The Ones Within Anime Series Review – A Weird Genre Mix and Incomplete Ending Yet Still Kind of Fun

Within Series Review

What Happens When You Blend Gamers
With A Creepy Guy in a Llama Mask?

Incidentally, even once The Ones Within finished its run I still don’t know if the guy is wearing a mask or if he’s actually a human with the head of a llama. One assumes its a mask because of how it sits on his suit but it isn’t as though we ever see him take it off. That’s just one of many unanswered questions Nakanohito Genome leaves the audience with.

Normally I have a fair dislike of shows that finish in a completely open manner, seemingly oblivious to their own run time as the story just stops almost mid-sentence without any announcement of a continuation. In this case, that fact still makes it hard to recommend The One’s Within whole-heartedly, but it didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment while watching.

What started as a weird little outlier for the season grew on me before stumbling a little and then picked up again before it all ran out of time and just stopped short of the characters achieving their goals or getting any real answers.

The cast of The One's Within

And for some this will be enough to not dip their toes into the water or even start The Ones Within. I can’t really argue with that logic. Incomplete stories abound in anime and with so little chance of ever being finished, why spend the time when there are other titles to invest those precious minutes in?

The One’s Within isn’t unmissable but there’s enjoyment to be had.

It isn’t as though Nakanohito Genome is some unmissable masterpiece. The story relies very heavily on randomness for its humour and the characters begin in a decidedly one note fashion and while they may grow on you by the end and the chemistry in the group works well enough, they are not deep by any means. Throw in the incomplete narrative and that’s three strikes against The Ones Within before it even begins.


With that being said, I had a lot of fun with this series over the Summer season. The first episode kind of had me a little concerned as I kind of got Danganronpa vibes (only with no where near the oomph) from it and I wasn’t the biggest fan of that franchise. Fortunately, The Ones Within progressed over the rest of its first half by kind of carving out its own weird style and there was just enough mix of mystery, random comedy moments, occasionally on point characterisation, and some interesting visuals to continue to draw me into the odd story of the group of gamers who were abducted or selected to play a series of games to earn views.

It is never really established if they would actually be killed but there’s certainly a number of threatening moments that the characters face and even if death isn’t on the cards, isolation certainly is. ‘The White Room’ is an ever-present threat and one that forms a nice catalyst for drama in the second half when one member of the team is finally isolated and the rest are racing against time to get him back.


The games themselves are equally ambiguous with it never being clear if this is meant to be a real world, a virtual world, or some alternate reality. Some of the games are very clearly just life versions of actual games where others have what appear to be genuine supernatural elements (or at least clearly impossible elements such as a ghost, giant panda, or the creepy plant things). You never really get a good grasp of where the kids actually are or what the mechanics are behind the whole thing though each ‘mission’ is kind of interesting in its own way and watching the group working together, or trying to, in order to overcome the challenges was largely entertaining.

I mentioned the visuals earlier and I do want to return to that. While the animation isn’t great and relies very much on stills and pans, the art itself is incredibly diverse. The range of styles used to express mood and character throughout the series is really interesting and the way the visuals changed up various scenes kept each episode feeling fresh.


Ultimately, The Ones Within is incredibly flawed and yet it isn’t a disaster. More than that, if the characters don’t turn you away, there’s some fairly interesting development of the characters throughout and various pieces of the puzzle are revealed even if the overall picture still hasn’t formed. Basically, I enjoyed this. I do recommend giving the first episode a try if you are looking for something a bit different to watch, but for those who are time poor or who haven’t already watched most of the standard titles out there, this probably isn’t going to worth the time investment.


Then again, creepy llama guy is creepy and there was definitely a tone in this story that just clicked for me. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so divided in my opinion of any anime ever but this one was enjoyable despite its faults.

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Karandi James

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Images from: Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]. Dir. S Oonuma. Silver Link. 2019.

Angel Beats Series Review: What Do You Live For?


Angel Beats Overview:

What is Angel Beats about? Otonashi wakes up and finds himself in a strange school. Nearby him is a girl setting up a gun and taking aim at another girl. The girl informs him he is dead and invites him to join a battlefront in a fight against god. Politely declining the girl’s offer, Otonashi decides to talk to the other girl. It is there he realises that he is in fact dead and he is now in the afterlife.

Angel Beats Review:

Angel Beats is one of those anime that you will either completely fall in love with or you will sit and stare at it wondering what the hell it is you are watching.  There’s very little room for inbetween given you either love the over the top humour followed by insane action and finally crush your heart drama or you find the whole thing an exercise in emotional manipulation that misses the mark.

However, for me Angel Beats is one of those very special anime that I can watch time and again and no matter how many times I see it I laugh, I get excited, and then I end up a teary mess before breaking into that final smile post credits of the last episode (and yes, you have to watch through the credits otherwise you are just going to end up a mess).


It is really hard to explain why I feel this way about Angel Beats though. The characters aren’t exactly riveting with such a large cast and so few episodes to develop them. While you will probably grow attached to Otonashi and Kanade, maybe Yuri if she doesn’t annoy you, and one or two other cast members, the vast majority remain strictly background or one note.

