Behind Every Great Anime Protagonist Is A Great Supporting Cast

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Previously I’ve looked at reasons why being a villain would suck and I’ve certainly looked at various characters on my blog and why they shine, but with the exception of Natsume (see the supporter battle Irina and I worked on), I seldom discuss the supporting cast and their importance in making or breaking a series. Which is something I decided I needed to change because the more I think about it the more I come to realise that great characters don’t occur in isolation.

For every character I’ve connected with or instantly fell in love with and wanted more of, surrounding them is usually a plethora of well written, developed and interesting characters. Each one holding up their end of the story and playing the role they need to play in a way that allows the protagonist to shine.

Obi from Snow White With The Red Hair
Obi is a fantastic supporting cast member in Snow White With The Red Hair. See my top 5 favourite moments with him.

However, this also highlights my general problem with harem anime (whether standard harem, reverse harem, or not a harem but using more or less the same tropes). That is, generally (not always), while there might be good characters in the anime, they aren’t working to complement each other.

Not every supporting cast is made up of a harem in anime… just a lot of them.

The focus is on each of the girls (or guys) standing out from the others with a distinct visual and personality. Their job is to carve out their own niche audience and fan group rather than support a main character or even the cast as a whole. As a direct result, the supporting characters pull attention away from what frequently turns out to be a fairly dull protagonist and because of the shared screen time none of the supporting characters ever really feels fully realised (again, generalising).

Going through some of my favourite characters, or characters I am drawn to, I can see time and again, that a lot of what makes them so amazing comes from those surrounding them.


March Comes in Like a Lion (I promise this isn’t another love letter) has Rei at its centre with the Kawamoto sisters as almost dueteragonists. Particularly in the second season where Akari becomes a major focus for a large arc. All four of these characters are fantastically written and interesting characters and honestly I’d probably happily watch them just stay inside the Kawamoto house and interact at this point.


But, that wasn’t what drew me to the show and to Rei early on before the deep connections were formed and I learned more about these characters. Whether it was Nikaido as a self-proclaimed best friend, Shimada as a mentor character, Kyoko and Goto as potential antagonists, the members of the Science/Shogi club… every single character we encounter (even the one episode rival shogi players) felt like a fully realised character that helped to flesh out the world.

More importantly they gave Rei a wide range of people to respond to and react to bringing out more of Rei’s personality and pain and allowing the audience to feel that he was also a fully realised character rather than just a one note ‘tragic young shogi player’.

Yuri on Ice Episode 6
Yuri and Victor

On a lighter note, Victor and Yuri from Yuri on Ice are amazing. No question I loved watching the two of them interact and grow closer together. I would happily watch more of just the two of them. But again, that wasn’t the immediate draw. What draws you in to Yuri on Ice are all the small touches throughout, including every supporting cast member we meet feeling like they have their own story to tell and just being fun.

Yuri on Ice Episode 7 - Yuri's family - The supporting cast members

Whether it is Yurio running from his fan club, JJ and his over-bearing confidence, Yuri’s family and their support, all of the characters bring something to the mix that helps to elevate the whole shoe and provide a context for Yuri and Victor’s relationship to grow within.


However, even something like Noragami, where I genuinely love Yato, it is again the support cast that manage to bring out his full charm. Hiyori and Yuki stand with him and each brings something relatable and interesting to the story, but the other gods, the regalia, Hiyori’s friends, those who call Yato, even the phantoms, each of them add something to the story and while we may not get a huge amount of time with them, or back story, they are a delight to meet and interact with.

Noragami - supporting cast

Where Noragami manages to go even further is in the portrayal of Nora who remains for most of season one an incredibly enigmatic figure but one who is sufficiently built up that when she takes a more active role in season two it doesn’t feel like she’s come from nowhere. It feels like a natural extension of where her story had been heading from the beginning and it is largely through her interactions with Yato that more of Yato’s past can be revealed to the audience.

My Hero Academia Support Cast

Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it in terms of whether a great support cast can make or break a show and a protagonist. Look at My Hero Academia. I like Midoriya, I really do, but he isn’t a particularly memorable character on his own. It is the zany cast that surrounds him early on that fills the anime with so much energy and enthusiasm and allows Midoriya the chance to grow into his role as both protagonist and hero. There’s almost as much fan art around plenty of his classmates as there is of him (and of some characters I’d bet there’s even more).

