Pop Goes The Fear Ghoul?

Boogiepop wa Warawanai post title image

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 12 Review

I’m going to keep this super brief. This episode we meet the murderer guy and it turns out he killed Nagi’s dad because he was digging into the death of a middle-schooler who may have evolved or whatever. Jump ahead and the murderer guy is now investigating the fear ghoul because the victims are mounting and he runs into Nagi who is also investigating.

It’s all a little bit contrived and at the same time kind of gratifying given it brings things together in a way they really haven’t come together before. Still, there’s not much else to say about the episode.

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 13 Review

Then we get episode 13 which is the end of this arc. I’d like to say we learned something profound, but mostly things come to a natural conclusion. Natural in only a way that Boogiepop can do natural meaning there’s some mental gymnastics involved in making sense of anything but at least we get to watch Nagi fighting again. So far that has been the highlight of the series.


Actually, watching the initial connection between Boogiepop and Nagi forming was kind of fun in general. It kind of puts stuff that has happened in the other stories into a little more context, even if the whole ‘Echoes planet being destroyed’ part was still very weird and didn’t really fit with anything else that was going on in the story.


I’m actually still not sure in general why we needed aliens in this story. Though it would probably help if I paid a little more attention but I can’t help but find my focus drifting during each episode. The slow pace and monotone nature of the dialogue certainly doesn’t help.

But, that arc is done and there’s still episodes out so I’ll probably review another two next week to try to catch up with this one.

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

Goblin Slayer Series Review


He’s Not Trying To Save The World – He Just Wants To Slay Some Goblins

If you were on any kind of social media during the last months of 2018 then you probably caught some of the Goblin Slayer rape/infant killing controversy after episode one aired. Fortunately, after the storm died down and more thoughtful posts and commentary started coming out, most people seemed to agree that largely the problem could have been solved by the various streaming services providing sensible classification or warnings prior to the show airing and only a few extremists were still calling for the entire show to be trashed and calling those who enjoyed it degenerates.


Wow, I love it when people make a judgement over your entire existence based on your preference of fictional stories. That said, I don’t want this review to turn into a debate about censorship and I kind of covered my thoughts on this whole thing in a feature about triggers back when episode one first aired so I’m just going to get on with reviewing the anime now.

Still, the need for a warning label on this anime does exist because it does have content that some people will find distressing. I’d strongly recommend not watching it if you know that you don’t like shows where female characters are subjected to sexual assault or if buckets of blood flying about the screen in fight sequences is going to make you feel queasy.


The problem with that though is that while these things are in Goblin Slayer, it isn’t really what the show is about. Quite a few reviews I’ve read have criticised Goblin Slayer for not being as dark as Berserk or for being toothless. While Goblin Slayer does explore some of the darker aspects of adventuring and the less noble side of killing creatures most other consider merely pests rather than facing off against demon kings, the story is essentially about the two main characters: Goblin Slayer and Priestess.


In the first episode we meet the Priestess as she joins up to become an adventurer, gets recruited into a party of rookies and more or less lead to her death by the overconfidence and cockiness of youth and general perceptions about the weakness of goblins. It’s a solid opening encounter that sets the tone for a world where adventurers can and do die particularly early in their careers and goblins might be individually weak but in a dark cavern with numbers on their side if you aren’t prepared you are in for a world of hurt. It’s also pretty confronting in that the fates of these nameless rookies are pretty tragic. Fortunately we haven’t spent enough time with them to feel we know them, but basic empathy for humans and knowing none of these characters were actually bad people, just inexperienced, makes the whole encounter leaving you with a slightly sick feeling in your stomach, which is more or less what it intended.

Goblin Slayer Episode 1

Fortunately, Priestess is rescued by Goblin Slayer and the two then form a partnership of sorts. The story follows the two as they learn from one another, the Priestess learning how to use her miracles to best effect for a party and about the tricks goblins use and how to beat them, and Goblin Slayer learning slowly how to interact with others and to trust others even if just a little bit.

