Right… So, I had another Konosuba moment. Who would have thought, right? It’s not just another isekai. It’s another anime featuring a hero adventuring with a Goddess. It’s another anime whose Goddess is… well, one of a kind.
The ‘Konosuba moment’ defined:
I may have, perhaps, probably, misjudged Konosuba as I was not in the right mood. I took everything way too seriously and I didn’t realize its appeal at first.
With Konosuba I was absolute. I didn’t think that my impressions could change. So, I started nagging to my fiancé, PaperSailor. As a response, he watched it (for a second time) with me. At first, I was wearing my serious face, but after a while I snapped out of it. With Shinchou Yuusha, we started living a déjà vu, minus the nagging. I had my doubts. I learned a couple of things from our protagonist and became just a bit more cautious. That’s why I had to watch another episode or two, because honestly, my first impressions weren’t good. For you Shinchou Yuusha fans out there, calm down! My opinion started changing after watching episode 2.
DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers ahead. May also contain eggs, milk, soy, nuts and the tears of your enemies.
The Opening Theme. Mythical storytelling. “TIT FOR TAT” by MYTH & ROID
It’s like a tale being narrated through the sound of metal. From the first few notes, you know it’s MYTH & ROID. They are characterized by their ‘dirty’ sound, their electronically manipulated vocals, their packed drum patterns and their ability to combine some easily identifiable J-pop characteristics with catchy and widely-identifiable ‘international sounds’. And although it’s something I made up, this is more or less how they describe their sound on their official website. Check them out, it’s mostly in English.
Due to their tie-ups so far, I developed the predisposition of linking their sound with dystopian scenaria. So, I was influenced (and perhaps a bit biased) by Re:zero and Overlord, which made me quite skeptical. I caught myself making comparisons with the aforementioned anime, rather than enjoying the OP. Is Ristarte’s S-ranked sekai [world] as dystopian as it sounds? The shots of the intro don’t really show an isekai [different world] in distress. The presentation of the characters doesn’t show that either. It just felt softcore. And while I was at it, I couldn’t see the comedic elements either. I was torn; I couldn’t decide. The sound screams thriller, the visuals say ‘these are the characters, this is the scenery, these are the shadows of our enemies’ while not necessarily taking an emotional stance, the last thirty seconds scream action. Where is the comedy? Perhaps I’m overthinking it and the OP is nothing but a perfect representation of our protagonist who isn’t just overly cautious but overly serious as well.
After watching the first episode, it started growing on me. Now, I relate the song with the anime. It seems that it took me some time… But no matter the trip, the destination is the same. The OP makes sense. And it’s good. MYTH & ROID, Kadokawa, White Fox didn’t let us down. And as you keep watching episode after episode, you get more and more into it.
OST first impressions. by Fujisawa Yoshiaki
Like most anime, the OST punches you in the face during the first episode. Usually, there are more tracks in episode 1, or it just seems that way. The OST has quality and some good balance. A few of its highlights include the ‘electronified’ sounds, the harp -as the anime has to do with Gods and stuff-, some woodwind, some strings and some really nice slap ‘n’ pluck bass…
What caught my attention, though, was the music when little Nina was introduced to us for the first time. It reminded me of some high quality, old-school soundtracks from some good ol’ Looney Tunes characters tip-toeing until eventually smacking the bad guy in the head with a pan. Right, I was carried away. Delete the smacking on the head part… Still, though, Nina’s track had this quality to it, featuring woodwind and playful melodic phrasing, leaving me with a bit of a rural and old-school impression. Good stuff.
The Ending Theme. Happy ending or a lost hope? “be perfect, plz!” by Azuna Riko
Now, the ending’s a different story. Episode 1 has just the credits with the ED theme, while episode 2 has the visual sequence. First things first. The music. What immediately came to mind was that Disney and Kadokawa have been intimate and created an ‘amalgam’ of what they’re both known for, their memorable musical elements. And the result is good. It is only natural that it’s been composed with the Japanese audience in mind. Of course, we can also get excited, even though we belong to different demographics. So, what makes it different? It’s overly joyful, almost one-dimensional at times. However, there’s something more going on. It just has this ‘oh, please, let it happen’ vibe to it, which is more or less the concept of the entire song, along with Aqua’s playfulness -yes, that was deliberate and I know I’m not the only one-. Also, there’s more development, more progression than the usual, as the OP features a pre-chorus that seems to wobble in terms of how sturdy the arrangement sounds and features quite a few variations. It makes me think: could it be a bit over-complicated?
Then, there’s the visuals. I said that the music was composed with the Japanese audience in mind. Well, that’s an understatement. I felt the vibe of Akihabara. Ristarte -well, it’s her doll of an alarm- does this ‘textbook’ choreography, as if she was starring in an idol music video. It’s like an interpretation of an interpretive dance number, that is also a bit frisky. And to be frank, I didn’t really like the visuals of this one. However, if you’re into 3D animation, or if you’re a hardcore idol fan, I get why you may have a different opinion. I’m not saying it’s bad. On the contrary. It’s good for its style and genre. It’s just not my kind of thing. I’m probably skipping this one from now on.
TL;DR (shame on you if you start reading from the end)
- At first, the balance between the OP, the ED and the story seemed off. Not anymore.
- I think that MYTH & ROID are better suited with R-rated anime. But(!) it worked with this one, I guess.
- It wasn’t love at first sight. I had to watch a few episodes before getting into it. So in case you have your doubts, give it a chance before your final verdict.
- I don’t like the ending overall. I like the song, I don’t really like the visuals and that kinda spoils it for me. But that’s clearly my biased, personal opinion.