more characters rather than developing the ones it had, but even then a lot of the jokes started to feel repetitive. How many times can someone call Genzo a ‘beast killer’ and be taken out by a wrestling move before that gets old? Again, it depends on how amusing you find it in the first place but by the end of the season I was more or less happy it was done. The story also chooses to summon a rival wrestler mid-season which does at least give the final some direction but again, none of the fantasy characters really get more development beyond their basic trope.


Another problem is the wrestling itself. Throughout the series they contrive a number of reasons to have wrestling tournaments, which are kind of amusing as we watch this pseudo-medieval fantasy world get introduced to the antics of pro-wrestling, however it is in these sequences that the animation quality lets the show down. While still images of sick moves might work for some viewers given I wasn’t really keen on watching wrestling in the first place I kind of wanted to see some fluid animation rather than montages of moves.


None of these complaints are deal breakers but they do mean that this anime isn’t exactly packed with rewatch value, nor is it a must see. Basically, Hataage! Kemono Michi manages to be amusing enough without ever being hilarious and it manages an interesting enough gimmick on the isekai genre to be worth a look but does little with it that will be remembered. This will be that ‘wrestling isekai’ and no one will ever really remember the specifics, except perhaps the giant ant. He was memorable.

What might be a a deal breaker though is Genzo’s excessive touching of furry characters. While they establish early on he loves animals, people with animal characteristics being pinned down and petted makes for some uncomfortable moments within the story. They play it off as a joke and have one particular character as the ‘victim’ more often than not but to be honest it really just felt like they pushed that too far. While this settles a bit in later episodes, I’m not entirely sure playing off one character’s trauma as amusement is in the best taste and this may rub some viewers very much the wrong way.

Hataage Kemono Michi

The OP gives you a fairly good idea of what to expect in terms of content, visual quality and characters. Again, it is fun enough but seems to think it is more exciting than it actually is. Still, if you are on the fence about the anime, watch the OP and you’ll probably know whether this one is going to work for you.

As I said at the start, I mostly had fun watching Hataage! Kemono Michi. While I’m on the fence about a lot of things in it, there were few moments that really felt dull or like they pushed it too far. I am glad it is finished though as I don’t think it has much more to say and the characters have definitely run out of mileage. Like a lot of anime, this one is good enough for a watch but that’s about it.

Your turn: if you watched Hataage! Kemono Michi I’d love to know what you thought of it so be sure to share a comment.

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Karandi James

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episodes 8 +9 Review

Special Episode 8 9

There’s still time: vote for the best anime of 2019.


Justice Doesn’t Just Mean Saving the Nice

Special 7 continues to not really be anything all that special and yet it also is fairly watchable in bite size chunks. Episodes 8 and 9 both get the audience to think about justice in different ways and episode 9 is clearly setting up for a bigger conflict but really neither episode goes far enough or has all that much impact.


Episode 9 has our idiotic rookie answering a cry in the street from a woman who had her purse snatched. Heedless of danger to himself he sprints after the motorbike, hops a ride on a truck, leaps from the moving truck to tackle the guy on the moving motorbike and apprehends him, only the bag falls into the river. Instead of being thanked for his heroic (?) deed the woman berates him about losing her work equipment. That in and of itself makes you wonder if playing the hero is ever worth the effort however in case that wasn’t cause enough to question whether she was worth saving, we later learn the character is involved in the kidnapping of Belle. Bottom line, she isn’t a very nice person.


Does that mean the audience should be happy she was mugged or that she lost her bag? Does that mean the Nanatsuki was wrong for trying to help her when she needed someone? It isn’t really clear what the anime wants to say here but it at least asks the question in episode 8 which makes episode 9’s blatant ideological slap in the face a lot easier to take.

Affiliate Link – Soundtrack

As offices of the law the characters in this story have to follow their orders and they should be protecting everyone, not just the people they like. However, that is a hard pill to swallow for the group when they are tasked with transporting a terrorist involved in the airport explosion nine years ago. Ichinose lost his partner. Nanatsuki was a hostage caught up in the explosion. Nijou’s brother ‘died’. Yet for whatever reason they need to transport the guy safely. Of course, the rest of the terrorist group may take care of the problem for them but in the meantime there’s a lot of questions about whether the guy is even worth protecting.


