Seth is an aspiring sorcerer from the Pompo Hills area. Like all wizards, he is an "infected," one of the few living beings who survived the contact of the Nemesis—creatures fallen from the sky that contaminate and decimate all those they touch. Being immune to them, Seth wants to become a Hunter and fight the Nemesis. But more than that, Seth wants to engage in a quest that goes beyond the simple hunt for monsters. He wants to find the Radiant, their presumed cradle. Aided by a faction of fellow sorcerers, he travels the world in search of the Radiant, under the harsh scrutiny of the Inquisition.
Oh no, Radiant isn’t a perfect adaptation! What has the world come to?!
We get it. This isn’t one of those anime that will meet our expectations by adaptation standards. From the beginning, I’ve heard of comments about how the anime changed the tone of the story and even the way the main protagonist has been adapted into it. For the sake of this review, it will be based from an anime viewer’s perspective. I’m not going to go into the French series to look and compare every episode to see what was wrong with it.
Now with that mushy stuff out of the way, you may
be wondering what exactly is Radiant. As a French comic, there’s actually not much difference to tell between this and Japanese manga. Artwork resembles shounen style characters with a fantasy world setting and even the speech patterns. Not to be judgmental but I think it’s pretty clear that Radiant is aimed for a wider audience. The story takes place in a fictional world where monsters exists. Known as “Nemesis”, they are creatures with catastrophic powers that fell into the world of humanity and causing devastating damage. A young man named Seth survived the catastrophe and vows to hunt down the Nemesis as a Sorcerer and one day hope to bring peace in their world. So begins his quest to find the legendary Radiant, the origins of the Nemesis.
I’m not going to lie, the first few episodes had me bite my lips a few times. Essentially, I see Seth as a brat who may be easily be the type to die young. His recklessness and daredevil personality from the start makes him hard to follow. Not to mention, he isn’t very talented in the art of magic as demonstrated by his flying skills. The only move in the boy’s arsenal that makes a difference is his signature “Titan Punch”. But if you look just a bit carefully, it’s pretty much a shounen-style punch powered up with a signature pose and name shout. That’s damn disappointing. To make matters worse, Seth isn’t exactly a Brainiac either. The boy is so eager to prove himself that he puts an entire town in danger just so he can show the world what he can do. Looking back now, I can easily say that Seth is nothing short of a dumbass.
Now, don’t worry. This show isn’t just about Seth as the adventure begins to take off after around 5 episodes. After all, it’s his quest and we follow him on his journey find this “Radiant”. On his quest, Seth encounters new allies named Melie and Doc. Now, both of these characters made a different impression to me. For instance, Melie is a bit naïve and too friendly as a girl. Sometimes, I could easily say she’s inattentive. A plot device also reveals that her personality can change into a much fierier badass when under distress. With this type of character, it’s not hard to make us wonder about the importance of her split personality. However, the anime plays it out more of a comic relief and after you’ve seen it a dozen times, it quickly becomes stale. On the other hand, Melie does make a valuable asset for the team as she seems to be a skilled Sorcerer with defensive abilities. This is a contrast to Doc, the researcher who comes off as absolutely useless in their adventure. Driven as an anti-fighter, Doc tries to avoid danger whenever possible while trying to woo Miss Melba, a café waitress that he seems to be in love with. With this oddball group of adventurers together, what could possibly go wrong?
Actually, there’s a lot of wrong things about Radiant that could have been executed much better as a story. At its very baseline, I feel like the story took way too long to get us to care about it. Most of the first few episodes made me dislike the main protagonist for his childish personality. It’s very easy to find Seth irritating along with his questionable logic. Think about some of his actions and it’s not far from those of an underage teenager. Additionally, the story itself seems to be running around in circles without getting the viewers emotionally attached to it. I’m not going to lie, before I even began watching this show, I thought there would be at least some emotional value. The premise almost made the show sounded like a tragic story but instead, we get a cartoony version of a fantasy quest. It took far too long to get the show moving and by the time the gears really started kicking, it’s too late to turn back. Believe me, a story like this really needed a likable protagonist but Seth is about as one dimensional as he can get. He’s far from a larger than life character and an incredibly difficult to tolerate with his personality. The other two on his journey are hardly any better. Melie is too nice as a girl and hard to really talk about besides her split personality. Doc is pretty much the butt monkey in the show where it’s easy to point fingers at how useless he is. However, there are some supporting cast that I want to address as discarding them would be unfair.
