Is Ajin Really A Commentary on the Selfish Nature of Humans?


Ajin has a lot to say about human nature and like so many anime before it does it through the not-so-subtle method of making the main characters not exactly human. However, subtle or not, it is effective and the end result is a character like Kei Nagai who is an interesting character to take a closer look at. Actually, there’s a number of characters in Ajin who would do well with some more scrutiny, but let’s start with Kei today.

Remember if you have a character you wold like to see a post on, simply fill in the quick survey here and provided I know enough about the character I’ll take a crack at writing about them. Thanks to everyone who has suggested a character and I’m sorry to those who I can’t respond to as I just don’t know enough about the suggested characters.

What if Kei Nagai had actually been a nice guy?
Kei Nagai - on phone - Ajin

Nagai’s story is pretty disastrous when you think about it. If you had to live it I am certain it would break you. The poor kid is run over in episode one and if this had been an isekai story he’d soon be meeting a god like figure, getting a power up, and suddenly becoming the lead of his very own fantasy harem. Alas, wrong genre. Nagai is fortunate in that he doesn’t die but it is amazing how nobody views it that way. He learns that he is actually one of the immortal Ajin and from that point forward he is on the run.

It works very well within the context of the story, but you have to wonder why nobody seems more upset that someone ran over a kid on the street. It is straight to tracking him down and using him as a test subject. Even his family almost immediately distance themselves from even the thought that there is a connection between them.

And again, this fits with the context. Why we get little time with Nagai before his close encounter with a vehicle, he’s cold and removed from others. Even his family find him hard to deal with. This isn’t the same as him being an active jerk or the like. Nagai is very careful to go through the motions of family life and school and his outward appearance is one of being a perfectly normal kid. Yet, when a crisis hits, there’s only one person who actually reaches out to Nagai and through Kaito we learn just how cold Nagai can really be to others.

Nagai drinking coffee - Ajin

It makes it difficult at times to sympathise with Nagai. Which is probably what was intended because if we actually felt sympathetic, some of the stuff he goes through would be fairly sickening to watch. Okay, it is pretty stomach churning anyway but with just enough emotional removal (your mileage may very).

Every decision Nagai makes is for his own benefit.

While you could probably argue that most decisions most people make are for their own benefit, not so many are quite as cold as Nagai. Even his facade of model student is so that he won’t be hassled by parents or teachers rather than any real desire to follow the expectations. His interactions with peers are sufficient to prevent him being ostracised or bullied but not enough that others actually impose upon him. In short, every interaction in Kei Nagai’s life is a calculated one and that is even before he realises he isn’t human.

Nagai after bike accident - Ajin

After the realisation, there are a couple of moments when Nagai briefly allows himself to make an emotional decision when it seems like he’s encountered Sato who seems like he understands what Nagai is going through. However, given how that ends, we don’t see Nagai doing that again. While a lot his actions in season 2 seem like they will benefit others, ultimately Nagai is concerned with self-preservation.

Was it his immortality that changed Nagai?

It might be argued that the reason Nagai was so removed from people even before he knew he was an Ajin was because he wasn’t human. Certainly when we start meeting other Ajin it becomes clear that the majority are violent or crazy or both (though whether they are like that because they are Ajin or because of the way Ajin are treated is an argument that could definitely be had).

Tosaki is a little intense - Ajin

However, when we turn our attention to the human characters in the show, such as Nagai’s family or Tosaki who is tracking the Ajin down, or even Nagai’s former classmates, what we see is an ongoing array of characters who only care about themselves and their immediate goals. Nagai’s family more or less immediately cut him loose once they realise his nature in order to be left alone with Nagai’s sister outright betraying him at one point. His classmates see his experience as a source of gossip. And Toaski treats everyone with contempt whether they are human or Ajin.

About the only decent human in the story is Kaito and he really gets the short end of the stick on so many occasions it makes you wonder why he is still trying to stand by Nagai.

Kaito and Kei - Ajin
It’s up to the audience to determine the true monsters.

As I said in the beginning, Ajin isn’t subtle. While the Ajin themselves are problematic in that some of their behaviour is clearly villainous, the monstrous actions of the authorities as they seek to control them are more concerning. When Kei is taken captive, after being set up by Sato in the form of a lesson, what is done to him is horrendous. That Kei is not the first they’ve done it to is worse.

Nagai captured by humans and experimented on - Ajin.

Like so many stories before it asks the question of whether monsters are monsters because of their nature or whether the way they are treated creates monsters. Not to mention it asks us to really look at human nature and the actions we tolerate within our societies. While the Ajin are fictitious, discrimination really isn’t.

Affiliate Link – Book
Ajin: Demi-human Vol. 1

Nagai isn’t a nice guy but his story is important.

I don’t like Nagai as a person. He’s cold and at times cruel and his vision only extends as far as his benefit is concerned. Yet, he is a fascinating character because his existence makes you question your own moral compass and guide to making decisions as well as those of people around you. As part of a cast of characters who all raise interesting questions about moral choices, Nagai works very well and it would be interesting to see how is character developed in the events after the anime ends.

