ENDRO! Series Review

ENDRO Series Review
Endro! Episode 1

Cute Girls Do Hero Things? Go ENDRO!

I’m going to honestly say I wasn’t planning on watching Endro! The cutesy characters and pastel colours shining on all the images I saw of the anime prior to watching were more or less a flashing warning sign to stay away. It was Matt from Anime Q and A who suggested I should try this one after the first episode aired. Now, if you follow both of our blogs you will know our tastes in anime are vastly different as is our hook for watching, and yet knowing that Matt still suggested I give this one a go. That certainly got me curious.

While Endro didn’t end up being an anime that wowed me, I am kind of glad he made me pay attention to it. For all that the slice of life and the cute girls doing cute things tropes are definitely there, the fantasy setting and the comedy built around the heroes defeating the demon lord which is such a vastly overused setting actually work pretty well. There’s certainly a range of reasons to try Endro and depending on what sort of anime you like there’s different things you might take away from it.

endro5a

Now generally when an anime tries its hand at too many things what you end up with is a convoluted mess. Endro is actually pretty skillful at working its different aspects together. The opening sequence is the class scene you would normally see at the end of a story with the four heroes finally attacking the demon lords stronghold and making their way toward the final foe. The fact that the heroes are four pastel and scantily armoured girls in this instance is just something you can put down to anime at the time because otherwise the scene is playing out exactly as you would expect.

However, as the heroes launch their final spell you notice things aren’t exactly going right and soon we are back in time with the demon lord now an obnoxious loli character who decides to become a teacher at the school the girls who will become the heroes are attending in order to ensure that they never become a threat to her.

Endro Episode 1

From fantasy, to self-aware satire, and then into a slice of life school life kind of story, the transitions are relatively seamless and all seem fairly logical at the time. Where it is less appealing is that as we move away from the adventuring to the school living side of things my overall interest in the characters took a dive. Still it wasn’t as though the story just jammed itself in neutral after it got there.

At fairly nicely spaced intervals the girls go on other adventures and face other dangers. So those enjoying the fantasy quest angle will get enough to hold their interest, just as those who enjoy the quiet moments talking about dreams in the school dorm will get their fill. As I said, it is a rarity, but Endro does balance things nicely and never leaves you waiting too long. Where it didn’t quite succeed for me was the main characters themselves.

Endro Episode 3 The Hero Team

Don’t get me wrong. They’re all beautiful and charming in their own way with sufficient diversity in hair colour and personality to pull off a reasonable group dynamic. Yet individually none of them were all that compelling and really, for the slice of life elements to do more than mark time (for me) I really need some kind of actual connection with the characters involved. Here they were fine. Which made watching those segments fine. But would I do it again? Probably not.

Endro Episode 4 Mao

The cast is made a little less thrilling in the earlier episodes by how truly annoying and childish the demon lord is in her schemes. Later on, they manage to make her character far more interesting and a little bit likeable, but she’s hard to take early on in the series, unless you find her funny in which case you’ll probably like those moments a great deal more than I did. Still, I would have liked a little more ‘thought’ in some of her plans as she is given a prime opportunity to do away with her potential killers and yet she’s almost laughably bad at it (laughably bad is not the same as actually funny).

Endro Episode 5 Princess and Mao

Though it isn’t all bad news from a character point of view. As mentioned, they are all very cute, which is probably a must for the cute girls doing cute whatever fans out there. And then we have the introduction of the Princess, Rona, who really turns things on their heads on her arrival. Few characters get an introduction episode like Rona and honestly, she’s a breath of fresh air, manages to comment on the role of Princesses in stories and on same gender romance, and is just a fun character all in one package. Admittedly, she has diminishing returns after her first appearance, but it was quite a solid entrance.


liveAlive

Affiliate Link

Live a Live – RPG Game


I will admit that I was a little fatigued with the comedy aspect of Endro by around the three-quarter mark but I’m glad I hung in there. This story does get a nice and complete ending and overall there’s a lot more to like in the show than there is to criticise.

Endro Episode 4 Finding Shells

There’s also a very weird focus on food throughout the story. Maybe it is part and parcel of the slice of life genre but whether it is camping out, preparing a meal for a sick teacher, or just dreaming, there’s an ongoing food obsession in this story. Part of that probably comes from one of the characters nibbling on another’s ear when she gets hungry and there’s no food, but they really do find the weirdest moments to bring food up and make it a feature.

endro10c

If you want your fill of cute girls doing hero things in a fantasy world, Endro is definitely worth a try. While it may not work for everyone, there’s plenty of appealing attributes and for once they’ve thought about how to make it all come together. The end result is relatively satisfying to watch even if not the most compelling.


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


A Time For Choices

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 12 Review

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this final episode of Endro. It was, like most other episodes of Endro, cute and charming in it’s own way, played the tropes of its genre well with a few minor twists to keep things entertaining, and ultimately went for a saccharine ending that I really can’t fault it for. Overall, this anime reminds me a little bit of fairy floss (or I guess cotton candy depending on where you live). It looks pretty, kind of tastes great for a moment, but leaves you with very little substance.

Endro Episode 12 -Fai

I’ll probably look more at that idea when I review the series as a whole but this episode really didn’t deliver much in the way of surprises (and we are going to head into spoiler territory).

Endro Episode 12 - Mao
Now, who is a cranky demon lord?

To no one’s surprise, Yulia is feeling conflicted about the idea of fighting Mao even if it is to save the Princess. After a sob-story from the golem it becomes even more clear that this is one epic hero vs demon lord battle that just isn’t going to happen. The overall solution is a little trite but very in keeping with the story. I do however like the story’s overall commitment to characterisation.

Endro Episode 12 - The Hero's Party

When faced with a part of the story they’ve spun that doesn’t quite add up, the girls ultimately shrug it off with a ‘whatever’ and get on with having fun. It keep beautifully with their actions up until now where they ponder things briefly but never get too deep into anything before becoming distracted by something new and shiny.