To start with, Alma is a character that I grew interest in after seeing her wisdom. She is not only a Nemesis Hunter but also a skilled Sorcerer while serving as a parental figure for Seth. The show could have taken the opportunity to build more between their relationship but instead, she is pretty much left over after the first episodes. Then, there’s Grim, the mysterious figure that our adventurous trio encounters. I was intrigued by his debut but over time, I didn’t find his character to be appealing at all. The fact is, we don’t know his true agenda in the show besides lending in some occasional help to the protagonists. Now, what about the Inquisition? Every fantasy anime like this needs a military group and government to control their world, right? To be honest, I feel like there’s little creativity put in for such an organization. They seem to have a prejudice against infected people and made up of ranks among its staff to carry out their goals. If you’re familiar with military organizations, then it’s easy to recognize some of their ranks such as general, colonel, commander, cadet, etc. Unfortunately, the show falls short on investing into the higher ranked characters. Guys like Dart Dragunov and Konrad are easily forgettable. The latter even seems to play the role of a stereotypical commander who abides with its organization’s goals. At some point in the show, I question if the Inquisition were hiding something beyond what they seem to be. For a 2-cour show, that didn’t really seem possible with such pacing. Now that brings back to my original point. This series suffers not just pacing problems but the way it made its characters. None of them are worth investing into and in the long run, they are too damaged to be repaired.
Adapted by studio Lerche, their resume is a bit questionable when people talk about their fantasy projects. Anime like Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut and the more recent Shichisei no Subaru were mediocre at best in terms of production quality. Judging on Radiant by itself, there’s hardly anything eye catchy about the visual quality either. The character designs gives off a blend feel between shounen and fantasy. Meanwhile, the Sorcerers themselves are decorated with some degree of distinction. (see Melie) Then, there’s Seth, our reckless protagonist who possesses inhuman characteristics such as his horns. The battle choreography in the show remains fluid on some levels although it’s nothing spectacular. Trust me, once you’ve seen the first fight, it almost feels like you’ve seen them all. On the other hand, I do praise the world fiction of the show. It’s not only crafted with a decent amount of fantasy elements but also reinforces the importance of its setting through storytelling.
Let me just say that Radiant could have been a big hitter or at least make a strong impression for a foreign project outside of Japan. It should have at least tried to get the audience’s attention. The key word here is “tried”. Because the reality is, Radiant didn’t manage to capitalize on what it advertised. Instead, it’s a show that threw away its chances and made itself look like a fool.
In this season nothing for the most part happens. We have two real arcs and that's about it. However it is still something worth watching.
The whole premise of the show is for Seth to find Radiant to destroy it and save the world. Sounds fun let's go and save the world, but why. One thing I like about this anime is how they deal with the discrimination against sorcerers. In the arc were the go to Rumble Town Seth is forced to really understand what he is trying to do and who is he trying to save. I very much like this because even
though his answer is something anyone would guess he would say he does struggle trying to understand why he is doing all of this and for who.
Most of the episodes is just slice of life stuff. A lot of the episodes are just Seth, Melie, and Doc doing shit in the Sorcery city. Even though now much of anything happens they are still fun episodes which fans of the show can enjoy. As well as helps us see more of the city they stay in.
One of the main strengths is the animation. The animation is very strong from start to finish. The fight scenes are so fucking beautiful which makes the show even more of a blast to watch.
In conclusion the ending left on a bit of a cliff hanger but seems like shit will go down in the next season which I am excited for. Can't wait to see what the next season will do.
Seth: I am Seth and I want to be the best wizard in the world. My..
Me: Yeah yeah I know who you're, Naruto or whatever your name was. I am here for the cute looking girl. She's about your age. Where. is. she?
