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.

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

Do you want to read more about The Ones Within?

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

Pathfinder 2e – My First Experience with a Table-Top RPG

Pathfinder 2e

I will admit, I was a bit surprised to be invited to play Pathfinder 2e or any edition by a friend, largely because I never really thought there’s be enough people keen to try out a TTRPG in my small town.

Having played Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, The Temple of Elemental Evil, and various other computer games based on the mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons I wasn’t totally new to the idea of TTRPGs I’d just never had the opportunity to play. See, you kind of need to know other people interested in playing them which is somewhat different from a computer game where you recruit your NPC helpers and off you go.

Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn even went so far as to allow you to set up a multiplayer game and run six characters all controlled by you in your party which was kind of fun but it meant party members didn’t have personal baggage for you to try to solve or mood swings that meant you had to keep on their good side to keep the party together.

But a friend of mine in town was a real fan of TTRPGs and has played before and run games and so he invited myself and three others to go on a campaign.

Karandi Standard Full Transparent
I’m intrigued.

What has been the Pathfinder experience so far?

Now not being even a little bit familiar with Pathfinder that meant the first step was reading the rule book. Wow that’s a lot of reading and a lot of details that will swiftly be forgotten about various classes and spells and the like. Admittedly, I probably didn’t need to read the whole thing before beginning (and was told I could just refer to it as needed throughout) but I’m the person who when I got a new phone and answering machine sat on the floor with the manual for nearly two hours trying out each feature and step just to make sure I had clarity.

Yeah, I was never not going to read the manual.

I drew the line however at the various expansion books, bestiary and other extras and have stuck to a look in the book if needed policy.

That first feeling I had after reading through all of that though was being a little bit overwhelmed. I think I realised for the first time how different playing Pathfinder in real life was going to be from just opening a computer game that handled all the tracking of hit points and dice rolls and so on.

Karandi Surprised Transparent
So what are we doing?

Our GM, being the only one with actual experience playing, was really great. Long before we sat down for our first session we had a group chat where we were firing off questions and discussing what we wanted out of a campaign. We also started planning our characters, to be refined once we all got together.


Affiliate Link

Live a Live – RPG Game

On that note, I took one look at the character creation sheet and realised just how much scribbling and writing was going to take place and figured there had to be an easier way. And sure enough, there are several apps for that specifically for Pathfinder that various people have made. I had the GM check over one I was considering using and it had everything it needed and so we all kind of decided to use it as it will export the character sheet for us but we can track hit points and status conditions and whatever else we need to through the app (less chance of me losing it that way as well).

After initially playing around with a potential cleric character, and I might still try them at some point, I decided it would be more fun to be a sorcerer. Actually, I just kind of got intrigued by the whole bloodline idea and so started a new character file. Several hours later the idea of Emlyn, the human sorcerer with a Draconic bloodline and a background as a gambler was born.

I will admit, she’s now only level two but I’m pretty attached to her. I think my current self-interest is in keeping her alive long enough to get a bit stronger because right now even goblins are a bit of a problem.

My Pathfinder character - Emlyn

Probably just as well I went with that build over the cleric. As useful as the cleric may have been in combat turns out everyone in my party more or less went for characters with either self-interested goals or somewhat shady backgrounds (no one went full evil but we’re all willing to cross a few lines if needed). The cleric may have found themselves abandoned pretty early on or may have given up on the rest of the party in disgust which would have been a short run for my first attempt at Pathfinder.

Anyway, we’ve had three sessions playing, chatting, snacking and generally having a good time. Our GM fortunately has a whole range of models and dice and pretty much everything we needed though the rest of us are kind of really getting into Pathfinder. So much so that one member got the paid version of the app to give them access to everything and several of us have used various programs to build models of our characters to be printed (again, I’ll be really sad if my character dies at this point).

Admittedly, we haven’t got very far. We arrived in our first town after a few minor encounters, shopped a bit and joined a noble on an expedition he had planned into a dungeon. After he got injured (because we failed to detect an ambush) he more or less wanted to pull out but we convinced him to explore just a bit further (turns out I’m really good at persuading people) and then walked into the lair of someone really scary. Fortunately she didn’t stop us leaving but we found out by asking around in town we were very lucky we had enough sense not to start something with her because we’d most definitely have been wiped out.

Karandi Disappointed Transparent edited

Instead we parted ways with the noble, convinced the druid he’d hired to stay with us because she had some pretty good healing spells, and then we took a few jobs exterminating pests at the harbour to try to get a little bit tougher before we head back to the dungeon. Only I’m pretty sure we’ll go a different direction next time.

What is most fun so far about Pathfinder is after we call it a day and start packing up the dice and characters and wiping down the board where we’ve drawn the current locations that we all want to talk about everything we just went through and the decisions we made or didn’t make. That and of course planning the next session when we can all get together.

So my first experiences with Pathfinder and TTRPGs has so far been pretty positive and its been an interesting learning experience. Now I just need to figure out what choices to make as my level 2 sorceress goes up to level 3 in order to be a little more useful to the party.