Goblin Slayer Episode 9 Goblin Slayer and Sword Maiden

What this means is the story seems to sway back and forth between life and death encounters in dark dungeons and slower moments where the two go about their days in the guild and town preparing equipment, eating and drinking with others, and generally living their lives. It is this two toned approach that seemed to annoy some viewers who stuck around after episode one. I think they might have expected the violence just to keep going and not let up, but the point of the story isn’t to be violent. Violence happens in the world being constructed but it isn’t all there is to life. That is what Goblin Slayer is needing to learn and his removal of his helmet in the guild in the final episode is a good sign that he is finally starting to realise he doesn’t need to be the armed Goblin Slayer 24 hours a day.


That might seem like a small step but it is some massive character progress for him and it builds on dozens of small exchanges peppered throughout the series.

Priestess is no slouch either really stepping up in the final fight to both immobilise the final boss and to heal Goblin Slayer. She uses his plan and her own decisions to get the outcome she decides is best.

However, in case it seems like I just keep heaping praise on this series, I do have to point out the biggest problem with it. The series works best if you’ve read the source (either the manga or the light novels will do).

And that’s a problem.

Goblin Slayer Episode 5

An anime adaptation should stand alone. It should show the story in anime form for fans of the source who want more of the characters, but should also be accessible and make sense on its own.

Goblin Slayer fails in that regard in that a lot of the decisions and ideas are kind of hinted at in the anime but don’t make sense without the additional knowledge the source gives you.

One example that stands clear from reading episode reviews was when High Elf Archer asked Goblin Slayer not to use fire and a whole bunch of other things on the goblins under water town. And he agreed. That was all there was to the exchange in the anime.


From reading the books there was a lot more behind both her request and his acceptance. Namely the whole town being above the sewers and potential collateral damage. Now it makes sense why she’s being fairly specific with her limitations (other than she doesn’t want to get set on fire or poisoned) and why he actually listens and agrees. More importantly, it makes sense that in the next episode, when he is about to set off an explosion he checks first that they have travelled beyond the borders of the town before he puts his plan into action.

Now, the sequence makes enough sense in the anime in that you aren’t completely unable to follow it, but it also feels like you are missing something. That isn’t how a story should make you feel and this was only one scene out of many that had anime only viewers tilting their heads and wondering just what was behind a decision.


So while I will recommend this anime, it is an average anime. It isn’t great or amazing. There are definitely issues with how this has been adapted from its source.

Still, I thought it looked great, I enjoyed the characters, loved the sound design, and all and all had great fun following along with these characters and adventures. While it does get dark, there’s also plenty to balance it and from a narrative point of view it makes sense that those moments are as dark as they are.

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

B: The Beginning Netflix Anime Series Review: There’s Murder and Mayhem But What Comes Next?

b the beginning 1


The anime series, B: The Beginning, came out on Netflix and styled itself as a task force (known as the RIS) working a double murder that involved a notorious serious killer known only as ‘Killer B’. However, things soon take a turn for the strange when a military vehicle is stolen and taken for a joyride, poisonous gas is developed and used to threaten hostages, and other unsolvable crimes occur.

Review (Probably some spoilers – just warning you):

I think B: The Beginning wants to be a lot of things and I’m not sure it actually succeeded at any of them, at least not in any meaningful way. It is fun enough if you do just want to watch the mayhem unfold before they then painstakingly explain how clever they’ve all been for the last two episodes, but realistically there isn’t enough groundwork for any of it to have any effect. After finishing the last episode I pondered for awhile about what my overall opinion of this series was. Because, while I didn’t particularly like quite a lot of it, I didn’t exactly dislike the viewing and finished it off in three consecutive days of binge viewing and it wasn’t just so I could review it.

While I was pondering I actually sorted my main issue with the whole thing out, and that was that it just felt too similar to other shows I actually liked a lot but it didn’t manage to really hit on what made those stories work. I’ll admit that problem is entirely my own, but it helped me understand what I didn’t like about this show and why, even though it is definitely watchable, I probably won’t go for a second round. And that means this review is going to do something I normally don’t do, and it is going to rely heavily on comparisons to explain the points I want to make. It isn’t really something I like to do as I feel each show should be judged on its own merit (or lack of it) but it is a way for me to sort my mixed thoughts on this show.