Affiliate Link
	G.E.M. EX SERIES POCKET MONSTERS PRE-PAINTED PVC FIGURE: EEVEE FRIENDS

While ultimately we end up much where we started and it might seem like no advancement was made, it does feel like the characters are starting out a little wiser this time round and even if they make mistakes they’ll find a way to get through them.

Endro Episode 12 - Yulia
My Hero

In a season of fairly decent series, Endro isn’t topping my list but I’ve certainly had fun enough with this story and I’m kind of looking forward to doing my full series review of it.


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


2019 Winter Anime End Of The Season

wind22g

Winter 2019 has had its ups and downs throughout but regardless of my final thoughts, I had a lot of fun this season. There was always something to look forward to and as some shows faltered, others rallied. While I know some shows are ongoing and some have not yet aired final episodes (and in the case of Boogiepop wa Warawanai I’m just hopelessly behind), this is my final standings for the Winter season.

In the listing I’ve commented on where the series was at the mid-season point in the list and whether it has moved or not but if you want to see my mid-season thoughts they are here.

Hopefully you enjoy and remember the results of the reader’s poll will come out later today.

Number 15: Boogiepop wa Warawanai

Previously placed at position 13. It didn’t even deliver the little that was expected.

I was vaguely hopeful that this one would improve, but realistically I’m struggling just to convince myself to finish watching it. It has continued to be a meandering mess and while some have enjoyed the mystery I’ve mostly just found it frustrating.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 10 Nagi

Not aided by ugly visuals and characters that are pretty bland, there’s very little compelling me to keep going with this but I will finish it at this point. I kind of feel I past the point of no return a while a go. Still, if I wanted to pick the series on my watch list that I most regret watching, Boogiepop would be it.

Number 14: Grimms Notes

Previously placed at position 15, Grimms Notes continued to underwhelm.

While it would be nice to say that it managed to pull its narrative and characters together, mostly I just felt this one oozed wasted potential until the very end. Not that there weren’t some fun moments along the way, but it just never felt satisfying to watch.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

It isn’t all bad news with some of the character moments being cute enough and having a simple ‘save the story zone’ plot each week. Even if the main story line felt hopelessly underdeveloped and the themes unexplored, it wasn’t as if this ever became unwatchable.

Number 13: Sword Art Online Alicization

Previously at position 10, how this has fallen.

I was disappointed when Sword Art Online Alicization was only managing position 10, and yet honestly I can’t say this has gotten any better. If anything, the faults with the pacing, character motives, exposition, and just idiocy have gotten worse to the point where I’m honestly wondering whether to keep going with episode reviews when it continues or whether to just let this one go and review it once they finally finish it.

Eugeo - Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 23

An increasingly frustrating and underwhelming watch full of babble about things that barely make sense even in the context of the story, and characters who essentially break the rules of the world at will, it all just became fairly tiresome to watch this season.

Number 12: Kaguya-Sama Love is War

Previously and still position 12.

For a comedy anime it wasn’t bad. It isn’t really my style and to be honest outside of the occasional moment where the characters really clicked there were a lot of times where watching this was just kind of empty. Still, the visuals, animation and sound design of this one were pretty fantastic so I can’t fault the production in the slightest.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 6 Shinomiya

However, ultimately, if I’d stopped watching this one it wouldn’t have mattered. There was no compelling reason to keep going and while I can see why it appeals to some, it really isn’t speaking much to me.

Number 11: Endro

Previously placed at position 14, this one actually was kind of charming fun.

Despite the pastel colour scheme and cute girl antics, I actually did find this one entertaining from week to week. There were some moments that really just shone for both the story and the characters proving you really can take something fairly standard and make it shine if you put enough love and effort into it.

endro10c

Honestly, this isn’t going to be something I watch again but if you like cute girl stories or just want a fun slice of life/comedy that has an adventurers setting thrown in, this is actually really cute and entertaining. The only reason it didn’t get higher up my list is because I’m just not that into cute girls and some of the friendship sequences made me roll my eyes hard.

Number 10: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Previously position 7 there’s just no denying the second cour was ordinary.

After slowly warming up to the show in the first cour, the second cour that aired during Winter 2019 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime was overwhelmingly average. Now source readers will pull out the ‘it gets better’ cards as well as explain that some bits were skipped over, but none of that changes the fact that the anime is most definitely average.

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

There were some cute moments and character encounters and a few fairly awesome moments in the occasional fight, but a lot of this second cour was sitting around talking, or introducing characters we were never given a reason to care about who effectively had their problems solved with minimum effort. It remained light and fun to watch but had absolutely nothing to hook the audience or to convince me this would ever be worth watching a second time.

Number 9: The Price of Smiles

Formally position 5. Okay, I was being optimistic.

It is almost scary how on the nose my prediction for this series was at the half-way point. I suspected we had a show that would simply kill off its characters towards the end and in the lead up to the final episode we had one prominent character death an episode all to serve the ‘war is bad’ slogan this anime seemed to want to plaster onto almost every episode. That doesn’t mean it was terrible. There was actually a lot of promise along the way. It just never quite delivered.

The Price of Smiles Episode 10

Still, there have certainly been worse mecha anime over the years and while the ending was foolishly optimistic and naive, much like the main character, I can’t say I’m upset with it. While The Price of Smiles never managed to break into being something truly good, it certainly skated along the edges of it and kept me hopeful throughout.

Number 8: Domestic Girlfriend

Previously in 6th position.

Right, so you get what you expect when you keep watching a melodrama and as the story progresses they have to push to increasingly forced and silly methods to up the ante. That said, there is a certain delight in watching this train wreck unfold and while I wouldn’t say I actually like any of the characters, I kind of am curious about where they will ultimately end up.

Natsuo and Hina - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

This one somehow manages to be trashy without actually being trash and while it isn’t great it is also something that is hard to stop watching. While the occasional scene pushes the sexual content a little further than I’d like and the basic premise and the idea of teachers and students dating isn’t something I’m thrilled about, I can’t say that this is actually a bad watch. Not really one I’d jump to recommend but one that I’d honestly have to admit I’ve been enjoying despite the many complaints I might muster about it.