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

Watch or Drop? Is Build Divide: Code Black Worth Watching?

Watch or Drop: Build Divide
Build Divide

Build Divide: Code Black weirdly already has a second season more or less confirmed despite its current very low rating on MAL and the general lack of people seemingly talking about this anime. It’s one of those weird cases where you wonder how an anime title got a second season when other shows that are just crying out for a sequel disappear and are forgotten.

Anyway, Build Divide is pretty much a tournament of challengers playing a card game and if they win enough they’ll get to fight a king. Reasons why vary and are pretty vague in the early episodes but if you enjoy watching people play Magic the Gathering or similar style games this anime might work for you.

Watch or Drop? Rules

Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.

  1. The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
  2. I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
Build Divide

First Impressions of Build Divide

I’ve never been in to watching other people play a game. I can’t even really stand watching people play sport. I like games and there are some sports I enjoy but the passive act of watching someone else has never really appealed. And so it is with Build Divide. While the first episode is an excellent explanation of the mechanics of the game at the core of this anime, you are essentially watching a tutorial for playing a card game.

Whether that level of detail elevates the experience of watching something like Build Divide over the less coherent card game based anime from the WIXOSS franchise where rules seemingly get dropped into the mix and plays don’t always follow established norms will really depend on what it is you look for in an anime based on a card game.

Let’s just say though, that outside of the match played in episode one and the match in episode two, there’s little else that is given much detail and one moment that makes me wonder if the story is going to make sense in Build divide.

Build Divide Series Positives:

If you were looking for an anime that has attention to detail as its core mechanic, Build Divide will have you covered. Each move the players make is explained aloud and in episode two we even get an external observer to the match to provide some commentary just in case we’re really not following.

Admittedly, for those not used to these sorts of games it will be kind of like being given a random deck of Magic cards and told to play a round (as in you’ll be pretty lost). For those used to standard card mechanics there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the game being played here other than it seems functional and you get cool holographic characters to play out the card attacks.

Build Divide

Outside of a pretty decent introduction to the game, and some reasonable visuals though I’m struggling for much that was distinctly good about these opening episodes (watched the first two). While nothing is overly broken, I also wasn’t exactly getting drawn into the characters and the plot is still too vague with the ‘beat the king’ being the only real goal established and the reasons for that are clouded over by yet another amnesiac protagonist.

Build Divide Series Negatives:

I have a few negatives for Build Divide, though overall this is pretty watchable if not all that interesting.

For instance in the first episode when Sakura runs into Teruto and he chases off her pursuer by drawing out a card and using it to slice his knife that looked pretty cool. But nowhere else in these first two episodes is it indicated that characters can use their cards outside of matches within the little barrier thing. More than that, how did his card effect something real like a knife?

It doesn’t make logical sense and there’s no explanation or even hint that this is going to be a thing in this story outside of this moment. So perhaps they just thought it looked cool but it makes the rules of the world much less clear because outside of this moment every time the characters use their cards they call one of the little floating ball things, erect a barrier and have an actual card match. No one seems to be just waving magic cards around in their every-day life.

Build Divide

Naturally there is still time for the anime to fill in that gap and explain it but it just stuck out so much to me in these first couple of episodes as not fitting with the rest of what I understood about what was going on.

It did look really cool though.

Then we have Sakura and Teruto, our main characters so far who between them still manage not to stumble upon an actual personality. In Teruto’s case he’s lost his memories (or something) but Sakura seems to exist just to explain stuff. She is given the motive of wanting to beat the king, knows she can’t so she decides to help Teruto, but outside of that she’s got nothing else going on.

Then, I’m putting that attention to detail in the matches as an overall negative because while it is interesting learning about the game, it just eats up episode time and while the first episode could get away with it because it was the audience’s introduction to the game as well, when episode two does it again you are kind of left with the impression that each episode is going to have about five minutes of thin set-up to give a reason to spend the rest of the episode playing a card game.


Karandi Bored Transparent

Honestly, I’m out. While Build Divide is not horrible and for some viewers may actually be pretty fun, I’ve found more than enough other anime in this Fall 2021 season that I don’t really feel compelled to sit through all the card rounds here. Maybe in a slower season I’ll come back to this but for now I’m just done.

As always though I’d love to know your thoughts so if you checked out Build Divide be sure to leave a comment below.

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

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

Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Review – Preposterous Excuse For a Super-Powered Smack-Down

Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Review

When I initially wrote my watch or drop post for Battle Game in 5 Seconds after viewing the first three episodes, I certainly acknowledged that this anime wasn’t shooting to become a work of art or even break free of its own genre trappings. That said, I was vaguely optimistic about it delivering at least a decent amount of entertainment within those genre constraints.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Alas, by mid-season it became clear that generic was the best Battle Game in 5 Seconds was going to aspire to and by the end of the season not only were the characters and plot disappointing but even the visuals (which weren’t ever amazing) seemed to take a decided dip in quality. Seriously, the final battle of this series is almost unwatchable and most of the characters look like they are barely moving.

