Ranking The Students of Class E in Assassination Classroom From Worst to Best

Class E Ranking from Worst to Best
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Alright, the title is probably a slight over-statement because lets be honest, Class E in Assassination Classroom has a lot of students and we’d be here all day if I actually wanted to talk about each and every one of them. With that in mind, the rankings are entirely my own opinion based on how much I enjoyed the character and watching their growth throughout the series.

As this is a list of the students though, Koro-Sensei, Irina and Karasuma will not be included. Which is a shame because Karasuma could top the list if he was included really (I think its his voice).

Assassination Classroom - the teachers and students of Class E

So how many characters have we met that have been remembered for me to rank? Well way too many to do them all individually. So a few characters will be grouped together to make life a bit easier in the earlier stages of the list.

That said there will be spoilers below for some of the members of Class E and their arcs within Assassination classroom so you have been warned.

The characters of class e

The Worst Character from Class E – Seat 28, Itona Horibe

Maybe this isn’t fair to poor Itona as he joined the group late and was originally a fairly antagonistic character but honestly I just never clicked with him.

It was kind of cool having another character burst into the story with tentacles that could kind of fight on level with Koro-Sensei (kind of). However his flat personality and with him being easily manipulated, Itona never really made much impression other than being a plot device or tool of other forces.

Even after he officially joined the class, he more or less fit in with a pre-existing group and then more or less blended into the background making anything interesting about his character quickly fade away.

Of course, some people would disagree so be sure to judge for yourself.

The Most Forgettable Characters From Class E – Let’s List Them

As I said before, there’s too many characters in Assassination Classroom to really give them all much time and attention. So once the anime is done, which characters in Class E leave little impression and may even leave you scratching your head and wondering who they were or what they did in the story?

  • Seat 3, Taiga Okajima
  • Seat 4, Hinata Okano
  • Seat 6, Meg Kataoka
  • Seat 8, Yukiko Kanzaki
  • Seat 9, Justice Kimura
  • Seat 10, Hinano Kurahashi
  • Seat 12, Sugaya Sosuke
  • Seat 14, Kotao Takebayashi
  • Seat 15, Ryunosuke Chiba
  • Seat 18, Kirara Hazama
  • Seat 19, Rinka Hayami
  • Seat 20, Sumire Hara
  • Seat 21, Yuzuki Fawa
  • Seat 22, Hiroto Maehara
  • Seat 23, Koki Mimura
  • Seat 24, Takuya Murumatsu
  • Seat 25, Toka Yada
  • Seat 26, Taisei Yoshida
The students of Class E in Assassination Classroom.

Sorry guys, some of you had a great moment or two but with such a huge cast ultimately unless I’m looking at a picture of you, I probably couldn’t confidently remember you.

A couple of these characters I’m struggling to remember even with the picture.

As a cast you work and Class E is highly entertaining to spend time with; however, individually you just aren’t that memorable.

Ultimately Pretty Bland Character in Class E- Seat 2, Yuma Isogai

Yuma Class E Assassination Classroom

As the male class rep and a character who actually gets some backstory and more than one episode where he features as more or less the lead character, Isogai doesn’t leave much of an impression.

Sure he’s nice and hardworking and one of the more reasonable characters in the cast, but that kind of works against him as he ends up just being overwhelmed by the bigger personalities.

That said, if you were going to assemble a team to take on a giant yellow octopus, you could do worse than including an Isogai in your group. He’s good at reading the mood and doesn’t insist on having things his way. A natural peace maker and someone focused on results.

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with this character except he doesn’t really leave a huge impression.

Good Support Character From Class E With A Not So Great Twist – Seat 7, Kaede Kayano

Kaede Class E Assassination Classroom

I really loved Kaede early on. She was a great support character for Nagisa and just kind of cute and bubbly. Her Pudding Assassination Plot does need to go down as one of the more bonkers anime plans I’ve ever scene and really if they’d left her character there she may have even ended up in my top 3 for characters in Class E.

Unfortunately, Kaede ends up being a victim of one of the worst plot twists Assassination Classroom pulls out and essentially ret-cons our entire impression of Kaede and her motives from before the series even began in order to pull out another fight sequence and stretch the story.

It seriously soured my impression of Kaede and that’s a shame because season 1 Kaede is pretty cool and if you ignore that particular character development she could have been one of the best in the cast.

Character from Class E We Love To Hate – Seat 16, Ryoma Terasaka

Terasaka Class E Assassination Classroom

Every class has to have a character who thinks they are all that, a leader that others should follow, and in honesty they are just kind of lame. Class E has Terasaka who is the king of his own little mind and looked down upon by pretty much everyone in the class. Even his own little group of friends mock him, even if it is more good-humoured.

As the story progresses, Terasaka is responsible for a number of incidents that largely push the audience to dislike him. His manipulation of Nagisa to risk himself, his betrayal of the class to work with Itona, coupled with his generally brash and loud personality all position him as a character the audience are not supposed to like.

However, there are also more than enough moments where Terasaka somehow or another pulls through or does something pretty decent making him more of a lovable oaf than an irredeemable bully and by and large, the Class E dynamic wouldn’t work without a Terasaka so we have to celebrate that he’s a part of the group.

Great Moments Early on But Soon Overshadowed Character From Class E – Seat 13, Tomohito Sugino

Tomohito Class E Assassination Classroom

As the heading says, Sugino had a few early moments of brilliance. The baseball kid from Class E comes up with a number of plans to take on Koro-Sensei and also gets to be the focus of the episode on a number of occasions as we see him dealing with his old team-mates from the baseball team he is no longer a part of.

That said, Sugino quickly vanishes from the limelight and remains an active participant in a range of assassination attempts and a voice in the crowd but his own character growth is more or less ended by the mid-point of season 1.

Still, he’s a fun guy and despite so little presence in later episodes he isn’t forgotten once Assassination Classroom draws to a close.

Not Just a Pretty Face Character From Class E – Seat 17, Rio Nakamura

Rio Class E Assassination Classroom

A character like Rio could have just been used as fan-service by Assassination Classroom. Or the foreign blonde student cliché. Or any number of other tropes that we’ve seen before.

Instead, Rio is a member of Class E who is rarely the central character but has ongoing regular contributions to the story and a strong enough personality to stand out.

She’s got some confidence and sass but she’s also aware of her own limitations and weaknesses. She’s one of the few in the class who we see early on has some genuine ambition but Rio is also pretty playful and at times pushes other characters well out of their comfort zone.

By the end of Assassination Classroom, Rio stands out from the crowd even if her specific contributions have blended in with the rest of Class E.

The Great Behind The Scenes Contributor in Class E – Seat 27, Ritsu

Ritsu Class E Assassination Classroom

Another character introduced to the class late, Ritsu is actually an AI but she most definitely has her own personality. While at first it is pretty much entirely built around killing Koro-Sensei, after he gives her a bit of a tune-up she becomes very much a team player.

The other students of Class E also take to Ritsu as she adds herself as a mobile-app on their phones and assists with planning and communications during most of their missions.

With her cheery personality, her ability to learn from prior attempts, as well as her overall contributions to each mission, Ritsu is an invaluable cast member and one I kind of loved getting to know by the end of the series.

Any Moment Featuring This Character in Class E is Pretty Solid – Seat 5, Manami Okuda

assassination43

This chemistry loving, glasses wearing cutie is a quiet gem in the class and responsible for some great visual gags throughout Assassination Classroom as she attempts to kill the teacher with various concoctions.

While Okuda’s character rarely gets the spot-light, she’s actually got an interesting personality and I loved her single-minded focus on science. But it was her growth in realising she needed to work with others and learn some people skills to succeed that really elevated her in amongst the students of Class E.

That said, the idea of Okuda and Karma ending up together was pretty terrifying given the damage Karma could cause with Okuda’s chemistry to back him up.

Appearances of Okuda may not be frequent but when she does get centre-stage expect great (or explosive) results.