Number 7: The Rising of the Shield Hero

Previously in position 4.

I’m honestly pleasantly surprised that this one has remained as entertaining as it has. With Sword Art and Slime both plummeting in the ranks during the Winter season it seemed isekai fantasy was taking a serious downward turn. While there are plenty of points against Shield Hero in terms of pacing and at times characterisation, I’ve mostly had fun watching it and continue to look forward to how it rolls out this story.

shield6d

While this one might also take a downward turn as it moves into a second cour, I’m kind of hopeful of this one just keeping things moving. And while the fights remain fresh, the story doesn’t linger for too long on any one part, and Naofumi continues to be an interesting character to watch, I’ll probably keep enjoying this even though I would hardly call it great.

Number 6: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

Down from position 3.

I kind of knew this one probably wouldn’t hold in the top 5 for the season but I was hopeful. A dark magical girl story that actually seemed willing to deal with the trauma a teenage girl would face if forced to fight to save the world and watch companions die? It is a good idea and at least provides some kind of grounding for the violence rather than just being opening gratuitous in killing off young characters grotesquely.

Asuka - Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka - Episode 11

However, the execution both from thematically and in the delivery of the narrative have been somewhat lacking and once again we’re left with a show that is more concept than delivery. The over the top torture segments also don’t help to ground this as anything more than something trying to be sensationalist when actually there’s a reasonable attempt at exploring trauma and PTSD buried here but alas the show can’t give it the time or weight it needs between the other ideas it wants to cram in an a desire to imperil Asuka’s classmates. I didn’t mind this but I kept wanting more from it and by the final few episodes it was clear that it wasn’t going to deliver.

Images from: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. Dir. H Yamamoto. LIDENFILMS. 2019.

Number 5: Meiji Tokyo Renka

Formally in position 10 – nice climb.

While this one reeks of mediocrity in visuals and almost everything else, this is the anime I’ve gone back to again and again just to feel good and kick back and relax. There’s something incredibly fun and infectious about Mei as a character and the cast of guys surrounding her aren’t too shabby. The supernatural elements work well but it is Mei’s ongoing relationship with Ougai that really grabs your attention.

meiji7d

While I won’t say this improved as it went, it maintained its standard throughout and the characters are naturally charming enough to slowly make you warm to them and each episode feels just that little bit more fun than the last. Not one to be proclaimed a master-piece but for those who don’t mind the occasional reverse harem romp this one is certainly a fun time waster to fit into your viewing schedule.

Number 4: The Morose Mononokean

Previously number 8 on the list – this one exceeded expectations.

Season two of The Morose Mononokean continued to far outstrip season one and advanced the plot and character development in a way I’d been wishing the first season to but it just never got to. There is very little to complain about with this second season with almost everything being better than season one and the balance between yokai of the week episode and episodes developing the world and characters being pretty well thought out.

morose8d

With cute yokai characters, conspiracies, blossoming powers and generally more supernatural fun, The Morose Mononokean ended up being one show I began to look forward to each weekend. The chats with Irina around the episodes were also a factor as watching a show is always better with friends, but honestly this one was a delight this Winter season.

Number 3: My Roommate is a Cat

Previously number 9 on the list (that’s quite the rise).

If I was asked whether this got better as the season went on and whether that accounts for its rise, the answer would be a clear no. This isn’t a story that gets better. There’s a solid character journey for Subaru and one that I greatly appreciated which certainly accounts for a lot of its rise through the ranks, but what My Roommate is a Cat does brilliantly is deliver a fairly consistent performance. Tie in consistently meeting expectations week after week with concluding a character arc in a fairly coherent manner and My Roommate is a Cat might be decidedly average in a lot of ways but it was one that I found a very satisfying watch in the end.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 8

This anime definitely demonstrates the power of simplicity in that it has a very simple gimmick with the cat narrating part of the episode from its perspective but otherwise the character count is low, the scenarios very low key, and things tie in together way too neatly for real life but in a way that makes for a fairly entertaining weekly watch. Not to mention, there’s a cat in it and apparently having a cat in it is something that makes a story recommendable.

Number 2: The Promised Neverland

Remaining in second place.

I feel a bit bad for The Promised Neverland. Given the genre and style of story in almost any other season this one would have been a sure number one for me. Yet, opposite Run With the Wind that mostly didn’t rely on cliff-hangers to maintain viewer interest or suspense, I just can’t say that the gimmick filled Neverland is better even if I’m certainly enjoying it a lot.

neverland11e

The mark of a great story where I want to know what happens, where it keeps me guessing and theorising, and when the reveal is made it may not be what I thought but everything kind of clicks into place as all the anomalies and hints suddenly make sense even while a new mystery rises to be solved. The cast are charming, the setting thrilling, and all and all this one has been a delight to watch this season.

Number 1: Run With The Wind

Maintaining first position.

While I never expected to like Run With The Wind that much, even with a fairly strong showing from The Promised Neverland, there just isn’t any reason to not make this my number one of the season. I’ve fallen in love with the team and through the final episodes I cried, I cheered, I cried some more and then I smiled through those tears in absolute delight. It really helps that every character had a moment to shine in those final episodes and each character journey felt like it was given time to draw to a conclusion. It was a lovely viewing experience and one I’m really glad I picked up.

Run With The Wind Episode 22 King hands the sash to Kakeru

Whether it was Shindo’s absolutely heroic actions during his leg of the race, the general camaraderie and support each member showed for the others, or the feat they accomplished together, there were just so many moments to celebrate. This anime is gorgeous, well put together and has just the perfect number of episodes to tell its story. For all that I do have some minor complaints, they are just that, minor. This is definitely my pick for must watch of the season.