Terror in Resonance

The first and obvious comparison would be Terror in Resonance. Stylistically these shows are quite similar and the tone of the later episodes of this most definitely strikes a Terror in Resonance vibe. As do the kids being used as experiments, the burning down of the lab, and the central character, Keith Flick who is incredibly reminiscent of Shibazaki. Where B: The Beginning falters to capture my attention and interest in the way Terror in Resonance seemed to, was that it didn’t seem to have anything to say.

Whether you agree with the actions and ideas presented by Terror in Resonance or not, the show gets you thinking about the world and about the way the media manipulate events, about the decisions of governments and large institutions, about relationships between countries, and about the actions of those who are labelled radicals or terrorists. B: The Beginning doesn’t seem to have anything to say unless ‘murder is bad’ is somehow a message that I missed under all the cool trapping and laughter of those committing incessantly, or that you should always work in a ‘team’ which is definitely a sermon from the second act of this story but doesn’t really ground itself on anything substantial other than the team working together for about three seconds before Keith goes off on his own again.

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But despite the heavy and easy comparison to Terror in Resonance, that actually didn’t feel right to leave it there. Sure there are some parallels, but B has it’s own kind of edge that Terror in Resonance never aspired to taking itself far too seriously at times (though when dealing with terrorists who have a potential nuclear device I guess you should have some level of solemnity to your tale). And then it hit me. B is kind of what would happen if K was somehow crossbred with Terror in Resonance only about a third of the connecting plot points got dropped out of both shows.

K Project 4

Once I realised that I understood the excessive fight sequence full of flash and grandeur (even if they only seemed loosely connected to the narrative) and the shifting tone between frantic and snail crawling exposition. See, K was all about the style and presented its supernaturally charged characters in the coolest light possible, even when they were just thugs. It gave each action sequence flash and bang and a sense of movement. Essentially what we see during the first two episodes of B. The trouble is, that B doesn’t have an interesting enough lead on the supernatural side to pull it off and the villain ultimately has no plan of note other than death to the protagonist.

B The Beginning 3

To a degree though, B works. It does get your attention in the early episodes, even if it is the hyperactive child shrieking at you for attention kind of attention. In fact, the show’s format reminds me very much of how most of the other characters describe Koku’s actions. He was screaming out that he was there but no one was listening. B declares it is here as it splatters blood across the screen, constructs incredible acts of violence, and generally does everything possible to grab the dark and edgy label that seems to be a flavour of the last couple of years (surely we’re ready for sunshine and rainbows again, or at least a dark and edgy that doesn’t rely just on making all the characters we meet horrible for every second of screen time).

Then it tries to segue into actual plot and that’s where it comes off the rails a bit, not unlike a train that somehow managed to land in a somewhat precise pattern and aren’t they glad the killer chose a sign that train carriages could actually form. Totally coincidence I am sure. Leaving beside all the comparisons, it is the plot that really drops the ball for this show because there are two central conflicts and while there is a connection and the characters, clues and mysteries intersect, their resolutions are essentially independent and neither ultimately feels like the actual climax or big finish because they’ve both been fighting for your attention and as a result you don’t much care about either.

B the Beginning 2

Koku wants to know his past, about the people who destroyed the institution, and to find a girl. There is always a girl. This story is full of supernatural characters, a very K like ancient tablet that has been deciphered and has some impact on his powers (though don’t expect that to be explained), and I’m guessing there is kind of a revenge goal in their somewhere but Koku isn’t exactly articulate in explaining what he is after and it wouldn’t matter anyway because it all comes down to rescue the damsel in distress. It isn’t a particularly satisfying narrative arc on its own, the powers just kind of exist and once you learn a bit more about Koku and what is going on you kind of realise exactly what the outcome of that plot-line will be so you just then wait for it to play out. Which it does, in cut sequences of bloody action which break up some of the driest dialogue I think I’ve endured for a long time between a protagonist and antagonist.

