An alien-like life form called Savage is terrorizing the land, and only those who can control weapons known as Hundred can stop them. Hayato Kisaragi has enrolled at Little Garden, an academy located on top of a giant, moving ship, to become a Slayer to wield his own Hundred. However, almost immediately after he arrives, he butts heads with the queen of the school, powerful student council president/Slayer Claire Harvey. And then there’s his quirky roommate Emile Crossfode, who takes a shine to him right away.
Hundred had the misfortune of having its plot and opening episode be an almost by-the-number recreation of at least two other shows with suspiciously similar plots: male lead is sent to attend a (mostly female-dominated) school of some kind with magical warriors, and immediately gets in a position where he'll challenge the school president - who's also the strongest fighter in the school - in a duel of some kind. It’s getting a bit old.
And Hayato couldn't have been a blander male lead if he had tried. And you'll remember his name - and everyone else’s - because the show will hammer them, family names and all, by using them all the goddamned time, even when it'll sound unnatural. He's almost condemned to be the constantly put-upon everyday dude because, well, it's a harem, right? All the ladies has to take an interest in him some way or the other, and there's nothing cuter than a mildly upset girl, right? Now granted, there are only really three girls who like Hayato. The other females are either not interested in him, are evil, or just flat-out can’t stand him. But hey, a harem’s a harem.
Not too far into the series he’s revealed to have a dark hidden power within that kiiiind of makes him go berserk. Hundred initially treats this as a serious plot point, and he’s told it’s something he’ll have to learn to control. But guess what? After a couple of episodes they just kind of forget about it and don’t bring it up again until the finale, where OF COURSE he has total control of it now. Because why bother to have the lead in a harem series LEARN and GROW anyway when we have harem shenanigans to get on?
Speaking of harems, let’s go over the three main females now, shall we?
First up is Claire Harvey, our resident drill-haired tsundere of the evening. She doesn’t exactly paint a good first impression for those watching; she nearly expels two students just for being late, and nearly expels Hayato when he tries to stand up for them. (Though that was more to Emilie's credit.) Still, she became a lot more tolerable after the first couple of episodes because she is also the only person in this show with a consistently functioning brain despite the oddity of her initial almost facist-like attitude. And yet, despite Hundred showing us that Claire is a smart girl with a powerful Hundred, she is reduced to the sidelines at series’ end and has to be rescued by Hayato, because a man has to rescue a woman. Otherwise, she might end up looking even more cool and capable than he is, and we can't have that, right?
Her flunkies aren't much better. While said student council should have some kind of vetoing power, Claire is clearly abusing her powers in the first episode, and her two flunkies immediately get down the throat of whoever voices even the slightest disagreement. They’re also far, FAR too eager to pick fights with whoever they deem to be stepping out of line. That's actual fights, too, not just verbal ones.
And then there's Emilie. She really likes Hayato, and is really, really forward about that. (Stig: Which I actually kind of appreciated at first; you generally don't get that in anime very often. Not even now, past the tsundere prime.) She also has to hide her real gender from the school...for some reason the show won't explain in any good way. Hundred tries passing it off as a plot element where if she reveals it, she’ll be expelled for bunking with a male, one Kisagari Hayato. She does eventually wear out her welcome once her jealousy takes over and she becomes upset when anyone else being with Hayato, though.
Emilie’s gender is revealed to us as early as the end of the first episode. (As if it wasn't blatantly obvious already even before that.) Beyond her obviously "feminine" behavior, she's also seen wearing some obviously feminine clothing courtesy of the show’s first episode ending theme, which shows a scene of Emile in a loose kimono (HER chest very noticeable) alongside a later character in her idol attire. But we said it should be obvious enough even before that, what with the show applying the old "male lead walking in on the ‘supposed male’ coming out of the shower clad only in a towel” scene, followed by the male lead putting Emilie's finger in her mouth after she pricks it with a needle. Even in later episodes, she partakes in actions intimate enough that two men wouldn't do unless they were gay and in a relationship - which the show makes as part of a joke, tasteful as it is.
