The Ones Within – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

Oh good. Another isekai anime…I guess? Maybe I’m bending the rules with this one but if the characters are physically transported to another world then screw it, I’m counting it.

I love JRPGs but I’m sick of anime constantly bringing them up for brownie points because the fanbases of both mediums often interconnect. Like ha ha, I get it. That fantasy world is just like an RPG! It’s not like fantasy existed before video games or RPGs don’t always look the same or anything. The appeal of The Ones Within escaped me even further when I found out that it’s about Let’s Players. No disrespect to the profession, there’s some Let’s Players I like, but I’m just a person who prefers playing games himself rather than watch others play it. So what I have here is an isekai(ish) anime continuing a trend I’m tired of seeing, centered around a part of gaming culture I have no attachment towards. Fantastic…

Truth be told, I’m not entirely convinced The Ones Within will make the most out of its premise anyway. The dialogue reveals what types of games each character specializes in for their Let’s Plays but how exactly their forte will translate to actual survival skills is beyond me. There is also the matter of the life or death challenges they’re dealing with. First they have to fight giant animals (a lot of which seems to happen offscreen I should add) and then they have an ouija board session. I don’t get it. What does any of this have to with gaming? Hell, what does this have to do with “The Ones Within”. You know, the game the show is named after? What does that game actually look like? While I’m at it, who’s sick enough to watch a live stream of internet celebrities do life or death challenges?

I don’t have much to say about the characters. Everyone is about as stock as they get. Even Paka (Kenjiro TSuda/Ben Phillips), the gamemaster and the antagonist of the series, comes across as a Monokuma clone with his alpaca costume and comedic demeanor. The one saving grace I can think of is the protagonist, Akatsuki Iride (Daiki Yamashita/Justin Briner). For someone trapped in a game, he sure is taking his situation rather well. Nothing seems to faze him. When he gets chased by a giant panda (which I’ll admit was hilarious), he becomes friends with said panda. When he meets a ghost via the ouija board, he offers to become her friend (albeit in an extremely cheesy scene that fails to hit you in the feels as intended). It’s a weird attitude, one the show acts aware of, and I’ll admit that it’s the one thing about the story that is a little intriguing.

Not that I really plan on watching more though. It’s not that the show is awful per se, the execution leaves a lot to be desired that I can see myself growing disinterested. Maybe I’ll try the next episode just to be safe but that’s a really big maybe.

English Dub Comments

Part of me thinks the best way to dub this show would be to go Ghost Stories all over it but I digress. I respect the cast and crew for still taking this project very seriously. Justin Briner voicing Akatsuki amuses me a little since he also plays opposite of Daiki Yamashita in My Hero Academia as Deku. His voice does however fit his character’s odd, happy go lucky personality. I also like Ben Phillips as Paka, a much suaver voice than Kenjiro Tsuda’s but still very befitting for the character. I’d even go as far as say the voice makes it easier for me to take Paka more seriously as an intimidating villain.

OP: “not GAME” by Tasuku Hatanaka

Thanks for reading!

Watch The Ones Within on Funimation

Read My Other Summer 2019 First Impressions

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