Devilman Crybaby Series Review: It’s Making A Splash But Does It Have Substance?


Devilman Crybaby Overview:

In Devilmana Crybaby, Ryou, a teenage professor, tells Akira, his childhood friend, that demons are going to take over the world. They go to find evidence and Akira ends up fusing with Amon, a powerful demon, becoming a Devilman (demon with the heart of a human).

Devilman Crybaby Review – some spoilers:

There’s been a lot said about Devilman Crybaby already, but just in case you missed all the other blogs that have written about it, this is a Netflix anime that is not for the faint of heart. Whether it is the gratuitous violence and gore or the sex and body horror, this is definitely not for those who are squeamish about anything. Even my fairly high tolerance for fictional violence was pushed while watching this and it didn’t help that some of the imagery (the sex and body horror elements) ended up being a little  disturbing. But if that doesn’t put you off, let’s discuss whether or not this show is living up to the hype surrounding it.

While I might be in the minority, I really didn’t enjoy watching Devilman Crybaby. From the start, the visuals just didn’t sit well with me as I didn’t particularly like the style. There are some really striking scenes where they do some wonderful contrasts with colour and the like, but it just didn’t appeal visually. Then again, possibly the ugly and overly simplistic art style fit with the nature of the story but it certainly wasn’t a selling point for me.


Then the characters came along and my issue is each one is very much one thing with potentially one twist up their sleeve. From the beginning Ryou is portrayed as lacking in human emotions so by the time the reveal as to why comes along you’ve mostly figured it out anyway and it isn’t in the slightest bit surprising. In fact, it makes some of his earlier actions in Devilman Crybaby a lot easier to swallow because it makes sense that no sensible person would suddenly start slashing random strangers with a broken bottle in order to collect proof of demons.


Akira, on the other hand, apparently has a very warm human heart. Let every character tell you about it, over and over again. Oh, Akira’s a crybaby? He cries for others? Oh, how empathetic. Over and over again Devilman Crybaby hammers you with this point and the real issue is Akira has no other personality trait other than his apparent abundance of empathy for others. Even his anger and rage later in the show is produced because of his empathy.

The side characters are all much the same, with Miko maybe being the exception. They are introduced as one thing, if they are a more important character there might be a later reveal but the show isn’t spending a great deal of time on fleshing these characters out. They are stand-ins and place-holders for the rest of society.

Because Devilman Crybaby very much wants to make a POINT. It is a deep metaphor, a reflection of society and the social disharmony and disconnect of youth culture… And it wants to make sure you never forget it. Not for a single instant. Like Akira’s empathy and heart, let the anime tell you again and again about characters with broken dreams, feeling disillusioned, lost, unsatisfied, and how society doesn’t value those who work hard or genuinely feel for others.


Now, there is nothing wrong with being an allegory and filled with metaphorical characters and imagery, what takes the enjoyment away from Devilman Crybaby is while it wants to have that deeper message, it also wants to shock and titillate its audience. And it does this with as much subtlety as it constructs metaphor so large chunks of early episodes are given to the sabbath, to sex, and to violence between demons played out on scenes nearly too dark at times to really catch the detail of what is going on but with a plethora of squishy and unsettling sound-effects.

The balance is lacking and by the time the show switches into full allegorical mode none of the characters or ideas have really had a chance to be developed or to sit well with the audience because so much time has been given to extended sequences of sex and violence. So the show falls back on imagery we are familiar with from other stories and myths and to replaying ‘critical’ segments over and over again to once again hammer a point home that could have been made more easily with a bit more legwork in the earlier episodes.


Miki’s appeal on social media particularly bothered me. It felt so much like the writers wanted to directly state their message and simply put the moral into Miki’s typed messages. Miki’s subsequent death for sending out messages of peace and love lacked impact as it was mostly lost in a sea of other deaths and she hadn’t been built up enough for the audience to care. Therefore, Akira’s rage when he sees the result is understandable but not something the audience can share with him. We’re kept at arm’s length and in honestly her appeal was naïve at best giving me little reason to sympathise with the result.

The sudden gathering of an army of devilmen is also kind of convenient and simply allows for an overblown final battle which visually is a mess of colours, attacks, and spinning. There’s very little detail to that final fight, though one scene definitely gave me Evangelion vibes which was kind of weird.

Thematically, Devilman Crybaby is solid but for me the execution failed to engage. It was watchable, and had some dramatic moments, but without ever really getting an emotional response other than occasionally flinching at the visuals in earlier episodes. I get some people will have fun with this but it just didn’t work for me and I probably won’t do a rewatch at any point. Actually, if you just watch for the over-the-top violence and a story that pushes forward (even if it doesn’t get into much depth) this would kind of be the perfect watch, however I just found myself wanting more from it.

As always, I’d love to know what you thought of the show so please leave me a comment below.

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

Cowboy Bebop Series Review – Netflix’s Live Action Take on a Legendary Anime

Cowboy Bebop Netflix Live Action Review

It is very hard to make a fandom happy and anime fandoms are notoriously hard to please when it comes to live action adaptations of their beloved franchises. Netflix’s announcement that it was adapting Cowboy Bebop was therefore met with a mixture of derision and some cautious hope that maybe, just maybe, they would get it right.

As the promotional art and trailer came out you could find discussions everywhere online as people dissected the outfits, the actors, the music, and literally everything else they could glean from bare minutes of footage and some interviews.

Through it all, I kind of remained on the fence other than my usual general cautiousness about any remake or adaptation given how few have ended well and I’ve learned from past experience that ignoring the rumour mill and watching the show once it is available is about the only way to make my mind up about something. And unlike so many other anime fans, I don’t have a long history with Cowboy Bebop or any particular emotional connection to the original anime.

See, the first time I watched Cowboy Bebop was during 2020 (otherwise known as the year that will not be named). I still haven’t gotten through a full rewatch and I haven’t even started drafting a review of the anime at this point. Largely because it does have a very strong fan base and I really want to make sure I get the review right when I finally put it out (mostly because while I enjoyed the series I’m not holding it up on a pedestal with all my other hopes and dreams and looking at it only through the lens of nostalgia).

So, the Cowboy Bebop live action came out on Netflix and I watched it from start to finish. And I’m going to say, it was a pretty fun viewing experience.

Cowboy Bebop cast
NETFLIX © 2021

Others may not appreciate it, but I found Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop a fun romp through space.