This kind of means that a lot of the events later in the series shouldn’t have a lot of impact given the characters are more or less only distinguished by their hair colour, weapon or catch phrase and yet somehow they all manage to charm me in their own way even if I know very little about the bulk of them. Possibly it is because of how little time they get to annoy that they manage to remain charming. I think that given enough time characters like TK could get super annoying.


Despite that, individual character moments are solid.  Iwasawa’s moment here we got her back story and then got to see her sing ‘My Song’ was incredibly emotionally wrenching and really consolidated that despite the zany humour, this show was serious about dealing with the themes it brought to the table when it set its story in the afterlife of young people who, for various reasons, never got to live their full lives the first time.

This is really the first turning point of the series. A character you were kind of familiar with from the first couple of episodes takes the spot light and then breaks your heart and you finally realise what this show is going for in terms of tone and theme.


Then there is Hinata and Yui. Yui may be an incredibly annoying character, but she still manages to have her moment to shine when we finally see her stripped of all the comedy, frantic energy and distractions. When you realise why she is forging herself into the person she became in the after life and you realise what she’s really trying to achieve it just hits you. The fact that she’s annoyed you every time she’s appeared on screen up to this point kind of fades away and Hinata steps in when Otonashi falters and he manages to give Yui the words she needs to hear at that moment.

And that’s probably the greatest strength of Angel Beats. It knows how to deliver moments. The overall narrative pacing and plot might be a bit of a mess with too many characters and at times too many ideas, but each of those character moments are beautifully spaced throughout the series that each time you think you might want to stop you’ll be hit with something really stunning and unforgettable. What you are left with is a series where the feeling of the whole is significantly greater than most of the individual parts.


Visually Angel Beats is a joy. Sure there are some moments where the characters are off model and the animation isn’t as clean as it might be, but again, the show knows when to put everything on the table and there are those scenes that just take your breath away and they are the ones you will remember after watching.

The dramatic moment when the lunch tickets float down to the ground, all the Angel’s recombining, the destruction of the guild, and the graduation sequence are each beautifully delivered and give you a sense of a truly gorgeous show. This is further reinforced by the fabulous music throughout the whole show (and one of the best opening themes of all time).


I’m not going to say everyone should love this. The plot is a bit of a mess and there are definitely a lot of moments that are pure filler or there forced in for a sub-plot that ultimately doesn’t amount to much, and as much as I came to love the characters, there are just too many of them for the show to really do the cast justice. Still, if you watch it through and it reaches you, this show will be the one you reach for when you want to laugh, cry and then smile and just be able to feel something.


As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on Angel Beats so please leave a comment and let me know whether you are in love with the show?

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Karandi James

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Your Name Movie Review: Body Swapping, Teen Romance Played Out On Epic Stage

Your Name anime movie

Your Name Overview:

In Your Name Taki and Mitsuha are waking up in each other’s bodies and don’t know why. When Taki suddenly stops waking up inside of Mitsuha, he goes looking for answers.

Your Name Review:

There’s no denying that Your Name has done very well in its cinema release and continues to gain attention with the release of its DVD. The fact that it got an Australian cinema release was fairly news worthy in my mind (though we seem to have had a run of anime cinema releases recently and now I’m really starting to feel jealous of people who live near a cinema given the only film I managed to be in a city to see was Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale).

However, having missed this at the cinema, I thought I’d be waiting a year or two for a decent price on a DVD and then AnimeLab sent me an email letting me know that for 48 hours I could see this film on their site which I already pay a subscription for. I was pretty happy with that.

That said, I wasn’t going into this blind given how much hype this film has had. I knew what the story would be and I already know what a lot of people have said about it. But what I also knew going in was that this wouldn’t be my type of film. While I don’t mind romance stories, I prefer rom-com’s to dramatic romance and I’m really not a fan of teen romance. The handful of anime series I love that focus on teen romance are the exceptions. So, ultimately what was this movie like?

Your Name - Gorgeous

Well, if you love sweeping images of the sky or musical montages showing time passing with gorgeous visuals, you are most definitely in luck. This film has them in copious amounts. And while I appreciate just how beautiful this film is, I did have to wonder at times why they felt the need to add in that particular shot or view of the sky (and yes, I know watching the sky is important to the story but how many times do we need to see it to get the point give the movie isn’t that long). But, some people like anime for the visuals and the animation and Your Name delivers for the most part.


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Live a Live – RPG Game

Where I was less impressed where the two leads themselves. Taki and Mitsuha. Given the majority of the story exclusively focuses on these two characters and that they are in and out of each other’s lives, I left the film not really knowing anything of note about either character.


Yep, Taki has a sign that says ‘Architecture’ in his bedroom (which they show us nearly every time we are in his bedroom) and I guess that’s significant because he draws this wonderful sketch of the town Mitsuha lives in (because only someone interested in architecture can sketch) and that’s how he eventually tracks down the name of Mitsuha’s town (because you know he couldn’t have remembered the school name that he was going to while in her body, or just learned her address while living her life).

What else do we learn about him? He’s quick tempered (okay, he’s a teenage boy). He works part time and everyone seems to like him though we never find out why. He has trouble getting a job mostly because he is terrible at interviews. And… Nope, that’s it. That’s all I know about him. I forgot his name the day after I watched this which given how many times it was said in the film I take as a bad sign.

