The Ones Within Anime Series Review – A Weird Genre Mix and Incomplete Ending Yet Still Kind of Fun

Within Series Review

What Happens When You Blend Gamers
With A Creepy Guy in a Llama Mask?

Incidentally, even once The Ones Within finished its run I still don’t know if the guy is wearing a mask or if he’s actually a human with the head of a llama. One assumes its a mask because of how it sits on his suit but it isn’t as though we ever see him take it off. That’s just one of many unanswered questions Nakanohito Genome leaves the audience with.

Normally I have a fair dislike of shows that finish in a completely open manner, seemingly oblivious to their own run time as the story just stops almost mid-sentence without any announcement of a continuation. In this case, that fact still makes it hard to recommend The One’s Within whole-heartedly, but it didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment while watching.

What started as a weird little outlier for the season grew on me before stumbling a little and then picked up again before it all ran out of time and just stopped short of the characters achieving their goals or getting any real answers.

The cast of The One's Within

And for some this will be enough to not dip their toes into the water or even start The Ones Within. I can’t really argue with that logic. Incomplete stories abound in anime and with so little chance of ever being finished, why spend the time when there are other titles to invest those precious minutes in?

The One’s Within isn’t unmissable but there’s enjoyment to be had.

It isn’t as though Nakanohito Genome is some unmissable masterpiece. The story relies very heavily on randomness for its humour and the characters begin in a decidedly one note fashion and while they may grow on you by the end and the chemistry in the group works well enough, they are not deep by any means. Throw in the incomplete narrative and that’s three strikes against The Ones Within before it even begins.


With that being said, I had a lot of fun with this series over the Summer season. The first episode kind of had me a little concerned as I kind of got Danganronpa vibes (only with no where near the oomph) from it and I wasn’t the biggest fan of that franchise. Fortunately, The Ones Within progressed over the rest of its first half by kind of carving out its own weird style and there was just enough mix of mystery, random comedy moments, occasionally on point characterisation, and some interesting visuals to continue to draw me into the odd story of the group of gamers who were abducted or selected to play a series of games to earn views.

It is never really established if they would actually be killed but there’s certainly a number of threatening moments that the characters face and even if death isn’t on the cards, isolation certainly is. ‘The White Room’ is an ever-present threat and one that forms a nice catalyst for drama in the second half when one member of the team is finally isolated and the rest are racing against time to get him back.


The games themselves are equally ambiguous with it never being clear if this is meant to be a real world, a virtual world, or some alternate reality. Some of the games are very clearly just life versions of actual games where others have what appear to be genuine supernatural elements (or at least clearly impossible elements such as a ghost, giant panda, or the creepy plant things). You never really get a good grasp of where the kids actually are or what the mechanics are behind the whole thing though each ‘mission’ is kind of interesting in its own way and watching the group working together, or trying to, in order to overcome the challenges was largely entertaining.

I mentioned the visuals earlier and I do want to return to that. While the animation isn’t great and relies very much on stills and pans, the art itself is incredibly diverse. The range of styles used to express mood and character throughout the series is really interesting and the way the visuals changed up various scenes kept each episode feeling fresh.


Ultimately, The Ones Within is incredibly flawed and yet it isn’t a disaster. More than that, if the characters don’t turn you away, there’s some fairly interesting development of the characters throughout and various pieces of the puzzle are revealed even if the overall picture still hasn’t formed. Basically, I enjoyed this. I do recommend giving the first episode a try if you are looking for something a bit different to watch, but for those who are time poor or who haven’t already watched most of the standard titles out there, this probably isn’t going to worth the time investment.


Then again, creepy llama guy is creepy and there was definitely a tone in this story that just clicked for me. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so divided in my opinion of any anime ever but this one was enjoyable despite its faults.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

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

Isekai Cheat Magician Anime Series Review

Cheat Series Review

Being Generic Is Not A Crime;
Being Generic and Boring However…

Isekai Cheat Magician is one of those shows where there is in fact truth in the label, though that seems to be a trend in isekai stories (light novels and anime) to simply describe the basic plot and use that as your title. I mean, I always struggled coming up with titles for stories but apparently if I got back into writing I could just put that concern to the side and write a brief synopsis and there we go – insta-title.

In seriousness though, generic isekai is something I quite enjoy. There’s something quite relaxing about genre fiction that doesn’t really aspire to be anything beyond its basic label and when”>watching with others isekai can work as it usually brings something to the table that everyone can enjoy. While I do enjoy more thought provoking fare inbetween my binge popcorn meals, I happily return to these fairly routine anime with a regularity that kind of indicates that I’m getting something out of it.

Despite that, Isekai Cheat Magician ended up being one of those anime that started out looking like something I would truly enjoy despite its limitations, for instance Kenja no Mago, and yet ended up being one of the more forgettable viewing experiences of the year. Which is actually a pretty impressive feat given this year’s viewing also included that happily dismissed Grimms Notes.


However, just in case you have never embraced watching an isekai before, let me run through the basic plot here. Mr Ordinary-Nice-Guy gets summoned by a Princess to another world where he naturally has the biggest, baddest magic power around but of course he won’t abuse his power but rather he’ll help the first people who take an interest in him because they are of course good and everybody who opposes them must be bad for reasons.

