OP: 「FLARE」by Void_Chords feat.LIO
「奈落の底の化け物」 (Naraku no Soko no Bakemono)
“The Monster of the Abyss”
Isekai oh isekai; you know it’s not a season without an isekai, and with this season having 4-5 (the labelling on some are debatable) there’s plenty to love and hate. Of this Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou is probably bound to induce and endure plenty of the latter, and frankly it’s not hard to see why. When it comes to alternate world shenanigans, setting alone does not a cool story make.
Right from the get go Arifureta wastes little time in throwing the crazy at our faces. We’ve got the (grim)dark and moody atmosphere, the usual array of overpowered magical creatures that just want your love and energy (literally), and—oh yes—that magical system I’m sure no one has ever seen before. Ever. Hell for the first half you could be mistaken thinking this is even an isekai without the usual real world to fantasy world setup and execution, at least until the usual MMORPG trappings and real world imagery start making their appearance. Yet for all that some of this may be fascinating (and don’t deny, you know Hajime (Fukamachi Toshimari) going full Rimeru was pretty damn fun) the issue is the overall package simply belies Arifureta’s problem of not really being anything. What’s the overarching premise and purpose? What is the objective of the characters and their starting position—and hell who even are these characters to begin with and why should we care? While a smart idea to try and shake up the usual isekai start seen countless times before, Arifureta effectively shows why this start has persevered for multiple series. Sometimes a little understanding and foundation is all you need.
Of course what makes the above felt so much is Arifureta’s other issue: production. No one probably (and should reasonably) expect the moon when it comes to generic isekai animation and artwork, but damn were some noticeable corners cut here. Besides the always divisive 3D CGI (which frankly was not as bad as it could be), Arifureta seems to have a love for scenes with minimal movement and close ups of eyes, because hey, window to the soul and all that. Except we’re dealing with isekai archetypes, and Hajime’s soul at least sure isn’t looking too healthy. Action can reasonably provide a good opener encouraging future viewing (look no further than Monday’s other fantasy series Kemono-tachi), but on a shoestring budget with a little bit of everything on offer, there isn’t much screaming out to keep sticking around for more. Not like Arifureta cannot improve mind you, but this is one series which certainly has it work cut out for it when it comes to making a name.
One way or another we’ll know soon enough what Arifureta has in store, because with one main character awaiting her appearance and several others sitting in the wings, there’s quite a bit left for this one to do before the jury is ready to decide.
ED: 「ハジメノウタ」 (Hajime no Uta) by DracoVirgo