Almost the Best Character in Class E – Seat 11, Nagisa Shiota

nagisa

Nagisa is as close to a main protagonist as Assassination Classroom is going to get with a lot of the episodes related through his perspective or with added narration by his character. He’s also central in most plots either being part of carrying them out or being grilled by the other members of Class E for his list of Koro-Sensei facts and weaknesses that they might exploit.

However, as much as Nagisa originally comes off as a pretty bland, nice protagonist, his character has been written with some surprising depth and there are some interesting personality traits and traumas that come out as the story progresses.

What makes Nagisa such a fantastic character, and the character who probably would have been my pick for best character were it not for a certain red-head, is the growth he undertakes throughout the series as he comes to learn about himself, overcome some of his weaknesses, and accepts those parts of himself he cannot change.

That and his seriously scary abilities as an assassin have definitely earned him the second top spot for me.

Best Character in Class E – Seat 1, Karma Akabane

karma3

Okay, anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time, or read my review of Assassination Classroom, is not surprised by this pick. Karma is the undisputed legend of Class E having brains, a cool personality, some impressive abilities as an assassin, and generally having enough charisma to pull off the bad-boy routine most of the time.

That he also gets knocked down a peg early on in the series after a series of failed attempts to solo-kill Koro-Sensei helps a lot as honestly he really did have a pretty huge ego. Further set-backs in season one force Karma to re-evaluate and he ends up a much stronger person and perhaps a ‘nicer’ character for it.

Though nicer or not, he’ll still tell you straight to your face what he thinks of you and he doesn’t mince words.

Yep, Karma is undoubtably my pick for best character from Class E in Assassination classroom.

Do you agree with my rankings?

That’s my ranking of the students of Class E after rewatching Assassination Classroom on more than one occasion. That said, it is entirely based on my own opinion and I’d love to know who you would have picked as the best or the worst character so leave me a comment below and get the conversation started.

Images from: Assassination Classroom. Dir. S Kishi. Lerche. 2015


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


Ranking The Characters of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime From Worst to Best

Ranking the Characters from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

There are so many characters in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and so many of them have struggled with screen time over the second season. Still, as season 2, part 2, of our isekai adventure comedy about a bouncing blue slime comes to a close I’m going to look at the best and worst of these characters.

Keep in mind, this is entirely my own opinion based only on watching the anime. Feel free to share your favourites or least favourites in the comments below.

Characters who I don’t really know much about (such as Diablo) ended up being left of the list and equally characters who have left so little impact on me that I just forgot about them entirely. I also left Yuuki Kaguarazaka off the list because I’m finding him interesting but he really hasn’t had enough time for me to really decide where he fits in on the list yet. Also, I decided not to rank Rimuru because as the protagonist he has way more screen time than anyone else. That said, he wouldn’t have been my favourite anyway.

Not the worst but most forgettable of the cast of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

most forgettable characters from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Sometimes it is worse to be forgettable rather than actually being a bad character. Poorly written characters may be laughable or distracting, but at least they are memorable and have an impact. What is kind of sad about the characters in this part of the list from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, is that they all started out quite interesting with great potential but then through character bloat ended up fading into the background until they were all but forgotten.

So who did I put in this section for forgettable characters?

Sadly Geld, Kaijin, Rigurd, and Gabiru all end up here.

There’s nothing wrong with any of these characters (okay Gabiru started out seriously annoying) but realistically during season two they’ve all just kind of faded out. Gabiru and Geld both got to at least join in with Benimaru’s branch of the fight but even then they didn’t get much screen time. Sadly, they go down as characters who aren’t bad but just don’t stick with me.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 11 Lizardman

Worst Character from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime?

Hands down I have to give Clayman the prize for being the worst character in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. This isn’t because he’s a villain. It’s that he is a terrible villain and just a really dull character who seems to think he’s amazing.

That facing off against Clayman has been Rimuru’s driving force for the entire second part of season 2 is part of the reason I’ve found it so dull. Clayman isn’t worth this many episodes of build-up. He’s a bug. Squish him and move on.

Tensura 2 - Clayman

These Characters Have A Lot More Potential

Tragically we then have three female characters who all seem like they could be really interesting and fun if only they were given more time and more opportunities.

Firstly, Ramiris, who is a demon-lord and a fairy and yet is used for increasingly lame jokes and other than showing up and exposition dumping gets very little opportunity to do anything of interest in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.

Here’s a character who could be used amazingly well, has power enough to keep up with the main characters and a whole raft of life experience, and she’s pretty much just comic relief and convenient exposition girl.

Tensura 2 Episode 39 - Ramiri

Equally Mjurran who played a pivotal role in the events of part 1 of season 2 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has some pretty cool power and while she was previously working under Clayman it wasn’t voluntarily.

Let’s be real, a double agent character should be interesting and someone with that much power should feel like a real asset to the story. Instead, Mjurran kind of felt like a damsel in distress trope that was in the wrong plot and since being ‘rescued’ she’s become background character and almost entirely silent. What a waste of a potentially interesting and different character.

I’ll hope she gets more to do in the future.

Mjurran - That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Likewise, we finally got to see a little bit of what Shuna can do in episode 45 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2. And she is amazing.

But most of the time she is fixing clothing, cooking, or standing quietly in the background. Considering she was one of the ogres who originally joined with Rimuru, it seems Shuna has really done the least for the plot. If we could get more opportunities for her to show off her actual strength or even just participate more in the conversations she could be an amazing character.

Just not there yet.

Tensura 2 Episode 45 - Shuna

Solid Supporting Cast

The three beastketeers came in to the story after Clayman destroyed their kingdom and honestly, they aren’t amazing characters but they are at least doing their job solidly as supporting characters.

Their motives are clear and they’ve made a decent contribution to the war effort even if their power is nowhere on the same level as the majority of Rimuru’s team.

All three have been given enough personality to stand out, visually they each have their own look, and it was satisfying seeing That Time I Reincarnated as a Slime giving the Beastketeers a chance for a little payback even if ultimately they didn’t get to save the day.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime - Beastketeers

Familiar Favourites from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

The characters here are all entertaining in their own way and honestly any one of them could be a really great character if they were given more screen time. But each of these guys makes a solid contribution to the team and has had at least a couple of moments of glory along the way so I’d have to say they are all pretty likeable.

Let’s start with the old ogre who terrifies his subordinates with his training techniques, Hakurou. While he might be sending tremors down the spines of those who train with him, he’s frequently underestimated by his enemies in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, which mostly proves there is no anime in this world. Let’s be real, anime watchers know there is nothing scarier than an old guy with a sword.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Equally noteworthy is Shion with her hot temper and ability to kill with her cooking. She’s also one of a very small number of female characters who actually gets to go full-on in combat and with her distinctive wardrobe she certainly leaves an impression.

Veldora and Shion have kind of instantly developed an odd couple kind of pairing but what they both have in common is there ability to go from 0 to full on explosive rage in about a second which makes them both pretty fun at times.

Speaking of Veldora, he’s also in this section. The terrifying dragon is now a manga addicted guy who likes to laugh a lot but is still amazingly powerful. I’m not quite sure That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime knows exactly what to do with Veldora outside of jokes and the occasional fight so he largely ends up just off to the side.

Tensura 2 - Shion and Veldora get angry

I’m also placing Ranga in this section because I love Ranga but honestly he’s just become Rimuru’s transportation who gets a very occasional line of dialogue. I’d like Ranga to get to do more but for now I’m just going to be happy that he’s still in the story and hasn’t been squeezed out entirely.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Finally, Gobuta. He gets some solid comedic moments and even finally got an amazingly cool moment in one of the fights during season 2 part 2. He’s not main character material but as a supporting cast member he’s one of the best.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19 Gobta

Can These Characters from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Get Their Own Show?

Let’s hear it for these characters that even in an overcrowded cast manages to stand out and leave a strong impression.

Starting with the incredibly overpowered Benimaru. In any other anime, this guy would be the protagonist. He’s a solid leader, he’s confident bordering on cocky, and he can back it up with some really incredible power.