Our ‘twist’ such as it is for Isekai Cheat Magician, is that Mr Ordinary-Nice-Guy (Taichi) is with his female child-hood friend when the summoning circle appears and she, despite Nice-Guy pushing her out of the way, jumps back into the circle and gets herself summoned as well.

Isekai Cheat Magician Episode 1

It’s fine. She also has super-powers and is actually smart so could probably have been the protagonist on her own but apparently the author wasn’t sure that his nicely written, well rounded female characters could carry a show and so tied them all inexplicably to the dead-weight and personality-less actual protagonist.

Alright, he has a personality but largely it consists of being dense and being nice in equal measure before occasionally punching something.

And let’s consider that for a moment. Despite being a cheat ‘magician’, and boy do they remind us of that a lot as he calls himself one at least once every second episode, or Rin (the childhood friend does), he largely uses his power to strengthen his body and punch things. They could have called him isekai-wannabe-fighter and the story probably would have turned out much the same except for his whole connection with the spirits who actually help him use the occasional bit of magic. Instead of spells and chants and really cool combinations of ideas we get a guy who glows and punches things.

Admittedly, it worked really well for Gon (Hunter x Hunter) but then again they weren’t trying to convince us that Gon was actually a magician.


Then we have Rin who actually does learn to use magic and carries a staff. At one point she uses a combination of magic spells to slow down an entire army and it is really cool to watch. She’s confident and self-assured, using her knowledge of science to combine with magical power to deliver some spells that are unknown in the world they’ve been transported to. Wow, Rin could carry this anime all on her own and join the list of female leads in isekai anime except that instead she ended up in this.

When she’s paired up with Myura, one of the inhabitants of the world who works to train them in magic, the two are really great fun to watch. Both are powerful but not unbeatable and both are observant about their surroundings.


Which makes these two characters getting sidelined so the chosen one can save the day in the final battle fairly unpalatable and is perhaps the worst offense of Isekai Cheat Magician (other than just being a bit dull).

Somehow all their tough and strong personality traits get evaporated and they end up more or less just waiting around while Taichi mops things up. It is most definitely a disappointing direction for their characters, though clearly it was inevitable. Even in earlier fights where Taichi was around they found reasons to almost damsel-in-distress them or they found ways to separate the group. Because, they can only be strong and self-reliant if the protagonist isn’t on the scene. That inconsistency kind of hurt.

By the time we throw in villains who by and large aren’t even cliches they are so paper-thin in terms of the writing you almost have to wonder if there’s anything left to appeal about this anime. And the truth is, there are some nice moments between Taichi and Rin and then between Rin and Myura. Rin manages to bring out the best in the cast around her and when she’s bouncing off someone the scenes come to life.

Yet, that probably isn’t enough to salvage Isekai Cheat Magician’s plot that just feels like they didn’t know what to do beyond summon two characters and throw stuff at them, and characters who don’t actually have a consistent personality but merely respond as the plot demands at the time.

Umm… duh.

Isekai Cheat Magician isn’t creative enough to be called a train wreck. It just kind of is.

Isekai Cheat Magician has visuals that are adequate but certainly nothing note-worthy, music that is equally forgettable, and ultimately an unfinished story because while we have a fight in the final episodes the ‘true’ mastermind has yet to actually grace the scene, and honestly I’ll happily recommend dozens of other isekai titles before this one. That doesn’t make this one broken beyond repair and it certainly is watchable (at least if you’ve watched many other isekai stories). But there’s nothing here that makes this one something that needs to be watched and there are plenty of better anime that do more or less the same things.

A few glimmers of decent characterisation and a decent basic concept just can’t make up for the deficits of Isekai Cheat Magician. Characters introduced only to show off the power of the main character or to drag out the watch time really weigh the mid-season down, and the absence of any real threat makes it hard to buy into any of the tension. Not to mention, when they are flailing about for a real fight at the end they resort to zombies… Like really?


As with many titles I’ll have to say the greatest problem with Isekai Cheat Magician is wasted potential. The generic set up and storyline is used over and over because it is functionally sound, but only if the writers do something with it. Here it never went anywhere or kept trying to go somewhere but didn’t really know how to build up either the plot or the characters over a sustained period of time. So yes, I’d have to say Isekai Cheat Magician probably isn’t worth your time.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Kanata no Astra Anime Series Review

Kanata no Astra Series Review

The School Trip That Will
Take Them Across The Galaxy

Kanata no Astra was an anime that seemingly came out of nowhere. I’d never heard of it and hadn’t seen any promotional videos or the like prior to the Summer 2019 season beginning. Turns out this was for the best because once this story got going it sucked me right in and was quite the enjoyable ride, more so because of walking into it absolutely blind. While it isn’t flawless, this was undeniably my favourite story of the Summer season and if it hadn’t been for the emotional connection I felt with Given, this anime would have walked away as my favourite anime of the season.

I know. High praise right off the bat.