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


Sometimes Endro Gets It Just Right

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 11 Review

Endro has a lot of downtime where it celebrates the cute girls being cute aspects of its story. For some, this is really appealing, and alone it would still make for a fairly watchable anime given the girls in question here are actually kind of fun as characters. For me, though, it isn’t that appealing. What has kept me watching this show, and at times quite appreciating it, is its ongoing retelling of the story of the hero defeating the demon lord. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is subversive, but it most definitely takes a novel approach at times to the subject matter.

Endro - Episode 11 - Mao

Episode 11 of Endro, really manages to use this to its advantage. What starts out as another fairly fluff filled episode with the girls defeating a monster and asking to go to Mao’s house as a reward ends up taking us into a fairly dramatic climax that beautifully reconnects us with the opening of the show where the hero defeated the demon lord but stuffed up the spell sending them to the past. The fact that the story manages the subtle transition from fluffy nonsense to fairly serious narrative reveals in an incredibly tight scene and it does so without being in any way jarring is actually a relatively impressive feat and honestly you have to give credit to the ground work that each episode has laid behind this episode for it working.

Endro - Episode 11 - Yuusha

To put it briefly, the golem maid who served the demon lord is found without her memories (well puked out of a monster for reasons to do with anime cooking). After some incredibly cute montage scenes with Mao reconnecting with her in her new role as teacher, we gather the characters back at Mao’s house, this time with Princess Rona. Only this time the Princess has a legendary card that can unlock sealed memories.

Endro Episode 11

However, the golem, if she ever lost her memories at all, isn’t the only one who recovers lost memories and the girls suddenly remember their previous adventure. It is a classically understated moment and yet it literally changes everything.

Affiliate Link
ENDRO!: YULIA CHARDIET

But, not content with that as a reveal and set up for the next episode, it takes this one further and so we end up more or less back at the beginning only this time with the demon lord and the hero’s party all knowing what transpired last time. It seems set for an amusing and interesting ending, and just in case you were concerned it was going to drop the cute girl thing and gentle amusements altogether, Mao’s reaction post credits is utterly hilarious. It is one of those priceless moments that describing won’t do justice and the only reason it works is because we’ve spent 11 episodes getting to know these characters. Still, that sequence alone makes this series worth watching to be honest.

Endro Episode 11

Really looking forward to seeing how it ends.


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


Apparently They Do Grow On Trees

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 9 Review

Like me, you probably didn’t actually bother to think about where the Cartado the characters have been using in Endro have come from. I mean, it is hardly a critical plot point other than Mei’s obsessive fascination with everything to do with them. However, here’s an episode devoted entirely to the mystery of where they come from and how they are harvested.

Endro Episode 9 Cartado Trees

That’s right, harvested. Because apparently these cards to grow on trees in a hidden village that the overly cute girls have just scored themselves an invitation to for a festival.

Arriving at the village takes a few little leaps but doesn’t eat much of the episode. It does, as normal, highlight the different personalities of the girls in the core group with Mei, the usually reserved one, being as determined as we’ve ever seen her to reach their destination.

Endro Episode 9

Once there though the story just goes for full cute and weird with the girls seeing the trees laden with cards, changing outfits, and then participating in a competition to become the cartado king by harvesting the rarest ‘wild’ cartado. It’s all kind of good fun though I do like that the end result of becoming the king is a one off lap around the village and that’s all the pay-off, other than the bragging rights which I’m certain Mei is definitely holding onto even if the village location is a secret.

endro9d

As usual for this series, we get a lot of fluff and silliness, a bit of heart, and some weird antics. It all works well and the episode plays nicely. Now I just wonder why they don’t grow those trees in more places.

Affiliate Link
Search Bunny

Endro Episode 10 Review

Episode 10 of Endro is a little bit weird. Okay, a lot weird but only a little bit by Endro standards. The girls are on what was meant to be an ‘easy’ quest apparently sent by Mao which makes me wonder if the Demon Lord is back to trying to off the hero or whether the snow-storm was a genuine mistake.

Endro Episode 10

Anyway, while huddled in the tent, they start sharing their dreams for the future in the hopes of keeping each other awake. They kind of fail but it turns out a monster was helping them along by showing them what they were dreaming of. Needless to say, each of the girls is dreaming of what we know they want, heroics, food, cards, and boobs, but Seira is able to break free of the dream when she realises it isn’t real.

There’s not a lot more to this episode other than Seira breaking the others out of their dream with the rather direct approach of smashing their dreamworlds to pieces with a hammer before they eat the combined crystallisation of their dreams (yep, weird even by Endro standards).

Endro Episode 10

Still, if you just want a bit of fun, this episode certainly hits the spot. It also plays on the whole time travel element with Yuusha’s dream most definitely being a throw back to the memory of fighting the demon lord way back in episode one.


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


Why Do Anime Heroes Get The Most Boring Powers?

Friday's Feature

Have you ever wondered why there are so many cool characters in a story with amazing powers and yet the protagonist is kind of just indestructible and has a big sword? I mean it is so boring and yet so many anime heroes genuinely do have the most boring powers.

In case it doesn’t become immediately apparent, this discussion is mostly me musing on something that has bothered me in a handful of shows that I’m now generalising across anime. It is not actually intended to be an overly serious post but honestly, I’ve been wondering this for awhile and of all things it was Endro that brought me back to musing about the powers given to a hero in anime.

Endro! Episode 1

For those who aren’t watching the pastel painted moe fest that is Endro, it is the story of a girl who wants to be a hero and defeat a demon lord, only she kind of already did but stuffed it up sending the demon lord back to the past and now the demon lord is her teacher as she learns to be a hero. of course she has a team of friends along for the ride and a Princess who has fallen in love with her, but mostly it is just a lot of fun and silliness.

Now, as one of the symbols that Julia Charldetto is in fact the hero she comes across the ‘hero’s sword’ and draws it out. In fitting with the colour scheme of the anime it is pink. And it sparkles. But basically we have a hero who swings a sword and whacks things.

