OP: 「BLOODRED」 by D-selections
Hundred needed the best adaptation it could get to elevate its average source material. So far, it’s not getting it.
Magical-Fantasy-Action-Harem Anime #31338
Hundred is the story of magical weapons coming out of magical stones so their users, called Slayers, can fight monsters called Savages. The main character is the best in the world (though at least for once they’re being upfront about it), girls flock to him immediately, he uses a sword, he has a sick little sister, you get the picture. This is a standard magical-fantasy-action-harem anime, and like I said with Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle last season, whether you should watch this will depend on your affection for the genre, and whether you’ve grown jaded with it yet. Because about the only thing I can say for the plot, originality-wise, is that the obligatory magic high school isn’t an all-girls school for once. Other than that, it’s by the numbers.
In which case, execution is the name of the game. Does it execute its premise and genre well? Not so much. An argument could me made for it being middle-of-the-road, though I think it’s underperforming. The animation isn’t anything to write home about, the premiere is chock full of technobabble, and there’s a definite sense that they’re rushing through the source material even though nothing really happens during this episode. Events just happen because they happen to propel things along. One of my bigger complaints is how protagonist Kisaragi Hayato (Hasegawa Yoshiaki) is initially hesitant and has no personality to speak of. That’s a common problem among magical-fantasy-action-harem protagonists, and even ones who ultimately acquit themselves well often aren’t all that interesting in episode one. But when the audience point-of-view character is mildly annoying, and there’s not much else to go on other than exposition no one cares about yet, that’s not a great start. I wish these kinds of stories would put more effort into their harem leads. I’d rather a Negi Springfield or a Emiya Shirou any day of the week, rather than whatever this dude’s name is. I’ve already forgotten.
The World’s Least Convincing Crossdresser
Normally I wouldn’t spoil something like this, but they’re not even trying. Sorry if you like girly boys, but Emile Crossfode (Ookubo Rumi) ain’t a guy. Don’t let her plugsuit fool you—the only heat she’s packing is her Hundred. If someone asked her for meat and two veg, she’d have to defer to Hayato. She would have trouble peeing while standing up. She’s got a female seiyu. I’ve been using the female pronoun repeatedly. Emile Crossfode is a girl! I hope that wasn’t too much of a shock.
Look. Crossdressing doesn’t have to be convincing. It depends on what you’re going for, I suppose. But when it’s so flamingly obvious that Emile is the girl from the intro—and even if we skipped that, that she’s glomming onto Hayato, happy when it’s suggested that they both might not be boys, the whole towel and panties scene, the maidenly freak outs, and also how she’s outed as a girl in the promo art—I feel comfortable getting this out of the way. It also begs the question: why the hell are they even bothering? And granted, Tokyo Ravens did the same thing, and it ended up being brilliant, but I’m not sure I have faith that lightning can strike twice. It just seems like a waste of time. She’s either the least convincing crossdresser ever, or the most effeminate gay boy I’ve ever seen, and sorry, it ain’t number two. That’d be more interesting, for one.
Railroaded Into Being Unlikable
My biggest gripe is undoubtedly how the plot railroads characters into being initially unlikable. School “Queen” Claire Harvey (Ichimichi Mao) is the biggest victim here, though her lackeys get it too. Excuse me, but one mistake could get your comrades killed? That’s true, but isn’t this a school? Aren’t schools/training where you’re supposed to make mistakes, so you don’t make them when it counts? Kicking out people who are continually careless I can understand, but if you only accept those who are perfect, you lose individuality, creativity, and the lessons that can be learned through failure. And her whole “Failure to follow orders will lead to death” crap? Bullshit! Or rather, it might, but it might also lead to atrocities. I’m glad at least Emile knows that’s a load of shit.
But I previewed this series, and read further in the source than this episode covered, so I know that Claire isn’t as unlikable as all this. She’s not the close-minded ice bitch the premiere makes her out to be, though the source did the same thing. It’s just a contrivance to get Hayato into an early duel with her, which, I mean, c’mon. The author could have tried a little harder than that. I can understand writing yourself into a corner, but doing it in your opening moves is just sad.
I probably don’t need to summarize, but in case you haven’t caught the tone of this post, I’m pretty down on this first episode. I went in with relatively low expectations, and it exceeded them—in the opposite direction. Which isn’t how that word works. The episode was not so good. But that doesn’t mean it need stay there! It’s not like I’ve given up all hope, not when we haven’t even seen a real fight yet (which is what is going to save this anime, if anything…that or the boobs). It’s just that this opening episode hasn’t given me a whole lot of faith that the series will be anything other than average, and it’s going to have to up its game to get there.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s a paint by numbers magical-fantasy-action-harem anime, and the premiere underperforms the already average source #hundred_anime 01
- It’s a good thing they didn’t try to shove the duel into this episode, because then it would have been even more rushed than it was. It just sucks that it left the premiere with nothing going on.
- After everything that happened, he’s still talking about waking up on another guy’s lap? Great. He’s Ichika-level dense. *throws up hands in defeat*
- I will undoubtedly mention this again when Prisma Illya returns, but Matsuki Miyu was originally cast to voice Charlotte Dimandius (Horie Yui). She passed away last year. Rest in peace, Miyuyu.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Inside Out: What Emotion Drives You?, Superhot: Storytelling through gameplay, Deadpool: Tonal Balance Through Non-Linear Storytelling, and Through their own flaws.
ED: 「EYES ON ME」 by Ookubo Rumi & Yoshioka Mayu