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

Would You Like To Read More Posts About Characters?
  • Is Ajin Really A Commentary on the Selfish Nature of Humans?
    Kei Nagai from Ajin is one of those characters I kind of love to hate. Within his story he works beautifully but he would be a horrible person to know in real life. Today I’m taking a closer look at this student who ends up on the run after learning he isn’t exactly human.
  • Why Ririchiyo Was Doomed To Fail Alone
    Ririchiyo Shirakiin from Inu x Boku is an interesting character type. Not the usual sharp tongued tsundere, Ririchiyo falls into the Tsunshun category and regularly falls into bouts of self-loathing and second guesses herself. I definitely loved watching her character in action and I was really happy to take a bit of a closer look at her in this post.
  • Is It Belief or Convenience Driving Koizumi?
    Koizumi was something of an interesting character in amongst the zany cast of Haruhi Suzumiya. Thanks to Aria, this week I’m taking a closer look at this enigmatic character and seeing if I can figure out what makes him tick.
  • Naofumi’s Progress From Zero to Hero to Not-So-Anti-Hero
    This week I’m turning my attention to Naofumi from The Rising of the Shield Hero. As a character he’s already been criticised and mocked and I’m not jumping on that band wagon. Rather I want to look at what his character was trying to achieve, what he did achieve, and where he was found wanting.
  • Up Close with Diamond
    A shining example of a supporting character: Diamond in Land of the Lustrous is the voice of support for Phos but also deals with their own feelings of inadequacy. Here’s a closer look at Diamond from Land of the Lustrous.
  • Up Close with Liliruca Arde
    Yes, we are back to DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon) with another … Continue reading Up Close with Liliruca Arde

Why Ririchiyo Was Doomed To Fail Alone

horriblesubs inu x boku secret service 04 720p mkv snapshot 04 20 2012 02 03 22 04 52

Back again with another character; this time Ririchiyo Shirakiin from Inu X Boku SS. At some point I’m going to have to come back and look at some of the supporting cast from the story and certainly Miketsukami will need his own post but for today, I’m just looking at Ririchiyo as she is presented in the anime.

Remember if you have a character you wold like to see a post on, simply fill in the quick survey here and provided I know enough about the character I’ll take a crack at writing about them. Thanks to everyone who has suggested a character and I’m sorry to those who I can’t respond to as I just don’t know enough about the suggested characters.

All About Ririchiyo

We meet Ririchiyo as she is moving into Ayakashi Kan, determined to live on her own until she learned how to live with others… a contradiction in and of itself but one she was unable to see until it was explicitly pointed out to her. Ririchiyo has quite the sharp tongue and seems to intentionally drive others away however she later feels quite remorseful because of her actions. I was interested in her character after watching Inu x Boku SS and did a bit of looking around and apparently she falls into the tsunshun character type rather than tsundere largely because of her depression felt after the fact.


What makes Ririchiyo particularly interesting is that we meet her after she’s already made the decision that she needs to change. The story is one about her working toward achieving the change she’s already recognised is needed in her life. As such we see the character half-way along their journey and travel with her for a time before the anime ends and while she makes some interesting growth throughout her journey is far from over when the final episode comes to a close. Still, I am glad for the time we have with this character because while certain elements of her personality feel a little over done, she’s pretty entertaining to watch melt down internally as she second guesses something she’s just done.

I guess I should probably mention she’s also a descendent of a clan that is possessed by a yokai and can turn into her yokai form, a very pretty demon girl. She doesn’t use it all that often throughout the anime though but it is another reason for her personality as it is part of the reason for her isolated childhood.

Is Ririchyo a ‘poor little rich girl’?

Where Ririchiyo is a bit problematic is that in the flashbacks of her childhood, very little of it seems all that horrible. Admittedly, she is most definitely isolated and her parents do an outstanding job of making her feel cut off and emotionally detached, yet in comparison with so many other anime characters and tragic back-stories, Ririchiyo’s seems very ordinary. Particularly compared with other characters within this anime. Her warped and twisted personality may very well have nothing to do with social isolation and everything to do with her innate person and she uses her childhood as an excuse for all the barbs and prickles.


Certainly she suffers some bullying at school and comes to the realisation that even teachers treat her in certain ways because of her family connections. These things aren’t ‘nothing’ and would have an impact on her development. As would her parents rarely seeing her and blaming her for her younger sister feeling inferior. Yet the fact remains that Ririchiyo had people around her looking out for her and was well cared for even if she was not as emotionally supported as she might have been.

It might have been nice to see Ririchiyo come to the realisation that her childhood, while not brilliant or overly enviable, wasn’t the driving factor behind all of her choices or her personality.

Ririchiyo’s emotional battle to
connect with others

Regardless of the cause of her personality, Ririchiyo has made the clear decision that it is time to overcome it. She moved to be on her own in order to learn how to deal with others. This is a battle for her as it forces her to move outside of her comfort zone and to self-correct well established patterns of behaviour.