When creating something it is important to remember that while the protagonist will probably be the character people remember, a great protagonist on their own doesn’t normally carry the story alone (unless they are Tom Hanks in Cast Away in which case I still give the award for best supporting cast member to the Volleyball). It is the support cast that create the space and opportunities for the protagonist to be who they need to be and draw out the best of the main character.

Cast Away - Tom Hanks and Wilson

So remember, behind every great protagonist is a great supporting cast. Or a really emotive volleyball.

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

Why Do We Criticise Main Characters For Being Overpowered?

Overpowered Feature

I know right from the start of writing this article that I’m going to step on some toes but the argument about main characters being over powered and whether that makes them less interesting comes up time and time again and I decided I wanted to discuss this.

Why are overpowered main characters considered a bad thing?

Admittedly, I do like anime where the underdog comes forward and finally overcomes the seemingly unbeatable peril, but that doesn’t mean every main character has to be a wimp or a developing hero. It’s nice sometimes to have someone competent, in control, and at times even confident to follow along on their quest. In those instances, it isn’t tension that you are wanting to experience but rather the satisfaction of seeing someone overcome a challenge in a fairly capable manner. So, different emotional payoff but still entertaining, right?

Only it seems there is a very vocal group on the internet that seem to think that an overpowered MC exists only as a plot device and can’t possibly be an interesting character. While they are entitled to their opinion, and if an anime that features a strong main character isn’t for them, so be it, why do they feel the need to berate anyone who feels differently or to tear down these anime?

The king of overpowered main characters - superman

Before we get into anime characters that seem overpowered, I would like to point out the most overpowered character of all time, Superman. Seriously, there is only one thing in the entire world that can even slow him down and its ridiculously hard to come across (unless you are a B Grade villain living in Metropolis in which case it seems you will find it every time you sneeze). And with nothing that can actually harm him, let’s be honest there is very little reason to ever feel concerned about the outcome of a battle. His girlfriend died and he turned back time to save her (didn’t worry about all the other victims though).

One of my favourite characters in anime is Sebastian from Black Butler, but by every definition he is overpowered. At no point in the series do you feel he is actually in any danger, and by association there is little that will actually endanger the protagonist of the series, Ciel.


Does that take any fun out of the series? Does it mean it is pointless to watch because you know Sebastian is going to win the fight and finish with s smug smile, usually while polishing something, and then give a cheesy line about being “one hell of a butler”? I didn’t think so. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the series and the fact that not every conflict could be solved simply through pointing Sebastian at it and saying ‘defeat’. Sure, the outcome of any conflicts were inevitable, but the process of getting to that victory was usually quite amusing to watch and it made for a very satisfying experience.

And Sebastian never complains. Or cries. Or pleas for more power. There are no training montages, no wise advisers showing up, or even friendly rivals (at least not in the first season). All of these clichés that occur in anime where the protagonist is still developing and not overpowered can be removed because what on earth will our character learn from them? They are already strong so most of their learning comes about themselves or other people rather than combat.

Another character who seems to take hits for being overpowered all the time is Kirito from Sword Art Online. Firstly, why is he considered overpowered? He nearly dies in every single battle and fails fairly regularly to protect those he is trying to save, which takes a fairly heavy emotional toll on him. The fact that he manages in most instances to save his own life doesn’t make him overpowered.


While some haters argue that knowing Kirito will win a fight makes it pointless to watch. Unless you seriously haven’t ever watched or read any kind of story before, of course the main character is going to win. They only ever lose if it serves a greater purpose in the plot. So knowing he’s going to win doesn’t make him overpowered either.

Kirito isn’t always confident of victory, and he doesn’t walk needlessly into danger or expose himself to harm. He trains hard and he works with other characters – who admittedly get sidelined in critical battles to show off how amazing Kirito is but that’s a whole other discussion – and lastly, he continues to grow and develop as a character (which is another key criticism of him that he doesn’t develop). While his growth is subtle, it most certainly is occurring.


