It wouldn’t be a new anime season with an isekai show. Love it or hate it, the genre has been a cornerstone of anime for the past couple of years and the bubble surrounding it shows no sign of bursting any time soon. I myself am not a fan of the genre but some exceptions do exist. With a glut of shows, something is bound to click for you. Is The Executioner and Her Way of Life going to be one of those exceptions. Unless I cheat and read the light novel in advance, that’s something only time will tell. Still, I must admit that it has managed to hook me in at the first episode.
While you can tell what the show’s gimmick is from its title, it nevertheless starts out like a typical isekai plot, with Japanese teenager Mitsuki Mutou (Yuma Uchida) getting whisked away from his school life and into the fantasy kingdom of Grisarika. To his surprise, Mitsuki is determined to not be the isekai protagonist that the kingdom’s royalty wants for a conspiracy plot. After summoning a girl who does have what they want, they kick Mitsuki out of their castle. From there, Mitsuki meets a priestess named Menou (Iori Saeki) who explains to him that he is a Lost One, people summoned from our world who also receive a magical power called a Pure Concept. In true isekai fashion, Mitsuki discovers he is overpowered; his Pure Concept of “Null” allowing him to completely obliterate anything from existence.
From here, The Executioner performs its bait and switch. Menou gives Mitsuki the axe (or in this case, the knife). She is revealed to be the real protagonist of the series and while she is indeed a priestess, she is also an assassin tasked with killing Lost Ones before they can cause harm to her world. Regardless of how the show ultimately pans out, I give it some points for its hook. A fantasy world that not only has had dealings with these teenagers but is also very wary of the power they can hold to the point that an organization is hellbent on hunting down is a really novel spin on the tried and true isekai formula. It’s certainly a better gimmick than a smartphone. That’s for sure.
Of course, a strong premise can only carry a show so far. It’s up to the rest of the story follow through. I think there’s some potential with Menou. A flashback scene reveals her entire village was destroyed by a Lost One (albeit by accident), hinting that her work as an Executioner is a somewhat personal endeavor. At the same time however, she does acknowledge the Lost Ones to be innocent and that some don’t necessarily want their magical powers. You also learn how she consistently dreams of the people she’s killed, suggesting that deep down, she wishes she could befriend them. Depending on the execution, this could make for a really interesting inner conflict. Also curious is Menou’s relationship with her mentor, Flare (Yuko Kaida), who takes her in after rescuing her during the destruction of her village. I can see the two’s relationship being a surrogate mother and daughter or something more one-sided with Flare not viewing Menou the same way the latter might view her.
As for the other characters, it’s hard to say based on Episode 1. Mitsuki largely comes across as a generic isekai protagonist but that is admittedly the point of his character. He serves his purpose for the show’s bait and switch. The other isekai’d character makes her formal appearance at the end of Episode 1 so there’s not much to go off of. Presumably, her character will be elaborate on in the next episode. Also introduced in Episode 1 is Menou’s assistant Momo (Hisako Kanemoto). She appears to provide some comic relief to the story. I kind of like how she’s more energetic than Menou though I do hope there’s more to her unrequited crush towards the latter than the show currently lets on.
Another thing for me to ponder is how subversive this show will really be once you get past its setup. Despite killing off an isekai protagonist on Day 1, the show still establishes one for itself with Menou, whom the show reveals to have inherited powerful techniques from her mentor. I realize she has to be good at her job but making her too powerful runs the danger of undermining the show’s bait and switch. The show also makes the mistake that a lot of other fantasy anime does where it heavily resorts to exposition for its worldbuilding. Some of the details themselves are admittedly neat. I particularly find it amusing that the people of Grisarika actually speak and write in Japanese and utilize some modern inventions, which makes sense given that they’ve spent eons importing people from Japan. Even so, I kind of wish the show could be a bit more clever with how it goes about with establishing its mythos, as opposed to resorting to the same tiresome method that many of its peers have used.
Like I said earlier in this post, time will tell if The Executioner and Her Way of Life will be one of those exceptional isekai anime. At the very least, I just hope it’s an enjoyable series. It’d be great if it turns out to be either case as Lord knows this genre could use another good series under its belt. If the show proves to be a disappointment, that would obviously suck but this is isekai so what else would be new?
Thanks for reading!