However, she isn’t always successful and we regularly see her cringing at herself or angry that she responded in a particular way. We also see her rehearsing interactions before they occur as she tries to get to an outcome that she desires. Her hard work is commendable even if it seems like for every step forward there’s a step back and she seems to teeter back and forth on the spot.

What is the affect of
Ririchiyo’s choices?

Ririchiyo continues to have quite the impact on the characters around her though the one we see most clearly is her impact on Miketsukami who meets her and tells her that she is the one who saved him. Ririchiyo has no memory of doing anything to save him and dismisses him, repeatedly, but ultimately gives him permission to be her secret service agent while she’s living in the apartment. This choice has a major impact on both characters as these two incredibly socially awkward people, who are trying to connect with the other in their own way and are actually kind (at least to one another), bump heads and try to work their way through basic interactions. Whether it is texting, inviting the other to drink some tea, or even a school drop off, these two have to figure everything out step by step.


There may not ever come a time when Ririchiyo isn’t a little too sharp tongued from time to time or feel anxious or socially awkward however her choice to change is what set the story in motion and it is what makes her an admirable character. She’s recognised a short coming and one that will impact upon her life if not addressed and she’s trying, in small ways, to learn how to live with others.

Affiliate Link – Book
Inu x Boku SS, Vol. 1

While Ririchiyo might be exaggerated
I related with her

As someone who is also incredibly socially awkward I kind of connected with Ririchiyo when watching this anime. I couldn’t relate to her childhood or the cause of her sharp tongue, but the feeling of needing to rehearse a conversation, of having to work up to going to talk to someone and then either getting tongue tied or tripping over my words, and of just waiting so long to formulate the response that the conversation had already moved on and so it was no longer even relevant was something I could very much recognise in my day to day life.

inu x boku uniform

I also recognised the desire to get better at social interactions. Amazingly enough, it is very hard to live in the world when you can’t speak to others because your tongue just glued itself to the roof of your mouth and you broke out in a cold sweat just because someone spoke to you. That said, even in my 30’s, I still have to give myself a mental pep-talk before speaking to someone I’ve never had a conversation with before.

While there are elements of Ririchiyo’s character that definitely carry a cringe factor and times when her behaviour seems really quite illogical, I found a real connection with her and it made me reflect on my own life and how far I’ve come through a desire to change. It does mean my experience with this character was a very personal one and I get other people see her a little differently.

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

  1. Yato – Noragami
  2. Madoka – Madoka Magica
  3. Xianming Lin – Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
  4. Liliruca Arde – Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon
  5. Itsuki – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Is It Belief or Convenience Driving Koizumi?


I’m going to be honest when I say that Koizumi is a character I really struggle to understand. I find him interesting in his own way but realistically there’s so much about him that seems inscrutable and I’m not sure if this is a case of information that didn’t make it into the anime adaptation or whether his character is just genuinely hard to read. That said, I’m kind of happy to revisit him and give him some more thought in this post.

Thanks this week to Aria for the wonderful character suggestion. Now there were a number of other great people who suggested characters however again a lot of these characters are ones I just don’t know well enough to do justice to. I do appreciate the suggestions though and I’m keeping them on hand should I get the chance to watch the anime in question. If you have a character you would like to see a post on feel free to suggest them through the survey below.

All About Koizumi

Koizumi is introduced into the story of Haruhi Suzumiya as the ‘mysterious transfer student’ Haruhi has been waiting for. What makes him mysterious is apparently that anyone transferring at that time of year must obviously be mysterious (it is nice that Haruhi’s demands are so easily met sometimes). However, Koizumi is not arriving and grabbing Haruhi’s attention by happenstance and it turns out he’s part of an organisation that is also watching Haruhi, much like Yuki and Mikuru.

Itsuki Koizumi - the mysterious transfer student.

It is hard though to get a read on Koizumi. A lot of what he says comes across as disingenuous and he also is a representative of an organisation which means his actions are not always his own. He makes maddeningly obscure speculations to Kyon at times and maintains a strict routine of not directly influencing Haruhi though he regularly manipulates the situation putting the responsibility on Kyon.

I will admit when watching the anime there were times I genuinely hated Koizumi. And yet there were other times when he came across as logical or sympathetic. Basically, he’s just a complex character and it is really hard to know what is really driving him sometimes because while he calls Haruhi his god, his actions are not always able to be reconciled viewing him as a follower of the divine.

Why Does Koizumi Do Everything
Haruhi Suzumiya Demands?

With the premise being such as it is, Koizumi seems almost obliged to follow along with all of Haruhi’s weird requests and demands. Essentially she is god and his job is to keep her happy. Yet behind the scenes Koizumi seems intent on manipulating that role. For instance, the Summer trip to the mysterious island with the locked room investigation was entirely orchestrated by Koizumi and his organisation in order to ‘entertain’ Haruhi and keep her from getting bored and possibly unmaking reality.

While I can see where they were coming from it seems like a weird relationship with a ‘god’ when you can run around and try to distract them from inadvertently removing you from existence.

This is what happens when you upset Haruhi. Koizumi doesn't want to see that happen.

