「昼寝王国の野望」 (Hirune Oukoku no Yabou)
“Aspirations for a Kingdom of Afternoon Naps”
I was almost giddy watching this premiere because it had everything I was looking forward to seeing from the manga. Some of the finer details were changed, but it didn’t lose the essence one bit with our anti-heroic protagonists arguing away and hightailing it in the face of a danger. Remember when heroes are supposed to take it upon themselves to make the world better? Well, the ones here won’t even take responsibility for problems they cause themselves, leading to some pretty good slapstick humor in my books. On the surface, this series will seem like your run-of-the-mill and fairly generic fantasy adventure, but underneath it’s hard to see it as such when the story revolves around a lazy protagonist named Ryner Lute (Fukuyama Jun), who’s accompanied by the lovely yet abusive swordswoman Ferris Eris (Takagaki Ayahi). The two of them are far from being your typical go-getting heroes, as they’re searching for ancient relics very very reluctantly on orders by King Sion Astal (Ono Daisuke), who’s loved by the people for trying to rebuild Roland Empire into a better place.
As I mentioned in the Summer 2010 Preview, Sion enlisted Ryner’s help to change the empire for the better during the last war, prior to him being enthroned as the new king. Ferris on the other hand turned out to be only helping out because she’s been blackmailed by Sion by holding dangos captive. How that works I don’t even know, but she is known as the “dango woman” due to her love for those sweet treats. So um yeah, no one’s out saving the world and making it a better place because they want to themselves. However, therein lie the beauty of this series (for me anyway), as Ferris is always quick to mistreat and insult Ryner by saying stuff like how he’s too stupid to be a Roland spy, even in the face of Nerfa soldiers. It’s hilarious how there’s little to no mutual respect between the two of them, which resulted in Ryner siding with the Nerfa commander when Ferris stated that she’s merely a beautiful woman and not a spy. I was already aware of this scene coming up after reading a bit of the manga, but found it a lot funnier animated with the voices to go along with it.
Incidentally, the two of them will instantly be on the same page when it comes to killing Sion for making them do such annoying work, making them an amusingly unpredictable pair to watch. More of their antics were seen when they were being pursued by Roland’s Imiyaburi Unit led by the very small Milk Callaud (Fujita Saki), who is responsible for preventing Roland’s magic from being leaked to other countries. Milk’s unaware that they’re under direct orders from Sion however, so it was pretty funny to see Ryner and Ferris completely ignore her attempt to arrest them and her insinuating that Ryner’s being extorted by Ferris. Evidently, Milk happens to have a past with Ryner and is in love with him even though he’s not aware of it yet, paving way to some good laughs when Ferris figured she was just some girl he casually messed around with in the past. That was a recurring insult of hers to Ryner, but seeing her actually have a person to focus the joke around made it even better.
Over the course of this episode, there was a fair bit of flipping back and forth between Ryner/Ferris in Nerfa and Sion back in Roland Empire, which some viewers may find a bit jarring but didn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I kind of liked how the story was being told from two different perspectives, as it gave it a sense of concurrency with Sion dealing with real problems while Ryner and Ferris were messing around. One part seriousness, one part slapstick humor. It worked for me. Even when things get semi-serious with Ryner trying to analyze an ancient relic monster with his Alpha Stigma eyes — which allow him to see through magic and copy it — the jokes don’t stop with Ferris adding how it’s “typical Ryner for us” after he said he’s unable to see through ancient spells. To add to the hilarity, they simply decided to run away and didn’t give a damn about what happens afterward with that monster roaming about, showing exactly why this is classified as an “anti-heroic fantasy”.
Anyway, there’s a plethora of well-known seiyuu casted to play the vast number of characters in this series. Luckily for me, I don’t have to list them all here because ZEXCS has provided English credits in the ending sequence. I can’t even tell you how nice it is to have official English spellings of western names written in Japanese, because it becomes a guessing game at times without them. Production-wise, I really like how this series is looking already, while the opening and ending themes performed by Yuuki Aira and Ceui gave me sola vibes simply because their songs are featured in the same series again. That said, this is a guaranteed watch for me like I mentioned in the preview, but I won’t be covering it on a weekly basis. I really wanted to say some words about this premiere episode and how it’s turning out exactly like I was hoping though, hence this introduction post.