“The First Journey”
Deliberate Pacing – Travelling, Lore & Effective Exposition
Who would have thought two characters traveling through the countryside for an entire episode could be so interesting? For me, it’s easy to predict how viewers would react to this episode. Either, it was too slow in the first half and the payoff only came at the end, or you found the gradual pace beneficial to the story. And I must say, I’m 100% on the latter. I’ve been reading comments from fans of the Light Novels, and their opinions only seem to be positive. Some even proclaiming this is one of the best LN adaptations in years. We’re so used to rushed efforts that fail to capture the intention behind the source material. However, with Rokka no Yuusha it doesn’t feel like newcomer studio Passione are attempting to adapt X amount of books in 12 episodes. Instead, they’re going at the pace of the source material, and it shows.
With this episode there are comparisons to be made with Spice and Wolf (same director, after all), albeit a much more chuunibyou version of it. Being able to spend nearly all of our time with Adlet and Nashetania provides us with some nice characterisation, and makes both of them more likeable because of it. When Adlet isn’t screaming that he’s the strongest in the world, he proves that he’s got a easygoing personality and a kind aura about him, despite his long, lone training in the mountains for all those years. He’s not as one-note as he could have been, which is nice to see. Hopefully all seven get their moments to prove that there’s more than meets the eye.
Another positive with the deliberate pacing is the opportunity it provides for natural dialogue between our two heroes. As a result, the exposition about the world seems much less forced than it was last week; it’s a difficult line to get the ‘telling’ across to the audience without it feel injected by necessity. There were several moments of interest throughout the episode: Nashetania’s family history, the civil war of Piena, mentioning the previous Saints, Braves being assassinated before they can meet up, or bringing up countries like Gwenbyer, the Country of Iron Hills – it all helps flesh out the history and lore of this world. As a result, I’m genuinely interested in these lands and destined heroes, past and present. If you ask me, that’s the perfect foundation for a successful fantasy.
Even if Adlet proved himself a likeable lead, it was Nashetania who really shone this episode. Last week I named her the suspect of the week – mainly because there weren’t many options – but in this episode she came across very genuine, and her story is an intriguing one. I was expecting her to be this confident fighter with an intimidating presence in battle, but as it turns out she’s still new to all this. She may be the Saint of Blades (we also learned that only females are Saints, interestingly enough), but she doesn’t have the experience to back it up quite yet. Still, she’s very powerful, with her many floating weapons and her deadly precision. But the fact that she’s shaking leading up to the fight – as well as during it – helps her feel more human, and not some lifeless Strong Female Character bred for battle.
She’s had a sheltered, privileged upbringing, to the point where she thought fruit grew on plates. She knows nothing of the world, and as the episode title suggests, this is her first journey. She’s discovering this world along with Adlet, so seeing her open up to him felt like the first step in their ultimate journey together. I want to believe that she’s not the fake – her banter with Adlet, their play-fighting, and the hints of potential romance were all too nice to be snatched away from us just yet. And let’s not forget her speech about doing the right thing for the people, and not minding that she has to sleep on the cold, hard ground. In that moment, I really did believe her words.
Suspect of the Week – Fremy:
Although we spent most of the episode with Adlet and Nashetania, we also got introduced to two more of the heroes. Goldof Auora (Uchiyama Kouki) was name-dropped before his introduction, as Nashetania explained that he was on a quest for the Brave killer. And who is that Brave killer? It’s none other than the fourth hero, Fremy Speeddraw (Yuuki Aoi), the Saint of Gunpowder. We’ve still not seen enough of either to get a full grasp of their motives or personalities, but Fremy is certainly the most suspicious of the two. Still, her being the killer in question and also the potential fake hero seems too easy. I pick her purely because her actions are the most questionable in this episode, but as of right now I don’t feel any of the four introduced could be the snake in the grass. We still have three more to see, after all.
Overview – What’s Next?:
A slower episode, and a much better one because of it. The exposition felt less like forced narration, and more of a natural, flowing conversation. I’m also very interested in what the world and characters have to offer; I just hope this continues to be a praiseworthy adaptation. So far, things are looking in the right direction. Some shots were a bit shaky (like in the previous episode), and the CG of the fiends was somewhat cringeworthy, but that’s not enough to dull the enjoyment I’m getting from Rokka no Yuusha thus far.
Hell Yeah Fremy
My suspect-o-meter was going off the charts for Nashetania this episode. A lot of shady scenes were shown.
Honestly, I hope for the mystery of this show to be as complex as possible and genuinely surprise me in the end.
But I will still feel very satisfied if Nashetania ends up being the villain. Calling it now.