That said, I will caution readers that though I’m going to avoid major plot spoilers as much as possible, given the nature of this story, with small bits of information revealed throughout each episode, pretty much anything I mention beyond the first episode would count as a spoiler. If you want to go in blind, just know this one is great and concludes its plot very nicely and that first double episode might start a bit slow but hang in their, it definitely finds its feet.


For everyone who is still with me, let’s talk about Astra Lost in Space.

This one is a fairly basic story following the voyage and return model where our kids, thinking they are going on a school camp, end up thrown to the other side of the galaxy though fortunately they find a functional space-ship (convenient that) and then they have to plot a route and make their way home. On the journey they learn a whole bunch of stuff about the world and themselves. Underlying this is the reason for them ending up in that situation which we will learn more about piece by piece as the journey progresses with all being revealed nicely by the end.

Still, it was really fun having a week in-between each episode to speculate.

We do need to start with that first episode though. Kanata no Astra begins and ends its run with a double length episode which adds to the overall cinematic feel this one seems to be striving for. Honestly, I probably could have done without the black bands that framed the screen for the majority of scenes however in key moments of drama, such as the rescue sequence at the end of that first double episode, that cinematic feeling really helps draw the viewer into the character’s situation and it works remarkably well.


What was a little less thrilling was the opening twenty minutes which is where the story lays its groundwork and introduces the characters. While the goofy comedy aspects on display in this part never go away, the rest of the story balances moments of tension with moments where the kids kick back and get to be kids. The opening sequence on the other hand feels like pure fluff despite the necessary introductions to the characters and the setting.

If I were to change anything in this series, it really would be this opening because I actually did pause the episode and contemplated walking away as my Summer watch list had been quite full. By the time I got to the end of episode one, all such thought were erased from my mind.

See, the characters in this story individually aren’t all that great or exceptional. In fact, most are pretty much characters we’ve seen many times before. The cast however is perfect together and as the group of kids face danger together, work together, clash with one another and then reconcile, they win the audience over and their plight becomes somehow more significant and interesting. Whether the story had ended up with a satisfactory ending or not wouldn’t change how fun the journey with this cast was even if individuals within the group annoyed me, they fit within the team.

The story also deftly introduced an additional character to the crew toward the end. Their integration only added to how solidly they had built these characters as the students we’d been travelling with interacted with, learned from, and responded to the new addition. There was some attempt at building up a few characters on Earth who were plot significant, though given the time frame this anime was working with, as well as the fact that the kid’s journey was by far the more interesting part of the story and the conspiracy was more interesting when the kids were speculating, this didn’t really go very far.


The one down side of all of this is the reveal of the traitor ended up being less of a reveal and more a confirmation of what you will have probably suspected for awhile. The character in question did feel off comparatively and there’s a lot of obvious flags along the way. I’d picked the traitor and then dismissed them because they seemed too obvious. While this isn’t the end of the world given their reveal is just one part of the mystery it is a point where more nuanced individual characters may have helped muddy the waters a bit more while still making this make sense.

Obvious red-herrings aside, there really weren’t any other candidates.

Still, it isn’t as though Kanata no Astra wants you to be perplexed. There are clues in the OP and a number of moments where characters tell us important information. While it is a slow drip-feed of info it never really stops coming and if you put the pieces together, by the time most revelations occur you’ve got a fair idea of what’s about to happen and then it is the satisfaction of having figured it out. Or in one case, being miffed that you went the wrong way with your speculation (well, I can’t get them all right).


Anyway, I loved the sense of tension this series managed to build up at key moments. I loved how when the kids had some down time they really felt like teenagers who were finding their way to a friendship. The music was fantastic and I liked that when a character changed her hair in the show they changed it in the opening as well. I also found it great the number of times Astra didn’t play the OP at all because it was using every minute of its episode time.

In less deft hands this story could have felt bloated, rushed, or meandering depending on how it was delivered. Yet here it feels like every step of the journey has been carefully plotted out and given just enough time without lingering past its welcome. Critical conversations are framed by comedy or short action sequences and everything balances nicely. In short, this series is a genuine joy to watch. It’s a space exploration story with a group of characters you can enjoy spending time with but it has ongoing drive throughout the series giving it a sense of direction and focus that helps pull everything together.

Kanata no Astra

Now I’ve actually watched the series twice already because I was watching the episodes alone to review them but about four episodes in I talked a friend into watching some of it and we soon caught up to where it had aired. After that I’d watch and review the episode and a day or two later we’d watch the episode together. It is amazing how many extra details you pull out of this on a second watch even if that watch is still with a weekly gap.

Kanata no Astra benefits from taking breaks and thinking things through.

On that note though, I don’t think I’d recommend binge watching more than two episodes of this at a time. This series seems to lend itself to that slower viewing experience of watching chunks of it and then contemplating before watching a bit more. Still, I’ll definitely buy this on DVD is it becomes available because this is one series I just had a blast with.


Just so it doesn’t sound like I’m heaping nothing but praise on this anime I will point out that it has a penchant for ending episodes on cliff-hangers, or building up to dramatic moments and then resolving them fairly quickly. In other anime I’ve found this can get quite annoying as it makes it feel like they are going for cheap TBC moments. For whatever reason I didn’t find the impact to be annoying in Astra and usually just happily waited for the resolution or accepted where the story went. That doesn’t mean it won’t be irritating if you find that particular narrative gimmick one that wears thin.