Remember back in the very first episode of SAO when Kirito realised that the game was real and that he could die. The fear he felt and the way it nearly overwhelmed him. And that emotion led him to the conclusion that he had to get strong and had to survive. Then as the series progressed he realises that mere survival won’t be enough. He has to find a way to live. And then he helps other characters realise that they can find a way to live as well. Kirito may become an exceptionally strong character, but he doesn’t just blink and get that way. And I personally found his journey very interesting even knowing he wouldn’t die.

Then again, if you really hate Kirito you can watch SAO abridged and that is pretty funny regardless.

Lastly, I’d like to bring up Tatsuya Shiba from The Irregular at Magic High School. He is totally overpowered in almost every conflict he is involved in. And even though that is blatantly apparent to the audience the rest of the cast that inhabit his world are a little slower on the uptake. Does that make him boring to watch? Not at all. Tatsuya is fantastic to see in action.


Here is a character who exudes calm and confidence in every situation. I would say the issues come more from his lack of personality than from him being overpowered. And once again, it isn’t as though he is never in any danger or never injured. And it isn’t that the people around him aren’t put in danger or injured. The fact that he is going to win a fight doesn’t make it any less exhilarating to watch.

So, while I will admit that an overpowered main character can cause some plot problems (for instance the increasingly ridiculous ways they will try to make villains or situations that do challenge them), having an overpowered MC is not an instant sign that an anime is flawed, terrible, or without a story.

I guess it all comes down to why you are watching the story and what you are after. If you want nail biting tension and uncertainty in a battle’s outcome, certainly these overpowered main characters won’t be for you. But if you are after something else, there may be quite a bit of enjoyment to be found.

Share your thoughts. Do you like or hate overpowered characters? Who are your favourite/most hated overpowered characters?

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

Your Life If You Were In An Anime

Life Anime Feature

It should be clear relatively quickly, that this post is not intended to be taken seriously because obviously the question ‘if you were in an anime’ cannot really be answered seriously. That doesn’t mean I didn’t spend serious amounts of time pondering this question.

I’m sure you’ve also wondered before what life would be like if you were the protagonist in an anime. I realised that all my examples are from fantasy anime so I’ll have a look at a different genre soon. I’m sure other people have thought about this so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

If you were in an anime…

Stage One: You would begin life unremarkably. You might be the ordinary guy/gal next door or the ditz or the loner, but you aren’t interesting enough to really make any kind of impact on anyone. For example:

  • Look at Serena/Usagi from Sailor Moon. She was just an ordinary, blonde girl with below average test scores.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki in Bleach? Other than a crazed father and a penchant for violence, his life was as unremarkable as they came. Even his seeing ghosts didn’t really get a rise out of most bystanders.
  • Sakura from Cardcaptors? While she’s unfortunately cursed to forever be attached to the 90’s Rollerblade craze her day-to-day life held zero interest.
  • Shibuya Yuuri from Kyou Kara Maou. He’s an ex-baseball player with a conscience which leads to his head being flushed down a toilet but otherwise there’s nothing of note about him (something that even other characters in the show remark on at times).

Stage 2: Some person or event occurs that changes your life forever. Maybe it was a preordained act of destiny, or maybe it was just random chance, or it might be some weird combination, but once the change occurs there is no going back. Some examples from anime:

  • Serena meets Luna who awakens her as a Sailor Scout.
  • Ichigo meets Rukia, who after being injured by a hollow gives Ichigo her Shinigami powers so he can save his family.
  • Sakura releases the cards and is then recruited by the guardian to captured them.
  • Yuuri is flushed straight into another world where he meets Konrad who tells him he is going to be the next demon king.

Stage Three: You undergo a dramatic transformation while fighting to hold on to your own sense of identity. This transformation is sometimes quite literal as the magical girls of the world know all too well, but other times it is a transformation of purpose and drive. Our examples:

  • Serena becomes Sailor Moon, Champion of Love and Justice. Well she has a cute outfit at least. She does eventually evolve into a champion.
  • Sakura’s transformation is more subtle as it is more about the direction her life goes in and how she deals with things. The outfits are simply a ‘perk’ (or an obsession from a rich friend).
  • Ichigo transforms into a shinigami (kind of). While this allows him to fight low level hollows, it’s going to be a very bumpy ride before he reaches his true potential.
  • Yuuri transforms literally and metaphorically. He is made the demon king but has to keep working to keep war from breaking out between demons and humans. However, make him mad enough and the maou really will appear and he definitely isn’t a push-over.