I’ve already seen the headlines online and my twitter feed has run the negative reactions passed me, but honestly this is a series that took the characters and premise from an anime, narrowed the focus a bit, tweaked a few points and considered what to include, what to leave out, and made a few deliberate changes, and generally managed to produce a piece of entertainment that works in its own right.

Sure, if you want to do a scene by scene dissection against the anime it is pretty obvious that this Cowboy Bebop isn’t just a recreation. And in fairness, the ending of the anime is so much stronger emotionally than the half-hearted ending we have here with Netflix quite clearly banking on a season two rather than letting the characters run their course and providing a solid resolution for them and the audience.

But it is not a cautionary tale about adapting anime. For me, Cowboy Bebop was a triumph giving me a lot of what I had enjoyed in the anime series in a slightly different form and with different packaging, but by and large presenting great characters with a story to tell.

There were only two moments in the live action series when I really felt jarred from my suspension of disbelief. One was an early fight scene in which Spike Spiegel, played fairly gloriously by John Cho, is punching some random guy but there is almost no weight behind his punches. This happens in a few other fight sequences where the moves seem right but it doesn’t look convincingly like the blows are landing or that they would do any damage.

The second moment is unfortunately during the final act where Julia’s character ends up in a car crash for reasons almost too stupid to contemplate but it was directly caused by someone else sitting in the car and the whole sequence was just so mind-blowingly dumb that it nearly soured the final episode.

Anyway, if a series these days makes it nearly ten episodes with only one or two moments that genuinely make you sit back and ask ‘what the hell are you doing’ then usually that is a pretty good sign. Of course, the conclusion where Netflix is obviously gunning for a sequel will also have fans of the Cowboy Bebop anime shaking their heads but it is a sign of the times. Let’s be honest, creating an ongoing franchise is more or less the goal of every new release.

So what is there to like about this new version of Cowboy Bebop?

The characters are fantastic. Admittedly, there is very little subtlety in the script and exposition tends to just be dropped into conversation with key reveals coming earlier in the series than the anime may have leading to a different view on some situations, but if you aren’t locked into a pre-conceived notion of each of these characters, the live action ones are pretty good.

By Netflix live action standards, I’m going to elevate that to very good.

I’ve already mentioned that outside of a few fight scenes I loved John Cho as Spike. Jet, played by Mustafa Shakir, is very solid in the role pulling Spike into line, doing an excellent job of showing Jet’s frustration and sadness at his past dishonour being framed and the disconnect from his child, and also just holding the core cast together.

Though, if I’m honest, my favourite in this new adaptation of Cowboy Bebop is Faye, played by Daniella Pineda. A character who could very easily have become unlikeable manages to play her role with a lot of heart and she brings a real sense of fun to most of her scenes. And you know what, I don’t care that they changed her outfit.

Vicious is a little bit more hit and miss with some really over-the-top facial expressions and the script doesn’t help him out much as his dialogue comes off as either petulant, insane rant, or derivative. Admittedly, I think it fit the character quite well and Alex Hassell clearly put a lot of care into the role but it ends up a little too pantomime-like leaving him feeling less like a threat and more of a hassle the other characters simply have to deal with before they can all move on with their lives.

Cowboy Bebop - Vicious and Fearless

The live action Cowboy Bebop’s Julia, played by Elena Satine, is quite the departure from her anime counterpart which may be because of the westernisation of the adaptation, the modernisation of the story, or maybe they just wanted to give her something more to do than be the MacGuffin of the narrative. I suspect some people will not enjoy the changes to Julia’s character and the role she plays in the conflict between Vicious and Spike, but I know for the most part I found this version of Julia quite entertaining (until the aforementioned moment in the car).

The supporting cast vary in quality but largely work and there are some really fun one episode characters in the ten episode run here.

Cowboy Bebop also kind of got the length right. These ten episodes, most running just under 60 minutes in length, give time to make the world feel fleshed out enough but there isn’t enough time to drag or linger on any particular moment.

I mentioned before a lack of subtlety in character backstories and exposition, and honestly the plot does suffer from a similar issue. Everything is kind of spelled out, betrayals and motives telegraphed by obvious facial expressions when the characters don’t just outright explain their actions directly. It makes for a story that is easily binged and digested but leaves little to contemplate once it is over, other than whether a second season will actually drop.

I suspect, if anything will spell doom for this version of Cowboy Bebop, it will be that it asks nothing of the audience. It really is pop-corn viewing with stylised action, some bright pretty colours, memorable characters, at times excessive and gratuitous violence for an emotional jolt, and all of it wrapped together with a sound track that you could just listen to forever.

But there are no greater issues or questions. There’s no underlying motives to figure out or questions about where characters have ended up. There’s little to really make you question the morality of the characters either. Where Spike in the anime could be quite the grey character, here when contrasted with Vicious, there’s little doubt as to which character truly is a monster.

So I guess the question is, what are you watching for? If you are watching to compare to the anime, Cowboy Bebop’s live action adaptation is different. If you are watching for something a bit thought provoking, you probably won’t find it here. However, if you are wanting a bit of sci-fi entertainment, you could do a lot worse than this series.

For me, this adaptation was a solid effort. There’s clear love for the original but also a sense that the creators weren’t bound by trying to duplicate it exactly. Sure, there are a few key scenes and moments they’ve clearly tried to recreate for the fans, but they’ve told their story, their way, and now it is up to the viewers to decide if this was a good thing.

Honestly, for people who have never seen the Cowboy Bebop anime, this is a series that can very easily be enjoyed even if it isn’t all that memorable in its own right. And what is entertainment for if not to be entertaining?

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

Ajin Series Review – Interesting But Not Quite There


Anime that have come out on Netflix have been very hit and miss for me. So when I first saw reviews for Ajin while I was curious, I didn’t rush into viewing it. When I finally did watch it, I very much enjoyed it, after I got over the visual style. I’m going to be honest, the character animation is creepy and while that works for the Ajin and villainous characters, even the human characters are just kind of creepy to watch.

The story initially focusses on Kei Nagai who is a studious and fairly detached student. We see his fractured relationships with friends and his family and then we see him get hit by a truck and not die. Kei has found out, at the same time as the witnesses, that he is an Ajin, someone who cannot die. That would be kind of cool except that the Ajin are more or less treated as monsters and hunted down where we see them being experimented upon. The rest of the story involves Kei trying to evade capture and we meet other Ajin and various agents trying to track down Ajin.