Basically, for me a romance will live or die by whether I care about the characters and Taki doesn’t even register. I don’t dislike him. I don’t know enough about him to dislike him. He’s just kind of a placeholder for the story to move someone through the motions of a romance.

But Mitsuha isn’t getting away freely either. She claims to hate her town and wants to leave and has daddy issues. We learn more about her family dynamic and situation and she fares a little better. But is that enough for me to care whether she gets a happily ever after with the guy? Not really.


So the romance part of this romance fell a little flat for me. That isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate how emotionally wrenching the scene at twilight was supposed to be and how happy I was supposed to be at the end, but knowing what they were doing with a scene and actually feeling a scene are two entirely different things and I was most definitely detached from this because of the characters.

Despite that, I’d still say this film was worth a watch. However…

Yeah, there’s another thing.

The memory loss plot device. See time travel, body swapping, destined connections don’t make me bat an eye in this movie as everyone of them makes contextual sense. Why the two characters lose their memories of one another does not. There’s no reason given for the phenomenon and it doesn’t seem like it is needed. More importantly, the phone erasing the messages and all the other little bits and pieces are never given even a poor explanation. It just kind of happens to add an additional complication to a story that had kind of already run its course.


Yet, I’m still going to recommend watching this film. While the teen romance element doesn’t really play out and their are some consistency issues with some of the plot elements, the story of the town Mitsuha lives in and the comet are actually well played out and certainly interesting enough in their own right. And did I mention how pretty this film is?

Basically, I don’t really intend to watch this again but I am glad I had the chance to see it and it was a fairly pleasant and inoffensive way to pass a lazy Boxing Day afternoon.

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Karandi James

Blue Period Series Review – Explosive Creativity, Drama and Teen Angst

Blue Period Series Review

Blue Period is one of those anime that just kind of perfectly captures a moment most people can relate to. That moment when you realised that you were just going through the motions and the things you did weren’t necessarily the things you enjoyed doing. However, despite realising that you may not have known what else you wanted to do and so got stuck in indecision. Or you tried to change but found it too hard and that there were too many obstacles in your way.

It’s always wonderful when a story can perfectly capture a universal feeling and portray it in a way that doesn’t make you feel like everything is hopeless and futile as it gets so caught up in its own pretension.

Blue Period

The first few episodes of Blue Period are a refreshing surprise, introducing the audience to protagonist Yatora Yaguchi who is very much going through the motions and meeting the expectations of his parents, teachers, and friends, and is very much just drifting through life. Then one morning he sees the city. The same city he always sees. And remembering some artwork he saw from another student that had captured his interest he grabs a paintbrush and tries to capture what he saw and felt in that moment.

And a new fire is lit within him as he finally found something he wanted to do.

Now, in the real world such fires are ignited inside people all the time and just as quickly quashed by the harsh reality of a lack of technique, time to practice, support of others, equipment, or just the fact that even if you worked really hard every moment of every day that is no guarantee of success. Blue Period acknowledges many of these hurdles but at its heart its trying to be inspiring so at times viewers may find Yatora gets a bit of an easy ride (yes I know he’s working himself to near illness but as many other characters in the story discover that’s not always enough).

Blue Period

Blue Period knows what it wants to convey and does it stunningly.

Given the subject matter of this anime is about someone aspiring to become an artist the anime itself is full of art. Characters are constantly creating or appraising works or discussing art and techniques that can be used. Fortunately it is visually impressive enough to pull this off and leave you feeling that the anime itself is something of an artwork (and yes I know all anime is art but a lot of the time the emphasis isn’t put into making something art so much as conveying the story quickly and expediently).

There’s also a genuine progression in the art of Yatora as he goes from inspired amateur to someone who has dedicated pretty much the final two years of his high school experience to art school. The final work he creates in the anime for his university entrance exam is a joy to behold even if there was a bit too much drama in the making of it.

And that’s perhaps my only real criticism of Blue Period. The DRAMA. Now don’t get me wrong, it is supposed to be dramatic about discovering yourself and overcoming limits and so on and so forth. And some of the drama lands right where it should. Such as Yatora’s relationship with Ryuuji and his desperate attempt to reach out to him when Ryuuji has hit an all time low. Or even his strained relationship with Yotasuke which I actually kind of wish we’d seen a little more of.

Blue Period

However other drama such as Yatora getting sick right before the exam just felt like they were trying to milk one last rise from the audience. It kind of cheapened all the effort and time Yatora had put into his preparations. The situation already had enough drama and tension with Blue Period essentially having been a build up to that moment and it was kind of time for the story to sit back and let Yatora show his growth over the series. We didn’t need him nearly collapsing to make us any more emotionally invested.

Its a minor criticism in an otherwise well paced and thought out narrative that really does do exactly what it seems to have set out to do.

Blue Period also establishes a very solid support cast around Yatora throughout its run time. Here we have anime parents that are occasionally seen and even seem to parent in a positive manner. We have teachers who both support and encourage growth but others who are well meaning but don’t quite get it. We have friends and rivals (sometimes in the same package) that Yatora continues to interact with and have their own goals and baggage to work through.