And this takes us to the second story involving the detectives. Because as much as their solving the crimes does involve a lot of the supernatural goings on, ultimately they do nothing about that part of the story. They track down the human element behind it all, and if you were paying even vague attention early on you will know precisely who the culprit is as soon as Keith mentions there are two culprits and sends Koku after one of them. It is another case of lack of options for suspects making it more or less impossible to miss.

B The Beginning 4

We then get what could have been an interesting attempt by the detectives to set up and ensnare the culprit but the story isn’t really happy with the whole power of team work dynamic and decides to overthrow it for a final attempt at tragedy. After that attempt essentially ends in failure, Keith takes the final clue (or signpost however you want to look at it) and tracks down the perpetrator and then calmly leans against the wall in front of a projector showing images of the killer taking out previous victims, including Keith’s sister, while he holds a conversation with the killer. There is no sense of tension or drama in this scene and any attempt at a serious tone is unhinged by the constant cuts to Koku and his fight sequence or the other detectives racing to the scene.

Anyway, it does wrap up and we see the next steps for the country and characters. There’s plenty left open that could still be explored should they want to do a sequel, but the current situation is done and you have a sense of closure.

This isn’t a train wreck by any means but nor is it particularly well done. It has elements that could be quite interesting, tones that I appreciate in other shows, and ideas that certainly could have merit, but ultimately it feels largely empty. I’m drafting this mere hours after watching the final episode and already details are escaping me because there’s nothing to ponder or consider and nothing to take from the viewing. And while that is fine in and of itself, and some people won’t see that as a negative, for me it feels like this show just missed its mark.

Anyway, if you’ve had a chance to watch it, I’d love to know your thoughts so leave me a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Dies Irae Episode 2: Why Do They Always Enrol in the School?



I will actually talk about the episode in a bit, but the end of this just made me wonder why? Why do two of the whoever they are (guessing villains but who knows given lack of explanation) enrol in Fuji’s school? Even if they are interested in him they have already proven more than capable of finding him whenever so why don a uniform and waste your time there? Surely villains have better things to do with their daily lives than poorly masquerade as students?


Anyway, the rest of this episode was surprisingly coherent though it is clearly still in set-up mode and we still have answers to almost nothing except some explicit link between the whole guillotine dream, Fuji, and the murders around town. We also get a reasonable action sequence even if it mostly involves the protagonist getting beaten up.


Still, there seemed to be a lot of fillery fluff early in the episode though possibly the discussion about the town and about their dead parents and the church and all those other points may later become actually important. So two episodes of actual story plus a prologue and I’m still on the fence with this. It has potential and so far significantly more watchable than episode 0 made it out to be, and yet I’m not quite ready to commit.

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Karandi James.


Vatican Miracle Examiner Episode 11: A Conclusion of Sorts



This week they solve the mysteries and we actually realise that for once not every single weird thing is connected as coincidence ends up playing quite the role in linking some of the events. It makes the main mystery make more sense but it means some of the answers for other things are highly unsatisfying. (He stowed away under a plane? Really?)


I think the biggest issue is the sheer amount of content these mysteries want to pack in. Underground people, cults, murders and love quadrangles, miracles… there’s so much going on that very little of it can get enough time to feel satisfying. The explanations are similarly rushed and just kind of come together in exposition at the end.


While this does bring this mystery to a close, apparently there is one more episode so I wonder what that will give us given they clearly don’t have time to start another mystery arc, and there is no way they can give us closure on some ongoing issues that the priests have.

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Karandi James.


Vatican Miracle Examine Episode 7: Snake Bites and Visions



The mystery continues with Roberto getting increasingly worked up over the mystery, the prophecy of his death, some childhood trauma, old texts found in the library, and finally a snake bit and a demonic vision. Once again Vatican Miracle Examiner is determined to shove everything into one story and it just keeps piling one thing on top of another and much like the first mystery, this really starts to hurt the impact of each revelation or clue.


Though, I am kind of enjoying this mystery more than the first one despite still picking fault with the pacing and delivery.  This mystery has at least managed to give both priests some purpose and they have begun to feel like an actual team rather than a one man show with an overprotective tag-along.