While some of the other characters struggle with this question, Nanatsuki, straight forward as always, simply declares that he is finding his own justice and that means protecting the guy so that he can testify. It’s simplistic but suits his character. Whether the other characters agree or not remains to be seen but there’s bigger fish to fry by the end of the episode and I guess we’re moving onto the climax in the next episode or so.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Stars Align Episode 12 Review

Align Episode 12

Quick reminder to vote for the best anime of 2019.


The Fun Before The Fall

This definitely feels like a penultimate episode rather than a final one. While the tournament comes to a spectacular close for the Maki/Toma duo the final minutes of this episode will crush any feel-good and warm or fuzzy sense you may have been left with. As the series as a whole has been, this final episode uses whip-lash changes in tone to really drive its emotional notes in like a dagger to the heart and then twists. It works despite the contrived nature, but it isn’t the best way for a final episode to go out when there’s no certainty of a continuation.


As has been the trend throughout the whole series as well, the opponents in the game remain a fairly weak link. Like pretty much every other pair the boys have faced off against, these two start strong, get a little bit thrown by unconventional tactics (or in some cases just tactics) and their game disintegrates. The only difference in this case is these two have sufficient experience and ability to pull out of the funk and return to their style of game before the end. However it isn’t even vaguely good characterisation and with every opponent feeling identical but in a different uniform it takes a lot of the fun out of the games, which if this anime was relying on the sport aspect to be the draw would be a killer.


Fortunately the team we’ve been following all along are quite decent characters despite the limited development time given the number of them and the short episode count. While they’ve certainly taken some short cuts in fleshing these characters out by this final episode we have a pretty good understanding of what is making each of them tick and we’ve seen them work together to overcome a lot.

Affiliate Link – T-Shirt

But then the match ends and for three of our characters we see their home life dramas continue and escalate before the episode comes to a dramatic and unfulfilling close. Of course it is another cheap ploy to make us want a sequel and it works. Even knowing exactly what they were doing I still felt a real desire for the sequel to get green lit and for these characters to return.


While there’s a myriad of issues in the presentation of Stars Align, this is an anime that I feel was worth watching this season. Certainly aspects could have been more nuanced but really the moments of gold within it were definitely worth watching for. I’ll get to a full series review soon but for now I’m just happy that I picked this one up at the start of the season.

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Karandi James

Reviewing all the drama in Stars Align.

Images from: Hoshiai no Sora. Dir. K Akane. 8Bit. 2019.

Shinchou Yuusha: Kono Yuusha ga Ore Tueee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru Episode 12 Review

Cautious Episode 12

What Is A Goddess?

Ristarte is done playing by the rules and is rushing to Seiya’s side as he faces off with the demon lord. Though, she isn’t about to stop him using his new ultimate move even if he knows it will kill him to use it. So begins what could, if played perfectly straight and without the slap-stick bit in the middle, have been one of the most dramatic show downs ever between hero and demon lord. This one episode fight hit all the right emotional notes though for the first time the comedy in this series felt incredibly intrusive. Admittedly, it isn’t like the comedy came out of nowhere, it just felt like the ending this show was going for didn’t match the tone of the ‘jokes’.


There’s a lot going on with Seiya using this move and Ristarte defying the rules of being a goddess to heal him so that he doesn’t die. That in and of itself was pretty climatic, but when the demon lord didn’t stay trapped and a plan B was needed, things got even more tense. If we remove the moment after Ristarte heals Seiya the first time and tries to kiss him, leading to him threatening to slug her and then actually hitting her, this episode was actually pretty intense and emotionally moving.


There’s something odd this season with a number of shows ending on a non-conclusion as they have second cours or season twos coming out next year, but then there are a number of anime bringing us thorough and complete conclusions. Cautious Hero is falling into the latter category as Seiya does complete his mission despite the cost and saves the world fairly thoroughly ending this story.