Blue Period

Basically Blue Period has managed to make a world that feels real and a cast of characters that audience members can connect with and its done it all in an anime that looks great. While it isn’t perfect there’s very little to complain about and Blue Period is definitely an anime worth trying.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the anime so be sure to leave a comment below.

Images from: Blue Period. Dir. K Masunari. Seven Arcs. 2021

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Karandi James

Is Girls’ Frontline Worth Watching?

Girls' Frontline Episode 1 Review

Girls’ Frontline (or Dolls’ Frontline which seems the more appropriate name but not the one Funimation is using) is a military anime set in a future after the third world war where military companies use ‘tactical dolls’ to fight on the font lines. Naturally these tactical dolls are female, clad in scanty clothing and in one instance full on maid outfits. I’m guessing there’s a fan base for it which is the only reason I can see for this sort of fan-service because underneath the ridiculous outfits there’s potential a plot to explore though episode one doesn’t seem like its really found it’s footing.

Girls' Frontline Episode 1

Girls’ Frontline has some potential but the first episode isn’t a great sales pitch.

While I was looking into this title I found out that Girls’ Frontline was based on a mobile game and there had actually been a comedy short-form anime made about this one back in 2019. Which in many ways seems like the better way to go here given these characters are ludicrous when you think about it in any logical way.

Even if androids advanced to the point where wars could be entirely fought by them, there’s legitimately not way they’d be designed the way these characters are and they certainly wouldn’t be clothed this way. Taking the setting seriously is kind of important given this iteration of Girls’ Frontline seems to be wanting to be taken seriously with its pensive team leader who second guesses her own decisions at the heart of this episode at least (and why would we want an indecisive android leading a team).

Girls' Frontline Episode 1

But the part where Girls’ Frontline really lost me was when the maid androids showed up and had to actually lift their skirts in order to deploy the weapons attached to their lower halves. It was absolutely ridiculous to assume anyone would design an android soldier in such a manner (outside of anime or apparently a mobile game).

Girls' Frontline Episode 1

But it really does play out like they are expecting you to take this concept and world seriously. But its a suspension of disbelief I just can’t get to. The whole thing is ridiculous and it makes it very hard to take the scenario seriously. I’d have been far more likely to just roll with it if they weren’t androids but even then assuming any soldier would enter the battlefield in such a get-up with a weapon you couldn’t deploy without first lifting your skirt would probably have been a bridge too far.

Anyway, in addition to the brooding leader who wonders if the decisions she’s made are right, we also have another team of dolls they come across prior to reaching their objective. Apparently they’ve been abandoned and are walking around on ‘stand-by mode’. Later in the episode the team we are following activate them to assist in holding off the enemy and then we see them all get wiped out.

Girls' Frontline Episode 1

Clearly Girls’ Frontline wants us to consider the ethics of this and potentially how sad it is that they were destroyed but realistically I haven’t managed to empathise with them. Sure they look like cute anime girls but none of these characters has yet managed to impress upon me that they are ‘living’. Something like Gunslinger Girl did a much better job of eliciting that kind of emotion although the comparison is faulty because they were girls given cybernetic advancements. Still, that anime managed emotional resonance.

I’d love this to find its feet and really flesh out the world here as Girls’ Frontline has potential. But between the character designs and feeling like the exposition came at us in the beginning of this episode in a major dump that ended up playing like I was watching a promotional trailer for a different movie this first episode is shaky at best. Still, I might give this one another couple of episodes and see if Girls’ Frontline does improve or whether this is as good as its going to get.

Images from: Girls’ Frontline. Dir. S Ueda. Asahi Production. 2022.

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Karandi James

Platinum End Review – Halfway Is More Than Enough

Platinum End Review

It’s always hard to know what an anime will be like before the season begins. All you can really do is read a synopsis, watch a trailer and give it a go. Platinum End had a lot of fanfare prior to launch based on the a manga created by Tsugumi Ooba who also created Death Note and Bakuman it seemed like it would be a relatively safe bet. Throw in some heavy advertising and pre-season discussion pieces and Platinum End seemed destined to sweep the season.

Tragically, after the first few episodes aired the conversation quickly shifted and soon after it became clear that even if Platinum End picked up this wasn’t going to reach the heights that Death Note had soared to. That said, Death Note has its flaws but it came out a fair time ago when there wasn’t as much competition for our attention, when we hadn’t seen that type of story a million times before and honestly for all its flaws it is still pretty charming to watch with characters who leave an impression.

Platinum End on the other hand brings little joy to the screen and the misery isn’t overly affective as the audience is left relatively indifferent to one dimensional characters who seem determined to make about the worst choice possible in any given situation.

Platinum End Episode 6

It wasn’t terminal at episode 3 or 4 as there were pockets of potential nuance or places where characters could grow from, and then the next 8 episodes happened and the only thing I can say about episodes 8 through 12 is that each one was more unbelievably stupid and tiresome than the last.

Now, if I were to compare Platinum End to the abysmal misery-fest that was Full Dive then Platinum End actually comes off a little bit better because at the very least the protagonist, Mirai, is at least attempting to make choices that will lead him to happiness and he was dumped into the whole god-candidate situation without any real choice in the matter.