By the way, Sakura isn’t forced by magic to wear those outfits. No, she is the victim of an overly nice friend who really just wants to help her capture the cards, and video tape Sakura in cute outfits.

Stage Four: Now you have transformed you must face your destiny. It is nice how destiny always appears just when you are ready to face it. Whether it be an enemy, a politcal ideal, or the saving of a friend, you must rush onward to save the day. And just note, the consequences of failure are too horrendous to even discuss, so don’t fail.

  • Yuuri, just save the world for humans and demons and keep a war from breaking out, and while you’re at it, save all of your closest friends from having their various body parts snatched so that they can be used as magic keys to boxes that will somehow destroy the world. No pressure.
  • Serena, kill Beryl. She only destroyed the entire Moon Kingdom and your far more talented mother, but you can do it.
  • Ichigo, Rukia gave you her power and now they are going to kill her. Fight your way through every single one of the Shinigami until you can somehow save her.
  • Sakura, you let the cards escape and now you have to catch them so that the magic doesn’t run amok. Yeah, there is a greater story in here as well but really it’s a magical scavenger hunt.

Helpful Hints for your anime life:

You are the protagonist in an anime. You won’t die (and if you do it won’t be overly permanent) so feel free to wear your ideals on your sleeves and never back down.

Keep in mind, if you insist something for long enough, even when backed up with no actual evidence, somehow your passion and faith will make it a reality.

You are going to suffer pain. Amazingly enough, for every good thing that happens, you will probably have overcome at least three really awful ordeals, or had to save others from them. Let’s be honest, the more tragic your past or present, somehow the more power you are going to end up with and the cooler outfit you will get to wear once you find your power.

And, if all else fails, believe in the power of friendship and your own strength and somehow you will evolve once again into an even shinier version of you who can in fact save the day.

Some final random thoughts:

How many buckets of blood does Ichigo actually have anyway and why does he need to be near death before he manages to win any fight? Wouldn’t being that close to death actual hinder his success?

Why is Serena more powerful when she transforms into a really long, white dress? Surely that would hinder her combat abilities?

Your Thoughts:

So back to the original reason for the post, what if life were an anime? Share your thoughts.

Images from: Bleach, Cardcaptor Sakura, Kyou Kara Maou, and Sailor Moon.

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

How Anime Fans Know They’ve Just Become An Isekai Protagonist

Isekai Feature

With so many isekai stories out there you would assume people disappeared from Japan on an almost daily basis.

If light novels and anime are to be believed – and of course they are such an incredibly factual source of information about how the world works – there’s a genuine danger that one day you might get sent to another world and find yourself as an isekai protagonist. This risk is increased if you fit any of the categories below:

  • Reader of fantasy fiction.
  • Player of RPG’s.
  • Player of otome games.
  • Otaku shut-in.
  • Male who has never had sex.
  • Victim of bullying.
  • Someone who has failed to achieve their dreams.
  • Someone who works ridiculous hours in a hostile corporate environment.
  • A genius at one particular thing.
  • Are a ridiculously bland human.
Klein - Sword Art Online: Aincrad Artc
Sorry Klein.

The risk definitely increases if you happen to meet more than one of those criteria. Honestly, if you meet at least three of those (you are probably a normal human being) you really need to be on the lookout for the methods through which you might be sent to another world.

Check the risk: Are you likely to become an isekai protagonist?

Naturally there is the stock standard truck encounter. This one has been used so many times it has now become the go-to for comedy versions of the trope. Even Zombie-Land Saga, which didn’t actually become an isekai, used a close encounter with truck-kun as the means of knocking off our optimistic protagonist and having her reawaken as a zombie. Winter 2021 has brought us Jobless Reincarnation with yet another truck related isekai incident. Honestly, if you are at risk of being isekai’d you may as well just stay away from traffic. It isn’t going to end well.