Seriously, give him his own spin-off and Benimaru could really do an amazing job. In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime he often gets overlooked because he’s letting other characters have their moment or he’s passed over so Rimuru can stand out, but we should never forget that Benimaru is practically a force of nature in his own right.

Tensura 2 Episode 44

Then we have Milim, demon lord with a terrible fashion sense (you won’t convince me there’s any practical reason for that outfit) but who is super fun when she’s around. She’s Rimuru’s self-proclaimed bestie and you can tell she loves having a friend like Rimuru.

Still, don’t ever forget she’s one of the older and more powerful demon lords because when she means business she can reconfigure the geography of a kingdom without really trying. This makes her one awesome character to watch as she goes from wide-eyes and adorable anime girl to city destroying monster without much of a pause between.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19 Rimuru and Milim

Another character who left a huge impression though her appearance was limited to season one of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Shizue. Her death has remained a major motivator for so much of the story that followed and was still one of the most solid emotional moments that the series has pulled off.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 6

And lastly, I’d like to give a shout-out to the Great Sage who seriously is an amazing character despite being a disembodied voice illustrated usually only through text on the screen.

My Personal Favourite and Pick for Best Character?

I have to give this to Souei.

I’ll admit, not the strongest or flashest of the ogre characters, Souei is one of those characters I just liked from the beginning. His character design is very cool and I love that he’s dashing about the place gathering intelligence and always where he’s needed. While he never gets to be front and centre, not really the type of character he is, I’ve enjoyed him every time he’s appeared.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 17 Rimuru

I was also kind of happy he got to go with Shuna on her recent expedition because it gave him a few moments to shine as well, even if he was once again overshadowed by another character.

If I could have any wish for the next season of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime it would definitely be more Souei.

Disagree with my list? How do you rank these characters?

Images from: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2. Dir. Y Kikuchi. 8bit. 2021.


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


Ranking The Anime Girls of Slime 300 From Worst to Best

Ranking the Girls From Slime 300

While it should go without saying, this ranking of the anime girls in Slime 300 is entirely my own opinion and is really based on fairly arbitrary factors. For instance I considered how much the ‘plot’, such as it is, of this isekai anime would have suffered without the character as well as how the character balances with the rest of the cast. That said, I’d love to know your rankings for the characters because I’m sure there are some other opinions out there.

For those who don’t know, I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level is an isekai anime where our protagonist, Azusa, has been reincarnated as a more or less immortal witch and because she’s been killing slimes in the highlands for 300 years, she’s now pretty much unkillable. That said, the anime chooses to focus on the various female characters who drop into Azusa’s once peaceful life and by episode 9 the scene is looking pretty crowded.

Azusa's once empty home is getting fuller.
Image from Slime 300 anime 2021.

So how many characters have we met that have been remembered for me to rank? We have:

  • Azusa (highland witch)
  • Laika (red dragon)
  • Halkara (elf)
  • Shalsha and Falfa (slime spirits)
  • Beelzebub (demon)
  • Flatorte (blue dragon)
  • Rosalie (ghost)
  • Pecora (demon king)

And we could add in more characters if we count the girl at the guild, the various slimes that took on the form of young girls, other demons, and another witch we encountered. But hey, the list is long enough.

For the sake of fairness, I am actually going to leave Azusa out of the rankings. She’s an interesting enough character, though perhaps could have been a bit more interesting, but as the protagonist she definitely gets more screen time and solid plot moments than the others. That leaves us with 7 characters (counting Shalsha and Falfa as a single entity).

The Worst Anime Girl from Slime 300 – Flatorte

Flatorte - Blue Dragon
Image from Slime 300 anime 2021.
Solid reasoning.

Flatorte first appeared in episode 4 and entered an already overcrowded field. Like most of the girls in Slime 300, she entered the anime initially as an antagonist, however she really did come off poorly. As a one off character she could have been tolerable but more recent episodes have thrown her back into the mix and to be honest, she adds little.

Being tone deaf and playing the fish out of water really don’t work when other characters already have these quirks covered and her ‘conflict’ with the red dragon girl is largely just background noise. Her abrupt personality shift to submissive was also pretty absurd and so far she’s mostly just taken over Halkara’s role of being the butt of jokes that don’t quite land.

Maybe this character will improve but really I could have done without her.

Slightly Better Girl From Slime 300 – Pecora

Pecora - Demon King
Image from Slime 300 anime 2021
The loli demon king.

Arriving on the scene in episode 6, it wasn’t until episode 7 that Pecora really made her presence felt. As a character potentially rivalling the protagonist in power she seemed like she could be an interesting addition to the cast or possibly even an actual antagonist to shake up the otherwise feel good nature of the story.

Pecora also suffered much the same probably as Flatorte in that with so many key personality types already taken up, she ends up being almost a parody as she pleads to be dominated by her ‘older sister’ and generally goes through more personality switches in the space of an episode than most characters should go through over a season.

There’s also just no room in the core group for her by the time she appeared on the scene. This anime girl came too late and as they flew away from the castle and Pecora I breathed a sigh of relief. A little too soon as it turns out they encounter her again later but with Pecora, less will definitely be more.

Alright But Could Better Girl From Slime 300 – Halkara

Halkara - Elf Girl
Image from Slime 300 Anime 2021
An advertisement for essentially an energy drink in a fantasy – delivered by a blonde elf in a bikini.

There’s not a lot wrong with Halkara other than I have a personal dislike for how she’s been used by the plot. Introduced in episode 3, seeking refuge with the witch from a demon, Halkara is essentially a pretty savvy business woman but you wouldn’t know it from some of the stupid things the writers have her do.

Basically, since her introduction, if the story has needed someone to stuff something up, possess, use for a slightly raunchy joke, or a punching bag, Halkara has been thrown under the bus. I think the only reason she hasn’t been literally tossed under is because this is a fantasy and there are no buses.

I’d like to like Halkara, but really, of the core ‘family’ members she’s definitely the weak link.

The Good But Not Exciting Anime Girl From Slime 300 – Laika

Laika - Dragon Girl
Images from Slime 300 anime 2021.
Dragon Girl Laika knows how to leave us waiting.

Laika was the first of the girls to visit Azusa in her lonely mountain home way back in episode 1. In fact, Laika broke Azusa’s house during their duel and was forced to repair it which lead to the construction of the oversized house the crew now live in.

She came in as a fairly interesting character with quite a lot of ambition and she was a dragon. She’s also demonstrated a vast knowledge of magic at times and has been the most constant companion of Azusa.

So why is Laika sitting in the middle of this list?

Well, she’s just not that interesting. She became the quiet disciple and mostly hasn’t done much to distinguish herself. She’s a pillar of the group and probably the most useful of the characters but without some of their louder personality types Laika would likely just kind of disappear.

Someone Give This Girl A Hug from Slime 300 – Rosalie

Rosalie - Ghost Girl
Image from Slime 300 anime 2021.
Being dead – could be worse.

In episode 5, Rosalie rocked the scene making a bold entrance as the ghost haunting the factory Halkara wanted to create. Dying young and in a fairly unfair manner, Rosalie doesn’t have time to play nice and she’s a straight talking and quite entertaining dead girl.

While she couldn’t carry a story on her own, Roaslie managed to enter the fairly crowded scene in I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level and leave an impression. More than that, she made me care about her and laugh with her. While she doesn’t stand front and centre in most episodes her contributions continue and she remains one of the most entertaining characters in the cast.

Just don’t let her possess you. There’s some difficulty separating her out again.

Too Cute For Words in Slime 300 – Shalsha and Falfa

Shalsha and Falfa - slime spirits
Image from Slime 300 anime 2021
I have way too many screen grabs of this pair.

It’s a two for one with these darling slime spirits who appeared in episode two. Shalsha is the more level headed of the pair but Falfa is utterly adorable and when they first appeared they were pretty formidable but quickly became the adopted children of Azusa.