But that’s not exactly high praise.

Platinum End Episode 7

Hard to say anything other than Platinum End missed the mark or tripped over its own ambition before it even got going.

For those who somehow managed to miss the discussions earlier in the Fall 2021 season, Platinum End begins with Mirai deciding life is just not worth living and stepping off a roof. Now having a story begin with a character suicide is nothing new but you would hope in this day and age that there would be some deeper reason for it other than to establish an edgy back-story for a character and provide a justification for animating scenes of child-abuse.

Tragically, there really isn’t. While the first couple of episodes kind of hint we’re going to explore how Mirai was beaten down in life to the point where suicide seemed like the better option, all too soon the story sweeps us away to… Well, in theory the conflict between the god candidates and Mirai’s now absolute conviction that he shouldn’t kill which largely just puts himself and his friends in danger but somehow even at episode 12 he’s still able to speechify about it mid-battle.

Platinum End Episode 6

What small glimmers of hope we’re given for some kind of character arc will fade as Mirai goes from quiet and depressed boy to seeing a brief (and overly repeated flash back) of his mother telling him the reason for living is to find happiness and his father telling him that the worst thing he could do is kill someone and somehow that now becomes the foundation for his existence. Why it hadn’t been motivating him prior to the angel and the confrontation with his aunt and uncle who abused him is anyone’s guess.

Basically, Platinum End hasn’t given us a compelling protagonist. They haven’t even given us one that makes a lot of sense. Mirai is largely boring and passively allows the plot to happen around him spending most conflicts waiting and seldom taking any kind of action. The few times he does involve himself usually end up with some kind of dramatic internal monologue or speech that makes little sense in context.

Platinum End Episode 5

And yet, Mirai is still one of the better written characters which kind of goes to show what kind of train wreck the rest of the cast are.

Initially I had some hope for the angels as Nasse, the angel who saves Mirai from his suicide attempt, was at first quite amusing and their moral compass was questionable which I thought could be an interesting idea to explore.

Instead, Nasse has become the glorified cheer-squad for Mirai.

Platinum End Ep10

The other angels occasionally get some of the better lines in Platinum End but mostly they just kind of stand or float around and offer largely unnecessary commentary on matters. They fill up a lot of the screen and contribute almost nothing. And part of that is because the angels of play a passive role in this story and aren’t meant to interfere but basically they’ve become weird appendages, drawn in crowded rooms or hovering on the edge of battle-grounds and serving no purpose.

Still better than Saki, who is listed as a main character on MAL but has done basically nothing the entire series and when she’s finally got her wings just before the half-way mark her contribution is still almost nothing and the only thing she did achieve she got through flirting.

Platinum End Episode 11

I know, the source material for Platinum End isn’t recent and if we look at the creator’s other works we can critique the way they write female characters to death there as well, but surely if you were going to animate this story in 2021 you would at least consider making Saki vaguely useful.

But hey, it doesn’t really matter that our protagonists feel completely devoid of common sense or interesting characteristics when they are placed against a villain who is originally coming across as coldly logical (and yet warped with the whole sister encased thing going on) and yet all too soon comes across as childish, reactive, and hopelessly inept at manipulating those around him. Plus he blames everybody else for his failures and accepts no responsibility.

Yeah, these characters can beat each other to death for all I care at this point. Platinum End has very successfully made me very disinterested in them and their actions.

Platinum End Episode 2

If I hadn’t already decided to move on at the end of the Fall Season, episode 12 would have been the final straw as characters stand around mid-battle rather than taking action and the actions they do take seem absurd (and that’s being nice about it).

With the plot of Platinum End not having really progressed in twelve episodes and little revealed about how the god candidate will be chosen in the end, I have no investment in who wins in the end and I’m not even sure it matters particularly. I know that the short term plots all seem pretty lame and basically goes along the lines of Metropoliman sets up some kind of trap for other god candidates, someone or more than one person, stupidly walks in, a fight occurs, usually someone will die, Mirai and Saki will gasp and be sad, and then we’ll rinse and repeat.

Plus the costumes the characters wear get more ridiculous as the season progresses. Metropoliman wearing his suit was ridiculous enough but then Mukaidou randomly started bringing suits along for Mirai and Saki and Saki’s has cat ears and a tail. Apparently they serve a functional purpose but so far all they’ve done is helped her flirt with a sword wielding psycho.

Platinum End Episode 11

However I’m not just mindlessly bashing this anime. The OP is actually pretty cool and dramatic and if it prefaced a much stronger story or at least a story full of compelling characters it would feel justified, and some of the visuals have been really striking and interesting (others not so much but I’m looking for positives here).

All and all, I don’t hate that I tried Platinum End. I’m actually fairly convinced older teens who come to this series without having watched a significant number of similar stories may actually even find some redeeming qualities here (provided they aren’t put off by some of the subject matter). For me though, Platinum End is an anime full of potentially interesting ideas (because they’ve been far more interesting in other anime) but it lacks characters with enough depth to anchor the plot and without that the plot is just kind of flailing about without weight.

That said, if you’ve given Platinum End a go I’d love to know your thoughts on the series.

