OP Sequence

OP: 「LEADER」by MY FIRST STORY

「覚悟 ~カメリアとの戦い~」 (Kakugo ~Kameria to no Tatakai~)
“Resolve ~The Conflict with Camellia~”

Well, here we are, barely three days into anime’s 2021 kickoff and we’re doubling down on the fantasy. Yes, even though the real fantasy fun doesn’t start until next week I’m counting Hortensia Saga as doubling down since it certainly isn’t trying to hide what it’s all about. If you wanted vanilla you’re in the right place, because oh boy has this one mastered the most sincerest form of flattery.

Given the RC Preview effectively summarizes what Hortensia Saga is all about, there isn’t much to add to it: this show is a full-blooded high fantasy of swords and magic, evil demons and other monsters are commonplace (complete with flying talking magical Happy cat mascot thing), and you could pick the plot out of a jar even with a negative luck stat. Makes sense it’s an adaptation of a mobile game, right? Right. As highlighted in the preview, Akatsuki no Yona is a pretty good reference for Hortensia Saga’s gist, albeit with Princess Marius (Horie Yui) pretending to be a boy and not (yet) aiming to reclaim her kingdom’s throne (younger brother already took care of that) as much as crushing the upstart duke and friends who created this situation. Where this exactly leads story-wise no one knows – too early for that just yet – but you can make some well-informed assumptions considering the antagonist duke can apparently turn into a werewolf and the inkling of a good old-fashioned party is at the ready. Oh dime a dozen fantasy, may you never change.

In terms of characters and execution, however, Hortensia Saga looks to at least have a leg up over the likes of King’s Raid. Animation and art are surprisingly on point here, with fight scenes and character design being the most noticeable. Take the 3DCGI during the larger scenes for example, it’s obvious, but (at least for me) unobtrusive and suggests this adaptation has received a good bit of funding. Likewise comes the main cast duo of Marius and Alfred (Hosoya Yoshimasa). Both are blatantly milquetoast, but I do appreciate the touches like Marius being unable to effortlessly overpower her opponents and Alfred not being a total pushover in a fight. Not sure if it’s enough to overcome the humorous inability of Alfred and Nonnoria to see the bishoujo in the bishounen (particularly when it currently appears to be not be treated as an in-house joke), but I’ll take what I can get. There’s some inklings of fun buried under the usual fluff, even if it’ll take some serious effort to let the light shine through.

While I wouldn’t expect too much from Hortensia Saga in terms of fantasy perfection – let alone any genre defying ingenuity – if you’ve been missing some conventional high fantasy anime and got burned by King’s Raid last season I’d consider giving this one a shot. It won’t be the best, but it stands a pretty good chance at being good enough.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「夜想と白昼夢」 (Yasou to Hakuchuumu) by Mafumafu

Preview

17 Comments

  1. Liden Films, show No. 3. And it’s as average as it can get for a Liden Films production.

    Now, a smartphone game IP that I actually know a decent amount of (thanks to Sega), though the story (as-is with most game adaptations) is really nothing to write home about. But I do respect the homage to the settings and characters where the game is founded from.

    A great OST from reputable artists (MY FIRST STORY and Mafumafu) to kick things off and a decent story for the central MC Alfred Ober and original heir Marius Casterede. Very typical JRPG-like, is what I can say best about it.

    Well, an OK start that I don’t mind having to watch after getting bummed by lots of game adaptations that are overly boring and cliche. In fact, I’m really enjoying this from the get-go.

    If you want the loose version of the episode on a binge, Chapter 1 of the manga will be it.

    Hope this does decent in the long run. Good job Liden Films, No.3 logged.

    KANLen09
    1. It’s entertaining enough so far that I’ll likely keep up with the show (probably not enough to actively blog it further though), but we’ll need a few more episodes to see if it can keep up what was shown here. IMO best thing possible is the show simply not falling off the rails later on.