Likewise, Koizumi works on other characters to have them entertain Haruhi, or at least ensure they don’t upset her too much. Rather than a relationship between a god and a follower it seems more like someone watching over a child prone to tantrums and it seems weird that he doesn’t divert her from some of her sillier endeavours (or at least try to).

How Does Koizumi Represent the
Most Dangerous of By-Standers?

But that’s where I find Koizumi’s character a little bit hard to take. During the filming of Haruhi’s movie she tormented Mikuru and even went as far as drugging her in one instance. When Kyon got angry because of this Koizumi’s aggravating comment was that he thought Kyon was more rational. However, no matter how you want to slice the situation, Haruhi had stepped well and truly over the line (several times in fact) and needed to be pulled up short. That Koizumi is unable or unwilling to and Yuki sits in a similar position means the it becomes Kyon’s responsibility.


Koizumi’s actions really bothered me because he knows that what Haruhi is doing is wrong and actually fairly reprehensible. Where Yuki might get a pass in this situation being not human and reasonably indifferent to the morality in the situation, Koizumi is a human who simply has some power given to him, he thinks, by Haruhi. He understands the full magnitude of what Haruhi is doing and yet he does nothing. Worse than that, he enables to the best of his ability Haruhi’s actions in almost all things to ensure that she doesn’t get upset. So not only does he not condemn her actions, his passive stance actually seems to support her decisions.

Despite Koizumi not having an active role in the situation with Mikuru, he did nothing to prevent it continuing and his actions seemed to endorse the decisions made by Haruhi. His speaking against Kyon’s actions after the fact further cement an understanding that he would have allowed that situation to continue. While overall I find Koizumi a fascinating character I really cannot get behind him in this sequence at all.

What Does Koizumi Actually
Think of Haruhi and of Kyon?

That said, it is difficult to know what Koizumi’s actual feelings are. There are times when it seems like Koizumi is more naturally drawn to Kyon and that he genuinely likes him. There are others when it seems like he sees Kyon as an interesting specimen for observation. Like with a lot of Koizumi’s actions, it is hard to read.


As for Haruhi, Koizumi regularly makes comments along the lines of finding her charming or similar. But it is hard to know whether he believes that himself or whether it is something he is working to convince himself of. Still, even in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Koizumi was the one who ended up by Haruhi’s side so maybe he is naturally drawn to her.

Affiliate Link – Nendoroid

Is Itsuki Koizumi’s Existence
In Itself a Sad One?

I find it very hard to think about Koizumi without wondering what his life would have been like if he’d never awakened as an Esper and never had the knowledge that Haruhi Suzumiya was the one who awakened that power. What kind of person would he be, or would he exist at all, if Haruhi had never wanted to meet an esper. What I do know is that in the context of the anime, Koizumi really has no existence outside of watching over Haruhi and his dealings with Kyon and that in and of itself is a little tragic.


Then again, that is something that you can start to feel for all the characters in the reality of Haruhi Suzumiya as they are seemingly bent and twisted to her will.

If you watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I’d love to know your thoughts on Itsuki Koizumi and how you feel about his character so leave us a comment below.

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

  1. Kuronuma Sawako – Kimi Ni Todoke
  2. Zen Wisteria – Snow White With The Red Hair
  3. Yuki Soleil – The Price of Smiles
  4. Emma – The Promised Neverland
  5. Reiko – Natsume Yuujinchou

Naofumi’s Progress From Zero to Hero to Not-So-Anti-Hero


This week I’m turning my attention to Naofumi from The Rising of the Shield Hero. As a character he’s already been criticised and mocked and I’m not jumping on that band wagon. Rather I want to look at what his character was trying to achieve, what he did achieve, and where he was found wanting.


Before I get into it, I would like to ask if you have a character you would like suggested please complete the survey. I do want to thank both I Watched An Anime and Hikari for their suggestions. Unfortunately I don’t have enough familiarity with either nominated character to write a post about, yet. Maybe in the future I’ll get a chance to look into them.

All About Naofumi

Naofumi starts out as so many isekai protagonists do – a perfectly ordinary and insignificant person on Earth (usually Japan). He isn’t a hard-core gamer like so many other transportees to other worlds though he isn’t without some knowledge of games and he’s a bit of a bookworm which kind of helps as he’s one of the few characters in the story who seems to be trying to piece together something of a bigger picture (sometimes).

Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1 Naofumi

Basically, Naofumi starts out as a very unoriginal and uninteresting character just as he is supposed to. The escapist in us that wants to get whisked away to another world doesn’t really want the person we’re watching to be someone exceptional and Naofumi more or less serves the purpose.

He’s our requisite zero who is about to be taken somewhere for a wonderful adventure where he’ll be majorly powerful, save the day and the girls will even like him, right?

The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1 Naofumi
Expectations vs Reality
Naofumi was Blindsided

The one thing The Rising of the Shield Hero does a little bit differently to other stories of the same ilk is it doesn’t instantly promote our character to hero status. Sure, he is one of the four heroes, but the story then spends the next part of the introduction having the one girl who paid him attention framing him as a rapist and essentially ruining his reputation.