Images from: Platinum End. Dir. K Kise. Signal MD. 2021

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Karandi James

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Review – Rudeus’ Odyssey

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Review

It would be hard to describe Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 as anything but an odyssey at this point. We began with Rudeus, Eris and Ruijerd still on the demon continent and crossed oceans having adventures and facing perils along the way. All three of the characters faced personal challenges and grew as a result and all of them still have room to progress as their weaknesses can still bring them down.

However, because Rudeus’ journey has become this epic odyssey, there’s really no defined beginning or ending (at least in this leg of it). Instead we pick up mid-journey and continue on a ways coming to an emotionally satisfying point (for the protagonist at least) but not one that provides any kind of clear resolution on the journey itself.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 14

It also makes it kind of hard to review because as with any journey, the one undertaken by the characters here in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has high points and low points (both in terms of the journey and the writing).

What makes Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation work?

For all the flaws that might be pointed out about this isekai anime, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation actually remains pretty compelling viewing. We have flawed characters who are at times difficult to like and choices that are hard to accept. Also, there’s a range of other issues that might put viewers off.

And yet this story isn’t trying to be a dark affair where everyone remains miserable forever.

Instead, Mushoku Tensei tenuously balances the emotional (and physical) punches our characters suffer with lighter moments where small successes or connections bring them joy. A single episode may tip between the two tones in an instant and back again or may choose to wallow or embrace a single thought to really dump the audience into the emotional notes the character is experiencing, but it never surrenders to becoming fatalistic or just unpleasant for the sake of it.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

A fine line and one that less nuanced stories have failed to grasp. You can’t just have your character be miserable and the punching bag of the world minute after minute, episode after episode, and still elicit sympathy for them. After awhile the audience becomes more or less immune to it and you either have to increase the pain inflicted or accept that nobody is emotionally invested anymore.

As much as I don’t like Rudeus, his character moves through bouts of depression and self-doubt and loathing, to soaring confidence after achieving some success and routinely his own cockiness is what leads to the next punch that brings him low. He feels believable as a character because he isn’t just perpetually optimistic, nor is he constantly in a low state of mind and there’s usually a clear catalyst that compels him to move from one state to the other.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

This also means that it sometimes feels very satisfying watching Rudeus get knocked down.

Mushoku Tensei manages to make him obnoxiously cocky (just in small spurts) and while there is some charm and appeal to Rudeus when he’s on top of the world, it makes the next blow feel kind of necessary.

It also means you have more sympathy for him when he’s brought down low because you know how hard he worked to pull himself out of that state before.

of course, there’s also his confusing relationship with the man god that continues this season and it is so hard to tell whether this guy is actually trying to help or not. Hopefully some of his mystery is revealed should there be a follow up season.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 15

Eris is a far easier character to appreciate despite her beginnings in season one as the self-entitled brat. Mushoku Tensei has really put some effort into her character arc and as a result she’s someone who can now turn an entire scene around just by entering it. Her effort and hard work are seldom rewarded though and that feels a little cheap given how much time she has put into becoming a warrior.

Alas, Eris suffers from not being the reincarnated protagonist of this isekai story and so instead of getting to win the fight and save the day, for the most part she’s either absent from the fight or side-lined too quickly.

Still, despite that, she’s been given a wonderful emotional growth period throughout this part of Mushoku Tensei and her character is a true delight. I just wish she occasionally got more than a side villain to defeat.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

Of course, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has quite a large cast and while that helps the feeling that this world is real and rich and full and populated, the downside could be felt all too clearly in the final episode of Part 2. instead of being able to wrap up any one character’s story arc, all of these characters, spread across continents, are still moving on their journey’s. It meant the season final, while trying to give us an emotional arc for Rudeus, kept splitting its focus against a myriad of supporting characters and the end result was that none of them really left an impression.

Which could really be a complaint for the whole series. Outside of the main trio, the only characters who really leave an impression are ones like Paul, Rudeus’ father, and largely he makes an impression for the wrong reasons. Though bad anime fathers are a dime a dozen and at least Paul mostly tries, he just has the emotional maturity of a child.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 17

One thing we do get a lot of in this part of the story are encounters. Our characters are traversing unknown lands and passing through cities so there is no shortage of bandits and monsters and bad-guys for our characters to cross swords/spears/magic with.

I don’t really remember the fight sequences from part 1 of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, but I can say confidently the fights here are highly entertaining with some good fluid movement and enough variability to keep them interesting. Whether it is Rudeus using magic, training to use his demon eye, or simply Eris or Ruijerd relying on raw skill, power and speed, the fights are all quite fun to watch.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 14

Another thing I really enjoyed about Mushoku Tensei that seemed to feel a bit different from other anime was that rather than an OP we instead had the characters continuing their journey during the opening credits with a montage of images each week while he music played. It meant we got to see more or the daily lives and events the characters when through than we might have if 2 minutes was taken up each week with the same OP visuals.

It was worth appreciating.