I think I’d be pretty happy with a show where it was just aAzusa and the girls travelling around helping people. That would be pretty adorable to watch.

One thing that has become clear, any scene is better when these two appear. All the characters melt in their presence and when one is in trouble, everyone who has ever met them will run to help. That’s the power of cute anime girls.

Best Girl from Slime 300 – Beelzebub

300 Slime Ep6 1
Okay she might be a demon who turns into a fly but she’s still pretty awesome.

Beelzebub also appeared for the first time in episode 3, in pursuit of the elf-girl Halkara. This placed her in direct opposition with Azusa and a friendly rivalry kind of sprung up between them.

Beelzebub is awesome because she’s strong, she’s confident, and she’s actually pretty in control but she can also be used as the focal point for a joke without feeling like she’s been demeaned. Azusa summons the demon on more than one occasion and due to a small pronunciation error, instead of ending up in the summoning circle Beelzebub is dunked in water and still manages to look classy.

If she hadn’t already been my favourite character, the fighting tournament would have locked it in. Seeing her give her all against Azusa and taking her loss like a champion really just made it clear who the best girl of this series is.

Do you agree?

That’s my ranking but I’m sure others watching I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My level have their own ideas. Let me know in the comments how you would have ranked these characters and who your favourite anime girl from the series is.

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level. Dir. N Kimura. Revoroot. 2021.


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


Is Season 2 Of The Promised Neverland Weaker Than Its Predecessor?

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Discussion

Episode 6 has finally aired and now I’m taking a look at how the second season has measured up to season 1.

There will be no real surprise for my regular readers when I say I really enjoyed season 1 of The Promised Neverland. I found the tension and pacing nicely done even if there was an over reliance on cliff-hangers, found some of the direction to be interesting and added to the overall atmosphere, and the tight narrative arc of the kids realising the situation they were in and then struggling to overcome the obstacles and escape to just be really satisfying to watch. I finished my season 1 review of The Promised Neverland with the statement that I highly recommended it.

So as we pass the halfway mark of season 2, am I feeling the same way?

Not so much.

The Promised Neverland Episode 9 Ray and Emma

Now I want to be clear that my issues with season 2 do not stem from the variation from the source material. Hunting around online it seems like a lot of people are finding the adaptation a little on the lacking side. However, I deliberately did not read past where season 1 ended so for me whether the anime follows the events in the manga isn’t the most important thing.

What I am more concerned about is that visually The Promised Neverland seems to have lost its identity and so far season 2 hasn’t really had much in the way of focus to drive the plot forward and with that overall the series has lost any sense of tension. Throw in a time-skip and multiple setting changes and it is generally hard to say that at this point I’m particularly invested in anything that is happening despite being interested and genuinely wanting to learn more about the demon world and to see how the kids ultimately either save (or don’t save) the other kids on the farm.



And that’s a weird position to be in. To be interested but not invested.

When I started really thinking about it, I realised that almost all of my interest, is left over from the season one finale when the kids took their first steps out of Grace Field and into an unknown world. There was a real sense of mystery and excitement with a little trepidation because if children were being farmed it really didn’t bode well for what would be beyond the wall.

While the first couple of episodes of season 2 seemed to be wanting to fulfil that sense of curiosity as the kids traversed the forest being pursued by demons, we quickly moved on. First by meeting a pair of intelligent demons who didn’t seem to want to eat them, then to the promised shelter left by the plot device ‘Minerva’.

This is before being chased out of the shelter and back to the forest where one of the monsters conveniently attacked the pursuers but not the pursued, before we had several months skipped over and the kids are now living in a run-down temple, before we drop the presumed dead Norman back into the plot for episode 6 – which suffered generally from having almost no animation.

Characters stood or sat around chatting and the camera angles bounced around but it couldn’t disguise the fact that most of the characters barely moved throughout the entire episode.

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 3

When we compare this with season ones generally narrow story line of Emma, Ray and Norman observing their surroundings, identifying the obstacles, and training and recruiting the kids to help in their plans, season 2 has so far felt incredibly unfocused. In season one, I found the arrival and subsequent disruption caused by Sister Krone to be largely unnecessary, other than it showed that even the humans who worked for the demons weren’t exactly getting a smooth run.

Outside of that it felt like every line of dialogue, every interaction, every weird close up from the camera seemed to have some kind of purpose and fed into the narrative.

Season 2 of The Promised Neverland has some great scenes. The kids training to hunt, their first night in the shelter, even Emma’s interaction with the blind demon in the temple were nicely put together sequences. However there’s no thread holding it all together other than the kids are trying to survive and may eventually get back to save the other kids.

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And perhaps it is deliberate. Where season one used darker colours (when the kids weren’t outside playing) and strange POV’s to create a near claustrophobic setting at times as the kid’s world closed in around them, season two seems to be opening things up creating many choices and possibilities but leaving the kids adrift. They’ve accomplished what was thought to be impossible but now they aren’t sure what their next steps are. Perhaps all this aimless wandering is designed to help the audience feel how lost the characters are.

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 3

Does a different tone and feeling, the story moving into a new space and the kids not as certain of their path, make this second season of The Promised Neverland weaker?

Honestly, each viewer is going to decide for themselves. For me, I know that if this wasn’t a second season of an anime I was already attached to, season 2 has been decidedly on the average side. Whether or not it ends up being worth it will depend on what the second half of the season intends to do now that Norman is back in the mix. However, as so much of what I loved about season one seems to be missing in season 2, and even Emma (one of my favourite characters from 2019) seems a little lacklustre in this season, my view is that The Promised Neverland season 2 has so far been a significantly weaker entry than season 1.

Karandi Sad Transparent
Okay, I’m not really crying about it, but it has still been a little disappointing.

It isn’t yet at the point where the story cannot recover and find its feet. I mean, I went through a similar situation with Attack on Titan where the first half of season one was this amazing roller-coaster ride that I just loved and then the second half and most of season 2 really left me feeling pretty meh about the entire franchise before season 3 hooked me back in.

Still, I am curious as to how my readers feel about season 2 of The Promised Neverland. I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave us a comment.

Images used for review from:

  • The Promised Neverland Season 2. Dir. M Kanbe. Cloverworks. 2021.
  • The Promised Neverland Season 1. Dir. M. Kanbe. Cloverworks. 2019


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


Keeping in Touch – OWLS Blog Tour for December

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 For this month’s topic, we will be discussing what the holidays mean to us. Some of us have a religious perspective on Christmas, while some of us see Christmas as a celebration of family. For this prompt, we will be exploring how the holidays are celebrated around the world using various pop culture media. We will also describe what the holidays mean to us. Happy Holidays! – OWLS Team 

OWLS prompt for December – Be sure to follow the tour with Fred next and if you missed it check out Jack’s post as the previous stop on the tour.
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Christmas: The time of terrible music, tacky decorations, and a bunch of hypocrisy about peace on earth meanwhile has anyone watched the news recently? Me at my most cynical, or at least I thought it was cynical until I saw the news story about people being crushed in a pre-Christmas sale rush at a department store. Seriously, was there anything in that store worth being crushed for? Not to mention almost all the media has these beautiful snowy stories with people drinking hot drinks and curling up in front of fires. Meanwhile all I see is dust and dirt and I’m just hoping the flies don’t swarm us while trying to eat Christmas lunch or that nobody faints from heat. Honestly, there’s a lot about the ‘holiday’ season that I dislike. That said, I look forward to December every year for one simple reason and that is its the one time of year where I get to catch up with the majority of people I need to see because we’re all on holiday at the same time for once.

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While some years I do use the break to travel and see a bit more of the world, the majority of my Christmas holidays are spent driving around the dusty state of Queensland catching up with family and friends. The only problem becomes who I actually spend Christmas with. I remember one year I had breakfast with one family, drove four hours up the coast to have lunch somewhere else and with another part of the family and then we went to another relative’s house in that town for dinner. I was a little on the sick side from too much food and driving and well and truly over Christmas anything by the end of that day. Yet it is still a fond memory of seeing family and getting to be there together.