Because let’s be real: even if these characters are in fact reincarnating in another world they have to go through the messy process of dying first. Whether it is a truck or some other equally tragic or comedic demise, their death scenes don’t exactly look great to live through. Then they wake up in the other world and have the messy process of growing up and learning about the world they are in, or realise they aren’t even human anymore.

I’ll admit, Rimuru didn’t get hit by a truck. He was stabbed. But he still died and then got to find out he was a translucent blue slimeball in a dark-cave (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime). Like, harsh.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Slime gives the dragon a name.
I hear you Rimuru.

Moving away from that, we have the less painful version of logging into a game that through reasons that will never make actual sense you can’t log out of. Maybe some evil psycho designed the game that way (Sword Art Online) or maybe someone shut-down the server and for whatever reason that didn’t just throw you out of the system. Either way, you are now in video-game land and you really better hope you don’t get the buggy version of Aincrad that appeared in the SAO Abridged series.

SAO Abridged - Bugs happen.

There’s also summoning. So you don’t become a different person, usually, but you either go through some sort of glowing portal or are somehow yanked out of your reality and end up somewhere else. In some cases the summoner has grand plans for you but the usual trope these days is that you won’t be the one they were after anyway and you’ll end up cut loose to make your own way in the world.

Of course Cautious Hero and The Familiar of Zero (why have I not yet review this) are both cases where the summoned her did in fact end up being led around by the summoner though in both cases I don’t think either of them really minded by the end.

Then we have the utterly random transportation methods. One of my personal favourites came from Kyou Kara Maou where they flushed the character down the toilet. Though that series does a few things differently with the character bouncing back and forth between the two worlds for the duration of the series using water as a portal between the two and with time running at different speeds.

All things considered, of all the options, this one would be my preferred iskeai option because you kind of end up with the best of both worlds (provided you don’t drown through transportation or get killed in fantasy land).


So we’ve covered transportation to the other world, but how do we know we haven’t just hit our head or we’re having a bad dream?

Well, whatever the set-up starts as, sooner or later you are going to get an opportunity to do something you had never done before or fulfil some kind of dream. Whether your goal was the simple life of a farmer, or whether you wanted to protect someone, or even if you just wanted to see new places and try new foods, your new life will somehow provide this for you.

In the rare cases where it doesn’t, you’ll be given an opportunity to become a hero who saves the world from some ridiculously over-the-top force. At first you will seem like an unlikely hero but rest assured you will have exactly the power or skill required to succeed in either the second last or final episode of your story.

Yes, because you are Diablo.

And whether you start out as an unpopular character or not, you can be pretty optimistic that sooner or later someone will recognise your innate talents and follow you around for the rest of forever. Then another character will. And so on until you’ve acquired quite the crew of followers who all completely adore you and think you are the best thing since whatever their equivalent of sliced bread is.

Seriously, you’ll have a best friend, a frenemy, a love interest (possibly multiple), the mentor figure, and all other kinds of hanger-ons who are just amazed and inspired by your ‘original’ ideas and thoughts. The downside of course being that someone is going to end up insanely jealous of your good fortune and will set themselves up a rival character who may or may-not end up being a serious threat (to themselves).

There are a couple to watch out for though.

The world you are sent to will almost definitely look like a more sanitary version of medieval Europe. While some exceptions exist, it is almost positive that you will either end up learning to use a sword, a bow and arrow, or magic (or maybe all 3). If you are worried you are at risk of being isekai’d you might want to start practicing now as characters who are good at kendo or similar seem to fare reasonably well on arrival. Not sure how you would prepare learning magic in this world. Maybe just practice posing?

Kenja no Mago - Shin
Yeah, like that.

Also, just be aware that you are unlikely to find soy sauce or miso in this fantasy land. But don’t worry, apparently anyone who can manage to obtain ingredients of any sort can eventually create an equivalent flavour.

Basically, if you watch isekai stories, you know what to watch out for to know if you have been isekai’d. You will also know what to do and what to avoid.

So how about it – how would you know you were in an isekai? And if you were, what would your first steps be?

