Jun 26, 2019
Karhu (All reviews)
Who are we? Every person ever. And what do we want? Throw shit at Naofumi. And when do we want it? Every second, non-stop, 247.

Modern problems require modern solutions. If society humiliates you, lets you down, you get accused of crimes you didn't commit, the general public turns against you, the game is rigged, system corrupted, you are bullied, isolated and alone, you see the worst in people and proceed to turn against the world and enter a safety mode where you become something of the sort of a "cynical little animal." Or that's what I would do.... unless... there was a cute animal-eared waifu and rare-breed loli bird eating up all the negative feelings, ensuring I get healed, fed and mutually respected. This is the life of Naofumi, the shield hero, our main character -- and, unlike most isekai Jesuses, he is not "a big deal." After experiencing the worst, he relies on the worst, buys the cheapest slave he can get and, just like that, their adventure in this world where royalties are meanie wienies, double standards a way of life and the slaver dude the greatest guy -- begins!

It's not hard to point out where this show's weaknesses are. The story events are insignificant filler, the isekai core plot hardly more than an excuse for the series, the side-characters solely exist to put our main lead in this unjustified situation where he is treated like garbage, most of the "bad things" have no other purpose in the series than to provoke the audience with injustice; the opposing characters' ignorance is pushed to such extents that when their development finally starts, it is done in a manner that does not convince. The change does not come from within the characters but from the outside, entirely relying on the will of the author. in fact, it is so extreme that it starts to feel like it's driven by anti-government, anti-society and anti-religion agenda. The female casting is waifubaiting and the adventure side could entirely be labelled as wish-fulfillment. It's easy to point the finger here and go "this is the type of shite I am supposed to hate in anime." Finding these flaws annoying and letting them ruin the viewing experience and kill the entertainment value is understandable. But even after all of its issues, the show is not exclusively bad, but has some strong pros as well. However, there where the cons are practically self-explanatory and easy to list down, the pros don't stand out nearly as strongly.

First of all, Tate no Yuusha has charm. Anyone can write a coherent backstory which leads to being isekai'd, and it certainly is not much harder to make the side character seem more like decent humans by extending the storyboard with anti-shield-wielder backstory that explains why they are so deeply hated, and how it's all "just politics". These problems could be countered, but that would be side-tracking, like trying to prove that it can be done for the sake of it. But charm is something that is much harder to accomplish, and it was achieved partly because the main focus was most of the time put on Naofumi's party, which is the most relevant thing there is. Secondly, Naofumi is a great character. On the surface level, it's easy to judge him or not even give him a chance, but below the first layer lays much more. He is a genuinely nice guy who has to mask his core personality to survive due to other people being unreasonable. He isn't your average gary stu isekai Jesus who is nice just because he cannot be anything else. Naofumi chooses to help people and decides where his own adventure leads him while, at the same time, ensuring his kindness is not taken for granted so that he won't be used. How many isekai series are there where the character has to take measures and alter his own personality for his own well-being? There aren't. Almost every single one of them rely on being so overpowered that their measures are bs at best, trying to hide the fact that they could destroy the world by simply farting too hard. He doesn't even seek revenge because that would simply make him feel bad. And what is this sentence if not 5000 years worth of human philosophy summed up? Finally a character who chooses this path not because it is "the right thing to do and according to muh morals" but because it benefits him the most. One can easily claim he is the same as your typical isegary, but he has awareness and reasoning that makes perfect sense, and that is what sets him apart from nearly all of the other alternatives. And thirdly, from the main cast department (read;waifu squadron), this is the purest isekai series I have seen. It's not driven by lust and sexual remarks, but by characters who have something decent going on under their skin.../fur/feathers. There is no romantic subplot or sexual tension to keep the audience interested with fanservice or useless feelings pondering. It's just a dude getting comfy'd by bunch of lolis. And with this, I speak of yours truly/the viewer.

There is not much more that I have to say. It's isekai, so it's okay to dislike it, of course, but it has heart. It's definitely not a soulless piece, but a genuine anime that has lots of good things going on in the cute, comfy and main cast departments. I almost never felt like it was fake as so many modern anime is, outside two occurrences: 1) episodes 15-17 or so where the 4th loli appeared and I absolutely hated her, and 2) the last few episode where the show has clearly started to lose its way. While the overall pace can be criticized, the episodic flow is smooth, the production is stellar, directing follows a clear vision with consistency, and there is nothing that ruins the fun or makes the series worse from these parts. Outside some CGI, the art rarely stands out for negative reasons. This time, I hardly found the CGI monsters to be a problem either, I acknowledge it exists, end of story. I highly enjoyed watching this series and it deserves some praise from me. It's not the smartest anime you can see, but it is a smart production with nearly as smart execution. I much rather recommend giving it a try than advice not to.