OP: 「Bright Way」by Aya Uchida
「盃の誓い」 (Sakazuki no chikai)
“The Oath of the Chalice”
Having received the comedic parody which is Isekai Maou and the slight alternate world twist in Shichisei no Subaru, things just wouldn’t be complete without our conventional—i.e. harem based—isekai series of the season, so here to properly fill out the ranks is summer’s “true” alternate world in Hyakuren no Haou to Seikayu no Valkyria (or HnH because I’m not writing that mouthful every time). With girls, deus ex machinae, and everything in between being the name of the game here you know exactly how this one is going to play out, but somehow I imagine it won’t matter too much. With cutie pies like these there isn’t going to be much to complain about.
As is true for most similar series HnH doesn’t stray far from the isekai path. We have our head honcho Yuuto (Sakai Kodai) who wound up in some alternate world (personal Yuuto musing aside) at the behest of another summoning experiment gone wrong, his adorable cast of children/sisters bound to his every word, and the setup for the usual isekai shenanigans in saving the group and potentially the world once events start playing out. Complementing things as well is the necessary power up device in Yuuto’s smartphone and what you just know is the childhood friend who Yuuto somehow still retains full contact with, because one never goes wrong with more girls. Really if you aren’t imagining Isekai wa Smartphone already you’re not trying hard enough. Beyond the Norse mythos theme and scenery which screams God of War 4 Jötunheim to me (yes I kind of loved that game) it’s nothing particularly unique, although then again anyone who knew what was coming could’ve has easily foreseen it. HnH was always going to fully embrace the isekai tropes lock, stock, and barrel, and do so without a care in the world.
Once beyond initial impressions and genre clichés however, HnH winds up not being that bad. Much like Knight’s and Magic there’s an element of ingenuity lying under the surface here, generated in part from Yuuto’s intelligence and hints towards a tactical mindset. Barring any crazy smartphone shenanigans yet to be revealed (hopefully not), the kid shows a shrewd use of knowledge, giving his Wolf Clan iron weapons when other opponents clearly lack such material, military knowledge several centuries removed from the world, and an understanding of how to use fear and intimidation to get what you desire. Well, in most cases. It’s the sort of thing necessary to help give HnH the staying power similar series wind up lacking, although whether the show can retain this focus going forward is a big question mark. With the harem mechanics in play and yet more girls set to appear (not to mention the usual shenanigans from ambitious rivals) there’s a lot of places where HnH can fall back into isekai cruise control, but should it properly utilize its solar powered toolbox it can easily wind up being one incredibly fun ride.
While I’m not sure if I’ll cover HnH for the duration, I’ll definitely be back next week to see how things develop. Not only are we owed an answer for how our harem master wound up in Yggdrasil in the first place, but you know damn well you want more of those glorious head pats and awkward pseudo-tsundere scenes too (Ingrid (Kawase Maki) is perfection, sue me). HnH may be generic and playing to everything we know well about isekai, but there’s plenty of room for it to turn into something entertaining. We just have to see if it’s willing to rise (heh) to the occasion.
It’s kind of funny Yuuto mentions the phalanx as being invented by both Greeks and Nobunaga when the latter never did. The Greeks during Alexander’s reign specifically invented the technique, of which numerous other countries either adopted or later independently discovered (in a form) themselves. The closest Japan came to developing a phalanx followed the first Mongol invasion, where Chinese troops in Mongol service used a similar formation to help defeat and crush the initial Japanese attacks (due in part to a lack of Japanese experience with large field maneuvers). Japan’s answer to this issue was to restructure its forces, resulting in phalanx-like military unit easily capable of dealing with Mongol forces during the second Mongol invasion.
ED: 「世界中が恋をする夜」(Sekaichuu ga Koi wo suru Yoru) by petit milady