Who could’ve ever thought we’d get a deformed, chibi version anime from some of Kadokawa’s most popular works? At first, I thought the announcement of the anime was a joke until I saw the actual trailers and promotional images. Taking a look back, I also remember when Overlord and Youjo Senki had their own version of chibi shorts featuring goofball characters doing what goofballs what do. Maybe they were experiments to prepare for this anime. Who knows?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Isekai Quartet is based on characters from isekai shows. The character roster consists of the cast from KonoSuba, Overlord, Youjo Senki, and
Re:Zero. Collectively, they are united as a quartet of characters in a school life setting where all sorts of shenanigans blooms. As someone who is familiar with all of those established franchises, I do recommend watching them before stepping foot into this. Character personalities carries over and in general, I do believe you can get a better experience if you knew who the characters are. But for popcorn entertainment sakes, you can also just dive right into this little gem.
Even as a crossover, Isekai Quartet stands out as a show of its own. The episodes contains skit stories that are half length. Its main purpose is to humor with the immense amount of comedy that aims to draw our attention. If someone told me this whole idea sounded absurd, I might have agreed at first. That is, I tasted what Isekai Quartet really is and it’s pretty damn delicious. That’s thanks to the drama within that showcases this like a Saturday morning cartoon. To start off, we have several foil characters which translates into some rather noticeable character drama segments. There’s Tanya and Ainz who were once a salaryman in the real world. These two are portrayed as powerful entities that others seems to fear in from their perspective shows. In Isekai Quartet, there’s a rivalry that develops between the two based on some rather absurd reasons. KonoSuba’s Kazuma and Re:Zero’s Subaru came from fantasy worlds as the two manages to establish themselves in their own ways. However, it is easily noticeable how different both characters are. Kazuma is portrayed more as a butt monkey while Subaru evolved as a dark fantasy hero. When you put all four of these protagonists together in the same show, hell breaks loose. I’m talking about the over the top comedy type of hell of course.
With the school setting, the creators aimed to bring as many as possible segments as possible. From school rules to a class talent show, there’s many opportunities for comedy. (yes, there is the infamous “beach episode” too before you ask) Anyone who is familiar with these franchises will also quickly recognize how much their personalities carry over. Make no mistake, every character remains who they are from their respective shows. This includes Overlord’s core characters such as Albedo, Shalltear, and Demiurge. KonoSuba has its own class clowns like Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness. Re:Zero’s Emilia, Rem, Ram, and Beatrice are no strangers when they sit in class. And who can forget Youjo Senki’s adorable Visha? Bringing this legion of isekai characters also means a clash of personalities. Just like at school, there are class leaders and rules. The show establishes the rules early on and as each episode progresses, it becomes more and more evident how some characters can’t follow them. The class talent shows also displays a clash of egos. At the end of the day, the audience is the real winner as the anime accomplishes its job of glorfying popcorn entertainment. In a sense, this is a deconstruction of isekai. Character behaviors are observed in the some of the most outrageous ways possible. KonoSuba’s cast is the guiltiest of this with Kazuma’s antics, Megumin’s explosive personality, and Darkness’ perverted fantasies. However, others such as Albedo, Shaltear, and Beatrice also act on actions that speaks louder than words. My only slight disappointment is how much Tanya has to carry her own franchise in this crossover. Honestly, she is probably the most credible member from Youjo Senki. Even someone like Visha feels like she’s the invisible kid in class if you don’t pay too much attention. Similarly, most of the supporting characters from these perspective franchises is overshadowed by the main cast.
Isekai Quartet ended up being an anime that I didn’t know I wanted. When it got first announced, I thought this would’ve ended up being a big fat joke to further alienate the isekai fan base. It seemed like a big risk considering how much controversy their franchises became for certain audiences. But after watching this show to finish, I’ve seen the light. Be prepared to be enlightened.
No Avengers Infinity War memes here, but this is quite the cross-over series. And a cross-over not in the sense that these widely disparate characters come together for something with a central focus, but a cross-over in the sense that these wildly disparate characters and their widely disparate worlds are thrown together in a potpourri of anime that will thrill you if you’re an isekai fan, and probably leave you less exuberant if you’re not.
The director and writer Minoru Ashina’s (who seemingly is a veteran in “cutesy” anime with chibi-fied characters) ideas and meta-playfulness culminated in creating an isekai story about four other isekai series,
whose characters were transported to another world are transported to this world of Isekai Quartet. A TV-Short of 12 episodes with each being 12 minutes long, features characters from the following prolific isekai franchises: Konosuba, Overlord, Youjo Senki, and Re:Zero. They are all put into a high-school-like setting to do…well, “things” and result is pure fanservice for fans of these series and characters.
If you like the set-up, and the majority of characters flocking to see these series do, you will like Isekai Quartet for the way it rewards and appreciates you, its specific audience. I doubt that there is anyone who will see this show who is not familiar with the history behind at least one major character or series. This show rewards your attention and commitment by providing you with in-jokes, nostalgia, and even if you are not all caught up on the knowledge or haven’t watched some of the shows here, it rewards you for your interest. It is very much a competently put together choose-your-own-experience-anime.
