Having stood out from others most of her life due to her exceptional character, Misato Kurihara has lived without neither the joy of having close friends nor the experience of having a regular life. However, after a sudden death, she was transported to a divine realm to be reincarnated—and granted one wish to top it off. Thinking about the ordinary life that she had always wanted, she wished to be born as a normal person, with abilities that are average for the world she will resurrect in.
Reborn as Adele von Ascham—the daughter of a noble—she possesses magic powers completely exceeding what one would label average. Still desiring to carry out the life she wanted, she leaves her home and enrolls at a hunter school in a faraway kingdom using "Mile" as an alias. However, try as she might to hide her overpowering potential, attaining her goal will be difficult—especially when facing against the crazy situations that ensue!
FUNA’s anime adaptation follows a common trend in recent years with the flood of fantasy isekai. Abilities Average (the shortened title I’ll be referring to) doesn’t demand much on the creative side as we witness the transformation of a teenage girl into an overpowered adventurer. Joining main female protagonist Mile includes Reina, Pauline, and Reina. Are you ready to watch an adventure with these four goofballs?
Clocking in at 12 episodes, the early warning flag raised is the faithfulness of the anime adaptation. Unfortunately, it’s easy to say the anime decided to condense the material in order to maintain a flow of the overall series. Rather
than following a faithful roadmap, the anime omits Mile's days at academy and instead puts her right into the 4-girls group as we are most familiar with. Needless to say, that cuts value into Mile's character as the audience will have a lesser time understanding her. As the novels consists of over 300 chapters, this decision didn’t take me by storm. Thankfully, Abilities Average make time to bring a comedic filled adventure.
The Crimson Vow. Remember those words well because this entire show is about them and their adventures. Mile may be the central protagonist but she retains the common interest of an otaku that being her love of anime, manga, and video games. Applying this knowledge to her adventures and battles, the show is made effectively self-aware of its standards. Even Mile herself is aware of her personality that is addressed by her own narratives. Joining her in these adventures is Reina, the crimson mage with a dark past but became a Hunter. As a crimson mage skilled with fire techniques, she plays the role of a tactical fighter and is invaluable to the party; think of her as the mage class in one of those classic WOW raids. Reina herself does have a background story that takes the show into a more emotional direction. If you care about her as a person, you will likely feel some sympathy of Reina when told from her personal perspective. Entering the familiar isekai party tropes, we also meet Mavis von Austein, the skilled knight with a noble persona. In any fantasy stories, a knight is almost like a necessity to make its series credible. Hence, we have Mavis although the show pokes fun of her character. For instance, she often gets teary eyed by sad stories despite her masculine appearance. Finally, Crimson Vow has another mage named Pauline who occasionally shows her “dangerous side” when least expected. Brace yourself for this group because they are the embodiment, heart, and soul of Abilities Average.
It makes sense that Abilities Average follows these four characters exclusively rather than developing other characters. After all, Crimson Vow is essentially the collective party of the poster characters. Even though Mile is the central protagonist, the others are featured just as much as her. FUNA’s writng of these characters puts emphasis on their personality than development. Watching their character chemistry and embracing who they are as characters is essential to enjoying the show. The more I watch these characters, the more I feel connected to them. However, I will say the show is aiming for lighthearted humor the majority of the time. There’s also satirical humor with character behaviors such as Mile’s lack of common sense at times. In other words, Abilities Life is more of a deconstruction of the fantasy isekai genre. It’s not an entirely a unique concept but does give a breath of fresh air for the Fall 2019, a season that seems to have an unusual amount of isekai.
The closest Abilities Life gets to with an antagonist is the life adventure itself. The anime adaptation doesn’t truly have a Big Bad but does introduce obstacles for Crimson Vow to overcome. This includes the battle tournament these girls participates early in the show to later facing off against an Elder Dragon. We have to remember that these are still teenage girls who have yet to step into the adult world. However, all these characters are portrayed as adorable badasses. The best way to describe them would be “dynamite come in little packages”. It’s when their opponents are caught off guard and realizes it's too little, too late. Mile’s request to be “average” still turns her into an overpowered character by the Creator. By average, she didn’t expect that her own abilities far outclasses others in this new world. The word ‘average’ itself losses its meaning when you think of the Average Joe. But in essence, it’s still fun to watch their adventure to see how they overcome their obstacles.