While the exposition at the start of this anime is at best clunky, once the story gets moving this is quite the fascinating ride. Despite an opening sequence showing us a conflict in Africa where an Ajin is overpowering a small armed force and is then taken down with tranquilizers, the anime still felt the need to add a lesson at school where students were told about Ajin as if it were the first time they had ever discussed it and asking questions that they should have already had the answers to if Ajin had been known about for as long as they had.

It’s not an impressive way to segue from battlefield to Kei’s everyday life about to be interrupted by this war between human and Ajin.

This is something the story will suffer from a number of times throughout the first season. They tell us information multiple times and many characters feel the need to spell out or explain things that you would think should be obvious to the person they are explaining it to and the dialogue at times exists only to fill things in for an audience who probably already put it together and is now wondering just why the show is bothering to tell us something so obvious.

The story also doesn’t offer anything particularly new in terms of Kei’s narrative arc. He finds out he’s Ajin. He runs. An old friend that he’d broken off contact with helps him and then Kei leaves him behind because Kei believes that he can’t help him any further (Kei is incredibly logical – some might say cold, his sister calls him a jerk). Kei finds other Ajin. They betray him. He’s captured by the government. Oh, they do horrible medical experiments. He escapes. Etc, etc. You could more or less predict the next step in the sequence but that didn’t make it any less engaging to watch.


Ajin works because of the cast of characters and its pacing. The action sequences are spaced out far enough that you don’t feel like you are getting whiplash but the quiet moments in between don’t feel like they are dragging. And while you may not like the characters, they all come across as real people who have issues of their own to deal with even while they are thrown into this situation. It would be nice if they were fleshed out a little more but they each offer something to the story and they don’t out stay their welcome.


And yes, this anime does go for shocks in a few places. You have main characters who can’t actually die but they don’t regenerate until they are fully dead. Cue scenes of dismemberment and excessive pain, as well as Ajin facing a need to kill themselves in order to overcome some damage. If you’re squeamish, this probably won’t work for you. The medical experiments performed upon various characters, even when just alluded to are on the disturbing side and are supposed to be. The way human’s treat Ajin as monsters, and so many Ajin behave monstrously, is a pivotal point in the story and while it isn’t a new idea it is well used by this story.


I do need to come back to the animation and character design. Much like other anime I watched on Netflix, such as Knights of Sidonia, I really dislike this particular style. At least in Knights the characters were supposed to have undergone adaptation to live in space so the fact that their facial expressions and the way they moved was creepily smooth and unnatural didn’t really interfere with immersion. Ajin doesn’t have that luxury and so the appearance of the characters is at time jarring.

Another gripe, though this one is entirely petty, is Izumi Shimomura’s appearance. Mostly because from the first scene she was in I just kept seeing Ennis from Baccano. And I know that isn’t really a legitimate criticism of Ajin but it was distracting for me. See below we have Ennis and then Izumi. Spot the differences because there’s creepy similarity.


Like long lost sisters.

Anyway, in case it doesn’t seem like it, I actually really enjoyed watching Ajin and I happily dove into season 2. Because, let’s be honest, there really were a lot of loose ends left at the end of season one. If you’ve watched Ajin, let me know what you thought. If you haven’t and you have Netflix you should definitely check it out.

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

High Rise Invasion Series Review

High Rise Review

Apparently an alternate English name for this one (at least according to MAL) is Sky-High Survival. I can’t help thinking how much more appropriate that title would have been.

High Rise Invasion is one of those horror, survival anime that come out every now and then and you decide, why not.

I have a long history of enjoying horror films that are by all objective measures pretty terrible and that enjoyment has most definitely carried over into some of my anime preferences. It is one of those things where even knowing that the Resident Evil movies are full of poorly realised characters, terrible dialogue, and ultimately plots that make no sense cannot, for whatever reason, stop me from enjoying just how cool some of those action scenes are and the general atmosphere associated with a schlock horror.

And certainly there are plenty worse movies than the Resident Evil franchise that I’ve utterly fell in love with over the years and have collected in a collection on a shelf that I reach to whenever I’m feeling too tired for anything but a few cheap laughs, a couple of gasps, and things that are either cool for the sake of being cool or are too stupid for words just because they can be.

So after reading Jon Spencer’s write up of High Rise Invasion, I moved this from my “I’ll get around to it” list of Netflix released anime that usually ends up being watched months after it is actually available because I just keep forgetting that Netflix actually occasionally does release anime and when it is an ONA (like this one is) there isn’t actually three months of delay because they still haven’t figured out seasonal viewing.

I did enjoy my watch of High Rise Invasion enough but to be honest, unlike so many other horror anime that have become favourite go-to series for rewatching, I’m pretty sure once is enough for this one and there’s a number of reasons why, despite it being very watchable and having some good moments, it just hasn’t left me wanting to dive in again (though I’ll probably watch a sequel should we ever get one given they did do some solid sequel baiting in the end credits).

Do not mess with Yuri and her phone access.
High Rise Invasion
Survival verses phone access?

The premise is pretty simple initially in this anime. There’s a city full of sky-scrapers that are connected by simple suspension bridges where access to the ground is cut off and various people just kind of appear in the city having been somehow transported from the normal world into this one. Some of those people end up either putting on a mask or have one forced upon them and then proceed to run around trying to force non-masked humans to commit suicide, and failing that they kill them.

It is kind of a bleak premise but suitable for the kind of brainless bloodfest this seemed to be setting up in its early episodes. I actually think I’d have been happy if the story hadn’t tried to be any more ambitious than this because we actually fairly quickly move away from any real fear of the masked guys causing main characters to commit suicide and that becomes an almost non-plot point by the mid-season.


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The first episode is actually pretty brutal as we open with a dark scene and a masked man finishing off one of many humans and a fountain of blood spurts in the darkness. While this visual will put some people off it seemed to be setting up a particular kind of story.

Yet, darkness plays only a minor role in one or two sequences throughout the rest of the story and the characters rarely confine themselves in the more claustrophobic interior settings largely remaining on rooftops, near large windows, or on the bridges. It kind of doesn’t make the most of what could be quite a tense and atmospheric situation allowed by the setting. I understand why though given they really wanted this to be an action/horror hybrid and the rooftops and bridges allow for significantly more impressive action set-pieces to play out (even if the animation isn’t quite up to the challenge).

Episode 1 of High-Rise Invasion - A very different aesthetic to the rest of the story.
Part of me kind of wants to see the anime that sticks with this aesthetic rather than all the open blue-skies we actually see.