Really, you don’t need to know everything about each of the four series to understand what's going on. The humor is reliant on each character’s quips and quirks they are known for in their own series, you can call it rehashing of sorts. Although in saying that, with each passing episode, the interactions between all characters serve up some fresh material, so it is great for fans who want that nostalgic feeling of seeing their favorite characters again on screen. Personally, I wasn’t really wooed, after all, I am not the biggest fan of the isekai sub-genre. But having the Konosuba cast in Isekai Quartet played a big part in me holding any interest.
In my opinion, the Konosuba cast is the highlight of this show, being the center of most of the hilarity and punches. Which makes sense seeing what kind of series Konosuba is compared to the others. Kazuma and Aqua are the butt-monkeys, while Megumin and Darkness’s shenanigans got a few laughs out of me. The character designs are chibi-fied, the animation is simple, the background art is stock, the music compliments the humor and setting, and the full voice cast of each perspective series are present. Studio PuYUKAI is certainly a match made in heaven for a director like Minoru Ashina, and a show like Isekai Quartet.
I didn’t find Isekai Quartet to be anything amazing, and that can come down to not watching all four series previously—which is needed to have a bigger appreciation for it, I guess. But even so, not the biggest fan of isekai, it is a sub-genre that rarely tests creative minds. A few laughs here and there, a bit of fun, just not really my cup of tea where I’d rave about it. So, my recommendation is that if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to watch all four series before jumping in, and if the name “isekai” makes your eyes roll, then this show is an easy pass.
Isekai Quartet represents the most wholesome and pure type of fan service one can write. In other words a spinoff truly made for the fans of not just one franchise but four of them, more specifically KonoSuba, Re:Zero, Youjo Senki and Overlord; kind of like a 2019 equivalent of what Carnival Phantasm was for the Nasuverse back in 2011. It should go without saying that you should have seen at least some and preferably all of these series before watching Isekai Quartet or you will not be able to appreciate this anime for what it is.
This chibi crossover spinoff basically takes all the main characters
from these various franchises and sends them to another world... again... where they meet each other in a seemingly ordinary human school and are forced to become students. Of course what the anime is actually about is simply putting all these loveable characters together just to see what the hell happens, and that is really the charm point of it all. Just seeing the crossover interactions play out is something any fan of these series should have a great deal of fun watching. After all, character relations such as Tanya's hatred for deities like Aqua and in turn Aqua's animosity towards the undead such as Ainz is unavoidably going to lead to a great deal of interesting confrontation.
It's a simple show by design but it definitely works. The only real problem with it is that there are so many characters involved and potential interactions that would have been fun to explore, but with only 9-minute episodes (excluding OP and ED duration) we only ever get a quite limited amount of exposure to a large portion of Isekai Quartet's character cast. There are so many things I would have liked to see the show touch upon that never ended up happening simply because it ran out of time. But nevertheless it is still a great spinoff which I would highly recommend any fans of the related series to watch. It may be short but it's exceptionally sweet.
FINALLY, ABOUT TIME. The outlandish short comedy that is this show.
The biggest crossover not just in anime history, but one that can be said to level off with Avengers: Infinity War (no pun intended): Isekai Quartet, the short crossover that we knew we wanted for a long time, and thanks to the people over at Kadokawa green-lighting this high-profile series, we finally can rest at ease.
For the Average Joe, Isekai Quartet combines the Isekai universe's 4 most beloved series: Re:Zero, Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil), KonoSuba and Overlord. And combine them Kadokawa did, for a collaboration that's unthinkable at this high scale, difficult
(or even manageable) to pull off, but what came out of it was a short so highly revered, and in time present and future.
With that said, if you haven't watched any of the 4 anime series, the references that the cast of characters in the series make will be questionable.
So, for the setting of the show, I find it iffy that the overall setting would be in a school, but it works. The part that gets us totally is the pressing of the Isekai "RED" button, which summons most (if not all) of the characters in the 4 series into an alternate timeline, one devoid of the bells and whistles of the respective shows they came from. So, with that said, with Roswaal as homeroom teacher, let the misunderstandings, running jokes and gags ensue as the characters attempt to reason with one another about trivial issues. Even better, being a short 12-min series helps us digest the setting, and gets us adapted into the occurring scenarios filled with wholesome goodness.
Being a studio that primarily works on Chibi-esque features of series that sorta needed a wide presence, it's no surprise that Studio PuYUKAI is given the responsibility to anchor this series, and anchor they did with the simple cartoonish aesthetics. And I have to say that for a high-profile series, it certainly garnered a lot of attention that creates affection and tension for the cast of characters and their countless interactions in the alternate world.
And the music. I consider it to be the Holy Grail of the series. Even more unimaginable is the collab for the leads and supports from all 4 series. So the OP features a cool and wacky song by the "protagonists" Subaru, Tanya, Ainz Goal Oown and Kazuma, while the 8-bit designed electronic-sounding great ED is done by Emilia, Tanya, Albedo and Aqua. Both songs are equally fantastic that holds equal weight on their own. Add in the background, and this series is musically custom-composed plentifully.
Overall, what a great and fantastic showing, and a short to boot! And we have the people over at Kadokawa to thank for, because we may never be sure what triggered this movement of sorts, but at the end of the day, it's the company listening to the fans, that matters. So appreciate Kadokawa for this venture project. And this is officially SOTS in a lackluster season.
Now all that awaits is a (confirmed) Season 2 showing.