Project No.9’s transformed the light novel into anime by making it full of charms. It’s adorably cute with the characters made into teenage girls. If you look at first glance, there’s little reason to fear them until it’s too late. Character expressions is portrayed with a cartoony style of expressions with a vast majority of the time being humorous. On rare occasions, there’s more emotional reactions such as with Reina’s anger or Pauline’s sadism. The world setting is also decorated with light touches of fantasy such as the mystical and fairy tale-like creatures. Of course, dwarves, elves, and goblins exist because it’s part of the Isekai 101 formula. On a lesser scale, the battle cinematics is clean and crisp although looks average in style. Don’t go into this show looking into some high level caliber of animation quality because you won’t find it.
I’d normally discard the voice acting of a cast of teenage girls because most often time or not, they all sound the same. However, I do want to mention that the character voice mannerism of Average Life is more effective than some of the other isekai shows I’ve seen. This is due to how close the character connections are with each other. It’s collected together as a union of personalities coming from different backgrounds but united as Crimson Vow. Plus, who can forget the theme song of the show? When you have an adorable cast posing in ridiculous manners and catchy lyrics, it’s hard not to get into the rhythm.
Average Life always seemed like a series that would eventually get an anime and it indeed did. Here, we have an anime about a cast of goofballs poking fun of the idea of an isekai adventure. However, I do want the audience to be aware of the faithfulness of the show. Average Life is guilty of falling short on expectations when it comes to adaptation. There’s much more in the light novels that you can understand the characters better. But for an anime show of itself, Average Life is much more than just average.
I despise this series, it has everything that I hate in a comedy series, and even being the iseaki trash I am I can't justify this. The jokes are repetitive and not funny, there were close to no moments that I generally liked, and I hate myself for watching this.
Firstly I wanna say what I did like, that one episode where they were around the campfire sharing stories it was wholesome and I did enjoy that, I love the OP even though I wish I didn't, and a few of the anime references the put in. That's about it.
Firstly the comedy is dreadful.
It's mainly about Adele being like, "I just wanna be average", and she gets her wish just not the way she wanted. She "tries" not to show her power to anyone, but whenever someone says flat, she turns into a rage like, "YOU CALLED ME FLAT, NA-NANI, BAKANA" and then proceeds to use her OP abilities and crush her opponent and at the end be like, "OH, I did that? Teehe", like bitch that shit annoys me so much. It wasn't funny the first time and wasn't funny after the 50th time either. Also when Adele tries to use her power but not in an OP way but still does without knowing that also irritates me, I have seen that so many times in so many different ways and that joke being like the main source of comedy really just grinds my gears. it also tries to play at being to meta and it fails a lot of the time and is generally not funny (and I love me some meta humor).
The characters are bad as well. None of them stick out in anyway, never enjoyed watching them interact. They had their good moments obviously, for example, I liked Pauline just being a sadist, Mavis being a dumbass, but I didn't like anything about Adele or Reina. Even with Reina tragic backstory and understanding were her motivation comes from still didn't make me like her at all. Now because there is not much to say about the animation other than it's complete garbage and hurt my eyes to look at, I'm not gonna make it it's own paragraph.
Overall, complete garbage show, I can see why people like it and if you like parody, reference filled loli shows than I would recommend this show to you. If you don't however skip this show completely you will not find enjoyment in it whatsoever.
"You can attack me as many times as you like - I'll heal up every single time, and then bring this staff down upon the head of the person who insulted my friends." - Pauline, very cutely, and with the cutest smile. I think you can see where this is going...
My feelings about 'Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!' (Noukin) can be summed up with four simple words: I LOVE this show! That's right, I fucking said it: I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. You got a problem with that? And what do you mean "you people?" HUH? Yeah, fuck
all y'all, I do what I want.
Anyways, here is a friendly disclaimer for those who fancy themselves as "high-brow" and use a wine glass to savor the aroma of their own farts:
- Yes, it's another isekai anime.
- Yes, there are plenty of tropes.
- Yes, it probably doesn't follow the source material to the letter.
- Yes, there is a beach episode... well, half-episode. And a bath scene or two.
- Yes, there are quite a few boob jokes.
- And yes, the plot is not 100% original.
If the aforementioned jostles a stick up your ass, then you will probably hate this show. Go watch 'Your Lie in April' or some other puke of a series that pretends to be all deep and shit. We don't want you sitting at our table anyways!