I actually wouldn’t have minded this anime never rising above being a generic survival kind of game. There’s certainly fun to be had with that particular genre. However given the story is incomplete, character motives feel shallow at best, and the central gimmick of only being able to use their battle abilities five seconds after the fight starts and they are released is cast aside for most of the second half of the series, there’s very little left to recommend even starting this anime when it is in such an over-crowded field.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Battle Game in 5 Seconds feels like a good idea with no direction.

The basic set-up of Battle Game in 5 Seconds is actually pretty interesting. While Akira isn’t the most original protagonist, his obsession with games and winning means he doesn’t waste too much time whining when he’s whisked into the death matches and uses his head to fight. That could be interesting enough even if he was a bit on the bland side.

The use of the wrist bands to restrain their powers and only releasing them after 5 seconds meant that characters weren’t just able to go power crazy and were more or less forced to follow along with the games and that was enough to keep this feeling like it had its own identity.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

The early set-up with each character spending time in their room before being moved to the site of the next ‘game’ worked well enough even if it didn’t feel terribly original, and you could kind of buy that some secret organisation had built this facility, kidnapped all these people, performed some kind of experiment on them to give them powers, and you know the talking cat-girl who seemed to be in charge could have just been an anime quirk.

But the plot quickly veers away from this set-up. After the first few rounds and the introductions to a handful of characters, Akira, Yuuri and others move into this massive outdoor zone where three teams of players have more or less formed and are fighting each other. What makes it a bit odd is that the notion of Battle Game in 5 Seconds kind of falls away here with characters seemingly using their powers whenever they want.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Throw in that any plausibility of this game and experiment goes out the window when you see how many characters are here and the size of the space they are in, plus there’s no longer any kind of controlled experiment going on here, this is just a power free-for-all, and it kind of means you just watch the second half as characters smack each other around, make plans, prove themselves smarter or tougher than other characters, and a series of events leads to a resolution of sorts but the overall plot is still completely unresolved.

Of course, Battle Game in 5 Seconds is listed as a supernatural anime and it is very clearly drawing influences from games and the super power genres so the lack of credibility of this scene change can be excused. However you end up with a very different type of story from Akira taking on the game makers and wanting to beat them at their own game to the usual kind of brawl between over-powered characters, most of which don’t get anywhere near long enough to really be established or sympathised with.

That and some of the powers are just plain ridiculous.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

I’d love to discuss the characters of Battle Game in 5 Seconds but outside of Akira and Yuuri, most of the others barely get an introduction and basically boil down to simple descriptions. The shy girl, the cocky guy, the sadistic murderer, etc. Naturally Akira and Yuuri, being the protagonists, team up with the leader who tries to protect the elderly and children who end up in the battle zone so I guess they are the ‘good’ guys whereas the other team are lead by those who extort and enslave other survivors (clearly they are evil and must be destroyed).

It’s all a bit simple and immature in how it is set up. Even the final fight of the series ends up being a bit of a fizzle. Despite having a huge range of interesting and unique powers inevitably the story comes down to two guys punching at each other.

Of course, if done well and with enough energy and bombast, Battle Game in 5 Seconds could have still been a highly entertaining romp despite all these short-comings and yet by about episode 5 I felt this one was dragging. It actually ended up being a chore to finish and my response to the cliff-hanger at the end setting up another season that I don’t believe will ever occur (or potentially a read the source nod) was more or less to roll my eyes and just be glad that I was done.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Basically I can’t recommend Battle Game in 5 Seconds.

It isn’t done well enough to actually be good. It isn’t high energy enough or over-the-top enough to fall into the so-bad-it-is-good category. None of the characters ultimately amounted to much and the plot is a bit of a tone shifting mess. Visually it deteriorates as the series continues and nothing else really stands out enough to recommend it.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts so if you watched Battle Game in 5 Seconds be sure to leave me a comment below.

Images from: Battle Game in 5 Seconds. Dir. N Arai. SynergySp and Vega Entertainment. 2021

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

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS: From Beginning To End – A Journey of Loss and Longing

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS episodic thoughts

Airing in the FALL 2016 anime season, Lostorage Incited WIXOSS gave us a new and exciting instalment in the WIXOSS franchise. Girls playing a card game with deadly consequences – what could go wrong?

Here are my episodic thoughts as I watched during the season. If you want the full series review it is available here.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 1:

After kind of liking but not being into the original Selector Infected WIXOSS (and never quite understanding if that name was supposed to mean anything) I wasn’t really up for Lostorge Incited WIXOSS. Then I read a couple of fairly solid reviews on episode 1 and decided to check it out.

It’s definitely WIXOSS and that means for me it is watchable and entertaining but I’m always feeling a little bit at arms length from the story. The main character this time, Suzuko, is the kind of simpering and indecisive heroine I find grating and our main setup seems t obe around the fact that her childhood friend has also been made a selector.

