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Summer 2021 Anime Staff Viewer’s Guide

The sun has been sizzling the past few months and so has the recent anime season.

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Summer 2021 Anime

The sun has been sizzling the past few months and so has the recent anime season. Our list is a little bit later than usual this season but now you’ll have plenty to catch-up on when you find something to check out! In no particular order, here’s what’s happening.


That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime S2 P2

Tensura S2

Studio: 8bit
Director: Yuuji Haibara
Main Voice Actor(s): Miho Okasaki (Rimuru)

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime S2 picks up without skipping a beat coming off of the incredible highs of the first half of the season. As such, a good portion of this second part deals with the aftermath of Rimuru becoming a True Demon Lord and wiping out the Blumund Army. That is to say, you’re in for several episodes of political discussions and negotiations as surrounding nations decide whether or not to align themselves with Tempest as the monster nation formulates its next move.

Though these episodes may be slow going at first, the deep world-building and interactions between the cast make it all worth it. The relationships that have been built over the course of the series shine as Rimuru leverages his power to reassure allies, friends made in the first half of the season vouch for him during negotiations, and fan-favorite one-off characters like Demon Lord Ramiris return in the best of ways. Once things finally start moving, it feels all the more satisfying because the audience was taken along during the planning phases of every action.

If you enjoyed the first half of S2, the second half plays out quite similarly in terms of structure; politics and planning at the start and action towards the end. It’s nonetheless a great ride with a truly well-written cast that continues to be expanded upon as the mysteries surrounding Milim’s betrayal and Demon Lord Clayman’s shady tactics begin to come to light. (By Brent Middleton)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Watch on Crunchyroll


Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu

Higurashi Sotsu

Studio: Passione
Director: Keiichirou Kawaguchi
Main Voice Actors: Yukari Tamura (Rika), Mika Kanai (Satoko), Mai Nakahara (Rena), Satsuki Yukino (Shion & Mion), Souichirou Hoshi (Keiichi)

I hope you like playing music because no show plays you like a fiddle more than this new Higurashi series. Sotsu is the direct continuation of Gou from back in the Winter season, and just like the original 2007 Kai, it’s barreling full speed ahead in its “Answers Arc.”

Sotsu has thus far spent its time revisiting previous arcs from the Gou season and showing exactly what the flying fuck happened for them to end up so horrifically and, most importantly, so divergent from ours and Rika’s knowledge of events. Sotsu actively uses that knowledge against you as it continuously pulls the wool over your eyes by taking advantage of assumptions you’ve long since thought of as truth. The result is painful and heart-wrenching in a completely different way than the original 2000’s series and it wouldn’t be Higurashi otherwise.

While these revelations are gripping, Sotsu hasn’t shown much yet in the form of an overall resolution as its stuck pretty much entirely to showing the unshown of previous arcs so far. We are moving at an expedited pace compared to Gou, though, and it probably won’t be long before we reach ground zero and the story begins moving forward again. That will be when Sotsu is truly put to the test but judging by how masterfully writer Ryuukishi07 has manipulated us so far, I have full confidence it’ll pay off.  (By Matt Ponthier)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Watch on Funimation


The Dungeon of Black Company

The Dungeon of Black Company

Studio: Silver Link
Director: Mirai Minato
Main Voice Actor(s): Katsuyuki Konishi (Kinji Ninomiya), Misaki Kuno (Rim), Hiro Shimono (Wanibe)

At a glance, The Dungeon of the Black Company seems like a generic isekai: a socially awkward male is whisked away to a foreign world where he leads a band of misfits towards a better future. Ultimately, the show does fit that description, and too often gives way to genre tropes, but it’s still worthwhile thanks to its acerbic wit. 

The series stars Shia Ninomiya, an adult NEET who ends up in a fantasy world and must work as a grunt at a mega-corporation that owns a mine that basically functions like the dungeon from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? It’s a generic set-up, but the series feels unique thanks to Ninomiya’s characterization and the corporate angle.

Ninomiya is no savior. He only wishes to restore his lazy lifestyle and decides his best bet is to take over Raiza’ha Mining Company by forming his own rival organization. To do this, Ninomiya doesn’t hesitate to deploy the most vile of tactics and, in many ways, is just as manipulative as the corporation he fights against. The machinations he uses to beguile people and monsters to his side are often hilarious and surprisingly satiric as the oppressed exchange one enslavement for another (Ninomiya leading an ant colony to revolt against their queen for unfair working conditions is especially delightful).

