Review/discussion about: Hundred
“…98…99…100! Ready or not, here I come!”
My brother yelled out the warning, but he would never find me. I was small enough to fit in our laundry basket at home. It didn’t seem like a possible hiding spot, but I knew I could make it work.
And I did. I remember holding my breath as my brother continuously walked by. It was humid and stifling in that cramped space, yet I had to prove that the second half of the game was irrelevant when I was playing.
Hundred might be related to that counting chant, but it definitely couldn’t hide the issues it contained.
Hundred begins just as Kisaragi Hayato boards the so called Little Garden, a city-on-a-ship which houses Slayers, the protectors of the world that defeat the evil Savages. His arrival makes waves when he demonstrates his uncanny Variant capability, causing the show to start from there.
And it ends there, too.
All right, not really. But what comes after Kisaragi Hayato’s (one must always pronounce his full name) entrance is a narrative weaker than a puddle on the sidewalk.
Much of the anime tries its best to create harrowing situations centered on the Savages, these bug-like monsters whose only weakness happens to be the crystal jammed into the head of their carapaces. Already the anime starts to tumble since very little variety in the enemies exists, the fights themselves involve either giant lasers or the same set of moves, and the outcomes are rarely satisfying since they usually involve exploding a giant monster time and again.
Hundred continues to see problems on a general writing level. For instance, at one point, Claire’s brother Judal claims that Kisaragi Hayato is the key to waking Liza, Claire and Judal’s sister, up from her deep slumber. The anime even takes this chance to tease Claire’s obvious feelings towards Kisaragi Hayato by telling the man to kiss the sleeping sister.
But Kisaragi Hayato never becomes that key. Instead, Sakura’s singing rouses the dreaming girl, making one wonder why the show tried to push the original route in the first place.
Now, to be fair, the reason Hundred introduces this “conflict” is to have some semblance of an end goal. Because for the entire anime, a final endpoint doesn’t exist. To put it differently, the anime has no overarching plot to speak of. Rather, multiple mini issues of the same type – a bunch of Savages have showed up – pop up. Meaning, not only is the narrative itself repetitive, but also the narrative isn’t working towards anything substantial.
Worse still, as the anime nears its conclusion, it creates more and more problems for itself.
A “new” brand of Savage appears called Replicants. They somehow live without those crystals in their skulls – presumably because they are robotic or just half-organic. Yet that doesn’t seem to make a difference since the characters just beat them up to a pulp to defeat them. Which is weird. The enemies were tough to defeat before because, according to the show’s rules, Savages had those crystals. So removing them somehow makes them simultaneously harder and easier to squash.
As the area starts to become dangerous, the people in the stadium are not evacuated with haste. In fact, they all just sit there as a huge Replicant knocks on their protective bubble.
But that has nothing on the gunfire battle held between Mei Mei and Vitaly. In the straight, narrow hallway leading up to Liza’s resting chamber, the cat-maid robot and the evil scientist shoot their guns at one another. Nearly thirty bullets are traded in total, but only Vitaly’s sonar device and her hair get hit whereas Mei Mei only gets shot in the leg. It’s a scene that practically defies logic.
Going back to that giant Replicant, it doesn’t even count as the final fight. Instead, the anime chooses to have the weapon-scanning girl become a mega-mutant monster that will (of course) blow up the whole place nuclear style if the cast don’t stop her. Naturally, Kisaragi Hayato is the man for the job – but only after two separate instances of psychological pick-me-up magic.
To give the anime has much leeway as possible, the concept of sound being both a hindrance and a help to the Slayers has a foundation both in Sakura’s character, the shown reaction Savages have to her voice, and the idea that music is something universal, an entity that knows no cultural or societal bounds.
Yet this theme is lost amid Vitaly’s quite convenient sonar device, the fact that the anime prioritizes its action, sex, and comedy over its heartfelt moments, and how songs and singing in general aren’t explored to any extent, existing simply as extra side content now and again.
Speaking of sex, Hundred manages to even fall flat here. And “fall” could not be a more appropriate way to phrase its ecchi material. For on not one. Not two. But on eight separate occasions, the anime employs the infamous fall-on-another-character-to-get-them-into-a-scandalous-ecchi-situation move. A list of them follows in the next paragraph.
Kisaragi Hayato falls on top of Claire during their initial duel. Kisaragi Hayato momentarily feels fatigue and thus falls on top of Emilia in their room (much to Claire’s chagrin). Then immediately after, Kisaragi Hayato falls onto Claire, both grabbing her chest and kissing her lips in the process. Emilia hugs Kisaragi Hayato as they bathe together, falling onto him as they plunge beneath the water. Liddy falls crotch-to-face on top of Kisaragi Hayato. Kisaragi Hayato tries to go for a volleyball at the beach, but he falls into Claire’s bikini-clad breasts instead. Claire, while naked, falls on top of Kisaragi Hayato shortly after finishing her lakeside bath. And Kisaragi Hayato, after being peer pressured, falls on top of Emilia while she wears a maid outfit.