Seth: This is the state of the world pretty much. Commoners hate us sorcerers and there is also.....
Me: Listen to me, Natsu! She has like really huge hair and green-ish eyes. I am sure you must have seen her around?
Seth: ......So, anyway, there is this guild thing and the legendary Radiant, evil people lurking around the corners and all sort
of cool stuff going on in this anime such as...
Me: Is this the wrong cover picture? Am I not watching the right series? I was promised waifu material. Is this what they call false advertisement?
Seth: I met a girl during this episode, her name is Melie..
Me: SEASON TWO WHEN
Classic shonen. Slow paced, generic plot points, overall over half of the series is slice of life. Its strong sides lie within the light comedy and world building. Those who are looking for a meaningful story or epic writing stuff won't find any from here. However, those who have wished for a series that is somewhat like "cute girls doing cute things" from its style/approach but wanted to see this being implemented inside fighting tournament shonen story line, will see how their prayers are answered here and now, and without a doubt there will never be a series quite like this one as an alternative.
I can't help but to be reminded of Sketch Dance when seeing this cast. Melie is so quality she end up being my main reason for enjoying this series so much. Split personality girl with ridiculously well-planned character design, and characteristics and behavior that serves her cuteness. Seth is more generic shonen lead except he doesn't yell all that much and his morals aren't there to ruin the fun. The side casting contains no annoying archetypes or contrarian buttholes which is all for the better. The light comedic approach also can be seen to effect the cast which ultimately serves the idea of the show. The good part being that the characters still feel genuine and are practically never used as comedic devices or fanservice figures in the series, excluding some animation scenes that use some commonly seen goofs, but these are not really executed with character behavior, just movement. Most of the cast members are super happy and positive which again, further adds to the CGDCT-like style. Smart decisions.
Utopia is a 9/10 opening song. BGM is chill and well-though. They play goddamn jazz during coffee drinking scenes. //argument. Melie's seiyuu work is amazing be she making a weird, untranslatable anime sound or going nuts with her other personality, it all delivers. Some bigger names are here along less-known seiyuus, but they all do good job, meaning if they stand out they only do so because their work is so pleasant to listen.
Bright color pallet. Soft, fluffy and cute are things that were prioritized in design. The simplicity of the animation is a pleasure to watch. Not too much and not too little. Balance exist among this work. Naturally, Melie's hair takes 90% of the screen whenever she is there, but it can be forgiven for it is the fluffiest piece of hair seen in anime.
Never expected to like this series so much. I am not familiar with the source material so I can't speak on the behalf of those who wanted a loyal adaptation, but as an anime only watcher, this type of light series with its fresh approach was exactly what I needed. Those who thought "I could enjoy a show like this" when reading this review most likely will.
I've heard that the manga is different, I don't know how its different so this will be my critique on the anime alone.
Radiant had the potential to be something far greater, it even displayed that for a portion of the show, don't simply look at the score I or anyone else have given it and pass it off as bad.
Radiant is your basic shonen anime with your pointy haired snot-nosed brat protagonist who wants to save everyone and stop the bad guys. Nothing really unique there. A good chunk of the show is spent dabbling in miscellaneous adventures that don't add anything to
the story, this is where most people dropped the show and why Radiant is rated so lowly. I would say Radiant doesn't actually get to be pretty good until the second arc and the climax of the second arc (which is basically a quarter of the show.) If Radiant had pushed out content as heart-racing and emotionally moving as the second arc did but for the entire show instead of wasting screen-time, then the show would have easily been an 8 or a 9. Radiant very much makes me think of Black Clover in this way, an extremely mediocre and unoriginal start of the show, the setting, and an unneeded time waster of an opening explaining the show to us every episode LOL. But with patience and time you'll see that there is something more to this show.
Unfortunately I can really only commend Radiant on a job well done for about 5 episodes but I still enjoyed this show and am looking forward to the season 2 since it was announced at the end of the last episode. I hope season 2 will continue with the level of content that the second arc ended with.