Images in this article from:

  • Sword Art Online. Dir. A Iwakami. A-1 Pictures. 2012
  • How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. Dir. Y Murano. Ajia-Do. 2018
  • Kenja no Mago. Dir. M Tamura. Silver Link. 2019
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. Dir. Y Kikuchi. 8bit. 2019.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged – Unknown

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

Up Close With Emma

The Promised Neverland Episode 5 Emma

She’s one of a trio of precocious eleven year olds who learn her whole life is a lie. Emma from The Promised Neverland shines and today I want to take a closer look at her. I am however only looking at the first season of the anime and what we’ve seen of Emma so far there.

There will however be some spoilers for the anime.

The Promised Neverland Episode 9

Fortunately, Emma is one shining character who carries every scene she is in. She’s the glue that holds the central trio together and drives the narrative in The Promised Neverland, and while she might not be as smart as Ray or Norman it is safe to say that without Emma the story would have been dead in the water. While they think and plan, Emma is the one puts things into action.

What is so great about Emma?

The Promised Neverland Episode 1 Emma and friends

Right from episode one, we see that Emma is a character who nurtures those around her. She is fiercely protective of her ‘family’ and when she learns they are in danger and that the world they are in is a lie she is driven to take action. Only, escape isn’t her only goal. She wants to save everyone.

Norman knows this is foolish. Ray doesn’t just know it to be foolish, he openly opposes the idea of trying to save everyone and makes his own deal with Norman behind Emma’s back. But, Emma is resolute.

The Promised Neverland Episode 7 Emma and Norman

That is what makes the ending of season one of The Promised Neverland so incredibly surprising. Emma doesn’t get all of the kids out of the orphanage but not because Ray tricked her or she failed. She makes her own decision that it isn’t time. After refusing to compromise or to give in, Emma makes the only compromise she can and that is to not save everyone just now. She’ll save those she can now, those who are in danger, and resolve to finish the job later.

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It is such an unusual move for a protagonist in this kind of story. They normally take an all or nothing approach sacrificing life and limb for their ideals.

Emma is idealistic. She has a goal so big it will change her whole world. But she won’t lay down her life, or anyone else’s to achieve it, because that defeats the purpose of achieving it.

Emma is a protagonist the likes of which we have never really seen before. She lies at times but feels guilty. She isn’t above underhanded actions or leaning on others, but Emma ultimately is the strength that props everyone else up and encourages them to be more than they thought they could. All of those kids believed in her and helped with the plan because of Emma.

The Promised Neverland Episode 12 - Morning

It was a real joy to spend time with Emma during season one of The Promised Neverland and I look forward to seeing her in action during season two next year.

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

12 Days of Anime Characters – Diablo

12 Days of Anime Title Image

And this is the final day of the 12 Days of Anime. While yesterday I focused on Kanami Chidori from Full Metal Panic, today I’ve decided to finish the countdown off with Diablo from How Not To Summon A Demon Lord. Why? Because he kind of took me by surprise and ended up being a really fun character.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 3 - Diablo

Isekai protagonists have a fairly bad reputation for being generic and dull. Nice guy shut ins with social anxiety also get a fair amount of criticism. Add in harem protagonist to the mix, and Diablo really did shape up to be the single worst protagonist ever.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 5 - Diablo

However, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord never even flinched. They took the generic, the cliche, and the ordinary and went with it. They embraced the faults of these characters as well as their strengths, and gave us, Diablo.


Whether he is posing in front of an army and pretending he’s got it all together or internally freaking out because Shera’s boobs are rubbing against him again, Diablo was a fun character to spend time with. The disconnect between his inner monologues and external dialogue was genuinely amusing. His being nice while being a demon lord gave him enough of an edge to remain interesting. Even though he was overpowered the anime managed to throw decent enough villains his way to keep it feeling fresh.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7 Diablo

All and all, Diablo was a gem of a character to come out of 2018 and one that should be remembered as a sign that not all cliches, tropes and generic isekai characters are created equal.

I hope you enjoyed my 12 Days of Anime and I hope you have a very good holiday.

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

12 Days of Anime Characters – Eren Jaeger

12 Days of Anime Title Image

Here we are at Day 6 of the 12 Days of Anime. Yesterday we looked at a character who possessed poise and grace as she moved through her unrequited love (Sayaka from Bloom Into You) but today’s pick couldn’t be any more different. A shounen protagonist who throws himself at everything with the same bull-headed attitude, it is Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan.