The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1 Spear Hero

This part of the story certainly got some viewers off-side and I’m not rehashing the argument but essentially this acts as a catalyst for Naofumi’s ‘amazing’ character transformation. Notice the ‘amazing’ is a little bit on the sarcastic side. Certainly there is a massive transformation and it is a nice set up for the whole titular ‘Rising’ to occur as the Shield Hero has indeed been brought low, but the story didn’t really want to dwell on this process.

It was more a bad thing happened, no one took his side, further bad things happened, and so Naofumi decided he hated everyone and he just wanted to leave the stupid world behind.

In honesty, it was actually toned down in the anime given the inner monologues in the light novel were substantially more rant-like and Naofumi was an even harder character to sympathise with.


The basic idea here isn’t bad. Place a character in a trying situation, betray their expectations, leave them on their own, and then see their original wonder of being transported become evaporated as they become much harder skinned to protect themselves from future harm. No, the idea itself was actually pretty solid. The execution on the other hand was passable but nowhere near nuanced enough to really pull it off.

Not to mention, it is difficult to sympathise with a character who people are making up stories about when there are other characters being killed, enslaved, and are generally having a much tougher time of it and are still managing to keep a more positive outlook. It’s called resilience and that is something Naofumi severely lacked which explains his incredibly reactive transformation.

Is The Shield Hero Commenting on the
Lack of Resilience of People Today?

Part of me began wondering, both when reading this and when watching the anime, whether there was some intentional commentary about a lack of emotional resilience in society today. Things didn’t go the way Naofumi wanted and so he lashed out and sulked – okay, that’s a bit condescending toward a character who literally got torn out of his own world and away from his family and anything familiar and then, through no fault of his own, ended up ostracised.

The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1

Yet, I can’t help but wonder. Particularly given each of the other heroes seems to be demonstrating obvious character defects. Such as the guy who is so busy playing hero that he hasn’t noticed that he’s being used by everyone around him. Or the one who who doesn’t think his actions through and causing untold suffering through his ‘heroic’ acts.

If the anime had been a little bit more compelling it would be worth watching again to consider what each of these characters just might be criticising about our own world and people. But again, it just doesn’t do the job well enough so even if these aspects are there and are not me reading way too much into what is essentially a standard isekai adventure there just isn’t enough else going on to make it worth the time that such a re-watch would take.

The Shield Hero Might Be Rising
But Interest Isn’t

The real problem for Naofumi is what comes next. In barely five episodes we see him go from the every man, hailed as a hero, falling from grace, building a hardened persona to survive, and then having a small amount of humanity restored through his encounter with Raphtalia. That’s a lot to pack into those opening episodes and for the most part it works. Unfortunately, it gives us the highest emotional point we are ever going to get toward this character five episodes into the story.


What follows from that point forward is a Naofumi who is openly hostile but not violent toward those who he blames for his downfall (he can’t be violent because that would actually make it impossible for the story to make him out to be the ‘true’ hero), stand-offish and blunt with the everyday people of the world, and only genuinely kind and caring to those he has chosen to include within his party and a narrow band of others who through various actions have ‘earned’ his trust.


While we see that band of others increase over the course of the story, what we don’t really see is any further progress on Naofumi as a person. He kind of gets stuck in a default mode which makes you wonder why the story was in such a rush to mow right over the most interesting moments in his character journey. Clearly the character is not as important as the ‘plot’ but then again, the plot wasn’t doing all that much either.

Affiliate Link – Nendoroid

What Lessons Can Be Learned
From The Shield Hero?

Basically Naofumi on paper works well. The ideas behind his character were interesting enough and gave enough scope to make a nuanced and well-rounded character that would have provided the story with enough of an edge to distinguish itself from other isekai stories. Unfortunately the devil is in the details and in this case poor pacing and ultimately a stalled character arc for the bulk of the series makes it fairly difficult to look at Naofumi as anything more than a case of ‘would that have been good if’.


It isn’t all bad news and provided the false rape accusation doesn’t make you seethe just at the thought, the first five or six episodes of the series, while not brilliantly paced, to provide a fairly solidly emotional character arc. If the rest of the series had managed to do something similar with other characters or had replace the character focus with a driving narrative, perhaps the whole series would have ended up on a more solid note. But those first episodes are worth watching and Naofumi is not a train-wreck of a character. He has an interesting opening arc and then just kind of gets watered down and diluted but there’s nothing inherently wrong about his character other than the execution.


Then again, some people really liked The Rising of the Shield Hero and may have seen his character a bit differently to me who mostly passingly enjoyed the show all the while wishing it would be a little bit better. And then some people really disliked it so they probably see Naofumi quite a bit differently.

If you watched The Rising of the Shield Hero, I’d love to know your thoughts on Naofumi and his progression as a character so leave us a comment below.