However, minor niggles aside, I’d strongly recommend giving Astra Lost in Space a go. Maybe it won’t work for you but I know I thoroughly enjoyed the story that was told here and there’s plenty of positives to take away from the series even if it ultimately doesn’t work for you.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Want To Read More About Astra Lost in Space?

Images from: Kanata no Astra. Dir. M Andou. Lerche. 2019.

Results Are In – Your Choice For Best Anime of Fall 2019

Fall Best of

Fall/Autumn has been a weird anime season. Not because of the anime. That’s been perfectly normal with plenty of solid shows, some middling ones, and some that have been iffy to dodgy. No, the community has been a bit weird largely because so many of us didn’t really get to watch much this season or were a little distracted by life. That really showed in the vote with this being the lowest number of votes for a seasonal favourite for a long time on the blog. Still, we do have a winner.

The top 3 of which are going to go into the best of the year poll which will open tomorrow.


One Vote

There’s a lot of sequels this season that got a small bit of love in the vote. That said, these titles fared better than those that received no votes.

Fairy Gone Season 2

Mairimashita! Iruma-Kun

Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo

Psycho Pass Season 3

Grandblue Fantasy The Animation Season 2

High Score Girl 2


Two Votes

Still going strong 4 seasons along and Food Wars is still topping some people’s lists, but its joined by a very mixed group of anime from shounen, isekai, comedy and sport.

Fire Force

Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!

Africa no Salaryman

Ahiru no Sora

Food Wars Season 4


Three Votes

Top competitors for shortest name and title with most subtitles after it, these two clearly have some loyal fans out there.


Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld


Four Votes

I never did get around to starting the second season of this.

Kono Oto Tomare Season 2

Kono Oto Tomare Season 2

Five Votes

Another anime fighting for longest additional subtitles. This franchise just keeps on going.

Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia

Fate Grand Order Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia

Six Votes

At six votes each it is a battle of the isekai. Do you like your isekai protagonist to be a cute bookworm or a paranoid hero?

Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen

Cautious Hero


Seven Votes

The only thing surprising here is how low My Hero Academia ended up. Then again, the season hasn’t got off to a great start and it isn’t finished yet. I’ll be interested to see where it is at the end of next season.

Hoshiai no Sora

My Hero Academia Season 4

Hero4 10d

Eight Votes

While the season end might have been a bit of a fizzle, this was fairly entertaining to watch and at least felt like it had its own tone and story to tell. I’m looking forward to its return in 2020.

No Guns Life


Eleven Votes

I’d love to watch this one but I don’t have the access at this point. Still, definitely on my future watch list.



Top 3 – Going Into The Best of the Year Poll

12 Votes – Chihayafuru 3
Given the acclaim of the first two seasons I wasn’t surprised to see this one jump into the top 3. That said, the whole franchise is still on my to be watched list and I just haven’t gotten to it yet so I don’t have a lot else to say.


15 Votes – Vinland Saga
Another anime I can’t yet access but it is on my watch list. The buzz around this one has been strong since it began so I was unsurprised to see it hold strong in the top 3 in the poll.



17 Votes – Dr Stone
Dr Stone was definitely a slow burn in the beginning but as the poll shows, patience was rewarded this time around as the second cour of the anime really grabbed viewers. I’m not a big fan of telling people stuff gets better so they should keep watching it, but in the case of Dr Stone I really am glad I stuck around and I’m thrilled that this topped the reader poll and made it into the final vote.


Definitely curious as to what you think. Did the title you voted for make the top 3? Leave us your comment below.

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

Previous poll results:

Demon-Lord Retry Series Review

Demon Lord Retry Review

Demon-Lord Retry? More like Demon-Lord Builds a Spa!

Maou-Sama Retry (Demon-Lord Retry) is one of those anime that thoroughly convinces me that just because it has a slightly different take on an old idea it doesn’t necessarily make it interesting. In Retry’s case we have Kunai who was managing a game who after deciding to shut it down finds himself inside what looks suspiciously like said game (though with some differences). I wonder where we’ve seen that set up before? Where it tries to be a little different is that the protagonist actually looks older inside the game (so if not magically made a teenager again) and is also considered a ‘demon-lord’ in the world so doesn’t instantly become a hero.

Which would all be well and good if they did anything with that. However, as far as I can see, other than the holy maidens not liking him initially, his basic interactions of find girl, help her, have girl join ever growing harem of hanger-on’s as he meanders about fairly aimlessly fits more or less with a lot of lesser isekai stories (and some that actually make this formula interesting). Where this might succeed is if the humour of Demon-Lord Retry has you cackling but to be honest I think there were about three scenes where it made me crack a smile and outside of that I was just a little bit bored.