  2. Not sure why you would “get burned” by King’s Raid, that show was (is? It doesn’t seem to be done yet) a perfectly competently done fantasy show. But different persons, different taste, I guess.

    Magnus
    1. To be fair I also think King’s Raid isn’t terrible, but it’s undeniably middling. A lot of people also take issue with its pacing, as the show does drag quite a bit regardless of story, which when combined with it’s vanilla fantasy story doesn’t really endear a lot of love.

      1. We must not forget the fact that Hortensia Saga has the same plot twist as King’s Raid. However, Hortensia Saga is extremely similar to Grancrest Senki and Madan no Ou to Vanadis.

        TpStarGti
  3. And already we’ve got an insufferable character (rredhead guy). Also why in the heavens name doesn’t anymore realize that Marius is a fucking girl? Or why even keep it a secret from the protag to begin with?
    I like that it’s a pure fantasy but goddamn are they trying to make me hate it.

    Mary
    1. I’m going to leave my troops behind, also removing their, and my, entire point of existence since we’re an arching unit and my only weapon is a long range one, and directly engage the enemy, for no other reason than to expound exposition. Now that that’s done, I guess I’ll just have my entire troops retreat because we’re done now despite clearly winning this engagement. Mission accomplished?

      hjerry
    2. Given Marius has a younger brother who apparently took the throne it’s really confusing why she would need to be kept hidden, but I’m assuming there’s a reason for it to be revealed soon(-ish).

      As for the realization yeah, that is borderline ridiculous and I hope it’s either dealt with fast or made off as an in-house joke because there’s no other way to keep it reasonable.

  4. Amidst all the plot holes, and irritatingly cliche characters, and unoriginal writing, ultimately the deciding factor that lead me to drop this after one episode was just how completely and totally bored I was throughout the entire episode, including, maybe even especially, in the fight scenes.

    Next

    hjerry
      1. Same here, I don’t dislike unoriginal anime, but it’s also the execution that makes them shine sometimes. It may be the voice acting, the music, the fights, many little things can make an anime succeed without being original.
        This didn’t leave me anything.
        I’ll probably continue because I have very few things to watch this season, hoping it will get better and not worse.

        Chris
  5. When it comes to the first episode, I actually prefer King’s Raid compared to this. Can’t really pinpoint it, but probably has to do with the main characters. Admittedly would’ve preferred Fernando being the main character instead of his son.

    The fights were okay, but mostly short and inconclusive. Of course when it comes to army level battles, very few anime manages to get that right. This isn’t one of them.

    Hoping to see some of the other characters from the opening, though it looks like there will only be one more regular. It also looks like the lady that fought the Cerberus actually survived! Would love to see her again (and actually watch her fight).

    theirs
    1. Definitely the characters, I didn’t mind this episode but there’s no denying Alfred is flat as board personality-wise and Marius isn’t much better. Hopefully will change going forward, but I’m not holding out much hope given the generic setting.

  6. As much as it stretches my disbelief that Alfred and the maid (especially the maid) haven’t realized that Marius is a girl, I’m reminded that a book I read recently about historical women warriors had an entire chapter discussing women who went to war disguised as men.

    I’m mostly liking the series so far, though like others I am wondering why Marial/Marius is in still in hiding when the capital did not fall.

    Darthtabby
    1. Likely will be explained next week or so, but I suspect the reason Marius is in hiding is due to the duke mind controlling or coercing her younger brother (you’ll notice the kid has glazed eyes in the OP and is always close to the court cleric/priest). She’s likely being kept hidden to avoid a similar fate.

  7. Come on the MC look totally girlish, she doesn’t even try to to hide it…
    Long hair, ear pieces, long eyelashes.
    She’s the equivalent of superman that magically nobody can recognize because he’s wearing glasses.

    Chris
  8. I was expecting generic fantasy and they somehow managed to not even hit that low bar. I though the mascot character would be the low point but now I’m left wondering for just how many episodes are they going to stretch the “obvious female MC is obviously female but no one ever notices” shtick.

    qwert

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