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

  1. Maka Albarn – Soul Eater
  2. Yamato Kurosawa – Say I Love You
  3. Rimuru Tempest – That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
  4. Hestia – Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon
  5. Jean Otus – ACCA

Up Close with Diamond


Now I know a lot of people haven’t watched the Land of the Lustrous anime, but you seriously should. The animation alone makes it worth the effort but when you throw in the cast of truly amazing characters who have so many layers to get to know it just becomes a real gem to watch. And Diamond is a very easy character to like as they are one of the few gems who supports Phos from the very beginning despite their weaknesses. Yet that kindness was born from Diamond’s own sense of inadequacy and as we learn more about them, the fact that they go out of their way to assist Phos becomes far easier to understand.


I will only be talking about the anime in this post as I haven’t actually read the books yet but they are in my wish list for future reading because if we never get another season of the anime I definitely want to know what happens next in this story.


Diamond is not an outsider like Phos is. They’re well loved by the other gems, cherished in point of fact, and yet Diamond feels hollow and empty. They push themselves to become stronger and better so that they can stand side by side with Bort and so that they won’t be compared. Despite all of that, Diamond shatters easily and is frequently pushed to the sides or out of the picture during battle. They’re understandably frustrated with how they are perceived by those around them.

Affiliate Link – Book
Land Of The Lustrous 1

Which is probably why Diamond can emphasise with Phos in a way that the other gems can’t. While Diamond is accepted within the group, Phos, a young and fragile gem, is seen as worthless and is the subject of mockery, ultimately given a job nobody else wants. It is all too easy to see that Diamond can understand the feeling of being useless and good for nothing.


What really stands out is that Diamond’s story is not one of a character who sits around feeling sorry for themselves. Diamond encourages Phos at every turn early in the show and also continues to work hard to learn new skills and techniques that might help them be useful. Even once Phos returns in a transformed state and Bort decides to partner with them, Diamond accepts it for what it is and doesn’t allow themselves to resent Phos.


All of that would make Diamond a great supporting character, and a really cute and shiny one as well, but then we throw in the sequence where their home comes under attack. Diamond, cornered and hiding, is forced to take action alone and their sheer nerves during the sequence are incredibly impressive.


While Phos might steal the show in terms of character transformations, it is worth remembering that while Diamond doesn’t necessarily change, they accept Phos’ change with grace and continues to support them. Diamond never gives up and continues to try to do what they can do, and even when feeling sorry for themselves they doesn’t lash out at others. Diamond is a great character to get to know and part of a great cast of characters who all have their own stories to share.

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

Up Close with Liliruca Arde


Yes, we are back to DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon) with another of Bell’s companions. This time our focus is on Lily, his supporter in every sense of the word. Previously I’ve looked at Hestia and sooner or later I’m going to have to turn my full attention to Welf who is a seriously overlooked character in the franchise, but given the second season is about to look very closely at little Lily and one of Welf’s truly amazing moments may not come out this season depending on how far along they get, I kind of felt it was appropriate to check Lily out first.

Lily’s first appearance in DanMachi sent up red flags for literally everyone that wasn’t Bell. She approached a solo adventurer and offered her services as a supporter in the dungeon seemingly out of the blue and Hestia, Lyu and Eina all had concerns about Lily’s sudden appearance and motives, yet all kept it to themselves rather than raising it specifically with Bell.


Because Bell, right from the first moment, trusted Lily implicitly. He happily handed over half his earnings to her, praised her for her work, and thanked her genuinely when her actions protected him against the dangers of the dungeon. Alright, Bell’s a bit of an airhead sometimes, but maybe he just knew Lily’s true character (or maybe he really is just an idiot but an incredibly lucky one).


And ultimately, it is Bell’s kindness, his refusal to doubt Lily even when she so clearly betrayed him and left him for dead, and his selfless actions in racing to her aid despite having been left for dead, that ensure Lily’s absolute loyalty from that point forward. After that experience in the dungeon you genuinely cannot believe that Lily would ever do anything to harm Bell ever again.

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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 1 (light novel)

Sparks fly regularly between Lily and Hestia though as Hestia is fiercely protective of her child. Still, even Hestia has to admit that Lily will stand by Bell and that Bell really needs someone like Lily near him.


Unlike Bell, Lily does not see the world as all sunshine and roses. She’s a cynic and has a deep distrust of adventurer’s and their motives by default. Where Bell is inclined to take everyone at their word, Lily is always looking for the other angle and as a result can steer Bell away from too many hassles or at the least can watch his back as he steps into trouble.


The chemistry between Lily and Welf is fantastic and as the supporting characters to Bell they make for a charming trio as they go about their adventure’s in the dungeon.

However, despite the fact that it seems as though Lily is with Hestia and Bell entirely, she is still not a member of Hestia’s familia. Her original family still has a hold on her and that is about to play out in the second season of the anime. I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of Lily this season and watching her grow as a character.

All and all, Lily is an amazing character and an essential ingredient in making Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon work.