One thing that did annoy was that Roberto didn’t just share his thoughts on the corpse (you know, pre-snake bite) with his partner. Instead, the audience is deliberately kept in the dark in an unnatural way on this point. That’s an annoying way to add suspense.

This show isn’t getting any better or any worse. It kind of just is at this point.

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Karandi James.


Vatican Miracle Examiner Episodes 2 + 3: Rush, Rush, Rush.


Review Episode 2:

There’s a few key elements in making a good mystery but one of the most important is pacing. This is where Vatican Miracle Examiner is getting it very wrong. In a show dripping with atmosphere and disturbing imagery all set within the confines of the Catholic Church, you would think they’d be able to build some decent tension and draw you into the mystery at hand.


However, like with episode 1, this show is determined to pack everything it possibly can into its story and you have plot elements piling up on top of others to the point where you’ve barely reacted to one gruesome death or revelation when another is thrust into centre stage. The end result is a somewhat underwhelming viewing experience as it seems to be going through the motions of mystery and investigation without actually asking the audience to invest in any of the events.

Review Episode 3:


In case we didn’t have enough going on in this mystery we now have nazis, drug trafficking and sexual assault. There comes a point where you aren’t making things more mysterious but simply cluttering things up. It was quite hard to even remember that they were initially sent to investigate an apparent immaculate conception though they do at least remind us of that mid-episode before we launch into yet more potential supernatural hijinks that will probably be explained away.


Actually, the thing that bothered me more this episode was Robert’s existence. Hiraga is pretty much doing all the actual mystery solving, and what he doesn’t know his internet contact fills him in on, so Robert’s skills seem pretty superfluous to the story at this point. Essentially just allowing someone to be on screen when Hiraga makes his next leap in logic so that he can explain it to the audience.

In case it wasn’t fairly clear, I’m not overly impressed with this as a mystery or just a story. That said, I’m also not hating it and still think the setting has potential so I’m sticking with it and hoping for something interesting.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.


Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom Series Review



A young man from Japan wakes up without memories and finds himself thrust into a world of assassins and betrayal. He’s a puppet for an organisation known as Inferno and he exists only to kill. However, he might not want to stay a puppet forever and as he grows closer to Ein, another of Inferno’s assassins, he’ll begin to think of a different future.


Phantom is one of those series that is really fun to watch and you get drawn into the story and the intrigue but when you think about it after all the plot holes that you kind of saw at the time just become more and more apparent. That said, this isn’t a story that wants you to look closely at it. It’s a story that wants you to journey with the characters to their end point and it wants to shock you along the way.


Fair warning, shocks in this series come in the form of nudity, sexual encounters, murder (obviously), torture, brain washing, and the young age of certain characters and the situations they find themselves in. If you can stomach that (and while it isn’t overly gratuitous it is at times confronting) then you’ll probably have a blast watching the boy named Zwei become the best assassin ever before trying to get away and reclaim an actual life.

The story very much follows Zwei (and we do learn his real name but given even the character realises he’s gone too far down the road to return to that life this revelation doesn’t really change the fact that he has become Zwei whether he did it willingly or not). We meet him after he’s had his memories stripped and he is forced to endure a fairly harsh training regime to become an assassin. While he doesn’t strike the audience as particularly formidable early on, you realise he’s accelerating through the training sequence quite quickly and when we get the flashback to find out how he came to be in Inferno’s hands at all you realise why the crazy guy keeps carrying on about natural talent. (Yes, crazy guy has a name and no I don’t remember it.)


But as much as the story follows this action and Zwei’s transformation, it also builds some intrigue and solid character relationships. That’s probably the strength of this series is it manages to balance some very cool action with those slower character building moments and it gives us a sense of the world Zwei has found himself in but never tries to info-dump on us. Mostly because everyone is pretty keen on keeping Zwei in the dark so it isn’t as though he knows much about what is going on or why.


Once we progress to carrying out missions, we see Ein and Zwei and the clear difference between them. Ein is undoubtably a killing machine but while Zwei is talented he never has the outright blankness of personality that afflicts Ein. Nor is he technically all that rebellious and it is the intrigues within Inferno and the manipulation of some of its members that ultimately tip Zwei’s hand.

