OP: 「飛竜の騎士」 (Hiryou no Kishi) by TRUE
「朱の戦姫」 (Shu no Senhime)
“The Crimson War Princess”
This season’s standard magical-fantasy-action-harem anime. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. So, how does it rank?
Where Are You In Your Magical-Fantasy-Action-Harem Career?
I need to issue a disclaimer. The magical-fantasy-action-harem genre is one of the most popular in anime, and it’s the genre whose tropes are the most codified. It’s not bad by any means, but it is a field frequently plowed, which means that viewers can quickly grow familiar with or tired of the usual tropes. Whether this series will for you will depend on three factors: 1) How many magical-fantasy-action-harem series you’ve seen (i.e. where you are in your magical-fantasy-action-harem “career”), 2) Your tolerance for highly tropey stories, and 3) How good this series is.
I’m going to try to speak to viewers on varying degrees of this scale. Hopefully I’ll be able to zero in on your unique experience level/tolerance/quality requirements. So while I (personally) have seen many series and have a pretty good trope tolerance (but not much free time to indulge it), I won’t just be speaking from there. Though when in doubt, that’s my starting point.
The Basics Are All Here
This series has all the usual suspects. There’s the main male character who’s somehow special, and more powerful than he first appears. He meets the tsundere female lead through some kind of sexy mishap, and is unjustly labeled a pervert. There’s an all-female school for flimsy reasons, and he must join it because shut up, harem. He proves himself through some impressive feat in combat, and either wows the girls, or at least gets them to tolerate him for a while. Oh, and he has an imouto, and his harem of cute girls is already growing.
If you’re someone who demands only the most unique of offerings, this isn’t looking like it. It reminds me of Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance by way of Infinite Stratos, or perhaps Blade Dance and Seikoku no Dragonar, though I only watched a few episodes of the latter. But I liked Blade Dance, and I liked Infinite Stratos before it went off the rails into shitsville in the second season. So if all the basics are there, how does it execute on them, and what’s there that is unique?
Respectable Execution, Bright Spots
I didn’t go in expecting much since the premise reeked of business as usual, so perhaps low expectations aided my impression. (That’s one reason I always suggest keeping low-ish expectations, though not to the point of cynicism.) But I was pleasantly surprised with the episode. Not shocked by how good it was, but I enjoyed it on the balance. It hit all the right beats without seeming rushed, and there were bright spots enough to make me not dismiss it as the most generic of the generic. I’ll remind you as I reminded myself—Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry had a wonky-ass premise that promised mediocrity, but it actually defied its tropes or used them to its advantage.
Here, there’s some of that. Former Prince Lux Arcadia (Tamura Mutsumi) is neither obviously uber strong, overly lucky, or arrogant. He’s self-effacing and has enough self-awareness to bemoan when it looks like he’s going to die, his imouto’s unwavering faith in him notwithstanding. (Related: I want Ozawa Ari to call me nii-san.) And First Princess Lisesharte “Lisha” Atismata (Lynn), while initially full-tsun, eventually decides to believe he didn’t mean to peek after seeing what kind of person he is for herself, and turns if not full-dere, at least open to him as a classmate and a friend. (Though the full dere isn’t far away.) The world also isn’t too overly full of obnoxious jargon. Granted, every time I hear someone say Drag-Knight I twitch a little—it sounds like some kind of drag racer to me—but then I remember the Logicalists of Luck and Logic, and all is well. After that show (which I enjoyed too), other jargon gripes just seem so petty.
Verdict: To Watch, Or Not To Watch
If you’re early in your magical-fantasy-action-harem journey, this looks like a safe one to watch. The first episode was slightly above average—not enough to shock (in a good way), but enough to make for a pleasant watch. Some manner of trope tolerance is required though, because they’re rife throughout. If you think too much about some of the shifty logic—why are male Drag-Knights so rare? The headmaster’s excuse didn’t make sense to me—it’s going to get to you, so if that thing annoys you, approach with care.
As for where it will end up, quality-wise … well, fuck if I know. I lean toward putting it in Blade Dance territory for now, not up there with DanMachi or Rakudai … but I wouldn’t have put DanMachi that high after the first episode either, otherwise I woulda blogged it. (Well, schedule matters aside.) (Rakudai I did, mostly because Takkun raved about it.) I could see it exceeding a middle-of-the-road (but likable) magical-fantasy-action-harem series like Blade Dance, but whether it will or not will come later.
Personally, I don’t know whether I’ll be watching this. And it’s not because I didn’t find it enjoyable, though not adding another show onto my 20+ show watch list would certainly be nice, ’cause I got shitz to do, yo. No, it’s because of a pattern in magical-fantasy-action-harem light novel adaptations that’s begun to get to me far more than any trope.
This show is currently slated for twelve episodes. I expect it to get that one season, and for that to be it. These adaptations are made to advertise the LNs, and once that’s done, there’s no reason to make another season. Only the magical-fantasy-action-harem ecchi shows occasionally get sequels, because T&A sells enough DVD/BDs to make them worth the studio’s while. But I’m getting tired of growing fond of characters, and then being left in the lurch as their stories stop partway. Sure, I could go pick up the LNs, but most LN writing is crap—sorry, it’s true. It’s inherent to the style, and to a book lover/novelist like me, it feels alternately like cheating or nails on a chalkboard. And never finding out how the stories end gets old after a while.
While I sort through my feelings on that, what did you think of this episode? It doesn’t seem a likely candidate for blogging at the moment, but then again, I would have said the same thing about Gakusen Toshi Asterisk. Tell me what you think, and LN/manga readers, mark and tag your spoilers—though feel free to give your general opinions on the series, and whether you think this adaptation will be any good.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – This season’s standard magical-fantasy-action-harem show has a respectable first episode. Seems well adapted so far #saijaku 01
- What’s with the fascination with Bahamut all of the sudden? Though, I was going to say this was the third anime in recent time to talk about a dragon named Bahamut, but I can’t remember what the second one was (first was obviously Shingeki no Bahamut: GENESIS). Can anyone figure out what I was thinking of? I don’t think it was in the title, but it was recent.
- I forgot to mention, but Lux’s voice? So girly. It’s like the first time you hear Yuuki Rito, or Japanese VA Goku. Jarring.
- I like that Lux has two swords, but doesn’t dual wield (yet?). I have a soft spot for dual wielding, ’cause it’s cool, but it should be treated as difficult and unusual (and potentially detrimental) as it is. But I love when it’s done well (Ex: Arslan Senki), and if he’s the only one who ever does it, that’s cool with me.
- Another similarity with Blade Dance: A bunch of new (and I assume cheap) seiyuu. (Ozawa Ari and Taneda Risa excepted.) Though the ones we’ve heard so far are better than Blade Dance’s bunch.
- Do you like thigh-highs or pantyhose? Then I have the anime for you! (Also: Blade Dance again.)
- I like that they’re not moralizing with these two empires so far. Well, they referred to the old one as tyrannical, but the new one might be too. It’s still an empire, after all. But Lux and Airi Arcadia (Ozawa Ari) are considered criminals (and debtors) even though they’re kids, so the new empire ain’t all saints to be sure.
- Probably my biggest gripe about the episode: How damn convenient it was that the gargoyle interrupted their match. Or how it seemed like Lux would win because she tired herself out a minute before. Don’t get lazy in episode one, Bahamut Chronicle.
- They really like those split screens, don’t they?
- Suggestive hand placement!
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: $%&@* cuss words, Stephen, what is best in life?, It depends, and Momentum & mental space.
Full-length images: 38.