「異世界の悪を我は斬る！」 (Konoyo no Aku o Ware wa Kiru!)
“I Shall Cut Through the World’s Evils!”
Now that truly went out with a bang. . Although I’m a tad sad we’re now seeing the back end of Skeleton Knight, there’s absolutely no denying this finale was all kinds of fun. Evil masterminds were clobbered; Arc got to show off even more ludicrous power; setups for future arcs were established; and – oh yes – reveals were had to the chuckle-worthy sounds of cute ninja girl noises. It was the perfect conclusion to a show which grew on me in a way I never expected, and while there’s no second season to look forward to (at least yet), I’m definitely happy with what we got. Now onto those impressions!
If I had to sum Skeleton Knight up it would be fun. Pure and wholesome isekai fun. While true such labels have been tossed around like candy over the years for many different isekai series (especially generic slice-of-life varieties), Skeleton Knight is the latest example of how playing to the (sub)genre’s strengths and not delving into the weeds does wonders for overall impact and impression. The point of these series is to have fun, and by hell does Skeleton Knight do so.
The main thing which sold me on Skeleton Knight is Arc himself, or rather how Arc is written. The guy is the epitome of overpowered MC, but unlike a lot of contemporaries Skeleton Knight wastes little time with the nitty gritty. Pre-isekai backstory? The alternate world’s magic system and political structure? Hell the ossified state of Arc himself? Barely receive the minimum of attention before the bony boy is off galivanting through the wilderness and enjoying the fantastical sights. This approach lets Arc’s personality and quirks shine through: you quickly get an appreciation of his foodie side, you can easily find a chuckle in his child-like love of all things fantasy, and there’s rarely a moment where you don’t crack a smile at Ponta doing Ponta things over his shoulder. Skeleton Knight may lose out on some worldbuilding by sacrificing infodumps for lighthearted comedic moments, but given how well these moments turned out (especially when paired with the rest of Arc’s party) I strongly think the show was all the better for it.
Of course not everything was peaches and cream for Skeleton Knight. For all the strength of the series in slice-of-life-esque material it did stumble a bit in terms of more serious concepts. The use of slavery for example was a little dissonant at times, with certain scenes not really meshing well with the more upbeat moments following in their wake. While Skeleton Knight never fell apart over this (and indeed improved with them over time), it and the associated “behind the scenes” developments driving slavery in Skeleton Knight’s world could have seen better integration, if only to help better keep specific characters – e.g. Yuriarna and her brothers – and their relevant narratives fresh. Mind you steps were taken towards the end in rectifying this, but a second season is really needed to properly see the results in action.
Overall while Skeleton Knight won’t be seeing any major awards or likely getting many serious kudos, this is one isekai which shows the concept is far from being exhausted and is a series I’m very happy to have covered all the way through. No matter how generic or stereotypical any isekai might be, should it do as Skeleton Knight has done and emphasize entertainment over complexity it stands a very good chance of surprising even the most dubious of critics. As it goes to show sometimes a bit of stupid silly fantasy fun is all you really need to get something awesome.