And now, for the rest of you:
Simply put, Noukin is ADORABLE! Seriously, everything about it makes you want to let out one of those "aw, look at the cute puppy" sighs and hug a giant teddy bear. The MC is just the most precious thing you've ever seen, and the rest of her party is a basket of cute-itude, with varying degrees of damage. And the pop culture references? Fucking golden! There were 'Dragon Ball' and 'Terminator 2' references that had me in literal tears - shit, if I were tripping on mushrooms when I saw them, I might have died of laughter. Oh, and that OP is just cute with a capital Q-T! Noukin truly is a delightful surprise that is drenched in fun & cute, and is probably my favorite show of the year.
In the future, I may expand this to delve into every category more thoroughly; in the meantime, though, here is my list of the notable pros & cons:
- Noukin knows exactly what it is: A cute & self-aware quasi-spoof on its own genre, but without neglecting the character development or story progression.
- The main characters are just delightful in every respect. The designs are somewhat familiar, yet each character still displays a refreshing uniqueness. Not only that, they flesh out each character's personality & backstory quite well, and none of the characters feel sidelined in any respect... oh, and did I mention their cuteness?
- From start to finish, this show is fucking HILARIOUS! I was caught completely off-guard by the humor, and I couldn't be happier about it. There is plenty of meta-humor, well-executed references to other works, situational comedy and even a bit of black humor here and there. Every single episode had me in stitches at some point, even if "some heavy shit was going down," as you hip kids love to say.
- The production quality is solid, including both the animation and sound design. None of the corner-cutting seen in other recent isekai releases, such as 'Arifureta' or 'Demon Lord, Retry!', is present in this series. From the very first scenes, you can tell that all sorts of well-animated cuteness is in store for you.
- Romance is rarely even mentioned in the show, and sex itself is discussed even less than that, which is incredibly welcomed. While there is some pervy-ish humor and light fanservice, it is fairly benign and not at all gratuitous, which could have easily ruined this show. At no point are the girls portrayed as mere sex objects, nor are they ever overly-sexualized. Only one character ever inspires open expressions of lust from men, due to her large bosom, but those moments are few & far between and in no way define her as a character. There is a beach half-episode, a few short bath scenes and some boob jokes strewn throughout, but the execution is more tasteful than most and always seemed appropriate: the bath scenes are pretty tame; the boob jokes are usually related to the MC's "breast envy," which actually makes sense in this case, since the MC was a young adult when she died; and much of this humor in the series comes in part from the MC's actions inadvertently clashing with the societal ignorance & modesty of her new world... plus cuteness.
- Perhaps the best part of the "sexual mildness," though, is that the girls are never subjected to any rapey behavior, much less rapey behavior presented as "goofy antics," as is the case in dumpster fires like 'How Not to Summon a Douche Lord.' Enough said. it's nice to watch something a little more on the "innocent" end of the spectrum once in a while no? And cute, too.
- Oh, and before I forget: NO PANTY SHOTS!
- None of the girls' voices are annoyingly shrill or squeaky. Thank fucking god.
- CGI is used both sparingly and appropriately. THANK. FUCKING. GOD.
- That fucking OP, though! ^_^
- Some of the mood shifts are a bit jarring, which is usually intentional, and the humor can seem inappropriate for the situation(s) at hand. Oftentimes, there are hilarious moments in the midst of dramatic situations, which can be incongruous with the overall mood of the scene. I myself enjoyed this aspect of the series, but I can see how it would be off-putting to some.
- The show is somewhat episodic and the overall story may be a little thin. I don't personally find this an issue because the story is really about the friendship & first adventures of these four girls and doesn't need to be anything more than that; however, I can understand if someone desires more suspense or a more defined plot, so it bears mentioning nonetheless.
IN SUMMATION: If you are looking for a cute, fun and accessible isekai anime about powerful magical girls that aren't glorified sex toys going on adventures in a Medieval-esque fantasy world, then you have hit the motherfuckin' jackpot with Noukin! At its core, this is a heartwarming tale of a young girl's second chance at life and the friends she makes along the way, and it tells the story without relying on cheap gimmicks or crossing into ecchi territory. Noukin is a refreshingly adorable & guilt-free comedy about four strong female characters that has wide appeal without alienating typical anime fans, and should not be overlooked simply because it happens to be another isekai about an overpowered MC.
The ever expanding world of Isekai light novels just keep getting bigger and bigger with all kinds of similar but weird concepts, but what if I told you that a change will actually cast some new light onto these stories and shed an entirely new function that is still a good watch? That's the result of "Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!", with the main MC being reincarnated (for reasons obvious) with a wish of wanting to be average in the next world (but who cares, the Isekai gods aren't wavering, so they STILL made her look OP instead).