Basically, if you enjoyed Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation season one, part 2 continues the journey seamlessly and gives you more from all of the characters. For those who were on the fence in season one, a lot of the same problems still exist in terms of content at times. That said, despite the fact that Mushoku Tensei fairly regularly steps on the lines I’ve drawn it doesn’t seem to cross them to the point where I don’t want to keep watching.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

Instead, for all the moments where it leaves me feeling uncomfortable it gives me three or four moments where I’m impressed by how a character has been written or a situation has been resolved. The one or two missteps where a plot feels like it just kind of got wrapped up and shoved aside without enough effort, are few and far between.

So my verdict for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 is that it is very watchable and quite interesting. Not perfect but it does seem to distinguish itself from the sea of isekai out there.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021

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Karandi James

Platinum End Episode 12 Review – He’s Melting, She’s Crying, And He’s Philosophising?

Platinum End Episode 12

As Platinum End hits its midway mark I look back on these twelve episodes and just wonder how this has stretched so long already and just why it feels the need to drag this on for another twelve episodes. For me, I’m letting it go now that I’ve finished the fall season and I’ll be writing up my final thoughts on Platinum End soon but it is pretty clear that this was a disaster of an anime and episode 12 is no exception.

Basically we’re put in a situation where Mirai needs to take action and everyone is standing around either crying, shouting at him to act, or mocking him, but no one is actually doing anything. Except the guys in charge of the soundtrack. They are working over time to try to make this Ferris-wheel standoff actually look like something vaguely tense.

Platinum End Episode 12

Platinum End continues to be one of those anime that just make you wonder who okayed the script.

On that note, I’m kind of glad I didn’t take the whole virus threat very seriously because clearly the writers didn’t either. Given the crazy girl goes to release the virus and Mirai stabs it with a white arrow.

Karandi Disappointed Transparent edited


Can someone explain to these people just how small a virus actually is? I mean, sure I saw the green ball of stuff in the capsule as well but assumed it was a large quantity of the virus that would be scattered if released. Instead, it turns out it is a single ball that can be pierced with an arrow.

Hello, scientists, you can just stab a virus to death with a magic angel arrow.

Wow. Dumb. Even by Platinum End standards.

Platinum End Episode 12

Of course that doesn’t end the standoff because now Mirai is holding the arm of the girl and Metropoliman is going to shoot him with an arrow. Meanwhile the girl is going to launch fingernail syringes at him. And everybody else is going to stand around…

Until they don’t.

Saki takes the initiative, and jumps directly in front of the syringes and hugs Mirai.

Girl if you are finally going to do something at least do something useful like attack Metropoliman while his white arrow is occupied, or knock Mirai out of the path of the syringes or literally anything other than turn your back into a giant target while you both stand there and do nothing.

Platinum End Episode 12

But the end result is that Platinum End isn’t willing to kill of Saki, despite her serving practically no point so far in the story. Instead the sword wielding guy she shot with a red arrow who is convinced he loves her jumps in to cut the syringes but he misses one and takes one for the team melting in what should be a truly horrific moment but with the farcical nature of the fight here you can’t even take a guy liquefying seriously.

More than that, he spends his whole death scene confessing his love to the girl whose name he never learned and whose face he never saw. Because he found happiness and meaning through being brainwashed by a red arrow.

I genuinely didn’t think I could take much more of this scene when it mercifully ended with both the crazy guy and the virus girl dead (yeah he somehow lodged his sword in her before melting).

Platinum End Episode 12

Apparently even the characters are over this silliness though as Platinum End decided it really didn’t need the third lackey brought along by Metropoliman to do anything and so he decided to up and leave.

Points for being the only person with brains in this scene. Having watched the last two lackeys get either injured or killed horrifically with Metropoliman not caring a bit, would you charge in and be the third act?

However, clearly they didn’t want the Metropoliman and Mirai fight until the start of the new year so instead of wrapping this up we get Mirai philosophising about happiness and killing people and justice and wow I didn’t think this episode could get worse but here it is.

Platinum End Episode 12

With that I’ll end my Platinum End journey and wish those who choose to continue it well. Review of this first cour available here.

Images from: Platinum End. Dir. K Kise. Signal MD. 2021

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Karandi James

Platinum End Episode 11 Review – Calling This A Train Wreck At This Point Would Be Too Generous

Platinum End Episode 11 Review

Platinum End literally makes no sense.

Crazy sword guy, now deeply in love with Saki, breaks through the prison and allows Mirai and Mukaidou a chance to get out but Metropoliman and three psychos we don’t care about at all and have no characteristics other than being psychos appear. You’d think all out battle was about to ensue.

But instead Saki takes the time to deliver both mother and daughter of Mukaidou, in separate trips, back to their hideout while everyone else just kind of stands around.

Then they still all stand around while the three ‘heroes’ shoot each other with red arrows to ensure they can’t be taken over. I’m sure this is a touching scene of trust or something but honestly, what are the villains doing. Oh, right, they are just kind of standing around.

Platinum End Episode 11

And then one of the psychos attacks by himself allowing three of the team to take him down.

Before another of the psychos reveals a humanity destroying virus and more or less demands one of the team allow her to test it on them or she’s going to unleash. By the way killing her will also unleash it.

Just… what?

Platinum End continues to demonstrate it does not understand how people act – ever.

Come on Platinum End. You can do better than this.