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For me, distance is a very real barrier physically to seeing people. Whether they be my relatives who live many hours away and are scattered about or my friends who are literally all over the state as work and family moves them around losing touch is a very real possibility. Sure social media and the like make it easy to talk but there’s a lot not said in that form of communication. That makes Christmas a time for me to reconnect and spend time with people. So the limited holiday is divided between driving days and days spent with this group of friends or this part of the family trying to check in on as many as possible. It ends up being a tiring couple of weeks and yet the sense of a renewed connection and closeness for the following year makes it all worth while.

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Okay, there’s also some shopping involved in this pilgrimage. There would be more except that the crowds more or less keep me out of the shops, but it is one of the few times of year I’m near an actual physical shop that sells things and that is actually kind of exciting. Mail order is all well and good but it doesn’t beat picking stuff out in a shop.



Now you might have been wondering what all the Kimi ni Todoke images have been doing given I haven’t mentioned the anime. There is one simple reason I connected with the Christmas episode of Kimi ni Todoke. Sure it is still set in the snow and is about a high school romance that is dragged out to epic proportions due to poor communication however Sawako faces a very real conflict when her class organise a Christmas part but her family are already preparing for their family Christmas gathering. Sawako wants to go with her friends but can’t bring herself to ask for permission because she also wants to be with her family and see them happy.

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Whichever choice she makes will leave her feeling either sad or guilty and so she stays silent and does her best to put on a cheerful smile. As I listened this year to people planning their holidays I saw this conflict come up again and again. Partners struggling to figure out which relatives to see on the day and who they would see before or after Christmas. Compromises where they spend Christmas with this family and see the other family for New Year’s. Those who just couldn’t travel and see people this year either because of poor health or other obligations having to ‘apologise’ for missing the gatherings.

The thing is, Christmas brings people a lot of joy but it also comes with that sense of guilt. I think the important thing to remember is that the day itself isn’t as important as the connection. Maybe I can only see you on the 22nd or 23rd or maybe it will be the 27th before I can get to your place, but I won’t feel guilty. I still get to see you and spend a day with you. For me Christmas isn’t about the 25th or the tinsel or anything else. It is about reconnecting with those I love.

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


Balancing Acts – How to fit in your blog in your daily life

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Laughing Rini

Do you know what Karandi and I have in common? We blog a lot. Admittedly we are very different blogger types but we both care about getting regular content to our readers and sometimes that can be a challenge.

Since I started contributing here, I have come to realize and admire just how much work Karandi puts into this blog, so much so that she gets thrown off schedule if she gets sick or if work becomes demanding. It’s the same for me as well but since I’m not as much of an episodic reviewer, I have more leeway with my scheduling. For Karandi it really seems like an actual job.

(****Ps. I’m writing this independently as I commute to work so it’s purely from my outside perspective. Because Karandi and I are both fairly busy, we don’t really get the chance to chat about stuff like this much. She’s going to read this before publishing through so she can make any edits or corrections she wants****).

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maybe I can convince her to say a few words…

However, I do have a few tight deadlines as well and I’ve started to figure out how to fit everything in without making it a chore.

The first thing for me is structure. I know in advance what I’m going to write about and generally how I’m going to write about it. This means notes in my case. Lots of notes. I go through a notebook worth of notes every few months while watching anime. This isn’t the general notes and ideas I jot down for posts. It’s actually in the moment notes of something that happened in the show and what it made me think about.

My posts are often just a basic cleaning up and restructuring of these notes. I don’t actually have to draft anything from scratch so that takes away a lot of writer’s block and blank page anxiety. I can reread a few pages of notes while having breakfast or something so by the time I start writing the complete outline of the post is already in my mind. That doesn’t mean I don’t wander from time to time. Occasionally a post will go in unexpected directions as ideas pop up while I’m writing it but the fact that I can just hit the ground running, really helps me keep my output regular.

It’s probably not a trick that will work for everyone though. For me, it essentially combines the time I would spend chasing inspiration, with my actual anime watching.

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looks familiar

Then there’s the writing. I try to find stolen times. I have my phone and or tablet with me pretty much at all times. I write on buses, in subways while waiting in line or at a coffee shop. I use the Google doc dictation feature to blurt out posts while I’m cooking or cleaning. Unless I have an actual deadline cause I’m a genius who chose to review 4 shows on the same night… I never write during the evenings. That’s what I would consider my leisure time. I know a lot of bloggers do and I really admire that but I don’t have that type of determination. For me, that would make it feel too much like work.

It also means that my evenings are free to watch anime or read mangas at my own pace without worrying too much about blogging. I usually write reviews fairly quickly after seeing a show but thanks to those notes I could wait months to do so and it wouldn’t matter much. I try to give my blogging a good amount of structure because that’s what works for me, but I also don’t add any pressure. I just try to write posts I enjoy and hope someone else does too.

This is the way I have found to keep up with my blog. By making sure it was not an activity that I felt took “away” from my free time and by combining things to make everything fit in a day. I’m curious about Karandi though. Because her blogging and life styles are quite different, she must have come up with an entirely different set of time management and motivation tips to keep it up.

Let’s see if we can encourage her to share.

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you can do it!


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It is interesting that Irina raises this topic at a time when the balance in my life has literally fallen apart over the last few weeks (although we drafted this post quite awhile ago and then its kind of sat gathering dust). For the first three years of my blog I managed a beautiful routine but 2019 has been a messy year to begin with and the last few weeks have seen my IRL job become incredibly more stressful and time consuming followed by my health taking a serious hit and the recovery period stretching far longer than anticipated. The end result, I dropped from three posts a day to two (after skipping a couple of days entirely during the peak of being sick).

For some that might not seem like a big deal, however I see that as a major failing. I started wondering if I needed to manage my time better and just being generally frustrated at my health. The bottom line is that I am going to need to do some reassessment into the future and one of those reassessments is looking at my IRL job. I’m kind of hoping to wind back my roles and responsibilities there in about a year or two so that I can pursue blogging as a more full time thing (and also looking at some other avenues for work). But that’s a long term idea and not an immediate solution so what works at the moment?

Irina hit the nail on the head with structure. I know what I need to write each week in terms of episode reviews and other posts, they have a standard format that occasionally I tweak but mostly use as is, and two out of my three daily posts (which I maintained for three years before 2019 shot my streak dead) are episode reviews which in my case are short and reactionary not requiring a massive time commitment in terms of drafting, though definitely needing an edit prior to hitting publish.

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for once!

I’m also very structured in my time management. When things are going to plan I spend a couple of hours in the morning before work reading posts from others and commenting, editing posts that I’ve drafted, and checking that posts I’ve scheduled are in the right spot and I didn’t miss anything. This is aided by my incredible lack of sleep with me usually waking up many hours before my alarm goes off. I will point out, this is one of the areas I’ve lost time in because a new medication I was put on earlier this year has increased my sleep time by an hour on average. Great for feeling rested but not so great for writing.

I use weekends to draft non-review posts for the following week and try to get any anime that air over the weekend watched and drafted which usually means I only need to watch an episode or two in the evenings after work to draft other reviews and fill in the rest of the week. This means if I need to have a night off to go and actually have a social life, it isn’t normally a big deal because I’m normally a few days ahead of posting (normally).

When everything goes to plan it works well and I don’t feel stressed by my schedule. The last month, I’ve felt stressed. 

I am going to say though, I do not do anything related to my blog or watching anime during my work day. Not even lunch breaks. When I am at work, I’m fully focused on work. Once I leave work my brain shifts gears and I’m back in aniblogging mode. That separation is really important to me. Same as when I go out socialising or have people over (which isn’t the most common phenomenon given my basic nature but it does happen). I’m not checking my phone or messages or comments on the blog or anything else because that’s not actually being a part of the social interaction then.

