Shinchou Yuusha Review

Shinchou Yuusha Episoe 1 Review
Shinchou Yuusha featured in Fall 2019 Week 4 Roundup Post
Shinchou Yuusha featured in Fall 2019 Half-Time Post
Shinchou Yuusha featured in Top Components & Moments of Anime in 2019; Best Performance (2nd)

Title: Shinchou Yuusha / Cautious Hero
Length: 12 x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Comedy, fantasy
Year of release: 2019

The fantasy genre sure has been around the block, hasn’t it? From epic tales in mythology to world shifting conquest, fantasy as a setting has evolved over the years to the sorry state it is in most anime today: isekai; a cheap excuse to take some loser from our world into a completely different world, to mess about with magic from their smartphone savvy perspectives and then build a harem of dopey babes. Shinchou Yuusha doesn’t satirise the state of the genre, but its silly parodical nature can be rollicking fun.

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Slayers was a novel series, adapted into a popular anime, in the ’90s, and Shinchou Yuusha was clearly influenced in its similar parodical joke style. Slayer’s protagonist, Lina Inverse, has a classic kind of characterisation, where her ridiculously overpowered magic is competing with her sarcastic and outright goofy side, and that characterisation is split between the two leads of Shinchou Yuusha. The titular cautious hero, Seiya, is pragmatic to a fault, going off to train so that he can go completely overboard as he destroys his opponents. Blunt, and awfully cruel in his retorts, you’d think he was the show-stealer – but he isn’t.

Taking the perspective is Ristarte, the Goddess who summons Seiya to save a world that she has been assigned. From minute one, we see the clashing sides of Ristarte, the most two-faced and false character of all 2019. While she wants to get the job done, she moans, gets tired, and then puts on a nice smile in front of children and colleagues while miming that she wants to murder Seiya behind his back. As the pair go on their first adventures finding the goons of the S Difficulty World, Ristarte makes every scene hilarious through a particularly impassioned voice acting performance from Aki Toyosaki, and some creative and cartoony facial expressions.

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The story of Shinchou Yuusha is exceptionally simple. There’s a bad demon god with a handful of demon generals and Seiya has to slay them to save the day. This is spiced up by the fun OTT developments, where a plot will spiral out of control before it can even happen, but it’s also amusing how Seiya solves problems with comically superhuman overthinking, using techniques taught to him by other Goddesses that he woos by accident.  There’s some room for fanservice in the adventure, but since Ristarte takes the protagonistic view of the more sexual moments in the latter series, it feels much more silly than many of the low-brow offerings in the current isekai genre.

Sadly, one can probably see from the concept already that Shincou Yuusha is on a timer. It frustratingly avoids a handful of moments where it can change up the formula, so its jokes almost always revert back to the same punchline. It’s a tight enough execution to get away with it for a while, but towards the end it approaches dullness. More upsetting is how dry the actual storytelling component is, taking an episode out for exposition before the final boss battle to end on a weak note. But while Shinchou Yuusha is not changing the storied fantasy genre in any way, it’s got enough amusing jokes to be a fun enough interlude.

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