Besides, Metropoliman did the whole hostage thing previously in the stadium and Mirai and Saki let the little girl get shot with a white arrow and killed. The only reason the current hostage situation worked was because Mukaidou only has one motivation and that is saving his family.

And, do I have to ask but are the ‘bad guys’ here actually safe from that virus if it actually gets released or will they also die horribly? I only ask because the girl holding it doesn’t exactly sound like the most reasonable thinker.

Platinum End Episode 11

Did this story really need bio-terror? I mean, Platinum End started out with a simple enough 12 god candidate concept. Now we have characters manipulating others, kidnapping, and bio-terrorism threats. And none of this seems to lead to anything resembling a resolution about the whole god-candidacy thing.

Meanwhile, after sleeping the night away, rather than say taking some action to ensure the guys trapped in the mirror house were dead, Metropoliman now seems pretty determined to kill Mirai at least. It seems like a weird sudden motivational burst after so little care prior and he knew that his ‘servant’ was useless so I don’t know why he’s so surprised things have ended up this way. Seemed pretty obvious really.

Platinum End Episode 11

Meanwhile, somehow Mirai is still the protagonist even though this fight really is Mukaidou’s and not his. Yet even Metropoliman has zeroed in on him as the main threat with the white arrow. Which, for someone who can’t use it or kill anyways has to suck.

I think Mirai’s passive personality might be the biggest problem Platinum End continues to have (you know outside of a bonkers plot where events make little sense and a whole cast of characters who amount to single personality points). While it was kind of different at first not to have a gung-ho protagonist who wants to use their power to ‘help’ people or save the day, right now the short-comings of having a character who wants nothing and takes no real action, ever, have really become clear.

Platinum End Episode 11

At some point I’m sure Mirai will hit his limit and do something but for now the story is weirdly fixated on a character doing nothing fast.

Then again, Platinum End literally had villains standing around while the other side planned, ferried hostages away, and made a friendship circle so I’m not exactly expecting much from episode 12.

The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.

Images from: Platinum End. Dir. K Kise. Signal MD. 2021

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Karandi James

Platinum End Episode 10 Review – Bad Plans Don’t Matter When No One Else Is Thinking

Platinum End Episode 10 Review

More than once I’ve pointed out that anime characters reviewing their own show or commenting on events in a self-aware manner, doesn’t make a poor plot or poor character choices more interesting. Platinum End sets up a situation so ridiculous it is hard to believe this week when Mukaidou just leaps straight into the trap set by the crazy guy from last week.

Sure you might believe he’s all freaked out because his family are at risk. It is literally the only motivation this character has been given. But still, how does entering an obvious trap with no plan save them? Seriously, bad plan.

Anyway, the crazy guy watches this unfold and then just as I’m face palming so hard I nearly knocked my glasses off he points out how hilariously stupid the whole situation is.

Platinum End Episode 10

Platinum End continues to underwhelm with plots that could have been pulled from the original Batman TV series.

Platinum End is definitely leaning hard into the cackling villains, noble (yet idiotic) heroes, overwrought emotions, and eye-candy use of female characters that all come from a TV era long since past. And while I don’t actually like the current trend in stories where every character has to literally quip their way through the whole plot, watching Platinum End kind of reminds me that there are worse things than characters refusing to take life and death situations seriously.

Platinum End Episode 10

For instance, Mirai still can’t actually shoot his white arrow with any actual intent and when faced with a difficult fight and uncertain victory he chose…

Well, he chose to walk into the same trap Mukaidou was already caught in and instead of going in with any kind of plan decided to put the whole thing off and suggested they fly around frantically like birds in a cage until they came up with a better idea.

Good thing Metropoliman didn’t rig this location to explode like the last one or it really wouldn’t have mattered.

Platinum End Episode 10

As for Metropoliman, rather than thinking of literally any way to bring the situation to a close (you know like blowing the whole venue up) he simply leaves the crazy guy to watch over them and takes a nap.

Platinum End, what are you doing?

This guy plans out everything and is ruthless enough to shoot a child who had already surrendered to him and now you expect us to believe he’s just going to take a nap while the two people who have caused him the most harm are trapped in a single location?

About the only thing that makes this episode not entirely terrible, is Revel.

Platinum End Episode 10

After all his efforts to absorb knowledge mostly end in him getting a headache he tries to talk Saki out of going and getting herself killed and in the process manages to shed tears.

While he isn’t acknowledged for his efforts to learn stuff, apparently being the first angel to cry for a human is significant enough to warrant a promotion.

So Platinum End gives Saki her wings.

And so she puts on her cat suit, shoots the crazy guy with the red arrow and then instead of giving him a command or instruction, she flirts with him, because… look I don’t even know at this point.

It isn’t as if anyone else has had to flirt to make their red arrow work.

Clearly they just wanted the girl in the cat suit to look all coy.

Meanwhile she hasn’t communicated with the others what is going on so they are still just flying around. After almost a day.

Platinum End Episode 10

If I’m honest, this episode of Platinum End is no worse than any other but it continues to baffle with how ludicrous each of these characters are and how poor their decision making is. Onward to the next episode then.

The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.

Images from: Platinum End. Dir. K Kise. Signal MD. 2021

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Karandi James