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yeahh, don’t ignore your guests to read comments! that’s rude

I think I do count my blog in some ways as a hobby that is evolving into a  second job at this point. Only, one I really love and enjoy and have a lot more say in how it operates (okay, I do like my IRL job it is just tiring me out right now). That said, I think I need to really look at what I can do over the next year to find a bit more balance because I don’t like the feeling that I’m letting people down when I get sick and can’t write a post. And I know that is silly. Even though I have patrons, I know they’ll understand that people get sick but it still makes me feel like I dropped the ball. 

Then again, as I’ve said in a previous post, just because you lose momentum doesn’t mean you can’t find it again. Sure, September was a terrible month for me on the blog (and in general), but that doesn’t set the tone for October. Time to pick myself up and get back to it.

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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Apples to Saiyan – Comparing Anime

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Anime bloggers, as people who watch and talk about anime a lot we naturally have a tendency to compare series to each other. I see it all the time, especially in comments or Twitter. But is there any point to it? Considering all the variables in an anime, it seems unavoidable that even very similar shows are in many respects completely different. In my opinion, the answer to that is both yes and no.

Did I just throw in a YES because I compare anime series to each other???? Maybe.

Let me give you just the barest amount of context possible. I was talking to fans about a recent series and one of the immediately responses was it’s not as good as “insert other show very vaguely in the same huge category”. As the conversation progressed and more people joined in pretty much all the comments started to be stuff like it won’t stand the test of time like X or it will never be as great as Y….

Setting aside the subjective nature of the statements, when I took a step back I realized that this was a rather ineffective conversation. Sure I got that these people hadn’t enjoyed the show but really nothing else. And comparing the potential legacy of a series that started this year with something that has had decades to develop and influence fans simply doesn’t give me any useful information.

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cause information is power!

This is why I started thinking about this. Speaking about anime in terms of other anime is probably the most common way we discuss series. Not the only one by any means but definitely one of the most widespread practices. So it would be odd if it was mostly useless, as opposed to just me being especially slow.

The major downfall with comparing series, particularly in subjective arguments, is that you don’t know what the other person’s experience is. When I say this show will never be as good as Natsume for instance, that’s not even an insult. There are tons of shows I love and think are amazing but still think will not be as good as Natsume. It’s like a general statement. But if you happen to think Natsume is a boring and pointless series with underwhelming visuals then for you, I completely trashed a show with that statement and we are now having two different conversations. That is of course if you even have any idea what Natsume even is…

Then there is the point I mentioned above about all the factors that come together to make an anime in the first place. For instance, even a die hard fan like myself will admit that the Natsume colour palette is just not that exciting. In the early seasons it could even be called…dull. There are a lot more visually exciting shows out there. So if a show will never live up to Natsume can it still surpass it in those elements? Do I mean in popularity? Am I talking about the plot, characters, voice acting, all of the above? I can even narrow it down and still be super vague. Let’s say I’m specifically talking about characters, do I mean design, personality, their establishment, development, arc? All of these elements are independent. And they get appreciated in different ways. Some people think development is key and find that characters that don’t change through the story are lacking, others love the reliability as long as those characters are cute, or smart or whatever their preferences may be.

Natsume and Hotarubi
ok, comparing these two makes sense!

Those problems are mitigated when you don’t use comparisons to support subjective opinions but only for exemplary purposes but you still have to really define how the anime are similar or different and by that point, you might as well just describe the anime you’re talking about.

Wait, am I just saying comparing anime is useless? I clearly said it wasn’t in my first paragraph. Also I really do it all the time! Hmmm….

Well there are benefits to comparing anime as well. One is efficiency. There’s a reason that these types of comparisons come up more often in conversational formats (comment threads and Twitter for example). It’s a very quick and easy way to get a whole lot of information out there… provided the other person has seen the show.

If I tell you Given is an all boys version of Madoka, you instantly get a very clear mental picture *if you’ve seen either shows*. For the record I don’t think Given is an all boys version of Madoka but I did think it was funny to describe it that way. Actually now that I think about it they have themes of grief, accepting loss and getting over survivor’s guilt in common. Maybe I’m onto something….

I got off track there. I’m sorry. I just amused myself into distraction.

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not the same

Like I said drawing parallels between shows allows you to save on word count and helps the other person visualize what you’re talking about.

Moreover, I find that obscure similes can be very enlightening. I’m always fascinated when someone compares two shows that I think have nothing in common. As long as they give their basis for the comparison I can follow along and it usually helps me discover completely new aspects that I would not have noticed myself. Or it gives me a bit of a glimpse into how the other person thinks which makes the rest of the conversation easier and usually more interesting.

Truth be told, it’s also one of the ways I tend to discover new shows. Hearing a series being compared to something I’ve enjoyed is almost always going to pique my curiosity. No matter how many times it didn’t actually work out for me.

Basically what I’m saying is that in my experience, comparing one anime to another is much more useful for describing it than for assessing it. But what do you think? Do you feel like simply comparing two series makes for decent value judgement? Do you do it? When? How? Does it work for you?

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

What do we owe our readers?

Host

How about our Blog?

Do we owe them anything at all???

I should mention I’m not talking about people who have patrons. That’s a different relationship and if you have patrons, you probably owe them whatever you promised on your Patreon page.

But I have often talked about the general “bloggers guilt” many people experience. After numerous conversations with my fellow bloggers, I have come to realize that a lot of us have a slight sense of unease when it comes to our blog. We feel like we’re not doing “enough” or that we should do “better”, in a sort of loosely defined way. Maybe we don’t post often enough. We don’t watch enough anime or don’t keep up with the news….

Run With The Wind Episode 3

It’s a sentiment echoed by a lot of bloggers and although it can bring on some stress, it’s also not entirely a bad thing. We feel this way because we care, and we are doing something that matters to us on some level. And usually, when we do manage to feel like we’ve lived up to our expectations, we feel proud. The flip side of the guilt is the sense of accomplishment we get from our blogs. I think the secret to not letting yourself get bogged down and demotivated is figuring out exactly what we owe our blog and/or readers. Not that I have an actual answer.

For bloggers such as myself that have no monetization at all, the easy answer would be that I don’t owe anything. I mean it’s free! That makes sense. And I fully support bloggers that feel that way. I have grown up with video games. I wired my brain to collect gold stars and pass check points. It’s silly but if I don’t set up some expectations for myself I tend to lose interest. This has been a bit of a challenge though.

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Generally I like to think of readers as guests. Like when I invite people over for an evening. I don’t actually owe them anything and I would be very off-put if they demanded better food or something (make no mistake, my friends definitely would…) But at the same time, I really want them to have a good time. I clean my place, carefully pick out a menu, plan out entertainment and refill the bar. Sometimes I run out of time so we order a pizza. Sometimes I’m super tired so the entertainment isn’t as great as it could be. But I try! And it’s the same idea with my blog.

I owe you guys something. Not because you demand it but because I want to be a good host. Now the secret is what that something is. We all have a limited amount of hours in a day, we’re not going to be able to do *everything*. A perfect, meaningful, impeccably researched and typo free post on a topic that actually interests everyone and that comes out on a regular schedule every time is impossible. Heck most of those things are beyond my reach and if I tortured myself by trying to stick to such expectations I would burn out in no time. And probably make myself miserable in the process.

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On the other hand I am not going to get much satisfaction out of just throwing whatever on a page because I need to post something. It’s about figuring out what I want to prioritize and why.

My first priority was my schedule. Not because I actually think schedules are that important to blogs but it’s because it’s important to me. First I simply work better on a schedule. Doing something regularly is the best way for me to stick to it and improve. Secondly, I have some ocd tendencies and as such I find rituals calming and comforting. I adapt very well to new and unpredictable situations and work great with pressure as long as there is something in my life that’s routine and predictable. That something is blogging. It’s why I created the blog in the first place, as therapy. I found my previous little rituals weren’t challenging or satisfying enough so I tried something completely out of my comfort zone and it has worked really well. However, I lose that if I don’t stick to a schedule. And therefore, I figured that would be my first deliverable. I owe you guys regular posts, and when I manage to stick to my publishing schedule I get a little thrill!