Endro Episode 2 Seiran

Meanwhile, we have Seiran in her squad who is an elven priest and when all else fails can actually put her glasses on and is a crack shot with a bow. Then we have Fai who is more hand to hand and likes pummelling things and jumping a lot. Lastly we have Mather with her obsession with Cartado and an array of interesting magic to bring to the fight. All of these characters have really cool abilities and yet the hero in their story has a pink, shiny sword.

Endro Episode 4 Finding Shells


Now I’m not dismissing swords. Swords can be super cool. Just look at Hitsugaya in Bleach with Hyourinmaru and how cool that sword can be with weather controlling effects and ice dragons. Seriously, that is a cool sword. As is Rukia’s zanpakuto and dozens of other blades in Bleach.

Hitsugaya - Bleach

But, do you know who has a less than cool sword? Ichigo Kurosaki. The hero of Bleach. His sword is really big. About the only time it kind of looked cool was when Hollow Ichigo was swinging it around by the wrap and attempting to pummel Ichigo with it. Actually, Ichigo vs Hollow Ichigo is just a fantastic fight to watch in general and Hollow Ichigo provides some great entertainment throughout the course of Bleach.

I love Bleach but lets agree Ichigo’s power is the most boring power in the story even if it ends up being the strongest.

Even when Ichigo steps up to the next level, his sword actually becomes less impressive and realistically, while he gets really fast and agile, and hits things even harder and faster, Ichigo’s power is the least interesting one to watch in Bleach (okay I take that back, there are worse powers in Bleach but when looking just at the main group of shinigami and Ichigo’s human friends, his power is just not that interesting by comparison).

Hollow Ichigo - Bleach

Though, even if we move away from sword wielding heroes to a magical girl like Sailor Moon, what we see is a hero surrounded by characters with cool elemental powers that are showy and flashy, fairly versatile and interesting, and yet in season one she throws her head band and occasionally heals things. Even when she uses the Silver Imperium Crystal, other than a light show the power itself is not that interesting to watch. It might be the strongest force in the universe but that by itself doesn’t make it all that fascinating to watch as the bright pink light engulfs her enemy and thus ends the climax.

As the seasons continue, Sailor Moon upgrades from her Crescent Moon Wand to the Moon Sceptre and if nothing else she continues to get the absolute best accessories compared to the other scouts. The Moon Spiral Heart Attack is perhaps the longest one to get going of her general attacks and is so overblown in both the set up and execution that you almost have to laugh (actually, I was more worried Serena was going to trip over her own hair while doing the activation sequence) and yet realistically for all the increases in power Sailor Moon’s attacks remain much the same.

She’s very much a one punch and they are dead kind of hero and once she lets off her attack in most cases the battle is done. While the other scouts might be less effective in battle, at least there are some interesting possibilities for outcomes when they attack.

moon spiral

Kirito kind of bucked this trend in Sword Art Online (at least in Aincrad). While his sword style was a bit weird to begin with, it was always fun to watch. This only got better when he demonstrated his dual wield ability which was unique in the game making his ability actually one of the more interesting in the story.

kirito dual blades

However, Sword Art Online decided to kick its own hero when they introduced magic in Fairy Dance, and Alicization has taken the Bleach approach where swords aren’t always swords. Suddenly, Kirito isn’t looking all that crash-hot even in his own series, though he is still one hero who kind of breaks this trend of having the most boring power going.

Actually, there are plenty of cases where the hero does have a cool power or hidden ability. The problem is, with a lot of these powers they are so OP that they kind of instantly end fights once they get going or can’t be used because of the general scale of destruction. So even when a hero has a very cool ability, its use outside of final battles is pretty minimal meaning we’re watching a hero fight at less than full capacity in a lot of fights and it doesn’t always make for engrossing viewing, particularly when you know that they can pull out another power if things get really tough.

fight danmachi2

For instance, Bell in Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon has a very cool attack. Admittedly, I like Bell’s fighting style anyway where he relies on speed and his fairly small knife, moving around his enemy and wearing them down rather than just smacking them really hard once. Bell’s fight against the Minotaur is still one of my favourite fights ever and for all that there are stronger warriors in DanMachi, Bell is actually just great to watch in action.

But, his Argonaut Skill is definitely an overpowered skill, tempered by the long time it takes to activate. In order for Bell to get a decent strike in with it, he requires a lengthy interval in which his companions are likely to get splattered if they aren’t careful. While the results of this attack are fairly spectacular, it essentially boils a fight down to the flies buzzing around an enemy and distracting it long enough for Bell to get a decent fly-swat and one punch end the battle.

bell argonaut

Is there a solution to this? I mean, we want our heroes to win their fights and having a fairly unstoppable attack more or less guarantees it. Though, such a large scale attack usually ends up looking much the same as every other large scale attack. The personality and distinction of an ability is washed away by the effects given to promote the size and scale of the attack.

Anyway, as I said at the start, this wasn’t an overly serious post. I’ve just been thinking through anime heroes and wondering why more of them don’t have unique or interesting powers and why so many end up with giant swords. I’d love to know your take on anime heroes and whether they have interesting powers or not so leave a comment below.


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


The Princess, The Hero, and Everyone Else

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 7 Review

When the Princess decides she wants to get to know the Hero’s companions, the audience is given an episode divided into three distinct segments each one having the Princess tail one of the companions for a day as they go about their business. While this could have been mind-numbingly dull, the Princess brings enough enthusiasm for both the companions and the history of previous companions to previous heroes to keep the episode bopping cutely along.

Endro Episode 7

I do feel that this episode missed an opportunity to expand on each of the three characters. With Seiran, Mather, and Fai each pretty much playing true to form, while it was cute and fun it didn’t add much to what we already knew about the characters. No hidden layers or unexpected elements here, just what you see is what you get.

Endro Episode 7

Again, that isn’t really a problem because the episode is light and frothy fun with the usual adorable antics at school, looking for Cartado or Fai’s eating contest. However, the tight focus on each one of these characters at various points provided space for them to be a little more fleshed out and I feel it is a bit of a pity that it wasn’t taken.

Endro Episode 7

Mao was also pretty absent from this episode but I feel that was deliberate given the focus really was on the Hero’s supporting characters. So while nothing overly special, this was enjoyable enough.