Also, I might have fallen in love with Fremy’s outfit. >_>
Yeah, me as well. The exposition with Goldof(?) had the nuance that Nashe was special from other Braves, and Fremy’s motives might stem from something like that. Specifically, I thought Nashe would pull something like the MC in Yakushoku Distpiari – Gesellshaft Blue, which is why Fremy is so on-guard, but its still too early to make such a judgement.
The bunny ears are a lie!
There were subtle hints that the princess has a hidden motive. The way she tries to get close with MC, the way she acts like a scared vulnerable fighter and following up with a scene where she single-handedly slaughter all those fiends with a bored face, and all those suspicious acts at the 1st episode is a dead giveaway that she is the hidden main villain.
We also learned that she is able to lie perfectly (Her fake apology) and her attempt to prevent Adlet from rescuing the lost girl felt manipulative. Did she done this for being in control or has she more sinister motives?
BTW: Adlet seems to be quite impressed by Fremy.
Let’s be honest, the suspect of the week is Nashetania for several reasons that have been pointed out and many more:
-She knows how to lie, as Enan 84 says. And doesn’t care until Adlet gets mad.
-Presents herself as a weak fighter, despite being a champion in the arena (maybe her final opponent went easy on her, but she got to the finals too) and her amazing control of her weapon. It could be a case of cliched damsel-distressing, but as Char points out, she takes care of the last fiends alone when Adlet isn’t watching.
-Complete lack of empathy. She steals food without caring a bit for those people; it’s Adlet who has to pay for her. It’s apparently justified by her spoiled upbringing… but then we learn she was on the run for a time, so she must KNOW the real value of food. She also opposes saving the girl and then seems to feel just annoyance when her horse dies.
-Her backstory. Now she has a motivation: her country suffered a civil war, now it’s in the hands of the minister, her own father wanted to kill her and she had to run away. Maybe she wants vengeance against her world…
Add to that some openings for paranoia (what was she doing when Adlet was sleeping? What does her face tell in those strange close-ups? Does her relationship with Goldof hide something more sinister, since it isn’t as if there can be only one traitor?), and she’s the main suspect this week.
Of course, maybe she is just what she looks: a girl with a tragic backstory, a princess used to bossing about but who still wants to meet an equal for once, a spoiled brat who seems sympathetic but is nevertheless a noble who doesn’t pay attention to the common folk, and a champion that does well in a controlled environment but is afraid of a real battle where the opponent won’t give her a chance to yield.
Either case, fascinating. This series should be about exploring these characters, and I like it.
I missed the complete lack of empathy, thank you for pointing it out. The death of the horse is revealing in another sense too. We learned right before that faints don’t attack animals. Maybe the horse was just collateral damage, but more likely she killed the horse deliberately to hamper the progress of the braves.
That’s why I’m liking this series so far. The plot is nothing special but the characters are just like real human beings and quite enjoyable to watch.
The fact that we’re going to be looking at every character in such a critical way is what will make Rokka no Yuusha even more exciting. A few weeks down the line, Nashetania might not seem that suspicious at all. We don’t know, but I can agree that there is something fishy about her still.
Or, everyone here’s just falling for a clever fake-out. Virtually every member of the six (seven) that we’ve been introduced to thus far has been a complicated individual with hidden motives- Fremy, Nashetania, that swordsman at the end, and even Adlet himself, they all seem to have lots of loud, rattling closet skeletons. It’s getting interesting- the prophecy mandates that the six braves must work together as a team to defeat the archdemon (Or whatever that Big Bad’s called). I sincerely hope that the seven main characters’ hidden backstories and ulterior motives are not used solely as fake-out implements for the purpose of obfuscating the identity of the “fake” (If there even is a fake) from the audience. Because within these disparate character motives and histories lies an abundance of potential for the emergence of interesting, deep team dynamics between the seven; the motives and backgrounds of every Brave being played against those of the others. An exploration of how 6 or 7 people with diametrically different backgrounds, personalities and motives manage to (No doubt with much difficulty) work out their differences and form an alliance of necessity. I shall be sorely disappointed if upon revelation of all 6/7 Braves, everyone ends up getting along with relative ease…
By “team dynamics” I am referring to internal conflict between the 6/7, in case I wasn’t clear enough. Perhaps the kingdom that one serves is at war with the kingdom of another, or perhaps Adlet’s master was a wrongfully exiled former Prime Minister of Nashetania’s realm and he wants revenge. Perhaps Goldof is more of an agent of Nashetania’s father sent to keep an eye on her and control her rather than the loyal retainer he seems to be on the surface. Or perhaps Fremy is the last surviving member of a royal family of a nation which was destroyed by the other nations of their world for refusing to take sides in a war 20-ish years ago, the royal family slaughtered and the people massacred- and she wants vengeance- she wants the world that she blames for the murder of her family and the genocide of her people to pay, to suffer the same fate; she is killing braves and potential braves to ensure that the archdemon destroys the world which destroyed hers- and yet she herself was chosen as brave as the criteria is strength alone. So yeah, these sorts of things. Six or seven extremely powerful, but also diametrically different people (Some of which are extremely messed up in the head) somehow, with much difficulty managing to come together to form an alliance of necessity, in spite of deep-seated mutual grudges and hatred…
Essentially, a tangled web of hatred between the six/seven braves that makes their worst enemy themselves- and perhaps the seventh being an agent of the archdemon whose motive is to make sure no one gets along, and to get the six to kill each other…
The final hint for me was that the horse was dead since the fiends aren’t supposed to attack animals. Unless it merely died in the line of fire. I couldn’t decide, but her expression when looking at the dead horse was very odd to say the least.