Despite all of the anime’s problems in its action and content and sexual appeal, its biggest misstep is literally just that: missing steps.
Some explanation first. Karen is Kisaragi Hayato’s younger sister. She’s hospitalized due to an illness, forcing her to use a futuristic wheelchair to get around. Rather nicely, she receives her very own Hundred, giving her the strength enough to stand on her own two legs.
The catch? She doesn’t actually move. She stands up and looks around, sure. She even sings her own song. But does she get to walk around? No. All she gets is a few still-shots of her newfound self.
That’s right. Hundred doesn’t even have the common courtesy to let the poor, sick girl move her legs after finally getting them.
That’s just rude, man.
Hundred sees further trouble in its art and animation.
Artistically, the anime lacks creativity, especially for its many fight scenes. The characters do wield different weapons: Kisaragi Hayato’s sword, Liddy’s lance and shield, and so on. At the minimum, this variety helps to slightly break up the monotony the action regularly encounters.
But since the anime tends to use dull, “moving” background shots to give the illusion of movement, and since the anime does not seem to understand the word “choreography,” the fights are more or less visual duds.
The rest of the locations visited and detail in general are not all that appealing. Over-the-top attacks, lasers, and explosions at least keep the anime from feeling too static.
Their designs are a mixed offering.
Sakura’s long twin-tails, casual attire, and pink coloring give her a cute look. Emilia also pulls ahead: Her tomboyish clothes and silver hair help to give her a gender-neutral look when she so chooses.
On the opposite end sit Claire and Kisragi Hayato. Claire looks like a bug with wings after donning her Hundred. Plus, her ginormous cannon seems quite inconvenient given the fast-paced nature of the battles they take part in. Her massive, blonde twin drills on her head and her huge bust do coincide with her large, commanding presence, but, ultimately, they give her a silly look.
As for Kisaragi Hayato, he is as plain and as unassuming as can be. His all-black motif does make him cooler, but being cool does not fit his personality.
It’s very difficult to beat an all-time low of “don’t let the younger sister walk with her new legs.” And, to be fair,Hundred does not reach those levels with its characters – but it came pretty darn close.
Sakura is the best the show has to offer. She’s a world-class vocalist, using her singing to bring joy and wonder to the masses. However, her past is anything but. From an early age, she was experimented on (along with many other kids) by Vitaly in order to discover more about the Savage virus.
Her time with the other kids allowed her to realize that her voice had power beyond just technical proficiency, for it calmed them down, made them smile. Unfortunately, the others perished throughout the experimentation process. Sakura, however, lived, keeping the memories of those lost with her.
When she meets Kisaragi Hayato, she becomes infatuated with him to say the least. And when she hums her special song, and he recounts the time he heard it oh so long ago, it is revealed that it was his uplifting words that first inspired Sakura to pursue singing. Naturally, she falls in love with him all over again.
That’s the extent of her character. She has a small moment later on where a Savage reacts to her voice, so she believes that her singing only connects to others because of the virus that courses through her and her listeners. As she calls it, it’s not singing but “deception.” Kisaragi Hayato immediately placates her fears, ending this minor conflict before it even officially began.
Claire comes next. She’s initially perceived as an arrogant yet resolute leader. Expelling students without a second thought, challenging Kisaragi Hayato to a duel, and even declaring that she would refrain from going all-out (a statement she goes back on).
However, she does have a more innocent side. She’s surprisingly naïve when it comes to romance – kissing, touching, and the like. She can be playful when she wants Kisaragi Hayato to put on a speedo. And she can be kind in helping and believing others.
She even has a more realistic side, giving her arguably the best character moment in the whole show. During her moonlit, lakeside bath, she tells Kisaragi Hayato that she is only the leader of the Little Garden because she wishes to keep tabs on her brother Judar in order to protect her sister Liza. Which was all started by her mother Linis. In other words, she “selfishly” fights not for others, but for her sister and for herself
Granted, the anime does a very poor job at expounding on her relationships with her family (her mother never even appears in the show), and her characterization is even worse off than Sakura’s. But this small scene, at the very least, makes her feel like an actual person rather than just a beautiful woman to be admired.
Emilia is even worse off. While she poses as “Emile” for roughly the first three episodes, it is not difficult to guess that she is, well, actually a she. Her backstory involves a Savage attack which consequently led to her and Kisaragi Hayato’s Variant mutation. Also, since he saved her, Emilia has loved Kisaragi Hayato ever since.
She’s very supportive of Kisaragi Hayato as a result, but she does not have much else. Her ability to transmute her Hundred into different forms is cool, and it even holds some symbolism when realizing that she, too, “transmutes” from being a girl to a boy and back again on a regular basis.
Most of her on-screen time is spent being jealous of the other harem members getting close to Kisaragi Hayato, making her into more or less the comedic relief character.
The anime does drop a major character trait more than halfway through the season – that her true name is not Emilia Hermit (her first fake name being Emile Crossfode) but the royal princess Emilia Gudenburg. She kept it a secret from Kisaragi Hayato for ten years. Neither a friendly nor supportive move to be honest.