Endro Episode 8 Review

Episode 8 continues the focus on Princess Rona but this time she enlists Mao’s help to see the Hero in action. After spending time with the Hero and her friends day to day, Rona decides she wants to see the Hero facing a threat and unwilling to wait for one, she fabricates one.

Endro Episode 8 Rona and Mao

The end result is that the Hero’s party storms that ‘castle’ and takes on a range of threats, some less threatening than others before facing off against the Demon Lord while the Princess is trapped in a cage. Only, don’t expect a fight to the death, given the overall tone of this show, we end up getting a lesson about friendship and heroics before we all call it a day.

Endro Episode 8

While I didn’t find this episode quite as charming as the previous one, I do enjoy seeing Princess Rona becoming more of a character and less of a trope. She’s probably the character outside of Mao getting the most actual development in this story and while she’s a little bit over the top she’s quite fun.

If you’ve been enjoying Endro so far, this episode continues to be cute enough, a little bit of fantasy and action, a little bit of comedy, and a lot of friendship and pastel colours.

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
ENDRO!: JUULIA CHARLDETTO
ENDRO!: JUULIA CHARLDETTO

The Sickly Sweet With A Lot Of Heart

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 6 Review

I’m wondering if Endro really did just make me like a character that I’ve really not felt much connection to previously and did it through using a tired old character got sick trope. And yeah, it really did. This episode I really enjoyed finding out more about Mao and her life as a demon lord before the hero’s botched attempt at defeating her sent her back in time. It was also nice seeing her appreciate her students and their care of her.

Endro Episode 6 Mao

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this pastel filled episode as the story is literally just Mao gets sick and in typical fashion has literally nothing in her house to eat and begins feeling sorry for herself when the hero’s party comes by and goes about cleaning up her house and preparing her a meal. It is all just sickly sweet and excessively optimistic and yet it manages to nicely round out Mao’s character. While we didn’t learn all that much new about her, this episode made it much easier to connect with her as a character and that was something I was kind of missing before.

Endro Episode 6 Mao

Though, it really is evidence that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make something worth watching. While there isn’t really a single original point in this episode, they manage to deliver this fairly standard plot line in a way that makes it feel worth while and entertaining.

Endro Episode 6 Mao

That said, kind of hoping for a bit more adventure in next week’s episode, but I kind of feel like this was one of the stronger mid-season episodes I’ve watched this week.

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
How to Draw Digital Manga and Anime
How to Draw Digital Manga and Anime

A Princess in Pursuit of Her Hero

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 5 Review

For all that Endro has been pleasant enough over the opening episodes, this episode drew me right into this story. It isn’t that it does anything particularly unique as it is very much playing on the Princess tropes in introducing a new character, but it is doing it in such a way that it makes this anime really feel like it has its own ideas and a tone it really wants to set.

Endro Episode 5 Princess Rona

Plenty of anime have a Princess who believes she will marry a hero or has a hero and a Princess fall in love. The hero being a female didn’t deter the Princess in the least and that was kind of interesting as the Princess clearly forced her way into Yuusha’s life and then threw an entire festival to raise the status of the hero. While there are some good laughs here it is also clear that this anime isn’t going to blink away from the idea of two characters of the same sex falling in love. It takes this head on.

Endro Episode 5 Princess gushing over hero

And that is admirable in itself but they follow it up with actual character development for the Princess in the same episode. She goes from being infatuated with Yuusha because she is the hero to actually seeing Yuusha as a person and liking her even more. The whole episode is just good fun but it is full of so many little moments that raise questions, make a point, or just stick out as interesting that it is difficult to really talk about the episode without doing a scene by scene break down given the overall plot is Princess shows up and throws festival, hero saves things when they go wrong.

Endro Episode 5 Princess and Mao

I will say that Mao was really good this episode. She’s a character I haven’t really liked previously but her role this week was very well used and the hints the Princess is dropping that she knows who Mao is are interesting as I wonder where they are taking that plot line. All and all, while I haven’t been fully behind this anime, this episode took some excellent steps and getting me drawn in to the story.

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
THAT TIME I GOT REINCARNATED AS A SLIME B2 WALL SCROLL: MILIM (RE-RUN)
	THAT TIME I GOT REINCARNATED AS A SLIME B2 WALL SCROLL: MILIM (RE-RUN)

2019 Winter Anime Half-Time

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks

With a lot of shows very strongly into their mid-season and some of the shine coming off those that started strongly and some of the weaker shows rallying and finding their feet, I decided it was probably time to take a look at the shows on my watch list this season and see how they were going. Unlike some seasons during 2018, there’s nothing on my watch list I actually actively dislike, which means even the anime vying for the bottom rung of my watch list are actually relatively decent shows even if they aren’t to my personal tastes.

That isn’t to say I’ve got nothing but golden shows on my list. In as much as there’s not a lot I really dislike, there’s not a lot that is making me sit up and take notice. Most shows this season I could watch or not and while I’m having fun part of me feels that as a viewer I was spoiled for choice last season with so many really great anime.

Right now I am following 15 anime and I’m going to count them down from the weakest on my watch list to the anime that might make it to the top for the end of the season. For each anime I’m going to give a brief impression so far and then my prediction for the rest of the season. These are all just my opinions and some of these anime are only 4 or so episodes in, so I’d love to know your take on the Winter Anime so far.

If you don’t want to read the whole post I’m going to try linking to the individual titles so you can check out the ones you are interested in. Hopefully it works.

Number 15: Grimms Notes

There’s not much to say about this one. It isn’t a particularly good anime and the narrative so far has been told out of order for no reason that I can figure out other than to be annoying. The characters are pretty shallow and so far the exploration of the premise has been woefully underdeveloped.