Initially, despite the first episode not being particularly thrilling, I thought that this one would pick up a bit once it found its feet. Kunai seemed fairly focused on finding a way to get home and so with the first girl he rescued (Aku) in tow he sets off. And somehow over the series that plot thread becomes lost in a tangle of shopping, gaining power, increasing the number of rescued girls hanging around to the point where Aku all but disappears from the show, and then building a spa resort in a village inhabited by bunny people.

I am going to take a swipe at the art and animation in this one. While Kenja no Mago which I enjoyed earlier this year also had pretty lacklustre art and visuals that seemed pretty cheap, particularly for background characters, Demon-Lord Retry looks very lazy a lot of the time. While sometimes it seems used for humorous effect, by and large it just isn’t that nice to look at or interesting and fights are a fairly bland affair when they actually occur (they are pretty few and far between).


While the visuals won’t make or break your enjoyment of this anime, they certainly don’t add anything appealing for those on the fence about the whole thing. Nor do the voice actors bring much to the table with each character seemingly only having one tone (a second one if they are really lucky) and then they deliver every single line in that tone.


However, because the story is going practically nowhere, the characters don’t have all that much to say. While we learn a few facts about the characters from their exchanges it never feels like we get to the heart of who they really are and honestly it feels a little empty.

I guess the comedy is supposed to compensate, however unless you find a holy maiden getting her butt spanked hilarious or the cross-dressing adventurer’s overt attempts to seduce Kunai chuckle worthy you’re probably not going to find the space being filled. When its not trying to gain laughs through the above there’s a kind of self-aware smugness to the series that makes it all seem more tired than funny. Certainly there are many anime that have pulled off self-aware comedy and actually been pretty amusing, but this one is not going to join their ranks (at least for me).


By the time this series came to a close I was well and truly ready to say goodbye to it from my watch list. At no point is it unwatchably bad, and again, those who appreciate the form of comedy in this will definitely get more from it, but it also didn’t bring anything to the table that seemed worth sitting through twenty minutes each week. The characters were flat and uninteresting, the comedy for me missed the mark by a mile, the story is all but non-existent and without interesting characters watching their town building efforts is pretty dull, and visually it just wasn’t interesting to look at.

While there’s certainly worse anime out there than Maou-Sama Retry I’m just not sure this one is worth the time.

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

Want to know about other episodes of Demon Lord, Retry!?

Images from: Maou-Sama, Retry! Dir. H Kimura. EKACHI EPILKA. 2019.

Demon Slayer Anime Series Review

Demon Slayer Series Review
Nezuko and Tanjiro - Demon Slayer

He’s Protecting His Sister By Becoming a Demon Slayer:
Even If She’s Become a Demon

Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) has turned out to be a harder anime to review than I initially suspected. Largely this is because of the inconsistencies within the series however one of the other problems may just be that I’ve been watching anime for too long. I imagine if I’d seen this back when I first tried Bleach, Kimetsu no Yaiba may very well have been a gateway anime for me. Now I can’t help but see the flaws in it even as there are some moments that are dramatically on point.

The initial set up for Demon Slayer is very simple. Tanjiro lives with his family on the mountain and after a trip down to town he’s delayed and doesn’t return until the next day. When he gets there he discovers his family have been slaughtered and it is with relief he realises his sister Nezuko is still alive. At least until she tries to attack him. Nezuko has been turned into a demon and Tanjiro vows to find a way to turn her back.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 1

He does this through training and becoming a demon slayer.

Already there’s a small logical gap here. I get that Tanjiro needed to get stronger in order to protect his sister and ensure she didn’t attack anyone. He also needed to be able to get closer to demons in order to learn more about them. But becoming a slayer of the thing you are trying to protect seems a little bit counter-intuitive.

However, this works in Tanjiro’s favour as a character. He certainly does slay demons throughout the story but he isn’t a hot-blooded killing machine or the shouting protagonist who simply wants to be the strongest because they need to prove some kind of point. Tanjiro remains a compassionate human throughout and he has a genuine compassion even for those he is forced to cut down.

Honestly, if the story had stayed focused on Tanjiro’s quest to cure Nezuko and his learning about demons, with a tight focus on the siblings and building up the villainous demon that transformed her, this anime would have been absolutely perfect and an unmissable viewing experience.

Demon Slayer Episode 8 - Tanjiro and Nezuko

Unfortunately, it wants to play with the big shounen and so is endlessly expanding its cast and throwing in ‘humour’ at weird moments, going on quests and tangential arcs that have little to do with the main objective, and generally just bloating what should have been a simple and tight story line into something that feels overcooked.

My initial falling out of love with a series that had been relatively solid if a little predictable and too prone to repeating information was the introduction of Zenitsu closely followed by Inosuke. To put it simply these two characters add nothing but noise and poor attempts at humour. While they each do get moments where they are more tolerable and shine they are really unnecessary to the central plot and are a large part of the clutter that detracts from the viewing experience.

Zenitsu screams at literally anything. His shtick is that he’s a coward and afraid all the time but once he passes out he becomes incredibly strong having mastered one move perfectly. Now, Zenitsu does have a few redeeming moments where he acts valiantly but these do not offset the general irritation he creates in every other scene through his incessant wailing and generally unlikable personality.