But as-is with the
elephant in the room, I have to address this serious problem: "Do changes outside of the source materials make or break them?" This is always an ongoing issue that we have experienced time and time again, and you can say that the results of all that are quite diverse but mixed. Especially for readers of the LN (because that's where the anime mainly looks at for source adaptation), it was quite a harrowing experience to find out that the director of this show, Masahiko Oota, wanted this show to be completely "original" in ideas while still lifting off the atmosphere and essence of the LN, which actually created a rift between anime-onlys and LN readers calling it out as a butchered adaptation. To be fair and give some due credit, the "Himouto Umaru-chan" and "Yuru Yuri" director has done the same treatment to those shows and others he directed, and though it may seem that the damage is written on the wall, no one saw the adverse effect coming, that no matter how vastly different the source material may be, the anime can still prove to be as good on its own, mostly as a niche. The same it was then, and the same can be said for this show with the backlash in the very beginning, but turned out to be quite the experience at the very end. You say: "How does this experience affect the rest of the show then?" Keep on reading to find out.
In such a story like this where the CGDCT x Isekai genres have taken flight, the characters are an integral part in making all this possible, mainly the 4 girls of the Crimson Vow:
Originally Misato Kurihara, hit by Truck-kun and reincarnated as Adele von Ascham a.k.a Mile, the "seemingly average" girl, but borne with the blessing of the Isekai gods to harbor OP powers DESPITE her absolute wish to be just like everyone else in another world, to live a normal life. In order to learn and discover the Isekai world as it is, she fused herself with an alias for a royalty name to not be a sore thumb Along the way with the mysterious cat-looking creature and guide known as Nano, she comes into a consensus as she found a school to mingle with like-minded people, and the Crimson Vow was born.
Reina a.k.a Crimson Reina, the daughter of a merchant, her specialty with fire magic has made her a capable mage, but not without the fact that due to the loss of her father to evildoers in her growing-up stages of life, she has an immense hatred towards bandits. She too is the Crimson Vow's "dictionary" when it comes to practical knowledge and experience.
Mavis a.k.a Mavis von Austien, the daughter of royalty, and a swordswoman. And you know the familiarities of royal families all too well when she ran way from home against the will of family members not wanting specific children to follow in the exact footsteps (because of gender bias against her father and brothers) to shame the family of a girl being another swordsman. How depressing is that.
Pauline a.k.a Pauline Beckett (the family name isn't so much of a confirmation), also the daughter of a merchant, but the heritage of her family is quite distorted with what can be described as a façade to utilize the family in backend trading hostage, so she isn't spared from trouble as well. But despite her gentle appearance and demeanor, don't take that for granted as her ruthlessness sets her in quick so fast it's terrifying (but all in good fun).
All in all, these 4 girls truly are the fascinating points of the anime amidst their difference in personalities and goodwill to carry on their usual adventures. While Mile constantly dishes out references to the Isekai tropes that the 3 other girls will NEVER understand, it certainly was some good old-fashioned comedic banter that created a hell lot of laughs, especially towards small girls having BIG boobs and flat chests for 14/15-year olds.
In the visual department, another Project No. 9 show and an Isekai one at that, the 2nd one this season pumped out alongside "Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!", but this anime is presented way better than that horrible show, while the art and animation themselves are sparse at best, as expected of the low-budget quality from the studio. The same can be said towards the music, which is mostly a mix of the usual fantasy-esque ones that we'd hear in RPGs. The OST is quite the LICC though as both the OP and ED are happy-go-lucky ones, especially the OP with that whole "WAHO! WAHA!" sequence from the Crimson Vow. Both songs are greatly enjoyable, you just can't afford to skip them!
Indeed, this anime's "origins" are basically meta reference jokes with some 4th wall-breaking from the MC that at first can be quite off-putting with the tame story and character development, and as it progresses, the entire show somehow came into a consensus all on its own, and as an anime-only (while briefly following the manga adaptation based off the LN) for the most part, I can say that it while it was nothing to scoff at from the initial settings, the development was there and soon I found myself enjoying the anime for what it is. It is self-conscious of its own environment, that's for sure.
Amidst the backdrop of a somewhat different execution, this anime is full-on lightheartedness and it's easy on the palate for so much fun. The humor is subjective though, but that doesn't detract from the experience overall. If you need an Isekai with none of the bells and whistles of overused tropes, this is no perfect show, but a good one to just relax to, not amazing but not bad either.
*In the Fall 2019 Isekai genre, the 3rd position of enjoyment right behind Cautious Hero and Ascendance of a Bookworm.*