Grimms Notes Episode 2 Ex

I know, I said that I wasn’t watching anything really bad. And Grimms Notes isn’t. Watching it is kind of just numbing really. What kept it in my line-up at all is the fact that there is a potentially interesting premise at the core of this anime and if they get around to exploring it and the characters develop a bit and their motives are made clear, this has the potential to be really interesting. At the moment it isn’t, but it also isn’t unwatchable, so for now it can sit at the bottom of my watch list.

Prediction: This probably won’t improve and I’ll ask at the end of the season why I didn’t drop it.

Number 14: Endro

This one was recommended to me by Cactus Matt. I’d actually passed on the first episode based on the art work and the basic write up as it didn’t seem like it was something I’d enjoy. In honesty, it isn’t really my kind of thing, but there are enough interesting points that I don’t dislike watching it, and I actually feel like it is getting more interesting as it progresses.

Endro Episode 2 Leader

The main cast here are actually reasonably fun to spend time with when they are doing something (I’ll pass on anymore pyjama parties though) and the quests they go on are amusing enough. The fantasy elements are kind of fun and the comedy isn’t too eye-roll worthy. All and all, this one is actually just kind of pleasant but for me fairly forgettable.

Prediction: Either this will continue to be pleasant enough but  unremarkable or we may take a downward turn if they up the  comedy and slice of life aspects but minimise the adventuring. I  guess we’ll see.

Number 13: Boogiepop wa Warawanai

Frankly, Boogiepop wa Warawanai is a mess of frustrating narrative and bland visuals. But from a core concept point of view this one is something I should enjoy. Which is probably what makes it so frustrating is you can actually see a really interesting story bubbling underneath dull conversations and forgettable characters.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 2

I’d really like to like this one more but at the moment I’m watching more out of hope for improvement than any expectation of it. Then again, even if it doesn’t improve noticeably, it is an interesting idea and one that I’m not going to regret watching (at least I hope not).

Prediction: I’ll be an optimist and hope this one makes my top ten by the end of the season because it just got that little bit better and utilised its strengths.

Number 12: Kaguya-Sama Love is War

This one, I’m not loving the concept of. It is a beautifully produced anime, visually impressive, with a great score, but I’m just not feeling it. It doesn’t help that I’m not a comedy fan in the first place and that I find the central conceit of this anime ridiculous, nor does it help that so far most of the schemes have either been predictable or ludicrous.

Kaguya Sama Episode 2 Shinomiya

Still, this one is actually getting a little better as it goes (something readers of the source have been insisting would happen since the start) and there’s a possibility of continued improvement. My main hope would be that the two main characters actually start to feel like characters and not caricatures and that would increase my enjoyment of this a lot more or less instantly.

Prediction: Again, I’ll be optimistic and hope that this one continues slowly getting better and maybe it will end up in the top ten by the end of the season.

Number 11: Meiji Tokyo Renka

Meiji Tokyo Renka has actually been rather surprising so far. I honestly expected something like Sengoku Night Blood or Libra of Nil Admirari neither or which was particularly noteworthy but both were watchable. However, Meiji Tokyo Renka has so far managed to make Mei, the protagonist, relatively interesting for a harem protagonist and I’m liking that they seem to be doing something with the premise.

meiji2c

Certainly this anime has its share of generic harem tropes and it isn’t exactly jumping to the top of my list, but I’m certainly actually enjoying watching it so far and it has the potential to get better as the season progresses.

Prediction: I think this one will sit right about here on the list. Even if it uses all its narrative potential the central premise here isn’t as interesting as some others and the overall production isn’t amazing. That said, I think it will stay entertaining.

Number 10: Sword Art Online Alicization

I’m a little disappointed that this one is placing so low but realistically after a lot of set up in the first arc, this second arc has been trying to bury us under exposition and honestly the plot doesn’t seem to be moving anywhere very quickly and I’m not entirely sure I like a Kirito who sermonises more than hits things with his sword. All and all, Alicization isn’t really working for me.

Sword Art Online Episode 15 Alicization Kirito

There are certainly still moments of cool to be found in this series and that is what has kept it in the top ten (even if it is scraping the bottom). However we’ve come a long way from the Aincrad Arc and at this point I’m really convinced Aincrad was where Sword Art Online should have begun and ended. I really enjoy that story and while I like these characters, they’ve been suffering from increasing diminished returns ever since. Except Asuna who shone in the Mother Rosaria arc but she’s all but vanished from sight at this point.

Prediction: Disappointment? I think this will slide further down the list before it gets better. I’ll happily be wrong though.

Number 9: My Roommate is a Cat

I do not believe I went in to this one with any expectations but for a slice of life story about a socially awkward author adopting a cat because he’s inspired to write a story despite no knowing how to look after a cat, this one is pretty adorable. The central gimmick of the cat getting to narrate the events of the episode from its perspective at the end each week works well enough and while this one isn’t exactly amazing, I’ve kind of found my relaxation viewing each week.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 5 Haru

Alright, a lot of the draw for me is actually the author, Subaru. For some people they just find him rude and off-putting in the first couple of episodes but I actually kind of related to him fairly quickly and kind of saw his point when he was annoyed at his editor for dragging him out to a noisy place to talk when there really wasn’t any need to do so.

Prediction: This one is cute and relaxing but that’s about all so I’m doubting this will move any higher up the list unless something else seriously falls apart. That said, I’m not expecting this to really move down the list either as it has been pretty consistent so far.

Number 8: The Morose Mononokean

Season one of The Morose Mononokean was kind of happy nothingness. I like yokai stories so I enjoyed it well enough but it wasn’t overly remarkable. Still there were a lot of potential plot points left unexplored and it has been an absolute delight seeing them being explored and expanded upon so far in season two. It is everything I could have hoped for from a follow up to this series.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 4

I also think it looks a bit better this season though that might just be the distance between season one and two talking. Either way, so far season two of this has done an excellent job at looking at the characters and the lore of the underworld and I’m really curious to learn more about how everything works. Plus, more fuzzy.

Prediction: I wouldn’t have picked this one as a potential season favourite prior to watching it – more casual nothingness. However, if things continue to develop the way they are… This one has a lot of potential to rise up this list.