The card battles themselves are where I find this series really loses me. Sometimes they have to end their turns, othertimes they attack when it seems like its the opponents turn, and they seem to pull attacks and cards out of nowhere because we don’t actually know what they can do so there’s no real tension going in to the first battle (because as if they are going to wipe out the main character in episode 1).

I did like that this season of WIXOSS isn’t trying to hide the nature of the game from the audience or the selectors (although I suspect that we’ll still find twists a plenty). If it feels like I’m being negative, I don’t actually mean to be. This is a fairly solid first episode  and doesn’t require knowledge of the other stories in the franchise so if you haven’t checked it out and you are looking for dark magical girls playing a battle card game (and let’s be honest, who isn’t looking for that) then you will get exactly what you expect going into this.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS is available on Crunchyroll.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 2:

Shifting focus to the other of the childhood friends, this week we follow Chi around as her carefully constructed life essentially falls apart in a series of unfortunate occurrences and bad choices. With nothing left to lost the final battle of this episode kind of defines what happens when good girls go bad and now I feel really bad for when Suzu finally finds her because this is going to hurt. A lot.

Previous seasons of WIXOSS prepare you for emotional pain but this season has hit the go button right from the start so it is hard to imagine just what these characters are going to go through before the end but I’m really looking forward to following that journey. I’m just kind of hoping someone comes out of it okay.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 3:

This week we are back with Suzuko, mostly. She’s still freaking out about the whole fighting others thing but does eventually enter a match.

Sister complex boy was interesting and tells us what it means to disappear, though this was kind of unnecessary given column writing girl takes the last coin from another Selector and we get shown first hand what it means to disappear. It kind of makes you wonder why they duplicate the information in this episode.

We also learn about a Bookmaker which may have felt like a bit of intrigue for future episodes except the preview of the next episode kind of tells you more information and takes a bit of the mystery away. This episode isn’t as emotionally confronting as last week but does show us a range of Selectors and how they are dealing with (or running away from) being chosen.

Now, not part of the review but a question: Why don’t the Selectors just battle the same person back and forth and agree to lose every second match? Is the time limit something imposed in total (as in if they don’t get five coins after so long they lose anyway)? Anyway, just wondering.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 4:

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS

Hanna is fast becoming one of my favourite characters even though at times her stilted speech pattern seems really affected and a little bit silly. Her inclusion in the story kind of balances out the tragic friendship tale brewing between Chi and Suzuko.

On that note, this week we met the Bookmaker and he is one creepy character. The fact that he isn’t a Selector and therefore not tied into the game against his will just makes him even more loathsome as he seemingly gets off on the desperation of others and while he doesn’t promise them an easy match he certainly implies that a Selector has hope when they do not.

Plus, his threat to Hanna and Suzuko may have been a joke but they can’t ignore the fact that it is possible he’ll work to block them from finding matches on their own which given the time limit on their coins would be a real issue.

As the episode title suggested this week, Chi and Suzuko reunite but it is all a little bit too late. Chi is quite clearly  a little bit broken after the emotional damage she took in episode 2.

All and all, this is a great episode and progresses the plot nicely (if by nicely you read that the writers are working very hard at stomping on any glimmers of hope a character may find). Thoroughly enjoyable though no actual information is given about what the end game might be. This is all character focussed and the game of WIXOSS remains as inscrutable as ever.


Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 5:

Lostorage Incited Wixoss kind of fell flat this week and the reason is because we don’t gain anything from this episode. Certainly we consolidate the fall out from Chi and Suzu’s reunion and Hanna and Suzu finally face off (an event which has been on the cards since episode 1) but we learn nothing new about the game or even the characters involved.

While consolidation is all well and good, and setting things up for Hanna to finally get her 5 coins so we can find out what happens next, is interesting enough, there isn’t really anything in this episode that will make you sit up and take notice. Even the battle between Hanna and Suzu is pretty predictable given their relative personalities and what we’ve seen of them fighting so far.

All and all a watchable but unexciting entry in a show that needs to find its direction fast now that we’ve got our characters firmly established.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 6:

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS

I’m thinking the combination of the Bookmaker and Chinatsu is going to be an absolute recipe for disaster in Lostorage Incited WIXOSS; the truly great to watch kind of disaster.

While there is still no end game in sight for the actual game, the relationship between Suzuku and Chinatsu has definitely hit a critical turning point. Chi isn’t just rejecting her friendship anymore, she is openly wanting to overwrite anything and everything connected to it.

As justification for this, she’s re-examining her childhood memories and tainting them with her current self-loathing. While she might have had ulterior motives as a child, it kind of seems like she’s definitely allowing her current emotional state to overshadow anything that was ever any good about her friendship. We also get the interesting idea that maybe changing a memory could change the world but given this thought is floated from a child who has lost her mother it seems more likely that this is wishful thinking that is destined to be shattered.