That first episode also has the main character, Yuri, a 16 year-old school-girl because anime, being attacked by a masked character, rescued by one cop, then witnessing his brutal murder at the hands of another cop, before being attacked by second cop and nearly sexually assaulted, before second cop gets taken out by sniper mask guy (and we’ll discuss these names later) and then she sets the cops corpse on fire.

You’ve got to give them credit for really trying to push the horror aspect hard in episode one before they dial it all right back and we go more into an adventure/mystery tone with occasional shock deaths and blood splatter just to kind of remind us we’re actually in a horror.

When I think of anime like Shiki and Another that really stuck to their tone and atmosphere all the way throughout their run and I kind of feel that those ultimately appeal more to. If I go back to the Resident Evil comparison at the start, the first movie put you in the dark and maze like underground facility. Dark, closed spaces, plenty of atmosphere and making the action fit within that setting.

High Rise Invasion certainly has gore and horror elements, but doesn’t consistently try to be horrific and the end result is that what you are actually watching is a pretty average action movie with occasional horror nods and a bit of fan-service.

High-Rise Invasion - Yuri does not approve of being assaulted.
She’s standing really close to that burning corpse.

Another problem is that the basis of most solid horror stories is simplicity. Kill the monster or escape the island, etc. Btoom! got this 100% and gave the characters a really simple goal of survival or escape. While there was some character drama and backstory as to how individuals ended up in the game, the anime at least just kind of acknowledged that the characters couldn’t do anything about that until later and moved on.

Even something like High-School of the Dead kept it to simple survival against zombies and other survivors. High Rise Invasion also wanted to be a bit of a mystery and that means the simple set-up very quickly becomes more complex and to be honest, a little messy.


The initial set-up as I said is simple and works. We learn early on that Yuri’s brother is also in this world and we start running into other survivors who may or may not also want to kill our main character. If they’d kept it at masks bad, humans good (mostly) and just had the survivors running about and trying to find an escape, they could have made an enjoyable romp that would have been a pretty fun ride.

However we soon learn that some humans are ‘close to god’ and the masks don’t attack them. We also learn that a damaged mask allows masked characters some degree of free will but removing the mask entirely results in an order to suicide. Yuri’s brother, Rika, joins up with a number of other survivors before getting kidnapped by one of the many ‘close to god’ characters who is controlling a whole bunch of masks and is trying to in fact become god.

Meanwhile Yuri has teamed up with another group of survivors and while her stated goal is to bring an end to this world, there’s a lot of distractions such as her friend putting on and then removing a defective mask and Yuri herself becoming one of the ‘close to god’.

Mayuko puts on a mask.
Not one of the best decisions I’ve ever seen.

The problem is, the plot ends up a little bit convoluted, motives are confusing, and you need to take the plot more seriously than the characters really allow you to take it. Because the characters want to be in that cheap horror movie and yet they keep getting forced into this more serious and complex narrative that really seems to make little sense. Everything from Yuri becoming a virtual super-woman after powering up and Kuon, another young girl, being able to fire a giant rail-gun just screams standard action-horror story.

As do the names for the masked characters with them essentially being named after what they are wearing or their weapon. You can’t take ‘Sniper Mask’ seriously as a villain, or as another protagonist because he seems to be having his own narrative line for most of the story, because of his ridiculous name, and yet all of his actions, his voice acting, and even his emotional dives to find his memory are all asking me to take him seriously.

Basically, this could have been a good silly horror. It could have been an average action or adventure story. Depending on where they take their revelations, it could end up being a ridiculous mystery story. However I’m not sure these elements came together in these 12 episodes. They all seemed to be competing for screen time and trying to overwrite the tone of the other aspects and while I didn’t particularly dislike any one of these genres, it left me feeling less than satisfied with the whole package.

High-Rise Invasion - Riku
I think Riku also understands not being entirely satisfied with how the plot was developing.

I’ve been pretty negative so far so let me be clear, there’s definitely fun to be had while watching this and bingeing it is a good waste of a morning. While the animation for action scenes isn’t as polished as it might have been, there’s a good array of weapons and tactics and the characters keep things interesting.

Also, pretty much everyone outside the main characters is fair game for insta-death so there’s some moments that will catch you off-guard. I’m actually even interested in what is at the tower in the centre of all of this, though this season certainly didn’t answer it. However ultimately I think this is a case of trying to reach too far and trying to appeal to too many audiences and the end result is that they haven’t really nailed any one of their genres.

But that’s just me and I know from reading other reviews some people have really enjoyed this. So maybe seek a second opinion or just give it a watch yourself.

Images used for review from: High-Rise Invasion, Dir. M Takata. Zero-G. 2021

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

Are You Drowning in Streaming Services?

Streaming Service

As long as we all remember not to cross the streams, I’m sure we’ll be okay.

Real talk: I was born in the 80’s and was a teen in the 90’s (pre streaming services). I totally remember that sharing anime used to involve dodgy TV recordings getting copied to the point that they were almost unwatchable on VCR’s and passed by hand from fan to fan (the selection, particularly in Australia, was not impressive).

Then YouTube came and with it a brand new way to access so many dodgy fan-subbed series cut into shorter than ten minute segments and often plagued by missing episodes or at times entire chunks from the middle of an episode (for those not familiar with past posts on the topic, this was how I initially became a Bleach fan and believe me hunting down part b of episode whatever number and trying to find English and not Spanish subs was definitely not an easy feat at times and that was when the internet didn’t just drop out altogether).

Torrenting also became a thing and suddenly I had vast arrays of series at my disposal provided I was willing to constantly monitor my computer for nasty little intruders. However legal and consistent access to anime continue to be a challenge.

And then came streaming services.

group of people having neon party
Photo by Marcin Dampc on

I mean sure, poor internet connections and disruptions to service remained a thing and while that has slowly improved Australia still has a number of issues to work on in that regard (particularly for those of us who don’t live in capital cities). But now there were actual choices for watching anime. And a lot of them could be accessed for free provided you were willing to watch ads or put up with a release delay.

Suddenly being an anime fan became a lot more mainstream as people could suddenly actually see that anime was in fact more than just Pokémon episodes running during kids TV in the morning.

However, nothing is ever perfect. Each streaming service has advantages and disadvantages and they aren’t constant. Crunchy and Funimation had a brief period of togetherness before going their separate ways and AnimeLab in Australia is now pretty much just Funimation with a slightly different logo. There’s HiDive which does still have some series that aren’t accessible elsewhere, though I ultimately decided there wasn’t enough to keep an additional service on deck, Amazon of course for those willing to pay for it and Netflix continues to dabble in anime streaming though hasn’t quite worked out the whole simulcast thing that anime-fans really want.