Number 7: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has been up and down for me since the beginning. I wasn’t a huge fan of it but it slowly won me over and built on its strengths. The mid-season point, so the start of Winter 2019, was actually really solid. But we’ve since had a lot of talking and meetings and its been awhile since anything really exciting has happened.

slime17d

Realistically, this one isn’t going to be topping my must watches any time soon, but on balance it has remained pretty fun to watch and given the absolute lack of stakes or tension it is pretty relaxing to tune into each week. That said, it is also hard to really care about where it is going.

Prediction: This will hover around here for the remainder of the season and whether or not it manages another emotional highlight, like Shizu’s death or the defeat of the orc lord, may determine whether it goes up a few spots before the end.

Number 6: Domestic Girlfriend

Really wasn’t expecting this one to place so high on the list and yes it is full of teen melodrama, enough to rival any soap opera, and no it isn’t overly logical and it does rely heavily on coincidence. What it does right though is make me actually care about the central trio (or at least two out of three) and want them to find some way to be happy at the end of all of this.

domestic4a

It kind of helped this along that it was nowhere near as trashy as the title and promo images made it look which automatically made me more favourable toward it (low expectations always help a show along). That and some of the characters have actually made some good decisions in amongst the melodrama that have surprised me. All and all, hardly a perfect anime but one that I’m kind of hooked on this season.

Prediction: One of two things will happen. Either this show will manage a beautiful emotional ending or it will completely implode. I’d love the former but I suspect the latter.

Number 5: The Price of Smiles

Of all the anime titles this season, this is the one I’m probably the least sure about. The first episode was interesting enough but relatively unimpressive. Since then, it has managed to really make me care about the characters despite the limited screen time some have had, and I’m interested in the conflict, but the anime as a whole is still a little bit rocky.

The Price of Smiles Episode 3 Stella

I think this one has a lot of potential but it all depends on where they take the story and if they actually get around to doing anything with the questions they are raising. Also, whether or not these characters actually learn anything at all from their experiences. It’s really hard to tell at this point if this anime has the strength of writing to get this right or not.

Prediction: I’d like to be hopeful but I suspect we may just have a show that kills off its characters toward the end in order to make for a tragic ‘war is bad’ kind of message rather than any actual narrative depth.

Number 4: The Rising of the Shield Hero

Well, this one certainly made a contentious start to the season. For me The Rising of the Shield Hero has done exactly what I expected having read the light novels. It isn’t great but it isn’t bad and so far the adaptation has it all the notes it has needed to even if it isn’t exactly the same as the source – though given how many versions the story has gone through all ready it would next be the question of which one.

shield3e

Where Shield Hero is succeeding for me and why it is so high on my list is that it seems to have made Naofumi’s character a little more tolerable even in the early stages of the story, while still making him flawed enough that a redemption story is needed. Plus, Raphtalia is just kind of awesome. I’m having a lot of fun watching this one and looking forward to more.

Prediction: Not sure how much material they will cover in 25 episodes or whether we’ll end on a good resting point, but I do know that the novels meander a bit so this one may very well sink a little on this list despite generally thinking I’ll enjoy it.

Number 3: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

I suspect already that this one is not going to last in the top 5 by the end, however I’m leaving it here for now for the simple reason that I’m glad an anime that is deciding to put teenage girls through trauma is then actually interested in examining how trauma affects people. Some of the things anime characters go through and just kind of shrug off with no lingering impact is kind of insane so dealing with the real ongoing trauma as Asuka tries to integrate into a normal life, was actually kind of great.

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka - New battlefield

Though a single concept within a story can’t keep it as a must watch unless it does something else. Visually, this one is a bit hit and miss but there are some beautiful sequences. The characters have so far been the strength of the show but the villains are a little weakly developed at this point. There’s a lot that might be amazing about this and a lot that could go wrong so we’ll see where it ends up at the end of the season.

Prediction: I don’t think this will stay in the top 5 but I do think I’ll be glad I gave it a watch this season.

Images from: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. Dir. H Yamamoto. LIDENFILMS. 2019.

Number 2: The Promised Neverland

Such a promising, suspenseful and beautifully directed start to the Promised Neverland. While I will admit we’ve gradually been winding back the praise on this one, it was still a first episode well worth watching because so few anime manage that much characterisation, world building and intrigue in twenty minutes. Plus, the directions of this series has so far been really interesting though even that aspect seems to be winding down.

The Promised Neverland Episode 3 The Kids Train

I’m definitely with this one for the season and in terms of genre it is doing a great job of keeping my interest. Now that the anime is far enough ahead I’ve read the first volume of the manga and my interest is even more piqued by the potential for this plot. Still, there’s been some shaky characterisation in the last couple of episodes and that gorgeous direction seems to be giving way to more pedestrian approaches. It will be interesting to see if this one can hold its nerve to the end.

Prediction: This one may not stay quite so high on my list but it would have to make a serious downward turn to leave my top 5. Very much recommend trying this one.

Number 1: Run With The Wind

I do not think I ever believed that a sports anime (other than Yuri On Ice) would be topping my watch list and yet Run With The Wind has managed to build from strength to strength over its season. I doubt it is going to derail now and it has been exception at building up the cast of characters despite the large number of them. Add in great sound design and some interesting visual choices and we have a very solid anime.

Run With The Wind Episode 12 Kakeru

I like that this anime doesn’t seem willing to bite off more than it can chew. It knows what it is and it isn’t trying to be anything more than that. But it is working hard to deliver the story of these boys coming together as a team in an interesting manner and so far it has largely succeeded (though Kakeru’s back story dragged on a little too long). I’m very much caught up in this story at this point and hopefully it will nail the ending.

Prediction: This may not finish number one but it will definitely be up the top of my list. Consistent delivery of quality character work and competent narrative makes this an easy recommend.

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: SUMMERSET [DIGITAL COLLECTOR’S UPGRADE EDITION]
THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: SUMMERSET [DIGITAL COLLECTOR'S UPGRADE EDITION]