All and all, this show continues to deliver a nice emotional roller coaster even while the plot kind of stands still and waits for the character to all get to the appropriate level of desperate before progressing.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 7:

Lostorage gets points for finally having a character (Shou) suggest what I asked a few weeks ago. Why don’t they just trade coins back and forth until the arbitrary 90 days runs out? Well, Hanna has an answer. Because you will still lose coins and not have all 5 at the end which means memories will still be lost. That’s a nice bit of exposition and effectively cuts out the only escape route I could see for the characters so well played.

Now that I’m done being complimentary, I’m going to honestly say I didn’t like this episode (and yet it was clearly affective at something because here I am well and truly blowing my 100 words talking about it). The start is dull with Suzuko bribing Hanna into teaching her about WIXOSS (but not us because why would you reveal anything to the audience) and then Suzuko and Shou meet for a walk down memory lane of how sweet Chinatsu used to be (okay, that’s not why they met but it is where the scene went).

The only importance of this scene is to show you just how far Chinatsu has gone toward the dark side (I had to) when she later sweet talks Shou into playing her and then absolutely crushes him without any mercy.

Now, I don’t mind characters who are deceptive or a bit nasty but my issue with Chinatsu is she threw off the chains that were tying her down and threw away Suzuko so that she could be whoever she wanted to be and this is it. She wanted to be the world’s most heartless badass card player. Yay for you. You’re officially a horrible person by your own choice and actions.

I was kind of hoping that Suzuko would eventually get through to Chi and even if bad stuff happened somehow both these two would survive until the end but now I’m kind of hoping that Suzuko actually takes Hanna’s lessons to heart and crushes Chi because to be honest, she’s got it coming.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 8:

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS

This was a really good episode and it felt like we hit a turning point for the series as we head toward the end. That said, I am about to reveal some critical information from the episode so if you haven’t watched it yet you may want to go do that first.

Really, really impressed with the truth revealed about the Bookmaker. It was one idea I’d considered but I’d half dismissed it and just assumed he would either be another player in the game or really just a sadist who genuinely enjoyed messing with others. The reality that he was a LRIG and is now in a human body gives his characterisation so much more reason as well as his genuine disdain for people.

This part of the episode was by far the best though I think Chinatsu’s decision not to hand in Shou’s contract was also kind of interesting as it gave her a small amount of redeemability (probably not an actual word really) as a character.

The weakest part of the episode was the declaration that Suzuko is stronger or changed which came through Hanna and then Hanna’s LRIG directly stating it. We don’t actually see much of a difference in Suzuko herself. Definitely a case of telling over showing so I kind of hope next week gives Suzuko some screen time so she can in fact reinforce the fact that she’s come somewhere as a character.

All and all, WIXOSS has continued to be an entertaining trip and as long as it all comes together this could be a fairly strong series.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 9:

We now have a clear link back to the other installments in the WIXOSS franchise but they’ve done this in a way that even those with limited familiarity will still be fine to follow the plot. Also, we finally find out what happens when you have all five golden coins.

This episode is intense. From Chinatsu ignoring warnings and continuing to bull-headedly believe that she’s now free and choosing her own path, to the LRIGs and the various games they are playing, to the object lesson of what some LRIGs think of being human, to the final battle and reveal, there is so much going on and parts of this episode get dark. It was a job to watch but definitely not light viewing.

This season of WIXOSS is delivering a fairly solid emotional experience though the question of whether they can wrap up their story in a satisfactory manner still remains.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 10:

While it isn’t hard to see the tragedy part of this episode, the comedy (even allowing that we go with an old school definition where characters simply triumph over adversity rather than looking for humour) is kind of missing which is strange given the episode title. What we have instead is some of the bleakest moments this series has given us so far.

While Suzuko is getting stronger and Hanna is reconnecting with her sister after the massive shock last week, Chinatsu and Shou’s lives are literally coming apart at the seams leading to a final moment, that doesn’t shock because you see it coming fairly early on but it certainly squashes your heart just a little bit and leaves you feeling just that little bit more hollow than you did before.

But while WIXOSS continues to be emotionally quite moving, the story really isn’t getting any clearer and if anything the Bookmaker made things even more confusing with some of his contradictory statements during his two battles this episode.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 11:

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS

So many shows  are delivering disappointing last and second last episodes but WIXOSS has been an exception to the trend as it refocuses squarely on Chinatsu and Suzuko, which has been the relationship that has really driven the events of this series.

I must say that Shou is going to get my vote for most tragic character in 2016 because his death (disappearance, replacement, whatever) was probably the most pointless and preventable. It was so incredibly tragic and the only mildly interesting part is that it shakes Chi enough that she can finally confront herself when fighting Suzuko.

Too bad it took the death of the one actually nice human being in the show to get her to start coming out of her downward spiral. However, with the conflict between Chinatsu and Suzuko all but wrapped up and Hanna finally facing life after WIXOSS (great name for a song mind-you), all that is left is what to do about the Bookmaker and whether either Chinatsu or Suzuko are  stupid enough to try to fight him.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 12:

Okay, they have a second season of this coming so apparently don’t expect a neat little bow around anything. That said, the focus for most this season has been Suzuko and Chinatsu and this episode finishes their story quite nicely with Suzuko taking the lead for once and Chinatsu finally supporting her rather than trying to tear her down.