There’s probably others, particularly elsewhere in the world, but those seem to be the main players that I have access to. Then again, assuming it isn’t over-ruled by the regulators, it seems Funimation will own Crunchyroll and then pretty much we’ll have Funimation streaming with a few different faces (unless they just consolidate the lot – though why would they if they can double charge their viewers) with a few other services that may have anime and HiDive trying to do its own thing.

The real problem with this of course is exclusive streaming where one service becomes the only one that can stream a particular series. The benefits to the company are clear as people either sign up or don’t have access. For viewers it means that one service isn’t actually enough to access everything.

stressed black male entrepreneur working on laptop in park
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Of course some people still just bypass this drama by watching wherever on the internet it becomes available. Common arguments include that the studios don’t receive the profits, they can’t watch everything in one place, or even that it costs too much to pay for ad free.

But, when I talk with most fans and the topic comes up most seem fairly happy to go through these services but inevitably struggle with the question of how many they have or need and whether it would be better to cut back or go all in. Interestingly when I asked my Twitter followers how many streaming services they were using (for anime) the majority actually only used one or two services though a few made comment that they had other services but not necessarily for anime.

For me, I’m sitting at 3 currently for anime.

Crunchyroll remains a staple but their app doesn’t work consistently on my TV (and won’t run at all on my friend’s TV) so that means it is pretty much exclusive to when I’m watching at my computer. Still, the selection of anime remains impressive and the price for a subscription so I can watch without ads is pretty good so I’ll continue with it.

AnimeLab has always had my favourite interface and player for streaming anime however the selection used to be a little on the weaker side. That’s most definitely changed and now the catalogue is very impressive and they also do a lot more dubbed anime (while I still prefer subbed when trying to talk others into watching a show with me being able to tell them they can watch in English is a definite plus). Again, a yearly subscription is reasonable and overall I’m very happy with this service at the moment.

Finally there’s Netflix which continues to have a relatively small catalogue of anime in its collection but some of those are titles that aren’t accessible elsewhere and I have the Netflix subscription for other watching anyway so it’s probably there to stay. I also subscribe to Stan but that is almost entirely for 90’s TV shows and bad horror movies and it doesn’t have any anime on it (at least as far as I can tell).

photo of woman wearing turtleneck top
Photo by Ali Pazani on

Looking into the future, it is difficult to know what streaming will be like. With so many countries now trying to catch their legal systems up with the online world and at times passing laws that have huge impacts on how companies can operate it is really impossible to know what is next for anime fans.

What I do know is that we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. All these changes in technology and access mean there’s now a whole generation who know about anime and will find ways to seek out new shows and watch them. It would be fantastic if we can find a system that allows studios to make a decent amount from their work so they can continue to produce anime, while keeping the cost barrier to fans reasonable, and ensuring the streaming services themselves remain profitable, but there’s a lot of complications to be worked through and its unlikely we’ll find a utopian style solution any time soon.

In the meantime though, I remain very glad that anime is now available at the click of a button.

Images used in title image:

  • Crunchyroll logo.
  • Animelab logo.
  • Netflix logo.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Sirius The Jaeger Series Review

Sirius The Jaeger

Things that go bump in the night should watch out.

It isn’t all that often that I watch a Netflix anime (or I should more accurately say it isn’t often that I finish one) and there’s a lot of reasons for that, however having read some mixed reviews about Serius but seeing it was a bit of an action story featuring vampires, I decided to take the plunge. I watched a handful of episodes one afternoon and was hooked. Clearing my schedule the following afternoon, I binged the rest of the series.

And it turns out, Sirius the Jaeger is actually great fun. We have a group called the Jaegers hunting down vampires and trying to exterminate them, meanwhile the vampires are conspiring with political activists and the like to get some shady and nebulous plot off the ground. It is a great set up and the pre-World War 2 setting really helps to allow some credibility for some of the goings on here.

That said, it isn’t as though Sirius the Jaeger is a perfect anime series. We’ve got a lot of cliché characters, some plot points that don’t really seem to make a great deal of sense, a villain who seems kind of together but ultimately makes stupid choices just to make things more interesting and as a direct result gets seriously burned, and just some general moments where if you applied any kind of real world physics to a situation you could write most of the characters off. Yet, none of that really gets in the way of the story because the story doesn’t really let it. It isn’t taking itself all that seriously as it powers through introducing ancient tribes, vampires, vampire hunters and building in a subplot about nations arming for war. It just wants us to enjoy the ride as we see Yuliy first work to kill all the vampires and then to try to find out about his tribe and the Ark of Serius.

Sirius The Jaeger - Yuliy

Where some anime might get very exposition heavy while trying to balance all of that, Sirius the Jaeger limits talk time between characters and information about all of these different aspects comes to us over time and fairly naturally. It’s built into exchanges between characters in small bite size chunks with only a few longer more focused conversations to flesh out key points. There’s only one point where the Professor stands with Yuliy and essentially information dumps and it’s about three quarters of the way through and is a fairly significant reveal that directs the final turn of the series. Given it comes on the tail of a fairly impressive battle between the Japanese military and the vampires, the down time isn’t too much of a problem.

However, what really drives this story is the action. We will be taken from one action set piece to another and be prepared for lots of jumping over roof tops, a car chase sequence, a battle on a train, fighting in the woods, and finally fighting on an airship because why not. Each fight is fairly distinct and while Yuliy is at the centre of most of them, the conditions are vastly different as are the other participants and potential collateral damage and so it continues to feel fresh.

Sirius The Jaeger fight

There’s also a sense of urgency around a lot of the fight sequences. While it never gets to a point where you actually fear too much for a main character, it always feels like losing a fight will cost the characters something and even if they win the fight there is always damage. The near destruction of the house they were staying in while in Japan and the company having to pay compensation to the owner is one example but in every fight it felt like there was a lot potentially riding on their decisions.

I really enjoyed how the series dealt with Yuliy. Even though we ultimately get a standard chosen one fantasy plot where he’s lost his family, last survivor, needs to take control of the shiny powerful thing, his character manages to feel reasonably fresh as it treads this fairly standard path. While his surly revenge driven opening isn’t exactly a breath of fresh air (think Eren from Attack on Titan only competent and less shouty), Yuliy actually manages to have quite a well developed personality and his interactions with the other characters are usually entertaining.