Regardless, Emilia does manage to (more or less) win the harem-romance war – which, in this anime filled to the brim with way too many clichés, is nice to see given Emilia’s official childhood-friend status.
There’s also the three “evil” kids, but Hundred’s meager backstory for the trio is a shoddy, failed attempt at making these weak characters stronger.
As for Kisaragi Hayato, he is as plain as plain can be. Bland is another way to describe him. Boring is yet another.
Kisaragi Hayato miraculously has the highest Hundred capability rating, yet he has never actually used a Hundred device before. He joined the Little Garden on the condition that his little sister receive the best medical treatment on the planet. If nothing else, he’s quite the awesome big brother.
After this detail, however, Kisaragi Hayato loses all credibility. He basically moves through the anime falling onto girls and saying nice words that make them fall for him in return. Even his major personal struggle – controlling his full-armament – is lame. At first, it’s controlled by Emilia needing to kiss him to counteract the effects. And then, just because he trained a bunch, his conflict goes away forever.
His main reason for fighting (besides for his little sister) is to put smiles on the faces of others. Commendable but it simply comes off as yet another plain characteristic for this already too bland, too boring person.
In other words, by episode three in this twelve-episode season, Kisaragi Hayato plateaus then plummets as a character.
Yet he’s not the worst in the cast. That honor goes to Vitaly, the “main antagonist.” She’s an intelligent woman capable of creating artificial Savages and other technology used to harm others. She also had a hand in Sakura’s suffering as well as Claire’s little sister Liza’s conception.
But Vitaly is not around for ten episodes, making only a brief appearance at the end of the ninth and officially making her entrance at the end of the tenth. Perhaps obviously, she has no backstory, no known motivation, and definitely no apparent characterization. She’s literally just a villain for the sake of being a villain.
She tries to explain the reasoning behind her attack as being revenge against Judar, a man that she may or may not have had a sincerer relationship with. It’s difficult to tell because, again, nothing was ever given about her. And it will be impossible to tell in the future because she dies, leaving that world with a goofy smile on her face.
Every single cast member has problems. Some more than others. But to be fair, almost all of them also have a theme connecting them: the notion of making people smile.
From Sakura to Claire, from Emilia to Kisaragi Hayato, everyone just wants everyone else to be happy. While this theme is rather superficial and therefore not able to be explored to any reasonable depth, it is at least nice to see some semblance of parallelism between the cast.
The opening track of Hundred shoots for a triumphant tone to match the overall sense of optimism and hope that fills the story and the characters. The piece itself is nothing special – some pacing changes and harmonizing exist – except for the longer English lyrics at both the beginning and end. It’s a passable piece; one of the only passable aspects of the entire anime.
Perhaps due to the singing motif, multiple ending tracks are provided throughout the season. They feature different members, such as Emilia and Sakura for the first ED and Fritz and Reitia for the third ED. Again, none of them are particularly special, but, at the minimum, they do try to switch tones and overall compositions. Plus, it is a nice bout of variety – something that Hundred severely lacks.
The remainder of the original soundtrack is similar once again due to its low impact and memorability. However, the voice acting performances demonstrate that the anime is not without positives, for what’s given is definitely welcomed. Mao Ichimichi as Claire uses a mature, sultry voice for the upstanding student council president. Romi Ookubo as Emilia brings both happiness and playfulness. And Chinatsu Akasaki as Claudia is wonderfully overzealous in her commitment to Emilia.
Despite how much I have been harping on this one, I found it quite fun.
The vast majority of that fun is attributed to the myriad of romantic moments spread throughout the season. Claire watching Kisaragi Hayato and Emilia on security cameras and getting noticeably mad that she is not the one out on the date. Emilia acting defensive and jealous towards Sakura when the former notices the latter being too close to the harem lead. And Sakura claiming to be Kisaragi Hayato’s “private idol.” Many of these small, cute, and romantic moments exist, making me quite the happy person.
Also, it was nice to see some (miniscule and unreciprocated) yuri feelings from Erica and Liddy towards Claire. And Claudia was entertaining, too. Her constant lauding of Emilia and looking down on Kisaragi Hayato made her one of the more likable characters of the anime. It’s just a shame that she was introduced so late into the season.
I can’t say I was a fan of much else, though. The battles and the enemies and the “drama” simply got in the way of those romantic or funny scenes. Still, with an unintentionally sarcastic “Thanks a lot” sign, this one saves itself from being a total disaster.
Hundred contains hundreds of problems. The story is awkward, the characters are poorly handled, and both the art and the music have their own respective troubles to contend with. In other words, this one definitely wasn’t ready.
Story: Terrible, poor narrative choices, repetitive to the max ecchi content, and accidentally rude
Animation: Bad, boring artistic direction, below average actual animation, and okay character designs
Characters: Bad, Sakura is okay, Claire is bad, and the rest are horribly constructed, with only a couple of strengths spread out among them all
Sound: Fine, okay OP, okay ED’s, bad OST, above average VA performances
Enjoyment: Fine, romance and silliness make for an entertaining time despite the lacking execution
Final Score: 3/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3