Yeah… this is definitely going to be a lot more interesting than “nakama-powaaaa!”
I like office politics in anime. Makes each character so much more intriguing.
Like you, this entire episode screamed IT’S THE PRINCESS.
So I’m kinda hoping that it’s somebody else. Too obvious with her.
Unless it’s a double bluff and they figured that we’d figure that she was too obvious, but then it turns out that it actually IS her.
One oddity -Nashetania’s naivety about the world and her being used to sleeping on hard ground because she was on the run for a while during her country’s civil war seems a bit inconsistent.
She just screams shady…
I did not find Nashetania all that suspicious? She did mention earlier in the episode that she liked the way Adlet treated her as an equal, something she probably doesn’t get much being a princess and all. That face, to me, was one of someone who was displeased at being treated different, as Goldof seems to insist on doing.
I also do not find Fremy suspicious. She gives me a vibe of someone trying to protect herself from a world that is trying to kill her. The one at fault for that is the one who betrayed her trust in the first place. Whoever that might’ve been. Maybe it was Goldof?
The next episode should introduce
Nyanta! Whoops, I meant Hans :). I can’t wait!!!
It did take me a while to get used to the slower pacing, but at the same time I like how they are taking time to introduce us to the characters instead of just throwing us into the conflict. On the other hand, the animation was really off this week, especially in the faces. And the less we talk about the CG monsters the better, although I did laugh when one of the head just kind of disappeared.
When Adlet isn’t screaming that he’s the strongest in the world…
Strongest MAN in the world. I thought that might be important since they said only women are Braves, so there may still be women stronger than him.
I meant …”only women are Saints”
How much LN material could the anime cover? Since only 1-cour of 12 episodes have been confirmed, & the novels are still ongoing at 5 volumes, would there be an anime-original ending?
No question that 1-cour isn’t anywhere near enough to tell the story that Rokka is setting itself up for. Personally, I wouldn’t be completely against a filler ending, so long as it doesn’t deviate from the main story and try to solve everything in one fell, log jammed swoop.
Probably just the first volume/arc. There’s a cliff hanger at the end of it but imo it’s complete enough to be a good.
I don’t think an anime original ending is necessary. Volumes 1-3 wrap themselves up pretty neatly, so I can see them being faithful throughout the adaptation. If the pacing stays the same, they can wrap up each volume in 4 episodes which would leave us at a good ending.
Edit: Although depending on the level of detail, they can potentially stretch each volume/arc to 6 episodes.
with the pace im seeing, I can see them properly and completely adapting vol 1-2.
With the current pacing, I wouldn’t be surprised if the anime only covered the first volume. We are still at first chapter of five (or second of seven if you count prologue and epilogue).
IMO, the Aztec-Maya setting complements the LN character designs more than a Euro-fantasy could.
Shame for CG fiends, but it’s good for something by a new studio.
And I’m wondering how true it is that Fremy is the killer. I don’t think they would reveal the traitor this early, and she acted like it was her who was attacked. It all depends on how reliable Goldof’s info is, and why she would kill other brave candidates and act like it’s she who was attacked (To the point that she can’t trust Adlet even when he shows her the mark). I mean, I guess others could have found out about her being the brave killer, and she could simply think Adlet knows and has come to kill her for that, but maybe there’s something deeper in all this
Really love the character designs. Too bad we didn’t see more of Adlet McSpinny this episode, but Fremy Underboob made up for it.
I call Adlet “Lusciouslocks” – he has a lovely, flowing head of hair.
yeah I was still a bit uncertain from the first ep, but now seeing the second one I can safely say that their adapting rokka no yuusha properly. they are really taking their time and keep pretty much everything, I would have expected them to skip out on adlet and nashetania’s travel just to immediately reach the part where they encounter the kyoma and meet fremy.
This is definitely one impressive adaptation; pretty much no details or characterization has been cut of this far, the explanations are actually handled slightly better than in the source material (less sporadic and narrative) and it’s visually impressive (the animation quality drops are still at acceptable level imo, hopefully it remains so). The Voice acting is also really good, all voices fit the characters this far.