Sirius The Jaeger

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same about Ryouko, the daughter of the family who host the vampire hunters (Jaegers) in Japan. Her character is kind of a love interest for Yuliy only she’s utterly unnecessary. Though at times she delivered crucial items or got herself into trouble at particular points, realistically her character brought nothing to the table and honestly her following Yuliy around into increasingly dangerous situations just struck me as slightly stupid so I couldn’t really get behind her character.

They did far better with Mikhail (Yuliy’s brother) who we encounter throughout the story, despite Yuliy thinking he died when the vampires attacked his village. The interactions between Yuliy and Mikhail, while at times pushing at the boundaries of logical, always have a good chemistry about them.

Sirius The Jaeger Yuliy and Mikhail

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However, this is a vampire story so how are the vampires?

A bit hit and miss. The royals are very entertaining and classic kind of vampires (other than the whole able to deal with daylight thing). The control older vampires have over those they’ve turned is a feature that I really like in vampire stories as is the fact that turned vampires retain their memories of being human but at the same time aren’t any longer. The slave vampires and their monstrous form was a bit less likeable because it essentially turned a lot of the fights into waves of red bat things that had very little to distinguish them and none of them were really strong enough to be of note anyway.

One interesting bit they threw in was that the vampire race was dying because of a sickness that had no cure. That was an interesting addition to the story and actually worked as a good catalyst for moving the immortal vampires with a sense of urgency.

The Jaegers

So overall, a pretty fun action story. Definitely not a horror despite the presence of vampires. It move along at a nice pace, has some good fight sequences and largely decently realised characters. While it isn’t going to be anime of the year or anything like that, this one was certainly an entertaining romp.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #4

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Feature Image

Rise is back with another Netflix related question. I’m sure there are some mixed opinions out there on this one so I’d love to know your answer if you would like to leave a comment below. As always if you have something to ask you can send the question my way by filling in the simple survey at the end of the post or you can use this link to the inquiring minds survey.

How do you feel about Netflix producing their own anime verses a traditional ‘Japanese studio’ producing them?

seven deadly sins netflix 1024x683 pagespeed ce 6hiut kck

I’m actually pretty indifferent about who produces anime or any kind of media really. My only real concern is whether it is entertaining and accessible. I was previously asked how I felt about Chinese co-productions and mostly again, while some of these have been terrible, I don’t dislike them just because they were co-produced. And some have actually been pretty good.

When it comes to Netflix, they definitely are making things accessible (even if they don’t stream weekly for the seasonal anime they get the rights to at this point in all countries – and they really, really should). But, when it comes to being entertaining, I’m guessing someone is entertained given how well Netflix is doing, but so far their anime has been, well, not to my taste.


Basically, of the Netflix anime (or one’s I think are Netflix) I’ve watched I really enjoyed Ajin and Kuromukuro. I found A.I.C.O disappointing but watchable and had a similar experience with Knights of Sidonia. However this year ID-0, B the Beginning, and a number of other titles just haven’t hit their mark for me. While they aren’t necessarily bad, they just aren’t what I’m interested in.

But, that doesn’t mean I want Netflix out of the industry. They are making anime more accessible to a wider western audience. What they are producing is entertaining some people. They are generally working with Japanese studios (as far as I am aware) in producing these anime which means there is money going back to the industry that might end up going towards other projects that I do enjoy. And that’s a fairly good thing.

I know some people don’t want to see anime go mainstream, but I think with the number of genres within anime, some being quite niche even within an already niche market, even if some anime ends up being mainstream, there will always be those smaller projects that hit the spot for those who want something a little bit different.

B the Beginning - Netflix anime

But, that’s just my opinion. As I said at the start, I’d love to know how the rest of you feel about this so please give us a comment below.

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know 2019 #2

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Feature Image

Continuing the ‘Inquiring Minds’ series of posts for 2019 I’m taking on my second question for the year and this one is sure to divide opinions. As always if you have something to ask you can send the question my way by filling in the simple survey at the end of the post or you can use this link to the inquiring minds survey.

How do you feel about Netflix creating live action adaptations? Especially thoughts and feelings towards the new Cowboy Bebop live action?


I’ve covered a few live action adaptations on the blog previously, including the Netflix adaptations of Death Note and Bleach. I also looked at the live action Erased series that aired on Netflix. So clearly I don’t hate the idea of anime being made into live action given I keep giving it a go.

However, like with most adaptations, sequels, spin-offs, re-imaginings and other things, I end up wondering what the point of a lot of it is and why we can’t just be happy with the story as it was told and move on to telling a new story. Not that adaptations are new and even classic authors and the stories they told were frequently adaptations of earlier works, myths, fairy tales and other stories so to claim that I’m looking for something original would be pretty hypocritical. I think I’m just looking for a story told well, whether it is new or a retelling but if you are going to retell something I really think there should be some thought put into why and how.

Netflix, needless to say, has been pretty hit and miss in most of their work. Other than Stranger Things, I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of a lot of their originals, their anime has very much not been really the sort of style or tone I like, and their movies are of incredibly varying quality. The same is true so far of their live action anime adaptations.

Death Note as an adaptation was terrible. There’s no real getting around that. As an individual movie, it was decidedly average (assuming you compare it to other thriller/horror stories and not every movie ever made). While I enjoyed aspects I felt it didn’t go far enough to make the story its own so it neither followed the source well enough for fans to be happy, nor cut itself free from the restrictions of the source to tell a good story.

bleach movie training

Bleach I liked much more and felt they made some fairly good decisions about what to include and what to leave out and how much to adapt. Still, I’d strongly recommend the anime over the live action adaptation.

When it comes to Cowboy Bebop I’m just kind of shaking my head. Sure it is a popular commodity so people will watch it regardless, but the fans of Bebop are unlikely to be happy with any modifications to the story or tone so they are really just setting themselves up for a mountain of criticism. Maybe they are working on the theory that any publicity is good, but that seems fairly pointless. They might actually make a decent series. Bebop certainly has some great ideas behind it that could easily make a decent live action. But hampered by fan expectations and trying to please everyone by leaving in certain elements even if they don’t fit the new format will probably kill it.

Cowboy Bebop
Who knows how this will turn out?

That said, I still haven’t finished the anime series (I know, that’s almost a crime) so I don’t have a lot of personal investment in it. I’m just waiting for the Twitter tirades and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if people can just accept that even if this is a bad adaptation, it doesn’t take anything away from the original series. See, a bad adaptation doesn’t kill something. You can just not watch it.