What I like is that Zwei tries numerous times to get out of this life he finds himself in, and to help remove Ein from it, but they continuously get drawn back in. It is only during the later stages of the series that a break is made and fortunately that bit of boredom (and probably the weakest moment of the series given we end up in a Japanese school setting which serves no real purpose other than anime and its ongoing obsession with Japanese schools) only lasts a short period of time.

Cal’s arrival in the story in the later half is both confronting and a brilliant move for the story. Zwei has been in the organisation for a long period of time when he takes Cal on and ends up doing much the same thing to her that was done to him before he abandons her. This leads to a major confrontation between them later, though the actual confrontation sounds better in theory than the delivery of it.


And this is probably the major criticism of Phantom. It has a really solid first half but the second half with Cal and the running away to Japan and other events is decidedly weaker. It doesn’t help that many of the main players introduced in the first half are no longer in the story or have taken on new roles. This is where we start seeing major plot holes and start seeing the cracks in the characters and the reality that have been constructed.

Most likely, this won’t ruin your viewing experience but it does change a series from being a must watch to just being a good time with a few bumps along the road. That said if you like something a bit dark and assassination sounds like a nice plot device then definitely jump into this series. I had a lot of fun with it though I’ll admit it is far from perfect.

If you’ve seen Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, let me know your thoughts.

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Karandi James.


Killing Stalking Chapter 2 Review

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.


Okay, ouch. That chapter end very reminiscent of a Stephen King novel and not such a happy visual. He definitely would have been better off being arrested for attempted break and enter.

Backing up a bit and looking at this chapter in order, not a lot happens and yet this kind of seems to be setting the scene for what is to follow.

Yoonbum is struck with the bat that we saw poised above him at the end of the last chapter and somehow in this moment, as he is crawling and scrambling to get away this is his thought:

It turned out the Sangwoo I knew wasn’t here.

It was kind of fascinating. Later he gets to the “I don’t want to die” mentality but in this initial phase he is thinking entirely about the target of his stalking and that sudden realisation that no matter how carefully he has watched and how much he knows about this man, Sangwoo, he doesn’t know who he actually is. During chapter 1 I had a mild moment of concern that they would try to justify stalking someone as a form of affection but they clearly didn’t in chapter 1 in the end and chapter 2 essentially slams the door on the possibility that this story is going to attempt to romanticise stalking someone.

That said, there are so many other areas for concern here is terms of where this relationship is heading and it will be interesting to see how these themes are developed and presented.

Anyway, after a whole bunch of knocks and things, Yoonbum actually manages to declare that he was in love with Sangwoo and he more or less apologises for bothering him. For a moment it seems like Sangwoo might accept that and they start heading up out of the basement and then Sangwoo knocks Yoonbum down the stairs knocking him out cold and injuring one of his legs. Definitely seems like Sangwoo likes playing mind games with people and watching Yoonbum go from desperate to having the fleeting moment of optimism before that hope is crushed underfoot is pretty brutal even as you remember he got himself into the mess he finds himeslf in.

Actually, despite all the violence and the dark themes being woven here, probably the only part of this that really raised flags for me and made me wonder where this was going, was the way Sangwoo treats the corpse of the woman (the one who was tied up last chapter). While it is very telling of Sangwoo’s character we already kind of had enough evidence of his character and this just seemed like an excuse to make the reader shudder. And that’s probably where the line is for me in terms of what I enjoy here and what makes me question why I’m reading it. The other acts of violence, agression, and the ground work being laid for Sangwoo to seriously mess with Yoonbum emotionally all feel necessary for the narrative that is being told, but the treatment of the corpse kind of felt like it was unnecessary and needlessly gratuitous.

Overall though, this has been a compelling introduction and even though it seems the road for the next part of the story is pretty locked in place, it’s kind of like a horror movie where you just have to watch it anyway and find out just how bad things can get. And then of course there’s the question of will anything change to make it better?

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

91 Days Series Review – Revenge For The Fallen Family


91 Days Overview:

Set in the fictional city of Lawless during the prohibition era, the story follows Avilio (Angelo) as he seeks revenge against those who killed his family.