Unfortunately, the series does give in to cliché and feels disjointed at times, trying to portray Ninomiya as both a selfish glutton and as an isekai hero. It’s jolting and distracts from the otherwise clever comedy. Despite these issues, The Dungeon Of The Black Company is still an entertaining romp. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Funimation


The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! 

The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated

Studio: SILVER LINK.
Director: Mirai Minato
Main Voice Actors: Naomi Oozora (Jahy), Store Manager (Ay Kayano), Landlady (Youko Hikasa), Druj (Kana Hanazawa), Kyouko Jinguu (Sumire Uesaka)

If you were to look up the definitions of “cute”, “idiot”, and “schadenfreude” in a weeb dictionary, you’d find Jahy’s face in all three entries. The titular character of The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated rivals Aqua from Konosuba in her sheer adorability and stupidity. 

Once the feared second-in-command of the great Demon King, Jahy was brought to ruin after a magical girl shattered the mystic gem powering the Demon Realm. Though she survived, Jahy awoke to find herself severely weakened, stranded in the human world as a pitiful child.

While this synopsis has the light novel tropes characteristic of countless other copypasted weeby fantasy worlds, Jahy-sama stands apart in just how much it revels in demeaning Jahy, showing time and time again how much of a butt-monkey she is. Jahy’s quest to restore the Demon Realm is a journey of two steps forward, one step back, then falling flat on her butt and rolling down a hill into a pit of mud. 

The comparison to Aqua from Konosuba is apt in multiple ways. Jahy, like Aqua, has an insane amount of pride and hubris, which makes her pitfalls and foibles all the more endearing and hilarious. That said, if copious amounts of cute-girl schadenfreude isn’t your thing, you might struggle to make your way through this series. If it is, however, you will not be found wanting. (By Kyle Rogacion)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Crunchyroll


The Aquatope on White Sand

The aquatope in white sand

Studio: P.A. Works
Director: Toshiya Shinohara
Main Voice Actor(s): Miku Itō (Kukuru Misakino), Rikako Aida (Fūka Miyazawa)

The best slice-of-life series remind us how special our lives truly are – that even world without magic or superpowers is full of wonder. The Aquatope on White Sand is such a series. 

The Aquatope On The White Sand focuses on the blossoming friendship between two teenage girls, Fūka and Kukuru, as they come into adulthood. Fūka struggles with disillusionment after she apathetically abandons her idol career while Kukuru is terrified that her beloved aquarium, owned and operated by her grandparents, will close. The situations and the problems are nothing new, but Aquatope stands apart thanks to its subtlety. The characters become closer not through any grand revelations or bombastic moments but through simply spending time together, gradually opening up and lowering their guard. 

Aside from the sublime execution, Aquatope also contains elements of the supernatural. Whether it’s shots of a kijimuna — a wood spirit that looks like a redheaded toddler — prancing around in the background or prophetic waking dreams, Aquatope is filled with nods to a world beyond our senses. We never see this world directly interfere with the characters’ lives but the numerous references to it imbue everything that occurs with a sense of spiritual purpose; these characters are brought together not by chance but something greater, something answering their calls for help. In so doing, the series doesn’t just embrace the mundane but sees it as something truly divine. Aquatope On The White Sand is a treasure. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Watch on Crunchyroll


Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S

Studio: Kyoto Animation
Director: Toshiya Shinohara
Main Voice Actor(s): Yuuki Kuwahara (Tohru), Maria Naganawa (Kanna), Mutusmi Tamua (Kobayashi), Tomomi Mineuchi (Ilulu)

The show that refined the “horny wholesomeness” formula down to a science is back! Not only is Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S a wonderful follow-up to its first season, it’s also a resounding victory cry for Kyoto Animation, demonstrating their fortitude to rebound stronger than ever after a tragic disaster.

This second season continues its special brand of horniness with new characters and expanding a bit more on the dragons’ pasts. Kobayashi bouncing off of the black-and-white view of the dragons exposes the various aspects that make us human, often in heartwarming and touching ways. You never get tired of seeing the oil and water cast mix and match and the horniness that would be cringe-inducing in any other context is still somehow only a blip on the dragon radar in context. 