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Karandi James

Up Close with Saitou Kazuki


This week I’m returning to Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens to look at one of the characters who manages to appear in almost every story, play a fairly central role in a lot of the resolutions, and yet gets the absolute least attention. Yes, it is the luckless Saitou Kazuki who after suffering some kind of trauma ends up working for Murder Inc, a job he is utterly ill-suited for, and then through a weird series of events ends up ‘resigning’ and becomes a target for quite a number of would be murderers.

This was a fairly sensible question.

Although, from another point of view, Saitou has fantastic luck. When mistakenly identified as a murderer he manages to convince his kidnappers of his innocence before they do any permanent damage. When down and out without any friends he crosses paths with Banba and the others and ends up joining their baseball team. The nice doctor gives him a new face and identity to help him hide. And when he’s utterly cornered by a murderer Lin happens to be around to help take care of things.


So yeah, he goes through a lot but always pulls through and usually with minimal damage. I wouldn’t be volunteering to trade places with him any time soon, but considering his general lack of skills Saitou gets by just fine.

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Unfortunately, Saitou regularly becomes the butt of the joke. He’s the comic relief in a story full of dark doings and characters with tragic back stories. When the hacker is looking for a diversion he sends assassins after Saitou, though he does apologise, and then Saitou spends the rest of the episode running or hiding. It would be hilarious except for the part where he might have been killed.


Still, despite this, Saitou remains a fairly admirable character. In a crazy world full of killers and assassins, Saitou remains one of the more relatable characters. He’s an every-man in over his head but looking out for himself and his friends. Over the course of the series he goes from someone relatively pathetic to someone who knows the score, knows his place and skills, and yet somehow manages to find a way to help even if only in a small way.


You could honestly do worse than having a friend like Saitou.

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Karandi James

Up Close with Jean Otus


This week I’m turning my attention to Jean Otus from ACCA. As an employee of the inspection department, ACCA, Jean gets the fun job of touring each district in the kingdom for the purpose of inspection (he also gets to eat some really good food). However, while Jean goes about his job rumours of a coup get stronger and in each district Jean is given a cigarette by people unknown.

Jean Otus - ACCA

Now, I’m not going to spoil the end of ACCA for people who haven’t seen it, though I strongly recommend you hop onto Crunchyroll and give it a go, if nothing else the theme song will have you bopping along for weeks. But, that does make it difficult to discuss Jean’s character in a huge amount of depth.

Jean Otus – Still waters run deep

One of the things I remember from when the anime was airing were the number of people who found Jean to be a bit of a boring protagonist. And you can kind of see why given his incredibly passive nature. Even his closest friend calls him out on it mid-way through the series when it becomes clear a lot of what is happening revolves around Jean but he just doesn’t seem to care.


However, Jean isn’t just an oblivious idiot. He’s incredibly observant and shrewd and while he isn’t particularly interested in the intrigue that surrounds him, he is most definitely aware of it. On numerous occasions throughout the anime we see that Jean navigates a tricky situation or pulls someone up short through his keen observations. It catches the other characters even more off guard because they don’t expect it from him.


While most of the characters have a set distance from Jean, determined through rank or position, Jean does have a younger sister who is more than happy to call him on his bad habits. Lotta is a bright ray of sunshine in Jean’s life and it is clear that he dotes on her more than a little.


There is also Nino who has been a persistent presence in Jean’s life and is one of the few people Jean lets the neutral mask slip with from time to time.

Jean Otus may seem like he is taking little action but for him, preserving the calm life that he has, is a priority. His actions, or lack of actions, constantly work to maintain his status quo and being pushed to do more or having to deal with things outside of that scope are things he works hard to avoid even if he never looks like he is putting in all that much effort.


An interesting and layered character, where there is definitely more than meets the eye, Jean ends up being a fun guy to follow through the political shenanigans of ACCA and provides an interesting perspective on the events as they unfold.

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Karandi James

Up Close With Angelo Lagusa

91 Days Episode 10

Someone probably should have given Angelo Lagusa from 91 Days a quote book from Confucius: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Only, even then that advice probably wasn’t enough because there were a lot more dead than just two by the time the dust settled in Lawless.

There will be some spoilers for the anime, 91 Days, below.

Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as though Angelo didn’t have grounds for revenge. The Vanetti family orchestrated the death of his family and they were never brought to justice. Angelo himself only survived by chance and whim and was forced to adopt a new name, Avilio.

91 Days

However, Angelo’s quest for revenge wasn’t just an eye for an eye. His plans involved plenty of those who were either bystanders or totally unrelated to the initial incident and even when he knew the precise identity of those responsible he didn’t just carry out a hit and call it a day. There was an almost cruel pleasure in Angelo’s actions as he seemed to relish raining down disaster upon those he’d wormed his way amongst.


And it wasn’t without heavy cost to him. The person he was before the death of his family had already been killed and lost his innocence. However the person he became continued to carve off pieces of himself until there was very little left. The shell that remains of Angelo by the end of the series is almost unrecognisable.

Part of the final descent is triggered by the death of Corteo, the closest thing Angelo might have to a friend. Yet, Corteo is used mercilessly by Angelo as a chess piece early on and thrust into a very dangerous world with a dangerous set of companions. While it is ultimately Corteo’s choices that lead to his death, Angelo’s responsibility for putting Corteo in a position to make those choices cannot be denied.