Attack on Titan Episode 9

Now, Eren Jaeger is a character who I really haven’t liked for a lot of the three seasons and yet as season three progressed, I found myself finding a new appreciation for him. Admittedly, I’m not exactly joining the Eren fan-club anytime soon, but season three managed to see him going through some fairly well deserved character development – or maybe he just finally grew up.

Spending a large number of the episodes tied up and gagged was something I initially found amusing because in the absence of Eren yelling at things, it felt like we could finally see some of the other characters in action without him and let them shine. And that was true to a point, but what I didn’t expect was that when Eren finally got to speak, that for once he wouldn’t just be that angry, shouting little boy we’d endured for the previous seasons.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 3

Suddenly, we had an Eren who was reflecting on the power he had and how he’d received. An Eren who was thinking about the long game and while he was also a little defeatest, understood that he wasn’t necessarily the one who was going to save everyone. Yet even at his lowest point, when push came to shove, Eren acted to save the other scouts. Even after that, he didn’t suddenly let it go to his head; instead he remained aware of his own individual insignificance and was working his hardest to contribute what he could.

Yes, season three of Attack on Titan gave me new reason to think about Eren’s character and the journey he has been on. While I’m still not the biggest fan of Eren, and I still don’t like shouting protagonists, it really was like watching someone grow up right before my eyes and the transformation felt natural given the circumstances, and earned, given what he’d gone through. Now I’m keenly looking forward to where his character goes from here, though given it is Attack on Titan I’m guessing he’s got more pain and misery headed his way.

Attack on Titan Episode 11

For a character I don’t normally talk about, I really felt this year he stepped up and so I definitely wanted to include him in this list of twelve characters as I counted down to Christmas.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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30 Day Anime Challenge: Day 26

30 day anime challenge copy e1495940892299


Day 26: Favourite Male Protagonist.

This challenge has definitely made it clear just how indecisive I am around this notion of favourites. Choosing one over all the others is actually really hard (and I am dreading Day 30).

Ultimately I’m going to go with a character that made me feel so much for him on his journey, who I wanted to pick up and hug, offer a word of support to, and then run the other direction so whatever horrible thing was about to happen to him never happened to me. Of course I am talking about Allen Walker from D Gray Man.

Allen Walker.jpg

Nice guy but avoids the trap of having that as his only personality trait. Very powerful but in no way overpowered given the enemies (and even the allies) around him. Everything about Allen is fantastic and this is a character I desperately want to be victorious one day but I kind of feel he’s a walking tragedy so I won’t hold my breath.

I did consider quite a few other characters including Ciel in Black Butler, Natsume from Natsume Yuujinchou, Rei from March Comes in Like a Lion, and even Sadou Maou from the Devil is a Part Timer.

Who is your favourite male protagonist and why? Please share in the comments below.

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Karandi James.


30 Day Anime Challenge: Day 25

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Here we are at Day 25, which means I am 5/6ths of the way through this challenge. Favourite female protagonist today. I could um and ah about this for awhile but I think it is pretty clear who I will end up choosing.

Maka Albarn from Soul Eater.

She’s book smart, strong, and just a fun character. She’s driven toward her goals and a hard worker. However, she is also surrounded by friends who make sure she doesn’t go too far and get too obsessed. Soul in particular is probably the perfect complementary character for her.

Still, Maka might be awesome but there are plenty of other characters I considered here. One that nearly gave Maka a run for her money was Shirayuki from Snow White with the Red Hair. She’s just an amazing female character. Now if they just gave her some kind of cool weapon…

Anyway, that’s my choice for Day 25 but I’d love to know who you would have chosen.

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Karandi James.


The Asterisk War Season 2 Series Review

The Asterisk War Season 2 Overview:

Some disaster struck and from this humans were able to develop powers of sorts and as you do in these fantasy stories you build schools to train teenagers to be homicidal nut-jobs that think only of ways to use their powers to beat other teens into submission all in the name of achieving some greater purpose or dream.

Okay, that was a little bit sarcastic but it is essentially The Asterisk War boiled down to its most basic parts.

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The Asterisk War Season 2 Review:

I’d like to clarify that as sarcastic as I was in my overview there, I actually have really enjoyed watching The Asterisk War (both season 1 and 2 minus the very first episode of season 1).

