First Look: The Ones Within

Alternative title(s): Naka no Hito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]
Manga Adaptation by Silver Link
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

A group of Let’s Play Youtubers are kidnapped and taken to a remote location to play a survival game. The group must participate in dangerous activities to earn viewers, and will remain trapped until they reach the required amount.

Jel’s verdict: Like, Comment, but Don’t Subscribe

At the very least you can say “heartwarming supernatural survival horror comedy” is a more ambitious goal than most anime will aim for. Whether or not The Ones Within reaches that goal is a different story. I both love and hate the premise. It’s extremely stupid, but also so weird and unconventional that I feel like anything can happen. In this episode, we have our main character befriend a 50 foot tall panda bear and a school girl ghost who almost sets him on fire. Even our main antagonist is some cheerful (in a creepy way) dude in an alpaca mask who refuses to show his face.

The show’s unpredictable nature combined with the interesting artistic presentation does make it interesting to watch. Silver Link auteur Shin Oonuma doesn’t seem to flex his artistic muscle much these days, so I was happy to see his trademark shifting art styles and weird use of color make an appearance. I’m also a sucker for the emotional whiplash that comes with mixing comedy and other serious genres. As much as my brain was telling me the final bit with the main dude befriending the ghost girl was woefully underdeveloped, I still couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Unfortunately I ran into a similar to problem to what I talked about with Astra Lost In Space: the cast kind of sucks. Our hero is a naive “friendship conquers all” type who is so optimistic it’s obnoxious. Like, dude isn’t even the slightest bit upset that he got kidnapped and is being forced to play games that put people’s lives in danger. Everyone else is either an insufferable jerk or shy waifu bait. Worst of all, the fact that they are video game YouTubers (each with their genre specialty) is not used at all beyond a couple surface level jokes. The annoying tsundere girl does horror game Let’s Plays but she’s actually scared of ghosts? That’s HILARIOUS, right???

So I’m left asking if the show’s unpredictable creativity will be strong enough to balance out the annoying characters. Probably not, but I may give it another episode or two to confirm. I’ll gladly take a few laughs and an occasional emotional gut punch if they can at least deliver that.

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