The show down between Suzuko and the Bookmaker was actually pretty interesting except that as always we don’t really know the rules of the game so it really just looked like they were pulling cards out of nowhere to one-up the other. While I’m not sure whether or not I’m up for another run of this, I really did enjoy this series and I’m looking forward to doing a whole review on it.

Images from: Lostorage Incited WIXOSS. Dir. K Sakurabi. J.C.Staff. 2016

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

Watch or Drop? Is Full Dive Worth Watching?

Full Dive Watch or Drop
Full Dive - How many people would actually want a game to reproduce pain?
Why would anyone want a game that does that, Full dive?

Watch or Drop? Rules

Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.

  1. The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
  2. I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
The best friend and childhood friend - yet neither want to explain why he can't leave the city (at least not properly). 
Full Dive gets off to a rocky start.
And why can’t the friends simply explain their reasoning to Hiro? Communicate.

First Impressions of Full Dive:

Right off the bat the premise was always going to be a problem. That someone made a game that would reproduce real life, including pain, just strikes me as a terrible marketing decision and I’m sure two seconds of research would have convinced those who bank-rolled the game Kiwame Quest that it was a stupid idea.

More importantly, assuming the game did get made and assuming our protagonist was ‘tricked’ into purchasing the game, why would he log in again after the first experience. Full Dive seems to have wanted an excuse to put their protagonist through the wringer and they weren’t too picky about how they got to the point where they could torture the main character in episode 3.

Sure, they are overly exaggerating the reactions of characters and every character’s personality is way over the top in an attempt to play it as comedy, but realistically we’ve seen a teenager boy get beaten up for asking questions, accidentally kill someone, get pursued by guards, betrayed by another player, led in chains through the street and stoned before being haunted by a ghost and chained to a table and almost had his leg cut off.

Not entirely sure I’m getting the humour of it all.

That said, I also didn’t stop watching prior to the end of the first three episodes of Full Dive so there’s something about it.

Full Dive Series Positives:

I’m actually struggling a little here.

So far we have awful characters who have either endured awful things or done awful things playing an awful game where so far only bad things have happened.

It doesn’t even really look that great.

Full Dive - Hiro's sister lets him know how she's feeling about his hobby.
Ah, a supportive little sister.

On the other hand, an anime doesn’t need to be sunshine and rainbows to be enjoyable. I’m just not entirely sure what the appeal is here. Part of me wants to know what it will take before Hiro genuinely doesn’t log back into the game again. The end of episode 3 of Full Dive has him declaring he’s over the game, but that seems unlikely given where we are in the story.

The other part of me wants to see if these negative experiences ultimately lead to something worthwhile. Let’s be real, even before Hiroshi started playing the game his life wasn’t exactly going great. While I don’t need a happy ending, it would be kind of nice to see that through overcoming his current tribulations maybe he finds something better.

Or maybe Full Dive really is just about making the character as miserable as possible. I guess I won’t know if I don’t keep watching.


Full Dive Series Negatives:

I kind of feel perhaps the biggest negative for me so far is that Full Dive: The Ultimate Next-Gen Full Dive RPG is Even Shittier Than Real Life! is labelled as a comedy and while I can kind of see some exaggeration for comedic effect, I’m not exactly seeing this as funny.

That’s naturally a subjective point of view but without this actually landing in the funny category, mostly it is just depressing and a little bit morbid. Then again, others who have reviewed Full Dive found it delivered on laughs so maybe this will work for you.

Full Dive - Really knows how to make you pay for your mistakes.
It isn’t like he did it on purpose. I doubt he could have done it on purpose.

That said, I am kind of curious still about where they will take the premise. It is nice to see a character in a video game who doesn’t get instantly stronger and isn’t automatically recognised as a hero. In an over-saturated genre of being trapped in a video game, Full Dive has taken the path of Bofuri in that the character isn’t technically trapped, but then has dialled up the difficulty to Aincrad SAO levels if it had an insane mode that also made pain a thing.

Still, what it might be isn’t what it has done and in three episodes this one has been visually dull, the voice acting consists of a lot of shouting and whining, and so far I haven’t found a single character that I actually sympathise with, care about, or really want to spend time with.

I think I like the idea of Full Dive far more than I am liking the anime.


Karandi Shrug Transparent

I actually don’t know just yet if I am going to finish Full Dive or not. I probably will because it made me curious and that’s perhaps my greatest weakness. That said, after trying three episodes, I wouldn’t exactly be telling anyone else they should be checking this one out. There’s plenty of anime out there with similar ideas that have been done better.

Maybe Full Dive will change my mind before the end but I’m not that optimistic.

Images from: Full Dive. Dir. K Miura. ENGI. 2021.

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

BOFURI Series Review

Bofuri Review

I don’t want to get hurt, so I’ll max out my defence – not just the title but the pretty much the whole plot.

Bofuri: I Don’t Want To Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense (or Itai no wa iya nano de bougyoryoku ni kyokufuri shitai to omoimasu) joins the list of anime that really just needed a much shorter title. No surprise the source of this one is also a light novel and so the ongoing trend of light novel authors cramming their entire premise into their title continues. And with that, I’m out of complaints about BOFURI.

It isn’t that BOFURI is genre defining, a marvel of animation, or even that the characters have a lot of depth. Realistically on almost any particular attribute that you could measure the quality of an anime, BOFURI would come up pretty much average.

What that doesn’t account for though is the fact that somehow when you mix all the ingredients together somehow they’ve managed to cobble together a combination that no matter how absurd they push the over-powered nature of the main character and no matter how low the stakes are and regardless of the fact that the cute and sweet main characters in this story decide in one of the final conflicts of the series that the best way to win is to just slaughter all the competitors (yeah, that happens).

Despite all of those things, BOFURI is one of those shows that episode after episode just leaves you smiling and feeling pretty happy about the world.

Sally and Maple gushing over their new pets - BOFURI
While normally characters shouldn’t review their own story, Sally and Maple here are pretty much summing it up.

I started watching BOFURI as it was airing back in Winter 2020 but didn’t finish it due to my unscheduled break. So it made sense that I would pick it up and finish it off now that I’ve returned. As I watched I wondered just how it was I managed to take a break in the first place.

For those who don’t know, BOFURI uses the tired old characters playing a game setting that we’ve seen a million times. Naturally it is a virtual reality so complete it may as well just be its own fantasy world except for all the game gimmicks such as skills and levelling up. Where it is a little different from other similar anime is that the characters aren’t trapped here, they log in and out at will, there’s no evil conspiracy at play, and basically there’s no stakes at all.

Kaede (who will be called Maple in the game) tries out the game at the behest of her in-real-life friend and as the title suggests she decides that she doesn’t want to experience pain and so she puts all her skills into defense. It leads to an unorthodox playing style and she begins to acquire quite a collection of unusual and ultimately game breaking skills becoming increasingly over-powered and gathering an assortment of odd-ball players around her as she starts a guild and they take on various events.

Now even without any external pressures or villains, this set up could still allow for the guild to make enemies and be striving toward clearing the game or something however Maple and best friend Sally remain true to their absolute goal of having fun playing. Whether they are wiping out other players in an event, splashing around in water, clearing a dungeon, or just hanging out with their guild, they are all about enjoying themselves and the tone of the story reflects this.

Where other game based anime would look at the choices people make in games, such as the choices to kill other players, as some kind of moral guide for how people behave in reality, here they just let the players have fun and the final episode actually has several guilds coming together with Maple Tree (Maple’s guild) to celebrate the previous event even though they had been on the receiving end of Maple’s severe over the top skills.

Turtle cannon - BOFURI
Okay, it is over the top but it is also adorable.

However, it is because the characters are genuinely just having fun that the audience can too. It really is a joy watching them get increasingly more ridiculous skills and watching the interesting ways they utilise them in the various challenges. Even rival characters are actually pretty good people who just want to play the game their way and enjoy it.

The glimpses of the game chat show a genuinely positive gaming community who are fascinated by Maple’s journey and the game-masters themselves are frequently baffled by her actions but seem pretty curious about what she’ll do next. In other-words, incredibly fictional compared to most actual gaming communities where there is always a fair number of people who insist on being trolls despite the general community largely just wanting to play the game.


Now, I will admit, usually something where there is no particular end goal for the plot or characters and where there seem to be zero internal or external stakes I would get bored or start wondering what the point of all of it is. Realistically if there was a second season of this, I might even end up feeling that way about BOFURI. However, for 12 episodes they managed to be consistently entertaining and spread out the power-ups, skills and events nicely so there was always something new to enjoy just around the corner.

Maple Tree guild members - BOFURI
Yep, BOFURI did keep blowing my expectations away.

It also helps that the action in this game world is good. The way damage is shown through purple cubes, the movements of the characters, the way skills manifest… while it isn’t the most remarkable animation around it never gets dull to watch. There’s also some good pace to both the action and even the more slice of life moments as nothing really lingers too long or starts becoming dull.

Honestly, there’s not a lot more to say. It is a bright and happy anime about characters playing an RPG and enjoying it. The powers and skills they learn are quite ridiculous (ludicrous even by the end) but that just makes it more fun. I absolutely loved this and finished the series with a smile knowing that my initial worry that Maple would get dull mid-way through the series never came to fruition. Maple was highly entertaining from start to finish if for no other reason than I also wanted to know just what she would do next.

Images used for review from: Bofuri. Dir. S. Oonuma. Silver Link. 2020.