There’s barely any mourning time either after the death of what might have been a friend. Angelo can’t be weak and does not believe he can turn back from his path of revenge.

However, it isn’t the death of a loyal and close friend that breaks Angelo. It might have triggered the final leg of the journey, but it was certainly not the final blow. No, we save that for Nero Vanetti, the son of Angelo’s enemy, who he uses and then shatters by destroying his trust and his family.

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The ambiguous ending with the two characters is important because it leaves it open for interpretation what their relationship really was. Did they become friends despite the blood lying between them or were they just the weapons their families and circumstances had made them who for a time travelled together?


Angelo Lagusa gave everything for his revenge and ultimately he achieved what he set out to do. But, in the end, the question remains whether it was worth it or not given the high cost that was paid.

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Karandi James

The Expressions of the Soma’s


This week I wanted to look at the range of facial expressions used by members of the Soma family in Fruits Basket. For an anime that deals heavily with the emotions of its characters it really manages to convey a lot through their expressions and for me it is one of my favourite parts of the episodes. Okay, I might just enjoy seeing Kyo’s face twist and distort as he goes from sulking, pensive, into a mad rage, and then back to contemplative. It is kind of fun.

On that note, let’s begin with Kyo.

I think you’ll agree, Kyo’s expressions are the best. What I like about Kyo as a character and the way he’s being depicted in this 2019 anime adaptation is that he wears his heart on his sleeve. Whatever emotion he is feeling he is feeling it 100%. There’s no inbetween for him and there’s no attempt at building a wall or a facade between what he is feeling right in the here and now and how he reacts.

Now the cause of his emotionally tumultulous nature is something he does not speak about or allow others to speak about, so he does have his secrets. But even then, it is no secret that he is badly scarred by the experience and that scarring is there for all to see even if they aren’t aware of the cause. His relationship with the Soma family is a bit odd and definitely at the core of his problems.

However, despite being a volatile bundle of violence and raw emotions, Kyo’s lack of walls and boundaries make him approachable and even when he’s flying off the handle he does draw others to him. He puts himself out into the world and while he might get burned he isn’t backing down.

Gotta love that fiery spirit even if it doesn’t get him very far most episodes.

Let’s next look at Hattori Soma.

Hattori is a bit more of an enigma. He’s older and had loner to pile up secrets than Kyo, and he’s also the living embodiment of the expression ‘still waters run deep’. He’s also had a lot less screen time and focus, though I would still argue that his story has been one of the best so far.

We first meet Hattori at school and Yuki warns Tohru not to be alone with him. His expression is hard and cold and it is almost as though he is sizing up Tohru with his eyes and has found her wanting. It is soon revealed that this is very much a facade he’s built and that he’s pushing Tohru away for what he believes is her own benefit.

However, as Hattori himself says, Tohru has a way of softening people and the effect Tohru has had on Hattori in her brief meetings with him is clearly visible in his expressions and manners.


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Live a Live – RPG Game

Finally this week I’ll look at Yuki Soma’s expressions. I would like to get to all of the characters in Fruits Basket eventually but some have had very limited screen time yet.

Yuki is the polar opposite of Kyo. Where Kyo wears his every emotion on his face, Yuki seems to have spent a life-time cultivating a manner that doesn’t reveal his true self and feelings to the outside world. In the beginning we see him being cool and detached, a little bit condescending, and when it came to his manner with Shigure, quite arrogant.

However, since meeting Tohru we’ve seen crack after crack in his armour and in episode 11 we are finally rewarded with a true and beautiful smile.

What makes Yuki so hard to figure out is that he’s always thinking about how others will see and action and reacts accordingly. Even when he was complimenting Tohru on the roof of the festival and telling her she would be much cuter in the dress, his expression and words seemed artificial and calculated rather than genuine.

As a result, there’s a gulf between Yuki Soma and others that he’s built and maintained as a means of protecting himself. The problem is, it has been there so long he’s more or less forgotten how to close the gap even when he wants to.

Still, when it comes to Tohru, Yuki’s facade has fallen a number of times. She’s genuinely surprised him with her words or actions, or he’s felt genuine alarm for her safety. It is almost sweet watching Yuki and Kyo wearing matched expressions of concern on their faces as they sprint back to Tohru deciding they don’t want to leave her alone for the holiday.

Yuki Soma in rat form.
Still, Yuki’s best expression yet.

I really love how each of these characters are being portrayed in this adaptation and I really hope that the quality of the series continues. I’d also like to look at more of the characters in a little bit of depth as the series unfolds. I did skim read the manga after watching the original anime to find answers to a few questions I had when I realised there would be no second season, but I didn’t read it all and I didn’t read it deeply so I’m looking forward to learning more about each of these characters as we go.

However, I’d love to know what your favourite expression has been so far in Fruits Basket or who your favourite character is of the new anime series so leave a comment and tell me your thoughts below.

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Karandi James