KyoAni is abundantly aware of what this show means to fans and themselves and goes to town with just how detailed its animations are, ranging all the way from grandiose fights to simply the act of moving a dishcloth. It’s absolutely wonderful to witness their comeback, and I hope only the best of things for their future. They deserve it. (By Matt Ponthier)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Watch on Crunchyroll


Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy

Studio: Madhouse
Director: Shingo Natsume
Main Voice Actor(s): Aoi Ichikawa (Nagara), Saori Ōnishi (Nozomi), Aoi Yūki (Mizuho), Chiaki Kobayashi (Asakaze)

Sonny Boy’s first episode is one of the year’s best premieres. It sets the stage for a whacky coming-of-age tale and political fable that’s like a cross between My Hero Academia and Lord of the Flies. It’s utterly bonkers but it feels grounded with believable characters. Unfortunately, Sonny Boy hasn’t retained this level of excellence and has become an inconsistent series with subsequent episodes being bogged down by tedium.

The series premise establishes a compelling context: a group of highschool kids is teleported into a strange dimension that begins as a void but eventually turns into an island. Most of the students have new-found superpowers and tensions arise as no adults are around and anarchy appears imminent. The first episode is absolutely fascinating oscillating between evocative imagery and terse character moments as the school council works to keep order while other kids plan rebellion and question their existence.

Sonny Boy sets itself up well but soon begins to spin its wheels. The next few episodes establish a status quo with the underlying character and political tensions feeling like window dressing in favor of a monster of the week shenanigans such as finding baseball-playing monkeys. That said, each episode contains moments of wonder and, if the last episode is any indication, the status quo is about to shatter. Sonny Boy is definitely worth watching but be prepared for some unnecessary padding along the way. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Funimation


The Detective is Already Dead

The Detective is Already Dead

Studio: ENGI
Director: Manabu Kurihara
Main Voice Actor(s): Saki Miyashita (Siesta), Arata Nagai (Kimizuka), Ayana Taketatsu (Nagisa)

The Detective is Already Dead is rich in potential but confusing in execution. On the one hand, the concept of having a detective who’s always one step ahead solve cases in spectacular fashion works just as well as it always has, and the relationship between Siesta and Kimizuka is absolutely precious and only gets more heartwarming as the season unfolds. On the other hand, having Siesta unceremoniously die after the first episode and time-skipping past their years of adventuring together felt like a sorely missed opportunity. The case introduced post-time skip is an entertaining one, and the new characters introduced compliment Kimizuka nicely, but there’s no doubt that a certain spark is missing without the presence of his mentor.

It’s all the more confusing, then, when Detective unceremoniously flips back to the escapades of Siesta and Kimizuka for episodes at a time. It’s a blessing that the FOMO from not being able to witness the duo at their peak is cleared up a bit, but it’s done in such a disjointed way that it makes one wonder why a time skip was necessary at all. Regardless, it’s during these latest episodes where the most enchanting moments take place, from seeing Seista’s always-calm and collected veneer break down to witnessing just how in sync her and Kimizuka became over the three years they traveled the world together.

Detective has ultimately continued to entertain with clever deductions, cute characters, and fascinating supernatural twists. It’s just unfortunate that it’s so structurally inconsistent. (By Brent Middleton)

Rating: Wait and See

Watch on Funimation


Peach Boy Riverside

Peach Boy Riverside

Studio: Asahi Production
Director: Shigeru Ueda
Main Voice Actor(s): Haruka Shiraishi (Sally), Mao Ichimichi (Frau), Nao Touyama (Mikoto)

What a strange show, and not for the reasons you might immediately think of. Peach Boy Riverside is loosely based on the Momotaro folktale and follows a wayward princess, Sally, as she goes on a journey throughout the world in search of a man who once visited her in the past. Sally has a strange power that activates when she’s fighting ogres, though, which let’s her slash through the powerful monsters in ecstatic glee. There’s something off-kilter about the plot and the humor of the show that makes it oddly compelling, even when a random fanservice scene shoehorns its way in. That’s once you finally orient yourself out of the freefall that is Peach Boy Riverside’s structuring, though.