As long as you don’t want to probe to deeply you have a nice cast of characters with distinct hair colours which makes it easy to differentiate the haremettes, some fairly cool fight sequences, weapons and powers, and a plot that nicely distinguishes that everyone who is not helping our protagonists are clearly evil and will eventually be destroyed. All well and good and thoroughly enjoyable.

Now I’m going to ruin it and actually think about it. Unfortunately, The Asterisk War doesn’t hold up under any kind of scrutiny.

Let’s start with Ayato. Ayato is one of those overly nice protagonists I talked about in a feature. His only true and distinct personality trait is that he is nice. He isn’t overly clever (except when the plot asks him to strategize), he isn’t particularly good at anything (other than fighting), and yet everybody loves him and thinks he is amazing.

What I find particularly distressing in this case was that Ayato did have one defining trait; his power was limited to five minutes by a seal set by his missing sister. This gave him something more than just being nice. A little bit of a tragic backstory (though Asterisk seems determined not to play this for tragedy) and a clear hurdle to overcome when facing strong opponents.

And then he just undid the seal (or part of it). Now he can use his power for an hour or so. No cost for doing this or particular effort involved. More importantly, since then, he hasn’t even seemed to need to unseal his power at all, he just uses it. So that one thing that distinguished Ayato and made him a little interesting just disappeared midway through season 2. That is kind of depressing when you think about it for too long.

Then we have Julis. She’s a Princess of a small country and of course wants to save orphans. She’s tough and doesn’t let people get close but Mr Nice Protagonist manages to win her over and the two team up. While Julis gets to look pretty awesome in the lesser fights as soon as we come up against a boss it is all down to Ayato.

Julis consistently get’s sidelined and overlooked. This is problematic because Ayato’s vague and often forgotten goal of finding his sister is nowhere near as interesting as Julis’ clear desire to save her country (though exactly what from was not established until fairly close to the end of the second season and even then it is still a fairly generic threat).

This story would be better served by actually allowing Julis to take the lead with the occasional support from Ayato and yet Ayato continues to flail his sword around and that’s so much better somehow.

The other characters (mostly female) sometimes get good moments and great lines but then get shunted to the background. They are presented as having goals and reasons for fighting, but mostly hang around to get patted on the head.

That doesn’t bother me all that much as I kind of understand that the story needs to focus on its main characters, the problem becomes that the main characters aren’t doing anything worth watching a lot of the time because Ayato’s goals are nebulous and Julis is waiting for Ayato to help her achieve her goals. Even when she says that she has to do something alone, one sentence from Ayato and she agrees to let him help.

Forgetting the characters for the moment, and forgetting them is pretty easy to do, the plot is as generic as it comes. Ayato goes to school, gets in a fight with Julis, they partner up and prepare for the Festa, we then fight duels in the Festa for forever (though they clearly tell us that was only 2 weeks) and now we are dealing with preparations for the next big round of fighting.

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the background with power deals and organisations, but Julis and Ayato are only vaguely aware of these things so they revealed through shadowy conversations and voice only phone calls which means none of it is developed. This leaves the setting and plot as pretty basic with only moments of intrigue that are quickly swept under the rug and forgotten until a character says ‘do you remember’.

And half the time I don’t remember because it was something mentioned once about six or seven episodes ago.

As to the action itself, I quite enjoyed it but realise that visually it isn’t any better than other standard fantasy fighting anime and the tactics (if they can be called such) used in the fights are pretty generic. There are a couple of moments that make you pay attention, but otherwise the fights are all pretty standard and the most interesting ones don’t include our protagonists so they get finished pretty quickly.

Let me restate, I like this anime. I’ve watched two seasons of it and should we get a third I’ll continue to watch. But this is not a great anime or going on my list of anime that I’ll rewatch over and over. This is popcorn fare at best and while it is inoffensive amusement it doesn’t offer anything deeper or more involved.

Which is a shame because there are certainly hints that there could be something more to this anime but at the moment the series has not delivered. If you haven’t watched The Asterisk War, I would recommend giving it a go, but just know you aren’t going to find anything you haven’t seen before.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James