Let’s be honest, love it or hate it, adaptations just keep on coming out and while the occasional one hits the right notes, most really are just compressed and sub-standard retellings of a story that was fine as it was. Still, I’ll probably keep watching them just hoping that eventually someone will figure out how to do it well because that will be something worth seeing.

Thanks again Rise for the great question and now I will turn it over to the readers. How do you feel about Netflix and their live action anime adaptations?

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Castlevania Season 2 Series Review: Oh Look, We Got The End Of The Season

Castlevania Season 2 Promotional Image

I mentioned repeatedly in my season 1 review of this that it really wasn’t a season. It was a taste test. A preview or introduction to a series that hadn’t been fully made before release. Here, with the so called season 2, we get the rest of the season bringing the total episode count now to 12 which is pretty much a standard season. So other than a prolonged gap during which time I forgot most of the pertinent details forcing me to rewatch the first four episodes before getting into this, was there any real purpose to this? All I can figure is that they really weren’t sure of their market and wouldn’t commit the resources but that’s a really terrible way to deliver a story as all it really did was make the faults of this second season more apparent.

See, there’s a flow to stories. When you get caught up in them, it is easy to miss small details or to stop yourself from asking hard questions or picking at the edges to see what falls out. But once the story has had a jarring pause and you’ve had months plus a rewatch to contemplate, it is much harder to become immersed in the world. Particularly when the series itself seems to be doing everything possible to stop you.

Castlevania Season 2 Camilla and Hector

Now, that isn’t to say Castlevania is bad. Because, it actually is quite a fun little romp of a story provided the copious blood and guts being splashed around aren’t a problem and the clear sequel bait endings for the surviving cast members doesn’t annoy. If this had come out in a solid chunk and I’d binged the 12 episodes altogether, I’d have had an absolute blast and while I still probably would have noted a few of the flaws, I don’t think I would have been as disappointed.

I was going to try to start positive but I realised that every positive I have for this season comes with a caveat so we’re just going to have to wade right in and hope we don’t sink.

If you like your blood and violence (and if you made it through the first four episodes the answer to that is probably yes), then season 2 is going to deliver. However, there’s a different kind of feel to it. Whereas season 1 had kind of a cruel humour with its demons running from the city carrying an infant (the excess of this imagery just made it more amusing than horrific and maybe that’s saying something terrible about me) and Trevor’s whip cracking removing eyes and the like. It was excessive but fun. It was almost pushing things to the absurdist level as it rained fire and blood down upon the masses. Season 2 sadly lacks any of this kind of edge and instead we are left with vampires tearing through small packs of fleeing humans and a few fights between various demons and Trevor, Sypha and Alucard. These conflicts are still bloody but nowhere near the same level as the city slaughtering madness that the first four episodes threw at us.

Castlevania Season 2 Trevor

And that seems to be a reoccurring theme of season 2. We get more of things given there are more episodes, but at the same time it is less. There’s less impact, less care, and generally less involvement. The church that was such a threat in season one gets some mentions but otherwise are completely absent from the conflict. The vampires spend more time squabbling amongst themselves inside the castle and Trevor, Sypha and Alucard spend an inordinate amount of time investigating the museum that is Trevor’s family vault. With the three main groups separated for vast spans of time (and the church more or less vanishing) there’s a lot of waiting for things to get moving. It doesn’t help that the vampires barely attack anything during the run of the eight episodes here so unless you are fresh on the memory of season one you may not even really remember why we should care about Dracula’s whole kill all the humans plan.

But, we’ve just gotten to my big issue with this second season. Dracula. In season one, the time we spent with him was not great but it was well used time. They built up a very strong impression of this character who was literally larger than life. His love for his wife, his fury at her loss, the pain he felt and his anger being distributed amongst the masses in a slaughter that wasn’t justified but understandable. Here, well Dracula is just a hollow shell waiting to be killed (as more than one character points out). There’s a clever line from Alucard about this whole massacre thing just being a really long suicide note, and he’s right but that just kind of makes Dracula’s character seem even more hollow. The fire and fury is gone and we never even got to see it fade. We went from this extraordinary and imposing menace to the guy who spent nearly eight episodes sitting in his chair staring at the fireplace and occasionally having one on one chats with the various minions who were all scheming around him as he sat more or less oblivious or indifferent.

Castlevania Season 2 Dracula

Perhaps if we’d seen this transition and the slow loss of his connection to the war he started and the drive he had, it might have played out more emotionally. However, the transition happened off screen. One season we see him in one form and now here he is a different and much less interesting one.

They do fill a lot of the screen time with his followers though. The majority of the vampire characters are either glorified extras or just annoying, with Camilla being a notable exception. That said, her character remains more or less on the side of things and ultimately hers is a story unresolved so there’s little satisfaction to be found in this one. Also, her sudden swearing at various points might have been amusing but it kind of seemed vastly out of character for her (plenty of other characters swear and that’s fine, but it just sounded so wrong coming from Camilla – and not just because she was female but rather because it seemed like it didn’t fit with the rest of her persona). The two human generals Dracula acknowledges could have both been interesting but instead they come off as fairly cheap characters with contrasting ends just for the sake of it.

It might be fair to say that none of these characters left an impression, except that even when they are just stuffing around in a library, Trevor and Sypha have real chemistry and the addition of Alucard’s comments and provocations actually just worked really well. Every moment spent with the main group (and admittedly, there weren’t enough moments spent with them) was purely fun and once the fighting started things got very good very quickly. It’s just a shame that there’s so much down time focusing on things that aren’t really all that interesting first.

Sypha - Castlevania

I mean, there are questions about Sypha’s seemingly unlimited magical reserves and Trevor not being totally dead because even though he’s from a family of monster hunters he is actually a human, and Alucard just kind of does whatever because apparently half-vampire means worse than a full vampire though how that works is unclear… but none of this matters. This group is awesome fun. Let’s see more of them.

All and all, watching both season 1 and 2 of Castlevania together won’t be a bad watch. There’s plenty to enjoy – again though with a warning about the blood and gore, it is definitely a feature. However, this isn’t something that is unmissable and it probably won’t be remembered for long. But hey, whips, swords, magic, vampire killing… It is all good fun just remember not to ask too many questions.

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Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Bleach Live Action Movie Review: I Loved The Anime But What About This?