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The second thing I arbitrarily decided to owe you was candour and open mindedness. I’m not saying I always succeed but I really want to try to offer those things. Because of my lifestyle and schedule, I write on the bus. By pure practicality, this makes stream of consciousness the easiest form of writing for me. And the best part of such a structure is the feeling that you get to glimpse inside the author’s mind. I don’t mean to insinuate that there’s anything great inside there but I’m working on it.

Without candour, the best part of stream of consciousness go down the drain. I’m not yet good enough a writer to get you on pure style or the beauty of the written word so some level of sincerity is all we got to go by. And with that, are going to come differences of opinion. Unless I keep all my writing very neutral and never let my full feelings about things out, eventually someone is going to disagree. Potentially passionately. I need to be able to take things with a grain of salt. I’m still working on that one. I’m a bit of a rebel it seems. The things you learn about yourself when you start a blog…

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I know I am not the best writer. Some readers have pointed out typos and faulty sentence structure. And I have corrected published posts often enough to scold myself about more diligent proofreading. It’s not my forte. So instead I’ll do my best to share what I truly think even when it’s not that interesting or popular an opinion and listen to what you have to say, if you’re kind enough to say it.

For now, those are the owables I’ve chosen to concentrate on. Sure I would love to publish perfect posts. I want to pick out the best images, point out the most intriguing details. If I can I will. However, as long as I can write an sincere post on time and take in whatever comes after with good humour, I consider it a small victory. I’m probably going to add in proper post layout to the list soon. I’ll keep adding and taking out things until I get to a place where I’m proud of the posts I publish but not burned out by the effort. That’s the ultimate dream.

Do you have anything you feel you owe your blog or readers? Are there elements you prioritize?

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

Why I Think Given is a Better Anime than A Manga

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I feel like a lot of viewers may be sleeping on Given. It’s a surprisingly good character-driven drama. I am enjoying a lot and I enjoy neither drama nor romance. It’s just well written. It’s also really well adapted.

I’m currently reviewing the season with Karandi and you can check out our reviews below. After the first episode, we both had a faint idea that we had read the manga at some point but neither of us remembered much and we had both dropped it before getting too far. As the episodes wore on and my love for the show grew, it kept gnawing at the back of my brain. Why would I drop a story I like so much? This is obviously my type of fiction. Was I just not in the mood?

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I didn’t want to spoil the anime, so I stayed away from the manga for a while until curiosity finally got the better of me. I quickly found it once again and after physically restraining myself to not read the final panels of the final volume (available), I started back on volume 1. I read the equivalent of episode 1 and 2, then jumped a bit ahead to the events of episode 5 and then promptly dropped it again….

I like the anime better. Much much better. And I really want to talk about it with you because you see, it’s a very faithful adaptation of the manga. Almost word for word and in the same order. But I take it in completely differently.

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Part of that is simply due to the type of person I am. I am a fan of animation. The way light and colours shift. The way pictures come together to simulate movement or depth. I’ve Always loved that and therefore, it’s no surprise that I would enjoy anime more.

But it’s not just that. I’m also impatient. I noticed it a bit when I was reading Natsume but it’s really obvious in Given. A Lot of manga fans will tell you they prefer the written format because it allows them to go at their own pace. To take in every panel to the fullest before going on to the next. I understand that I really do. Because I NEED anime for that. I am the type of person whose brain would be tremendously improved by the addition of a dimmer switch. Like a small child I always want to know what happens next, where do we go from here, are we there yet?

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I fly through manga. I look at those stunning panorama panels, think to myself “pretty” and jump right into the next bit of dialogue. It was a bit of a waste in Natsume and robbed the story of it’s atmospheric and ethereal nature. It’s tragic for Given. You see, for whatever reason (I’m going to wager partly alternative distribution, partly budget), given doesn’t really have any transition panels – i.e. manga panels in which nothing happens. It had a few glamour panels to show the characters in all their detailed glory, and I deeply appreciate those! But otherwise, the action just flows from one square to the next without break.

A full episode of the Given anime can be contained in a single chapter of the manga which is only a few pages. The anime has added so many little quiet moments. Thinking time between replies, or just solitary moments for each character. Just the way people speak if changed because of the pacing. There is a scene where Ueno is writing a song. We see him listening to the music on his headphones and scribbling something down then scratching a bit out. There are papers strewn about and his sister bursts in to tell him dinner is read. He looks up startled while she’s absolutely bemused.

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It’s a sweet scene that takes up the opening tag of an episode. It shows us just how much Ueno has recaptured his drive for music. In the manga, it’s two panels. His sister bursting in on the scene, then asking what he’s doing. It’s all the same information, you still see the scattered papers, you still know exactly what happened. But you don’t feel it in the same way. You don’t get that quiet second with Ueno, bobbing your head along and retreating into your own little world. For me, that was a big loss.

Another way this affected my viewing experience is that it essentially transformed the character of Mafuyu altogether. Mayu (as I call him – we’re close that way) is a bit of a space cadet. In the anime he’s a withdrawn young man, obviously going through something difficult. He barely speaks and when he does it’s generally slow, hesitating and in a low monotone. That’s why his excitement about learning guitar really stands out and whenever he actually gets visibly psyched, it colours the entire scene. In the manga, the panels he’s in are usually the ones where he’s reacting. As such, he ends up seeming like he’s suffering from serious manic depression as he goes from completely passionate one second to utterly disinterested literally the next panel.

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We don’t give anime enough credit for the moments between the panels. They are way more important then we think, even if technically nothing happens in them.

Sometimes, though, things do happen in them. In episode 5 of Given, there’s a scene where Kaji more or less passes out on his friend Haruki who’s harboured a one-sided crush on him forever. There’s a second where Haruki is completely overwhelmed, he slowly reaches out to hug Kaji before realizing the other is already snoring and bitterly leaving him the bed. He then sits next to it for a few seconds, reflecting on the situation.

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The scene in the manga is almost identical. There’s that moment of panic glee where the author even points out that the background should be “the universe”. But the hand motion is missing. It’s just not there. It happens between the panels. But that small move was so full of hope and then disappointment. It wordlessly conveyed all of Haruki’s feelings. It was a great moment and the story is weaker without it. And there are countless small gestures or stray looks like that throughout a series. They add up to mere minutes of the total anime, but they can make a tremendous difference in the atmosphere and character building.

In the same scene, as I said, Haruki ends up sitting on the floor thinking about his circumstances. I just read that scene in the manga. I also just saw it in episode 5. It’s the exact same scene. Same position, same context, same words. And it was completely different for me. I read a dramatic young man giving in to a bit of self-pity. It’s a pretty pitiable speech. But what I heard was an exasperated young man both pitying and making fun of himself. Laughing at a situation that has gone a bit out of hand but also a little happy about it. I am not as good an actor as the cast of Given. I do not inject the characters with as much nuance and complexity. Masatomo Nakazawa has created a better Haruki than I could. A wittier and more likeable one.

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There is no way I can surprise myself with my own character interpretation, but voice actors and directors are professionals at it. Of course, even the best can be kneecapped by a horrible script, but the good ones can guide and open up dialogue to become so much more than the words on the page. We all know this intellectually, but I always manage to be surprised at just how big a difference it makes.

I’m not even going to get into the obvious stuff like colour theory or soundtrack. Fact is,  adaptation is difficult. You can easily screw it up. I’ve no doubt many stories are better in their manga form because of it. Time and budget restraints can seriously hamper an anime and I’ve regularly bemoaned shows trying to do “too much” or being “underdeveloped” and often, that’s due to an expansive story and universe being told over several volumes of a manga, having to be reduced to two episodes for time’s sake.

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But when it’s done right, there is a myriad of little things that can make the anime experience transformative in unexpected ways. Ways that I had forgotten. The Given manga isn’t bad. I’m sure there are some out there that prefer it. But to me, the Given anime just brings so much out of the story that I couldn’t do myself. And it reminded me once again why anime is magic.