And behind door number three we got Sakura, an idol singer who just oh so happened to have met Hayato and his little sister Karen when they were in a shelter back when they were children. Her existence, outside of being a song vessel for the show, is solely to be another notch in KISARAGI HAYATO's belt. Not only in the "gotta collect them all" kind of a way, but her backstory for why she decided to become an idol, and of course KISARAGI HAYATO (and his sister) was heavily instrumental in making that decision. Her Hundred lets her fly in the air, which is ideal for an idol, we suppose. She doesn’t fight, so the only real reason she’s in this show is to sell real-life CDs of the songs she sings in the series and let the world know once again how awesome idols are. (Or possibly how desperate the anime and/or idol industry are about shilling their products in these economical downtimes.)
There are other characters too, but they are relatively unimportant in the long run. The lead scientist of this show are only there to shoehorn KISARAGI HAYATO into the main story as quickly as possible. The lead scientist even looks like a preteen, because adults? Who are those? KISARAGI HAYATO also has a little sister who's only there to be the sickly girl (who seems mostly fine if you look past the fact that she's in a hospital most of the time and confined to a wheelchair) and jealous of all the female attention KISARAGI HAYATO is getting. There are also two other Slayer colleagues who kind of join in on the operation, but don’t really do anything that matters. And last and certainly least is Claudia, Emilia's self-professed friend, whose sole role seems to be to make the other girls look good by comparison. She challenges Hayato for the attention of Emilie; when she inevitably loses, she immediately breaks her promise to leave them alone and spends the rest of the show being an annoyance to everyone around her, to the point where the show itself gives her the cold shoulder. For all her "hilariously" wild accusations and delusions, Claudia never really gets her way.
Hundred does have a plot underneath all its harem aspects thankfully, but it’s not a very engaging one. It involves Hayato and the girls fighting the evil insect-looking creatures called Savages as described earlier. They also fight these people called Hunters, dark-skinned teens who also fight the Savages, but are much more...malicious about it, we guess? Their boss doesn’t appear until near the end of the series, and she’s your one-dimensional stereotypical villainess who has turned to the dark side. (And just wait until you find out the reason why she's doing all of this. If you thought the show hadn't already lost all its dignity by that point, you will learn that there are always new bottoms to reach, new barrels to aim for.)
Perhaps all of these problems independently, Hundred still wouldn’t be so bad a show. But what kills what few saving graces it has is its deplorable animation; this show looks and animates like a mid-2000’s Flash cartoon. There’s a concert near the end of the series with Sakura and Karen that is made-up entirely of still frames. STILL FRAMES. And we’re talking about the parts involving the actual singing. While that is the nadir, there's still plenty of really awful battle animation to go around, too! Fights that looked fairly okay early in the show -- i.e. the duels and the first major Savage fight -- devolve into long strings of dialogue (which the Savage is nice enough to wait for them to finish) and cel pans with more speed lines than a Shonen Jump anime adaption.
It doesn't help that the Savage themselves are merely an arbitrary danger, and secondary in the long run. The world is supposedly overrun with them, but we’ve already established the fact that they aren’t a lot of "main players" to deal with the Savage menace. (Or they do it off-screen.) Even worse, Hundred seems to be aware that it kind of puts its lead on a pedestal. You'll get the occasional "we have to work together" episode enders, but those usually have KISARAGI HAYATO pull off the finishing move anyway, with the others serving as mere distractions. Claire literally spends nearly all of the last third of the series just standing there in the school and being told not to fight. WHY?
At the end of the day, there really isn't anything nice to say about Hundred at all. Every aspect of the show -- from the art, to the story, to the characters -- is just tepid, generic nonsense. Aside from a few cool scenes with Claire, and being one of the few harem series to actually showcase sexual activities, and proactive ones at that (even more than once), it’s just another harem action series in a dumping ground of many other harem action series. The same tired gags, the same joke setups, the same tired characters - just even worse looking and written.
Recommended Audience: Lots of naked females, some of it censored by crunchyroll. Some of the fights also feature rather nasty graphic violence, and then there’s the flashbacks that occur later in the series, which also offer some disturbing imagery as well. Viewer direction advised.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Hundred © 2016 Jun Misaki·SB Creative／Hundred Production Committee
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