What’s strange about this series is how the anime is airing out of chronological order from the manga source material, a la Haruhi. Characters having new names out of nowhere, alliances being formed seemingly off-screen, and important decisions getting seemingly completely ignored are par for the course for the first few episodes as you try to figure out what the hell is happening.

That strategy may just now starting to pay off with Peach Boy Riverside being 3/4 of the way through its air time. One can’t be blamed for bailing early on due to confusion but those who stick with it might find it pay dividends. (By Matt Ponthier)

Rating: Wait and see

Watch on Crunchyroll


Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan

Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan

Studio: Studio Blanc
Director: Nobuyoshi Nagayama
Main Voice Actors: Uramichi Omota (Hiroshi Kamiya), Iketeru Daga (Mamoru Miyano), Tobikichi Usahara (Tomokazu Sugita), Mitsuo Kumatani (Yuuichi Nakamura), Utano Tadano (Nana Mizuki)

Hey kids! Time to learn your ABCs and suffer an onset of existential crisis as you think about where you went wrong with your life choices! Yayyyy!!!

Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan is a show that doesn’t pull any punches and goes to great lengths to lament over the trials and tribulations of adulthood. The series follows host Uramichi Omota and his castmates on the morning children’s show “Together With Mama” as they barely manage to keep up a cheery facade for all the kids. When the cameras stop rolling, Uramichi and his colleagues drop all pretenses, indulging in nihilistic pity parties and self-destructive habits. All, of course, to comedic effect.

While the juxtaposition of a bright-and-happy kids show with the realities of adulthood is certainly ripe with jokes and black humor observations, Uramichi-Oniisan has a surprising amount of depth beyond the constant stream of gags. It takes a sincere, hard look at what happens when life doesn’t go the way you expected it to and suddenly you’re stuck in a dead-end job wondering what you could have done differently.

It’s refreshing to see a slice-of-life focus on a period of life that anime doesn’t often cover (some of the best examples being Wotakoi and MMO Junkie). The late 20s and early 30s are a confusing time where you’re in the twilight of your youth, scrambling to make the most of it while you still have it. 

Uramichi-Oniisan is a frank, hilarious, and heartfelt look at life through the lens of people who once lived for it with everything they had. (By Kyle Rogacion)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Funimation


The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace

The Idaten Deities Know Only PEace

Studio: MAAPA
Director: Seimei Kidokoro
Main Voice Actor(s): Akemi Okamura (Rin), Romi Park (Hayato), Yui Horie (Paula), Megumi Ogata (Easley), Akira Ishida (Prontea)

The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Most of the time the show is a lot like Dragon Ball Z with vibrant, stylized animation, ridiculous action, and charming protagonists living a carefree life. Then, at other times, the show is dark and disturbing, depicting gruesome atrocities. Such tonal disparity should be unconscionable, but it’s not. In fact, it’s precisely why Idaten has the potential to be one of the year’s absolute best series.

Idaten, like its title suggests, is primarily about a group of powerful entities who are essentially gods. Basically immortal, and immensely powerful, these beings are birthed by the thoughts and prayers of people. However, these gods care nothing for those who wished them into existence. Idatens see humanity as part of nature, viewing their behavior to be like that of animals. Thus, they do not intervene in human suffering and only get involved if demons are present since demons threaten the whole of existence. It’s a fascinating context that gives the series’ tonal shifts thematic heft. In one particularly effective sequence, the show juxtaposes an Idaten describing his apathy to human turmoil with the horrors of war including mass murder and rape. It’s startling but powerful.

As of yet, it’s unclear how this tension will evolve but there’s tremendous potential since the core conflict involves demons reemerging, not as rampaging monsters, as they once were, but as shadow leaders of humanity’s most vicious empire. This means the Idatens will be forced to reckon with all they’ve abided and the results could be explosive, literally. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Watch on Crunchyroll


Kageki Shojo!!

Kageki Shojo

Studio: Pine Jam
Director: Kuzuhiro Yoneda
Main Voice Actor(s): Sayaka Senbongi (Sarasa), Yumiri Hanamori (Ai)

It’s interesting when you think about it. Despite the plethora of anime out there about various performing arts, there isn’t really one about plain old Western theater yet. Kageki Shojo!! fills in that hole with the added twist that this is an all-female troupe. A CGDCT show this absolutely is not, Kageki Shojo!! tackles difficult topics modern-day actors encounter such as navigating parasocial relationships, weight shaming, and, of course, finding your own voice. It explores these ideas with tact and care but doesn’t presume to imply their easily fixed.