On the cgi fiends: Surprisingly, I don’t actually mind it. Sure hand-drawn would be ideal, but if something has to be done in cgi, I think fiends are the best part for it. It gives them a nice unwordly feel by the way they stick out from their surroundings. Besides, if it saves on cost, there’s hope we’ll see multiple different types (which we already did actually)
Down a shot every time the worlds strongest man says that he is the worlds strongest man.
But what if he isn’t actually the world’s strongest man?
I’d be sober for the whole night.
The “I’m the strongest man in the world” chant looks like he’s forcing himself to be more confident, kinda like normal person’s “I can do it!”
The Animation is horrible. Alone the movements of the Horses 90% are wrong, Humans legs 80% wrong… Seriously, did they hired 3rd class Animators? Or must they take what they get to make it in time?
Animation are awful. Horses stuck in looping animation of rise the Stairs, even when he are on plane ground, and our Animation checker did not noticed it?
Animation are awful, proportions also awful, the only scene where the Horses was okay, when they done them with CGI
Eh? Probably the budget went for the CGI of the demons which are more relevant than the horses.
Though in the end, Nashe’s horse was killed. Oh wait! Why do I even care about the horses?
animation too awful?
didnt realised that because beatiful background scenery
Well, i have an Eye for little things that i cannot shut off. So if you just watch for the Horses, then you get my rambling. But as i wrote here an comment down, if you let this slide, then world building ans such are okay. Fresh and unused if you want, also the mirrors in the Water with the beautiful green and flowers around them. Static Pictures they are great, but when it comes to hand animation… well they saved the budget for cgi and perhaps this wonderful backgrounds
The theme of this series is “Trust”
Who should you trust? What should you trust? How do you trust others?
We should ask these questions as well
well, in the end. Someone love to inflict confusion. I do not say, that this Boy is wrong. Perhaps someone feed him up with false Information, or this Killer also use the same Gun type. Spanish Conquistadors
Yeah, it is really the Inca or Maya timeline. And this Picture in the start of the Demos god, it is only a illustration seen through the Inca or Maya’s eye of an Vulcan eruption. Red Snakes, are the Magma flow
aside from the Animation silliness, the Show is good. And yeah, our Princess love to tease others with her Magic, not aware that she could hurt or even kill them?
This carrot-munching GIF of Nashetania could go “What’s up,
Nashetania’s practical use of her blade sorceries made me remember this scene:
Well, the key point for our Speculations or guessing in Show Spoiler ▼
That Fremy girl is a classic example of ecchi done wrong… This anime is pretty serious, so while a little bit of ecchi can still make sense (like the clothing that the princess is wearing), but that Fremy girl? If she was a character from Highschool DxD I would be ok with it, but a character like that in a anime like this just breaks the immersion.
I see where you’re coming from, but more important: Her sad eyes are so beautiful, therefore the bit of ecchi don’t matter much to me.
Besides, such attire wouldn’t even be useful in combat situations. It’s more or less an over-glorified boobstring.
After shows like Ikkitousen, Qwaser, Queen’s Blade, etc. I didn’t even bat an eye at Fremy.
She’s got underboob, yes- but no gainaxing or focus shots.
The fanservice is perfectly within reason.
I’m really surprised at how much they are sticking to the novels, as well as adding dialogues and information that are useful.
Show Spoiler ▼
Also, i love how they pay attention to details.
Oh, and to those who said story is nothing special at the moment, just wait until it gets to the point where all 7 gather.
With this pace they could adapt even second book, if they chose scenes wisely. If not, they can end this series with
Show Spoiler ▼
Oh and i recommend people to read the novels. they are fantastic 😀
especially later books 😀
disagree – it definitely felt like they were doing nothing but crossing countryside for half the episode, rather poorly executed IMO.
overall so far great premise, plot and character… BUT execution just feels a bit off at times
It would be wonderful if the ED Music could use some Inca or Maya instruments, to fit better with the World setting. Exchange for example the Guitar with an Panpipes, for starting
If i are allowed to add, the Princess personality here, could add some lines in how she is not used that Peoples reject her or are not on the same line with her. She is just not used that someone scold her. She is the Almighty Princess!!!.. So this “Please we are Comrades, and equal” is Lip service
That would also explain the “playing” spirit with our Boy. And also, this Boy at the End, could fill in the Role of “Now one Touch my dear Princess and insult her Beauty. She is mine, all mine!” And Voila we have many possible “killers” that can raise the Tension
I don’t think so. It seems that she is genuinely disgusted by Goldofs servileness.
I might struck out an odd suspect, but there is something fishy about that black knight failing to get any trace of killers for half year, and now suddenly trying to frame Fremy.