Affiliate Link – Bag

However, while the story of Seiya saving the unpronounceable fantasy world is done, Ristarte still has to face the knowledge of how it ended, the consequences for using her power the way she did, and the future in general. The minutes spent back in the heavens and seeing the other gods that we had met trying to comfort Ristarte in their own dysfunctional way was kind of sweet if a little jarring after the previous half of the episode. Ultimately though these final scenes actually made me kind of appreciate Ristarte and her role in the story as more than just the butt of a number of fairly mediocre jokes. I’d have liked more of this and less of the exaggerated ‘humour’ but I knew what kind of show this was from episode one so I’m not disappointed with what we did get.


One lesson we should all take away from this series is to always read the fine print. Meanwhile, I’ll need to consider my full series review. Cautious Hero is better than it should be when explained on paper but still incredibly flawed. That said, I’m glad I watched it this season.

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Karandi James

Let’s Talk about how Seiya over-prepares while Ristarte freaks out in Shinchou Yuusha.

Cautious Series Review
Series Review

Images from: Shinchou Yuusha: Kono Yusha ga Ore Tueee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru. Dir. M Sakoi. White Fox. 2019.

Results Are In – Your Choice For Best Anime of Fall 2019

Fall Best of

Fall/Autumn has been a weird anime season. Not because of the anime. That’s been perfectly normal with plenty of solid shows, some middling ones, and some that have been iffy to dodgy. No, the community has been a bit weird largely because so many of us didn’t really get to watch much this season or were a little distracted by life. That really showed in the vote with this being the lowest number of votes for a seasonal favourite for a long time on the blog. Still, we do have a winner.

The top 3 of which are going to go into the best of the year poll which will open tomorrow.


One Vote

There’s a lot of sequels this season that got a small bit of love in the vote. That said, these titles fared better than those that received no votes.

Fairy Gone Season 2

Mairimashita! Iruma-Kun

Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo

Psycho Pass Season 3

Grandblue Fantasy The Animation Season 2

High Score Girl 2


Two Votes

Still going strong 4 seasons along and Food Wars is still topping some people’s lists, but its joined by a very mixed group of anime from shounen, isekai, comedy and sport.

Fire Force

Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!

Africa no Salaryman

Ahiru no Sora

Food Wars Season 4


Three Votes

Top competitors for shortest name and title with most subtitles after it, these two clearly have some loyal fans out there.


Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld


Four Votes

I never did get around to starting the second season of this.

Kono Oto Tomare Season 2

Kono Oto Tomare Season 2

Five Votes

Another anime fighting for longest additional subtitles. This franchise just keeps on going.

Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia

Fate Grand Order Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia

Six Votes

At six votes each it is a battle of the isekai. Do you like your isekai protagonist to be a cute bookworm or a paranoid hero?

Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen

Cautious Hero


Seven Votes

The only thing surprising here is how low My Hero Academia ended up. Then again, the season hasn’t got off to a great start and it isn’t finished yet. I’ll be interested to see where it is at the end of next season.

Hoshiai no Sora

My Hero Academia Season 4

Hero4 10d

Eight Votes

While the season end might have been a bit of a fizzle, this was fairly entertaining to watch and at least felt like it had its own tone and story to tell. I’m looking forward to its return in 2020.

No Guns Life


Eleven Votes

I’d love to watch this one but I don’t have the access at this point. Still, definitely on my future watch list.



Top 3 – Going Into The Best of the Year Poll

12 Votes – Chihayafuru 3
Given the acclaim of the first two seasons I wasn’t surprised to see this one jump into the top 3. That said, the whole franchise is still on my to be watched list and I just haven’t gotten to it yet so I don’t have a lot else to say.


15 Votes – Vinland Saga
Another anime I can’t yet access but it is on my watch list. The buzz around this one has been strong since it began so I was unsurprised to see it hold strong in the top 3 in the poll.



17 Votes – Dr Stone
Dr Stone was definitely a slow burn in the beginning but as the poll shows, patience was rewarded this time around as the second cour of the anime really grabbed viewers. I’m not a big fan of telling people stuff gets better so they should keep watching it, but in the case of Dr Stone I really am glad I stuck around and I’m thrilled that this topped the reader poll and made it into the final vote.


Definitely curious as to what you think. Did the title you voted for make the top 3? Leave us your comment below.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Previous poll results: