Full Dive Series Review – So I Watched An Anime About A Guy Playing A Terrible Game and Hoped It Would Get Better, Sigh.

Full Dive Series Review

Curiosity killed the cat. In this case, curiosity had me finish watching Full Dive despite a number of concerns I had after the first three episodes when I did my watch or drop post. At the time I put this one as a maybe but curiosity got the better of me and I did the ‘just one more episode’ thing right to the conclusion.

Needless to say, it didn’t get any better.

However, it also didn’t get any worse so I guess if you enjoyed the opening episodes Full Dive is going to work for you.

Full Dive – Doesn’t Pretend To Be What It Is Not

Full Dive - reviewing their own anime.
How many times do I tell characters not to review their own anime?

Alright, so Full Dive, or ‘Full Dive: The Ultimate Next-Gen Full Dive RPG Is Even Shittier than Real Life!’ is pretty much what you would expect from the premise. The protagonist, Hiroshi Yuuki gets ‘tricked’ into buying the game and then refuses to quit because of the money spent despite going through some fairly horrific situations.

Then he refuses to quit for reasons that don’t quite make sense but occasionally things go well for him, until the next line pulls the rug out from under him and he ends up in either the same or a worse situation than he was in.


I get the whole anime obsession with never giving up and the power of ‘will’ but even for a comedy Full Dive takes it to an extreme that is just not plausible.

Forget Hiroshi, nobody would play this game.

Actually, I think people would sooner log into Sword Art Online even knowing they’d be trapped there until someone cleared it than play this game.

Full Dive- Hiroshi realising the end is here

Now, I was curious about the idea of a game striving for ultimate realism. I mean, the word ‘ultimate’ makes that sound cool until you realise the reason most people play games is to experience something they can’t in real life. If you only allow a player the skills and strength they have in real life and go out of your way to make the game almost impossible to beat, it really isn’t going to appeal.

But Full Dive takes it a step further and doesn’t even stay true to ultimate realism. Sure, when it is convenient to kick Hiroshi while he’s down they are all about realism. But then we have the guy who moves at lightning speed and the best friend who suddenly becomes a knife wielding maniac who can take down a goblin with a pair of fruit knives.

So we’re watching a character we can’t sympathise with, because he put himself in the predicament, play a game that wouldn’t be any fun anyway, and the game isn’t even consistent with its premise and we don’t meet a single character or player in either the real world or in the game that actually makes this feel somehow worthwhile.

Full Dive - everybody sucks
Everybody, and that includes NPCs, sucks in this anime.

Now, I guess we could just forget logic for a moment and accept this is a comedy and is supposed to exaggerate things and set up absurd scenarios. However, what it seems to have forgotten is making it fun.

What fun is there in seeing the main character beaten down again and again? Not just physically but emotionally. And by his sister, his supposed guide, the walkthrough, and every single NPC. As much as Hiroshi isn’t a likeable character, seeing what he goes through in this anime is actually kind of painful to watch and while he gets a small bit of light right at the end of Full Dive it isn’t anywhere near enough to justify the torture this character was put through.

Nor can I sympathise with him because he put himself in the situation and he literally never improves. He is awful at everything and even after learning that his skills in the game reflect real life he continues to expect to magically improve or have some made sword skills without doing anything to earn them.

Not to mention he literally just screams and shouts every-time anything goes wrong. Literally. Every. Single. Time.

And I guess, potentially seeing a character so traumatised they pee themselves could be considered funny in some contexts but Full Dive certainly doesn’t make it seem like a laughing matter and more just kind of sad.

Full Dive- It's not a joke
Full Dive – Not all that funny.

However, while we’re on the topic of terrible characters, we should discuss Reona. Again, I get that they are using her for comedic effect at times but her personality is all over the place and I don’t think she’s even once actually helpful as a guide.

The standard ‘joke’ in Full Dive goes:

Hiroshi wonders how to overcome some obstacle without actually trying anything on his own first.

Reona, as the fairy guide, offers a ‘helpful’ suggestion.

Hiroshi yells at her that it won’t help or demands more information she never has.

Hiroshi ends up doing the thing anyway.

It ends badly.

Reona makes some kind of quip or shrugs at Hiroshi’s expense.

He either inwardly cringes or shouts at her again.

Rinse and repeat.


Full Dive - Reona offers help
Thanks Reona, want to offer some useful advice now?

I do fully understand that I’m not hugely into comedy but I’m really struggling to see who the audience for this is. It isn’t slap-stick or good humoured violence but rather quite cruel and disturbing. The characters are scathing to one another and watching Full Dive is like watching awful people emotionally tear each other apart episode after episode and somehow being winked at by the characters like we’re meant to be in on the joke.

You know what really bugs me about all of this?

If they’d not tried to make it a joke and actually just explored what a game that was made to be made with ultimate realism was like and had a main character I could sympathise with as he went through some of these trials, there’s still actually an interesting story and concept here.

It was that interesting concept and potential that kept me watching Full Dive however really this anime squandered every opportunity it had and instead we get a reasonably awful anime of a a terrible character playing a terrible game.

That said, it isn’t unwatchably horrific and ultimately the story kind of works even if it didn’t suit me so this isn’t worst anime ever material. Just not really worth the time it takes to watch.

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

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