Possibly he’s there for the laughs however he just isn’t funny. And if we were looking for Tanjiro, literally every Demon Slayer who thinks all demons are monsters who should be killed out of hand works well enough. We don’t need Zenitsu around.


Inosuke is similarly unnecessary and annoying. He’s so dense and his ongoing belligerence and general attitude make it very hard to want him around. Like Zenitsu, he has a rare moment or two where he does something and you feel like he’s turning a corner, but then we finish the battle and he’s right back to where he started and irritating enough to make you wish he suffocates inside that stupid boar’s head (okay, maybe that was just me).


What makes these characters even more insufferable is that they are clearly now part of Tanjiro’s party for reasons that make no sense whatsoever given they seemed to randomly hook up and prior to their appearance Tanjiro was just being lead along by his crow on his own. It would make perfect sense for them to arrive for a mission and then go their separate ways for a time to reunite later, but they are just hanging around like a bad smell.

Add in the other demon slayers who we meet toward the end of this first season who are all one note ‘zany’ personalities and honestly the supporting cast here need some work. Worse, Tanjiro and Nezuko’s screen time is reduced in many episodes to accommodate the ever expanding cast and so the central focus ends up diluted to the point where you nearly forget what started the whole story.

Visually Kimetsu no Yaiba is impressive. Despite the majority of sequences taking place at night due the demon’s nature, good use of lighting and colour ensure that it is always fairly easy to follow the action on screen and it is good, fluid action. The fight sequences against demons are great moments visually and are moments when the characters shine. A return to demon fighting was always welcome because the in-between moments where the characters were resting or recovering where almost always intolerably full of poor attempts at humour and generally padded.

However, even in the fight sequences, Kimetsu no Yaiba cannot help but overreach. After final blows had been landed the number of times the story screeched to a halt in order for a flash-back or reminiscence of the demon’s life would play, sometimes for a lengthy period, before we would move on again, was ridiculous. The killing of one bit character was spread across three episodes and honestly, given the character was in the process of dying I really didn’t care about their tragic circumstances. They either needed to establish that prior to fighting or just let it go.


Before wrapping this up I do have to give this anime props for the introduction of the villain, Muzan Kibutsuji. While he only had sparse appearances within the story each one gave us enough of a sense of dread and building up a villain worth fighting. There’s certainly more to learn about him but I enjoyed his screen time immensely during this first season.


I’m ultimately conflicted. This anime has some very strong points particularly with its animation and visuals and even the protagonist and his journey has been pretty solid, however with so many other issues this one ends up being a mixed bag. Some viewers really loved this anime and got a real buzz from it. Certainly it is worth trying. For me though, by the end of the season I was feeling a little fatigued and I’d certainly contemplated many ways the story could kill off some of the less necessary characters.

Basically, give it a try and it might work for you and might be one of your favourites, but even if not, there’s enough positives to make it a worthwhile enough viewing experience even if it is a flawed one.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James

Have you missed a review from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba?

Images from: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Dir. H Sotozaki. Ufotable. 2019.

Fruits Basket 2019 Anime Series Review – Sweet and Warm and Fluffy Viewing

Fruits Basket Series Review

A Smile Like Sunshine
To Heal Your Heart in Fruits Basket 2019

It’s utterly impossible for me to review Frutis Basket 2019 as its own entity. The 2001 version of the anime had a profound impact on me and became one of my go-to anime when I was in a really low place.

Flawed as the original anime was visually and with the off-putting comedic moments that broke the overall tone, and the unfinished nature of the story which would normally drive me crazy, it still managed to hit just the right spot for me emotionally. However, Fruits Basket still ended up on my list of anime I really wanted to see rebooted and from the beginning of the Spring 2019 anime season I finally got exactly what I (and many others) had been waiting for.

What hasn’t changed is the basic story. Though we get a bit more set up and background on characters who in the original anime didn’t really go anywhere, the basic idea remains in Fruits Basket 2019.

Tohru Honda loses her mother and goes to live with grandfather. Through various circumstances he ends up moving in with other relatives who are having a renovation done and she’s asked to stay with a friend but instead pitches a tent and decides to be independent. The land she chooses turns out to be owned by the Soma family and through another series of circumstances ends up living with Shigure Soma who also houses Yuki Soma, who is in Tohru’s class at school, and soon after Kyo joins them.

Watching the sun-rise in Fruits Basket 2019.

That would be all well and good the set up of your standard high school romantic comedy now that you have two high school boys and a girl living under the roof of a fairly irresponsible adult supervisor. Yet, the story of Fruits Basket 2019 isn’t really about that.

Soon after moving in, Tohru stumbles onto a secret in the family where certain members are possessed by the animals of the zodiac and will transform if they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex. Needless to say, they all that a bit of a complex about this.


Of course, there’s more to their story and their personalities and personal traumas and the series slowly goes about introducing them to Tohru before she applies some wisdom handed down to her by her deceased mother and hugs and loves the person into finding a reason to smile.

I may have made that sound a bit trite and on paper, it really is, and yet there’s something utterly beautiful about how it all plays out which draws me into this story and these characters.