Bleach Live Action

There’s always some trepidation when hearing about a live action adaptation of a beloved anime. It’s a feeling that I might try to push to the side because I want to give something a go on its own merit rather than lumping it in with predecessors that may have failed to leave much of a positive impression. But just like with video game adaptations, while there are certainly a fair share of truly dreadful ones to be found there are also adaptations that have worked and given a fairly satisfying watch. So the question becomes whether or not Bleach survived this adaptation? There’s no way I’m not comparing as I go given how much I love Bleach but hopefully you’ll join me as I look at this movie.


I’ll get to the point fairly quickly and then explain my reasoning, but I found myself incredibly engrossed in this movie while watching it. I pressed play with that same sinking feeling of trepidation, wondering if I should put it off and wait until more reviews were out and wondering if I should possibly just forget it was even available rather than risk the feeling of disappointment that would come from a poor movie. I didn’t want much from this film, but what I absolutely needed it to do was to be fun to watch.

Netflix Live Action Bleach

Bleach was my ultimate pop-corn viewing anime that swept me up in its grandiose (albeit overly stretched out and bloated) story and cast and just its sheer brazen silliness at times. In short, it seemed the kind of thing that absolutely would not translate very well to real actors because anime fans have kind of learned to cope with the hero losing more litres of blood than that human body holds and still managing to stand up whereas when it happens on screen it kind of makes you wonder what is wrong with the writer.

However, Bleach actually managed to defy my expectations in a lot of ways as I watched this live action unfold on Netflix. The characters were not attempting to copy exactly the look of the anime (or if they did they clearly gave up for practicality’s sake). As a result Ichigo and Rukia look pretty awesome in their roles (and thank-you for someone having enough sense not to put that stupid fringe down the middle of Rukia’s face). Orihime and Chad are likewise altered so that while they retain some of what makes them distinct in the anime they come across looking fairly much like the belong in the setting rather then looking like they escaped a cosplay convention. My only real disappointment with Orihime was the look of her hair-clip which seems like it is missing a few petals which kind of means they are going to have to do some modification later on with how her power works, assuming of course they go there at all (which they definitely should).

Actually, the only character who really came across poorly in appearance was Urahara. Possibly I’m just being overly critical because I really like Urahara’s look in the anime, but to be honest I found his human counterpart here to be the only character who just looked out of place and garishly cosplay like rather than a real character. Even Renji’s hair came out fairly believably (at least within the context of the movie) so I was a little disappointed with Urahara.

Netflix Bleach Live Action

Outside of their appearances, I really liked the way these characters interacted. Again, they weren’t identical to how they behaved in the anime. None of Orihime’s silliness is on display nor does she get countless scenes eating bizarre foods. Karen, Ichigo’s sister, is certainly toned down and while I appreciate the need for that from a time point of view I kind of missed the spunky anime Karen. But these changes all make sense and with the plot having a much tighter focus on Ichigo and Rukia the changes are necessary.

And that was probably my favourite part of this adaptation. Scenes from the anime were merged and pushed together or deleted entirely for the sake of having a coherent story that felt like it was well paced in the time given. We meet Ichigo and very rapidly move to his meeting with Rukia and the transfer of her power to him. However, we then rapidly move on to Ishida confronting Ichigo at school (so no Chad and bird story, no Orihime and her dead brother, and no random encountering Hollows) and we see the Hollow bait getting used. This doesn’t spark a full on fight in its own right though as they combine this conflict with a later one and we see Ichigo and Rukia being confronted by Renji.

The upshot of this is we are dealing pretty much entirely with Rukia’s transgression and need to get her power back with other events that are crucial for introducing characters for later occurring but in a way that feeds into this main plot. Anyone who has watched the anime of Bleach will know how regularly the main plot gets kind of put on hold while the characters run around and do other things or get diverted by other issues, or just how long some of those fight sequences last as you deal with each and every person involved. This movie is well aware of its time limitations and maximises what it can show us through some fairly deliberate modification of the narrative.

However, if you think I’m just going to sing the praises of this movie I’m about to turn this around. There are two points that really stop this from being the truly excellent experience it was pretty close to becoming.

The first is the ending. We get to essentially the end of the first season where Rukia returns to Soul Society and that is a great place for the movie to end. But the fight sequence against the Grand Fisher is… well I hesitate to call it bloated given compared to most of the fight scenes in the Bleach anime it is pretty succinct. Yet, we have Ichigo running from the Hollow through crowded streets (wasn’t he just in a graveyard) and fighting the Grand Fisher in a fairly public space.

Bleach Netflix Live Action

I get that partly this is because they combining events from the fight in the park in the anime where Ishida and Ichigo team up, with the Grand Fisher fight, and then they are transitioning to the fight against Renji, so there were going to need to be some fairly major adjustments to this sequence to make it work. However, it doesn’t fit with Ichigo’s character to lead a Hollow into a public space where others might be put at risk. It also shows off the CG Hollow for far too long. Its first appearance in the graveyard is pretty amazing and in short bursts it could have looked exceptional and had real impact. But, because of the length of the screen time, it ends up looking pretty cheap by the end.

I’ll also point out through the whole chase sequence I was just reminded of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the totally unnecessary dragon chase across the rooftops that ate screen time, wasn’t in the book, and totally wasn’t needed. Yes, we get your wind effects look cool and you are damaging a lot of buildings. We’re at the climax so big boom. And yet, this scene could have been so much tighter and had so much more impact.

The second complaint I’ll raise is the music. Bleach has one of the best soundtracks ever – I’m totally not biased. Every single OP is amazing – again, not biased. The fight music that accompanies Ichigo as he gets geared up to take down anything is unforgettably cool – alright, fine, I’m totally and completely biased when it comes to Bleach music. I’m not going to say the soundtrack to this movie is actually bad… it’s just kind of forgettable. There isn’t one track which just made me sit up and take notice or drew me into a scene. And that was probably my biggest disappointment about this entire movie. The music.

Right, objectively the acting isn’t amazing though it certainly isn’t dreadful. The script is fairly average with dialogue serving its purpose but not doing a lot more. I’m not entirely sure how caught up in events non-Bleach fans will be because I can only watch this film from the perspective of a major fan of the series.

But, this movie was fun to watch. At no point did I feel bored or like I was wasting my time. I didn’t have a single moment where I considered stopping it (Full Metal Alchemist on the other hand I had several moments where I wondered if I should cut my losses and move on).

Do I recommend this movie? Certainly. If you are a Bleach fan but open to necessary changes to accompany the changed format, you’ll have a great time. If you’ve never watched Bleach, this movie will give you a good taste of the plot of season 1 though I’d still recommend watching the anime. That said, if you already jumped in and watched the movie, I’d love to know what you thought of it so leave me a comment.