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

The Ones Within Review Episodes 10 – 12


Unresolved To The End


Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu] Episodes 10 – 12

Affiliate Link – Nendoroid

The Ones Within remained an oddity right until the end. We have those who have dropped out of the games below the complex and yet other than one flash to them during the end of episode 12 that plot line goes nowhere. Instead, after recovering their companion from the white room the group go right back into the games for episodes 11 and 12.

Glad these two weren’t in charge of completing the puzzle.

Now there’s nothing wrong with either episode. They have some random moments and the whole concept remains pretty weird, and it all has a sense that maybe somehow it will go somewhere. Yet, now that the series is finished the bottom-line is that the anime just leaves us hanging with the kids still about 30 million views off finishing and no clue what happens if they actually succeed. Then there was this random sequence that looked like maybe they were older and back home but it could have been someone else and we won’t get any explanation of that either.


While the lack of ending will probably mean I won’t end up recommending this one when I do a full review, I have to admit, there were more episodes that succeeded than didn’t in this anime and episodes 10 – 12 are all very entertaining. Watching the four characters who were given a child AI that needed to be made happy interacting with the rest of the group was great and it gave us some insight into Makino. The casino set up was also kind of fun as it put each personality on display in their approach to gambling.


Affiliate Link – Nendoroid
Legend of Zelda - Zelda

Basically, The Ones Within remained far more watchable than its score on MAL would suggest and is an anime I’ve enjoyed this season. While none of the characters have moved on from their ‘type’ the interactions within the group and the way they respond in the various games work really well and these final episodes put that aspect fully on display. Besides, watching a fish blossom out of someone’s head is certainly entertaining, and Iride’s solution of hugging monsters to befriend them continues to be an amusing approach to conflict.


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

Do you want to read more about The Ones Within?

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

The Ones Within Review Episode 9


The White Puzzle


Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu] Episode 9

A much better episode from The One’s Within than episode 8 though I can’t help but accept it has lost momentum and despite being a pretty interesting episode there’s a general sense that this isn’t going to end up getting to an actual ending. Still, Onigasaki’s disappearance causes the group to unite in a way they hadn’t really before and I’m actually genuinely surprised at Iride’s approach in this episode. I kind of expected him to try to be nice to the llama to persuade him but instead he went for a straight ultimatum.


Faced with a hostile prisoner and a group that has decided to boycott any further games until he’s returned, the llama offers a compromise of sorts and gives them a game where the prize is saving their friend. Unfortunately, the llama has a terrible sense of humour and the game is finding a code to a room by assembling a giant white puzzle. Talk about driving people crazy.


Meanwhile though, Onigaski has discovered a tunnel out of the white room. Given the surveillance everywhere in this story I am genuinely surprised that no one is tracking him when he does this. But he meets up with a group underground who are apparently also those who have escaped the room and we learn that the games are taking place on an island and the number of the avenue seems to refer to the group number. Which makes me wonder if 13th is ominous in this instance or does that not apply as an unlucky number given this is not a western story?


Affiliate Link – Soundtrack

Roro seems particularly put out by the white puzzle game and  I’m back to wondering why she had the papers in her room and what message the llama was trying to send to her by his targeted comment. There’s a lot to think about but I doubt I’ll get to a conclusion with the clues we have and I’ll just have to wait to find out.


So, will they crack the code in time? Will Onigasaki actually be in the room when they get there? Will Oshigiri be reunited with his sister? And, is there actually a ghost mermaid in the water?

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

Do you want to read more about The Ones Within?

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

The Ones Within Review Episode 8


Hot Springs… Meh


Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu] Episode 9

This was kind of a nothing episode. I mean, stuff happened, I’m just not sure any of it mattered until the very end. Which is possibly what they were aiming for with lulling s into a false sense of fanservice outdoor bath shenanigans before dropping an actual bombshell, but in honesty between being exhausted in general from work this week and then feeling nearly lulled to sleep in the early stages of this episode, by the time we got to the ‘dramatic’ ending I was largely indifferent and kind of just thought, ‘oh’.


Anyway, the characters are recovering from the game of hide and seek and Pakka suggests they take advantage of the bath. Before that happens though Roro and Onigasaki are deep in conversation that seems serious but turns out to be an utter red herring. And yet, Onigasaki has the information on each of the characters taken from Roro’s room during hide and seek so maybe there was something important first.


Affiliate Link – Game

The guys then go to the bath and find that Pakka is already in the bath, llama head and suit still on. Iride is more or less unphased and jumps in anyway but after a little bit of silliness, Pakka is kicked out by the others and then he swaps the signs around. When the girls arrive, they enter the same bath as the boys and well exactly what you would expect to happen does.


Still, that information from earlier turns out to be important as Onigasaki reads his own information and then goes with his sword higher up the tower. Then we find out it’s the next morning and he’s gone missing before we find out he’s been placed in the white room.


This probably would have worked better if I hadn’t watched it while exhausted. I really can’t even process whether any of this matters or not. I guess we’ll find out next week if being in the white room is a problem or whether there are any stakes here.

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

Do you want to read more about The Ones Within?

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