That’s not to say Kageki Shojo!! doesn’t know how to have fun, though. At its core, theater is supposed to be entertainment and our very tall protagonist, Sarasa, is the very embodiment of entertainment. Her bubbly and upbeat personality is backed by her ability to take action when needed, both on stage and off. Watching her coax the taciturn ex-idol Ai out of her shell is one of the best parts of the show yet it’s clear she harbors her own insecurities as well. The path to stardom is slow and steady, and Kageki Shojo!! is doing an excellent job of laying that path down. (By Matt Ponthier)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Funimation


Remake Our Life!

Remake Our Life

Studio: feel.
Director: Tomoki Kobayashi
Main Voice Actor(s): Aoi Koga (Shinoaki), Nao Touyama (Kawasegawa), Aimi Terakawa (Nanako), Masahiro Itou (Kyouya), Haruki Ishiya (Tsurayuki)

Out of all the isekai that have overtaken the anime industry there are a select few that have managed to put their own unique spin on the formula. Remake Our Life! technically isn’t an isekai, but it has all the learnings of what made the genre so popular.

Many people in their late 20s and beyond can relate to wanting to have a second shot at following their dreams. Remake Our Life! encapsulates that wish through Kyouya, a 28-year-old game producer who just can’t seem to catch a break between project cancellations and having to move back in with his parents. After yet another round of layoffs send him back home, he wakes up to find that he’s 10 years in the past and still has a chance to attend art school and be part of the creative generation that’s had a massive cultural impact in the future.

Now halfway through the season, Remake Our Life! has proven to be a rather typical part-drama, part-harem comedy about discovering one’s talent and digging deep to understand its potential. Plot points are painfully predictable (of course a performer drops out of the festival at the last minute and they need a stand-in) but it’s all very feel-good and uplifting to see these college kids work through their creative blocks with Kyouya’s help. If you just want to see some likable housemates succeed and fall in love and don’t mind the lack of narrative depth, Remake Our Life! delivers that in spades. (By Brent Middleton)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Crunchyroll


The Case Study Of Vanitas

The Case Studies of Vanitas

Studio: Bones
Director: Tomoyuki Itamura
Main Voice Actor(s): Natsuki Hanae (Vanitas), Kaito Ishikawa (Noé Archiviste ), Ai Kayano (Dominique de Sade), Inori Minase (Jeanne)

Vampire anime don’t have a particularly good rep, especially when it comes to TV series. But that is about to change, thanks to The Case Study of Vanitas.  

Vanitas follows Noé, a vampire, and the eponymous Vanitas, a human, as they work together to save vampires from a curse that turns them into ravenous beasts. Something immediately cool about this premise is that humanity and vampires are not at odds and, in fact, generally get along well together. This may seem odd, considering classic vampire lore, but Vanitas quickly makes it clear that these vampires do not need blood to survive. Blood is just a delicacy… riddled with taboo.

Whenever Noé or other vampires drink blood, even when no one is hurt in the process, they feel shame, as though they’re doing something dirty. Not only does this make the curse all the more compelling, as it unleashes the vampire’s repressed id, it infuses the series with the themes of lust and temptation that have been at the heart of the vampire myth since Dracula. The result is immediately engaging, taking full advantage of the complex world and resulting character tension.

Add in a haunting score by Yuki Kajiura of Madoka fame and animation so vivid it reminds one of an oil painting, and you have an absolute must-watch series. As long as The Case Study of Vanitas doesn’t go the way of Shadow House or Wonder Egg and completely fall on its face when it ends, vampires will finally get their due in anime. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Watch on Funimation


RE-MAIN!

RE-MAIN

Studio: MAPPA
Director: Nishida Masafumi
Main Voice Actor(s): Yuuto Uemura (Minato), Lynn (Chinu), Subaru Kimura (Jou)

After getting a pretty ok show about swimming, a pretty ok show about diving, and a pretty not-ok OVA series about surfing, the last remaining water sport to check off my anime list was water polo. The result? It’s pretty ok.