Some spoilers below.

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91 Days Review:

91 Days is a revenge story.

Revenge stories are always a bit of a problem because right from the start you have a fairly narrow range of options from a plot point of view. Either they will succeed or they won’t.

You can throw in as many loops and twists as you like about who they need to extract revenge on and the manner in which they will get their revenge, but the story itself is pretty much set. That means you are dependent upon your characters and setting to carry your story and to make people care.

And this is where 91 Days failed for me.

Initially I was very interested in Avilio and his quest for revenge. He’s an interesting character and a fairly tragic one right from the word go and he draws you into the fairly generic world of Lawless (generic in terms of giving all the look of prohibition era America without ever really capturing the feeling that other movies set in this era have – not so generic from an anime point of view).

The mafia setting is actually kind of interesting though there are other anime that have done this particular genre before.

However, by the time we hit the mid-point of the series Avilio feels like he has lost his way and while they attempt to justify the drawn out nature of his revenge on a number of occasions it really comes down to the fact that they needed 12 episodes when they had about 6 episodes of actual plot driven story.

Mars Red had a similar issue during the 2021 Spring season where it felt like we could lose about three episodes without actually losing any plot.

While Avilio’s story (once you trim it down to what is needed) is still interesting and his character progression (admittedly not positive progression) is enjoyable to watch, there are too many characters in this show who exist just to exist.

We have a mafia setting so we’ll be introduced to all the usual stereotypical gang members and sycophants. We’ll even have a minor sub-plot of dealing with a new police guy who after a minor bombing incident will quietly slip away and the law enforcement will effectively disappear from the remainder of the story.

But none of these characters matter in any meaningful way and they don’t make you care about what is happening. By the time we get to the inevitable tragic ending where the vast majority of characters (who are still alive) start dying, I really was indifferent. And mass murder should never leave you feeling indifferent even if they are trying to create a point about the futility of revenge and murder.

Nero and Avilio are a great duo to watch on screen together. The double meanings behind Avilio’s statements, Nero’s genuine humanity under the mafia don’s son mask that he has worn for far too long, and the real friendship that develops despite the situation Avilio is in makes this one of the more compelling parts of the series.

Yet for the vast majority of the series these characters are given nothing to do. Nero in action is reactive to the world around him and is given few moments where he can actually make a choice. The few choices he makes are almost always deferred to Avilio.

Avilio on the other hand has some sort of plan that he amends on the go but as we are not really privy to the plan his actions remain fairly inexplicible for the vast majority of the episodes. Neither character seems in any rush or driven to get somewhere and that really affects the overall feel of the show.


Before I move on from characters I just want to touch on Corteo. Outside of Avilio he was possibly the only other character I was really interested in seeing progress. While I’m not going to go into detail, I am still not convinced about the choices Corteo made as a character. They fit with the plot and drove Avilio nicely into the final corner that triggered the ending, but based on Corteo’s personality and actions earlier in the series it all just seemed too much like a plot contrivance rather than the real actions of a real character.

Coreto’s death at least gave an emotional impact but left me at least with more questions about whether we were supposed to be taking these characters seriously as people or whether they were all just stand ins for various ideals.

It is really hard to review 91 Days. It is one of those anime that I look at and know from almost every point of view is a good anime.

The plot makes sense and is resolved. While I didn’t feel connected to the characters, there are some well written characters here. The dialogue, while a little generic at times, never falls into the completely bad. There is forward thinking and ideas that are foregrounded early return with significance later (even when we preferred they didn’t).

While the mid-season episodes suffer from poorer animation than the early and later episodes, they aren’t poor compared to the vast majority of the other anime I watched during the summer season.

That said, I still don’t much like 91 Days. While I may watch this with a particular friend (because I actually think they’ll really enjoy watching it and it is hard to talk them into anime usually), I probably won’t ever rewatch this by myself because I’m just not that interested in it.

A final recommendation: If you want a serious story about revenge, then 91 Days will deliver. For anything else, you may need to look elsewhere.

Images from: 91 Days. Dir. H. Kaburagi. Shuka. 2016.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James