Yuki, Kisa and Tohru - Fruits Basket 2019

Fruits Basket 2019 is visually very easy to watch with a nice contrast between the darker tones in its more serious moments and the shinning shoujo sparkles moments. The soft colours and textures used in particularly warm fuzzy moments really make the viewer feel the emotions the characters are experiencing.

Likewise, when there’s a more comedic moment generally everything is a bit sharper and bolder in colour and texture. This contrast in visuals to support the tonal changes really works as you watch an episode and it never feels too jarring as we move from one tone to the next, with the possible exception of Kagura’s introduction.

Then again, I find Kagura’s character a little hard to take in general and while I appreciate her role toward the end of this season, I’d happily remove her from the plot entirely.

However, with the exception of Kagura, I find the characters of Fruits Basket 2019 remain its true strength. They are all a little bit broken and a little eccentric, but it makes us realise we’re all a little bit broken too. More than that, we see these characters make choices, decide to move forward, and find the strength to do so, even if only in small ways.

There’s no instant fixes and a hug and a smile might get you moving but it doesn’t solve the overall problem. It is a first step and a support but not the answer.

It is also interesting that each of these characters has developed a different complex or issue because of their past. Whether they push others away subconsciously, hide their pain behind a frivolous attitude, or just want to run-away and hide, their actions are understandable given the circumstances. As is their desire to escape their current situation and find a better solution that they can’t yet see.

While some characters get very little screen time and only get a focus for an episode or two, Fruits Basket manages to craft characters that the audience can connect with or at least empathise with allowing each emotional beat to hit its mark. I’m not lying when I say there was more than one occasion when Fruits Basket 2019 reduced me to tears and certainly more than one moment when I found myself smiling like an idiot as one character or another was helped through their pain.

Loving families in Fruits Basket 2019.

Family also is an important theme in Fruits Basket and while we will see in amongst the Soma’s some truly dreadful families inline with so many other bad anime families we also get to see the opposite. We get to see flashbacks of Tohru’s mother Kyoko and the love she had for her daughter. A love that Tohru has passed on to all of those around her. We also have Hanajima’s family, who loved and accepted her even when she couldn’t love herself.

We also see the families the characters create for themselves. Kyo’s martial arts teacher had a profound impact on him and gave him something resembling a family after he was left alone. The household with Shigure, Yuki, Kyo and Tohru becomes more and more like a family as the series progresses. Kyoko also managed to help Arisa when she was trying to leave her gang and ended up having a major impact on her life.


Despite its supernatural trapping with characters who are cursed and turn into animals, this first season of Fruits Basket very much deals with the mundane and human issues these characters have (exacerbated through their supernatural characteristic). They are lonely, abandoned, teased, and struggling to understand themselves and their own nature and how they fit into the world. These are all conflicts the audience can understand.

While the climax of the season does deal with Kyo’s more supernatural nature, ultimately he isn’t ‘cured’ and that problem hasn’t gone away. The resolution is emotional as Tohru comes through and helps him to find himself.


As for flaws, this reboot did not nail the opening themes. The first one was ‘Again’ and was fairly decent at capturing the tone of the show however at the midseason point we changed to ‘Chime’ and I will admit after two or three episodes of it I began skipping the introduction.

Which is a shame because the original anime’s OP, while not the style of music I liked, had a profound affect on how the anime as a whole comes across. It set the tone as you went into each episode. However, ‘Again’ was a pretty solid introduction for the first half. If they’d stuck with that for the whole season of Fruits Basket 2019 it probably would have worked out better.

Outside of that though, this reboot gave audiences what they’d always wanted. The same story but better and the hope that they will adapt the whole thing so we’ll finally all find out what is really going on with the curse (okay, I cheated and skim read the manga to get a few more answers a while back because I wanted to know, but I’m still a little short on details).

Season two was an awesome follow up and I’m super excited now that the series has drawn to a close. I definitely recommend this but if you aren’t into slow paced stories permeated with sweetness, this one may not hit the mark for you.

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

Would you like to read more about Fruits Basket’s feels?

Images from: Fruits Basket. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2019.

Results Are In – Your Choice For Best Anime of Summer 2019


Summer has been a hot season as far as anime go and I have to thank everyone who voted. 300 votes of the best of the season and now it is time to announce what you have chosen. The vote was incredibly close for the first couple of weeks but the final week saw the top pick race ahead. After that all the next couple of titles could do is scramble for second place. Still, it was interesting seeing how the order changed after final episodes aired.

Earlier I released my picks for the season but this post is all about the readers. Remember the top 3 choices will go into the best of the year poll. So, without further delay, lets get to the results.


One Vote

Yami Shibai 7

Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator

Maou-Sama Retry

Isekai Cheat Magician

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note


Two Votes

Hakata Mentai! Pirikarako-chan

Okaasan Online

The One’s Within

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2



Three Votes

Senki Zesshou Symphogear XV


Cop Craft

Tejina Senpai


Four Votes

Machikado Mazoku

To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts

Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?


Five Votes

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?


Seven Votes


Joshikousei no Mudazukai

DanMachi Season 2


Nine Votes

Carole and Tuesday


Fourteen Votes

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.