Do you have an anime you prefer to the manga? If so, why?

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

Want more rambling thoughts from Irina and Karandi on Given?

Images from: Given. Dir. H Yamaguchi. Lerche. 2019.

A Discussion on the Censorship of Fire Force

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Karandi: It’s time for Irina and I to get into a discussion on the Censorship of Fire Force and then to turn it over to our readers.

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By now I think pretty much everyone who follows anime is aware of the tragedy at Kyoto Animation and its effects on anime as an industry. Of course those effects are still going to be felt for years to come and we do not yet have a proper idea of the extent of the impact but one small and immediate result was that Fire Force suddenly became way more topical and political than it had bargained for.

Very soon after news broke out, it was announced that the show would go on hiatus as they tried to figure out how to handle the situation. In the end, they skipped a week in the scheduled airing as they adjusted the third episode out of respect and sensitivity for the events. This was a move that has been widely seen as reasonable and commendable but still generated some backlash.

I read about it here. In short, episode 3 had been censored and fans are grappling with the implications. Today I would like to talk about it a little with Karandi. These are complex issues that benefit for diverse points of view and opinions.

I will be using Fire Force for exemplary purposes here but there is a greater conversation on the place, use and value of censorship in media to be had that goes way beyond this particular case. We may wander into details that don’t directly apply. But I’m still going to give you a few details on the Fire Force situation for context.

First you should know that the story has already been altered in adaptation from Manga to anime. The manga is a lot more disturbing when it comes to graphic carnage. Secondly, the changes made to episode 3 were fairly minor. An extra explosion scene had been removed in the flashback sequence as it was too eerily similar, the other explosion scene had the colours dimmed (you can see it pretty clearly in the screencap gallery) and a frame of walking burning corpses was removed from the end credits (although you can still see it in episodes 1 and 2 if you really need to).

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see, it’s dimmed

Overall, I don’t think these changes are likely to make that big of a difference on the narrative flow or theme of the show. Nevertheless, some fans are outraged, saying they should just scrap the show if they are going to censor it as a matter of principle.

And I don’t know where to stand….

I mean on a purely pragmatic basis I enjoy Fire Force a lot so clearly I don’t want it to stop airing but I do understand the idea of it setting a precedent for censorship being acceptable. But is it?

Is there any place for censorship in anime?

By default, I tend to err on the side of free information – my dystopia of choice would be Brave New World, rather than 1984! This said, there are no countries in the world right now where complete freedom of speech exists. And I see that many places in Europe as well as my neighbours to the south are in fact audibly thinking of restricting freedom of information (as has been done on the internet recently). So the modern trend is definitely pro censorship.

Moreover, there might be situations where it’s warranted. Like suppressing the spread of dangerous misinformation, maybe trying to curve the propagation of hate speech or the encouragement of violence and crime. All of these seem like they would be good ideas. It’s just that once you start, when do you stop?

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This one is really tricky. Like you, I err on the side of free information and particularly when it comes to arts and literature, I am very against censorship. I feel that provided content is properly described and tagged then it is a matter for the consumer to decide whether or not something is likely to be harmful and to make sensible decisions. However, then we have to ask whether what is happening with Fire Force is censorship?

Certainly a lot of people online are crying out against it, but it isn’t like someone stood over the production company with a big stick and made them change their vision of the story (although, who knows what happened behind the scenes and maybe someone along the food chain did make some noise – we’ll never know).

But assuming the group making the anime made the choice, all on their own, out of some inner feeling of empathy and sensitivity (or out of the self-interest of at least appearing to have those traits) decided to change elements of their own artistic endeavour, is that actually censorship, or is that the artists’ choice? Reflecting their current reality they altered their view of what they wanted to create? Who are we to argue that this isn’t what they now want to present in the form that they have chosen?

Of course, I remember after September 11 how suddenly a lot of movies were photo-shopping out a particular set of towers and nobody cried censorship. They saw it as a reasonably tactful move given the current sentiment of their potential audience. So with this it is really going to come down to what people define as censorship and whether the decision was an internal one or one externally imposed upon the production company.

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That is a good point. Although it brings up the questions of what exactly constitutes censorship.

For example, moderating could be seen as a form of censorship. I have not actively deleted comments on my blog but I have asked people not to use certain slurs or harass other commentators on my blog. The spam filter has also occasionally caught some pretty disturbing messages which I did not actively reinstate. You could consider those acts of censorship. What about you Karandi, do you moderate your comments?

I don’t have comment moderation on, and of all the comments on my blog I’ve probably only deleted about four – all were legitimate spam links that for whatever reason hadn’t been picked up by the spam filter. Given I left the comment that essentially attacked my view on an issue as ‘PC Bull****’ right where it was on one of my posts, I feel that I largely stand by my position of inviting people to share their thoughts whether I agree with them or not. That said, if I ever get really explicit comments I’ll either edit them or have to make the decision about whether the person is sharing a legitimate opinion or just being a troll.

As to messages in the spam filter, I tend to only reinstate those by known followers. The rest I allow spam to simply dispose of as it will.

There’s also this line between censoring and editing. By definition censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or “inconvenient”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CensorshipSo if you have an anime or manga with a suddenly very disturbing scene and your editor (or director) opts to remove it because they feel it would unbalance the tone of the series or overshadow the greater narrative arc for instance. Would that be censorship?

And this is where it gets tricky. Because it depends who makes the decision to remove it and for what reason. Editors are there to help authors get their works ready for an audience so they might very well ask for the removal of certain material. I think where it becomes censorship is where the original author or artist refused to alter the material as someone has suggested and then the material is altered anyway without the consent of the artist.

But it becomes trickier when you look at what control people have. So if we were talking about a movie, the original writer or director might very well walk away but the changes might be made and the film still released in an altered form.

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art is altered at so many points

Karandi, have you ever lived anywhere with strictly controlled art and media?

Fortunately no. And honestly I’d rather not. 

I have, in many places. It makes for generally boring art with occasional flashes of absolute brilliance. Trying to outsmart the censors can force artists to create masterpieces they may not have otherwise. This isn’t a pro censorship screed, it’s just a random observation. And an appreciation of smart art.

So where did we end up on Fire Force and whether it was censorship or a rare corporate display of tact?

Long story short, I still don’t know exactly where I stand on censorship in general. I tend to take it more as a case by case scenario. However, if the creative team of Fire Force chose to edit a few scenes out of respect. I personally wouldn’t even consider that censorship and I fully respect their choice. If it sets a precedent, I believe it’s one of empathy and I’m o.k. with that. How about you Karandi?

It isn’t bothering me. I don’t think they’ve altered the overall story significantly (or at least from what I’ve read about the changes made given I haven’t read the source) and given the circumstances it would make sense for the creators to want to show empathy (either because they have it or at least don’t want to be accused of not having it). Again, if we later find out that it was network or distributor that put demands upon the creators, then that’s another discussion. So as you said, case by case depending on intent and purpose? That’s really vague, though.

I was kind of hoping to get through an anime season without a huge controversy for the sake of it. 

Even if someone really believes that the changes to Fire Force count as censorship, I feel that there hasn’t really been a measured discussion around it. I’ve seen a lot of angry comments and declarations that it was ruined and might as well just be cancelled if it is going to be changed, but not a lot of genuine discussions about why it was changed and whether those changes actually make the final product worse or just a little bit different (which it would be anyway being adapted into anime).

And this is why these topics work better as conversations than essays, in my opinion. Unfortunately, (this time) Karandi and I are in fact quite similarly minded on the topic. Although we both believe that censorship is better kept at a minimum, we are not so ideologically opposed to it as to blindly renounce it. As for the specific case of Fire  Force, the reported changes seem rather inconsequential to the narrative and justified under the circumstances.

But it’s more interesting when you get a few more opinions in the mix. And there certainly are many ways to approach the topic. So please, give us your opinion on the Censorship of Fire Force, the more the merrier. No wrong answers! 

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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