Oh good, another isekai anime.
In my preview of the Fall 2019 season, I expressed a lot of skepticism towards Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (can we get any more redundant with our subtitles?). The plot sounds amusing enough; an isekai protagonist who won’t pursue his calling unless he’s well-equipped, well-stocked, over-leveled, and can ensure a 1,000,000% chance of victory. But at the same time, it sounds gimmicky, so much so that I struggle to see the longevity in it. There’s also the fact this is riffing on RPGs which I’m also tired of. I’m annoyed with video games as is, I don’t need anime to ape stuff from them.
I still feel that way after watching the premiere. Don’t get me wrong, the gimmick is as funny as it sounds on paper. Seiya (Yuichirou Umehara) very much lives to his title of the cautious hero — exercising before a mission, buying inventory in excess, and striking his foe down ever after they’ve died. That he is genuinely ripped and skilled makes it even funnier when you see him hide behind cover or straight up chicken out from a fight. But at the same time, it already feels like the joke has run its course. Once the show had Seiya run away from an endgame boss who decided to show up early (even if that is a solid jab at game design), I really had to wonder what else you can do. Have him train and stock up even more? There’s potential for repetition and I can see that getting stale very quickly.
Oddly enough, I think if anyone is going to shine in this show, it won’t be the cautious hero but rather the goddess who summons him. Ristarte (Aki Toyosaki) is simply a riot. She functions as the straight man in the duo, sharing the viewer’s bafflement at Seiya’s quirk, but her body language and energy is more akin to Konosuba‘s Aqua. You can sympathize with her situation just fine and still revel in how over the top her suffering and frustration are expressed on screen. The animation and acting plays a big part in selling this routine. Ristarte gets drawn in cartoonish or sometimes just ugly ways to make her extremely expressive (again, just like Aqua). Aki Toyosaki sounds like she’s having a ball playing this character; busting out her comedic chops with various inflections, grunts, and shouts (not to mention that Engrish).
Are there any other tricks up this anime’s sleeve? There is at least one. In addition to RPGs, Cautious Hero also takes a crack at mocking the very genre it’s a part of. For example: apparently, the gods that be have been regularly summoning Japanese otakus as they’re easy to convince thanks to all the light novels they read. While I’ll admit that is funny, it does feel cheap. Making fun of isekai is practically the #2 thing you do with your isekai anime besides embracing the genre wholeheartedly. The writing in future episodes is going to have be more creative than that.
So once again, we have another isekai anime that has a strong start but nevertheless looks questionable in the long run. I’ll admit that a part of me wouldn’t mind sitting through this if only for Ristarte but that’s not the best reason to keep watching. I suppose it’ll just depend on if the show becomes that good or if the watch list is so dry.
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