Fifteen Votes

Fire Force

Fire Force ep9 3 8

Nineteen Votes

Dr Stone


Twenty-Five Votes

Vinland Saga


Thirty-One Votes

Fruits Basket


Affiliate Link – Game

Top 3 – Going Into The Best of the Year Poll

33 Votes – Given
I’m surprised this one did so well in the reader’s poll. It didn’t seem to be getting a lot of coverage throughout the season. Though, given it was my pick of the season, I’m really glad it will at least get to have a run at being the best of the year. It is unlikely to win, but it is great that it got nominated. Seriously, this one isn’t just good for a BL, it is a great drama anime. Well worth the watch and if you gave it a pass because of the BL label definitely go back and give it a go.


36 Votes – Kanata No Astra
Having finally had a chance to watch the final two episodes I am genuinely in awe of how good the story to this one ended up. It never over-reached or tried to be too ambitious, the characters continued to develop in logical ways, and all and all this one was just a fun watch from start to finish with the right mixture of humour and tension. I would not hesitate to recommend it and hopefully more people get a chance to see it before the end of the year.



53 Votes – Demon Slayer
For a long time in this vote, Demon Slayer was more or less tied with Kanata no Astra and Given. However, the last week saw a run of votes and it raced ahead. I will admit, this seems to the anime that the largest number of people have been following and talking about and most people seem to enjoy it even if it isn’t their favourite, so that is likely where it picked up a lot of extra votes as people could pick up to three titles and this one would have had the most cross-over. Whichever way, it was already going into the poll for best of the year from last season, however if this vote is any indication, the other titles will need to work hard to stay in contention. This is by far the largest winning margin ever.


Definitely curious as to what you think. Did the title you voted for make the top 3? Leave us your comment below.

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

Previous poll results:

Final Thoughts on the Anime of Summer 2019


For those wanting the reader’s poll results, they’ll be out in a few more hours. 300 votes this time around. Brilliant. Thanks so much for participating. However, before we get to the reader’s poll here is my round up of what I watched and what I thought this season.

Not Recommended

Demon-Lord, Retry!

Just so we’re clear, I’m sure people who find the ‘comedy’ in this anime even vaguely amusing are enjoying this a lot more than I did. However, given this one didn’t even get me to crack a smile, the characters never progress beyond tropes and I haven’t figured out what the actual plot is even after finishing the series, there just isn’t anything about this series that really makes me want to recommend it. Of all the anime I watched this season, this is the one that made me wish I’d dropped it early on and maybe finished Granbelm instead.

Want to know about other episodes of Demon Lord, Retry!?

Images from: Maou-Sama, Retry! Dir. H Kimura. EKACHI EPILKA. 2019.


This one continued to be poorly paced with poor characterisation all the way to the bitter end. Throw in the unspectacular visuals and action and there is little redeemable about this anime adaptation. The one small light is that once you accept that we’re never going to learn much about the characters or explore anything in any detail, this one is pretty easy to just switch the brain off and watch. That doesn’t make it good by any means, but once you are resigned to it the whole viewing experience becomes easier. Still, I don’t say this very often but here it is appropriate, read the source. So much better.

If you are game, check out more reviews of Arifureta.

Images from: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. Dir. K Yoshimoto. White Fox. 2019.

Isekai Cheat Magician

This one remained very much bland right to the final episode. This one isn’t painful to watch and it doesn’t make any grave mis-steps. It’s just dull as it takes every ingredient it needs to tell its story but doesn’t ever make the audience feel anything for the characters or help us care about the events. As such, we’re just watching the characters walk through all the situations while they deliver fairly inane dialogue. I wanted to enjoy this. I really did. And there’s potential here. It just never reaches higher than below average.

Do You Want To Read More About Isekai Cheat Magician?

Images from: Isekai Cheat Magician. Dir. T Daisuke. Encourage Films. 2019.

Cop Craft
Cop9d 1

I’ve still got to finish this one. I fell a little bit behind. This is another one that had a lot of potential, an interesting premise, potentially interesting characters, but it just never really did anything with it. Wasted potential is the best description I can think of. Still, there are some fun moments here and the basic ideas and world building are good. I definitely intend to finish this one.

Want more reviews from Cop Craft?

Images from: Cop Craft. Dir. S Itagaki. Millepensee. 2019.


Go For It – Not Great But Fun Enough

Are You Lost?

While I didn’t review it week to week, Are You Lost? remained an anime I really enjoyed watching this season. The short episode length helped but it was just a bit of fun. A warning though that there is a lot of fan-service in the episodes (not sure what else we would expect from an anime about high school girls stranded on an island) so if fan-service isn’t your thing it may be best just to pass.

If It’s For My Daughter I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord

This one continued to sell itself on consistent cuteness. While there wasn’t a whole lot else in the end – hints of a greater narrative and some darker moments didn’t really go anywhere – Uchinoko remains an adorable ride. If you go in expecting nothing but fluff from Latina being adorable you’ll probably have a great time and those few moments that seem to be building a bigger picture are enough to stop you from getting a sugar overload.

Want to read more reviews discussing how cute Latina is?