I’ll give RE-MAIN points for having an interesting amnesiac setup that doesn’t feel lazy. Minato was a star water polo player in middle school, one of the best in Japan, until a car accident put him comatose for many years. When he finally woke up, he had lost many of his middle school memories, including any to do with water polo. The amnesia actually creates an interesting dynamic between Minato and everyone who knew him in his past life as he struggles to compartmentalize the expectations of those who knew him, and his own expectations for his current self.

Unfortunately, that drama may be taking a little too much of the spotlight as we’re now at six episodes at time of writing and we’ve seen maybe the same number of minutes of the sport in question. As a previous water polo player myself, the little we’ve seen isn’t very representative of the actual sport, either. Still, the drama is interesting enough and the sport will hopefully improve with more screen time, so I’d still be comfortable giving this a light recommendation for the time being, even for non-water polo fans. (By Matt Ponthier)

Rating: Wait and see

Watch on Funimation


The Duke of Death and His Maid

The Duke of Death and His Maid

Studio: J.C. Staff and Shogakukan Music & Digital Entertainment
Director: Yoshinobu Yamakawa
Main Voice Actor(s): Natsuki Hanae (The Duke), Ayumi Mano (Alice)

The Duke of Death and His Maid, despite its ecchi appearance, is a romance brimming with emotion. And, unlike most of its kind, the fan service is not just warranted but an essential part of its sweet heart. 

Duke of Death has a simple premise. A young Duke has been cursed, everything he touches dies, and he is in love with his flirtatious maid, Alice. Alice knows this and teases him incessantly, making near-constant innuendos and sexual advances. Her behavior might initially appear cruel but it becomes quite clear that her prurient behavior is an expression of love. She adores the Duke just as much as he adores her and through her teasing they can have some sexual intimacy, despite there being no physical contact. When the audience gets a close-up of Alice’s breasts as she leans into the Duke, it’s about more than her buxom body. The Duke’s embarrassment and Alice’s amusement elicit a deep bond grounded in a well-developed relationship that only deepens as we learn more about them.

Despite these charms, Duke of Death does have some aggravating flaws. The show can feel static both because of the stiff CGI (a travesty considering the expressiveness of the manga) and the plotting. There is a primary storyline concerning the Duke and Alice searching for a cure to his curse but it advances quite slowly and the various flirtations that make up most episodes can feel repetitive if nothing else is going on. However, the emotion is so sincerely earnest it’s easy to become hooked. Rooting for two characters to have sex has never felt so pure. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Funimation


How A Realist Hero Rebuilt The Kingdom

Realist Hero

Studio: J.C. Staff
Director: Takashi Watanabe
Main Voice Actor(s): Yūsuke Kobayashi (Kazuya Souma), Inori Minase (Liscia Elfrieden), Ikumi Hasegawa (Aisha Udgard)

Going into How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, I expected to hate it even though I have a soft spot for isekai shenanigans. The genre has grown stale with numerous isekai coming out each season and Realist Hero’s unimaginatively literal title screams mediocrity. However, to my surprise, the series is actually engaging. Yes, the series’ plot goes exactly as expected with a realist hero rebuilding a nation but the way the show goes about this is well thought out and fun. 

What sets Realist Hero apart from its isekai brethren is its political focus. From the get-go the protagonist, Kazuya Souma, approaches things with an almost cynical pragmatism that adds a compelling shade of gray to the proceedings. For instance, despite being in a war against demons, Kazuya distrusts other nations and acts in such a way to give them the bare minimum of intelligence and aid, ensuring his nation’s independent strength if war ever broke out. Even the cooking show he creates to teach his nation how to use common but strange ingredients to combat a food shortage has the feel of propaganda, hosted by a beautiful singer to beguile the audience. 

That all said, outside of the clever politics, Realist Hero doesn’t push the envelope much with the obligatory harem and character archetypes we’ve seen a thousand times before. This isn’t Overlord. The characters and the dialogue are charming, though, and the nuance behind the political machinations is compelling. Realist Hero is not must-watch television but still a fun time for those positively inclined towards the genre. (By Nicholas Straub)

Rating: Recommended

Watch on Funimation

Heralding from the rustic, old town of Los Angeles, California; Matthew now resides in Boston where he diligently researches the cure for cancer. In reality, though, he just wants to play games and watch anime, and likes talking about them way too much. A Nintendo/Sony hybrid fan with a soft-spot for RPG’s, he finds little beats sinking hours into an immersive game world.

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