Sep 16, 2019
Inferno792 (All reviews)
Medieval fantasy anime are rare these days as compared to genres like rom-com and sci-fi. The good ones, even more so. As a fan of the genre, I’m always interested when I see a show set in the medieval age, hence To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts instantly caught my attention after I saw the PV. From the studio that had produced Zankyou no Terror, Zombieland Saga and Yuri!!! On Ice in recent years, there was cause for excitement, even though the PV had made it clear that this was a low-budget anime as compared to the other hits the studio has had.

From the beginning, To the Abandoned Sacred beasts throws us into a war between the North and the South, with the South dominating the war for the most part until the North delved their hands into something they should never have: transforming humans into all-powerful beasts of destruction and war. The humans who’d been the victims of this were made to believe that they were special, revered by their army but on the inside, the entire populace was terrified of them. However, such beasts were only going to be useful until the end of the war. As soon as that ended, the army always wanted to get rid of these creatures who, in their view, threatened their existence. That’s pretty much the premise of the story. Not bad. Unoriginal, but the execution was fairly well handled at the start.

Now, that’s where the problems begin. There comes a time when you get bored of the same script every episode over and over again. Find an Incarnate, hear about how they’ve been ravaging stuff around the area, talk to them, and then at the end of the episode, eliminate them. That’s the formula that was followed throughout the season. The repetitive nature of the plot had me rolling my eyes from boredom at times.

We’ve got two main protagonists: Hank Henriette and Schaal Bancroft.
Hank Henriette, the charismatic leader of these Sacred beasts or incarnates, as they’ve been called, is a pretty straight-forward character to understand. Being betrayed by your best friend, who also kills your lover is an easy way to make yourself hate someone, isn’t it? He’s about the only incarnate who’s neither lost his humanity completely nor wants to eradicate humanity for what they’ve put all of the Incarnates through. The threat posed by these mindless beasts who were once his comrades in arms is understood by Hank, hence he takes the mantle of eliminating them before they cause any further damage to society upon himself. And we follow his encounters with his fellow incarnates. Hank rarely showed emotions, keeping himself focused on his goal for the most part.

The second protagonist is the daughter of one of the Incarnates. Loved by her adopted siblings, her father as well as the village, Schaal is an exuberant spirit full of positivity until he sees what’s happened to her father, who’s body had changed into a dragon permanently. Even so, she never hesitates to treat him as the same father she once knew. When one day Hank arrives and kills his father, she goes into rage and vows to track down his killer. As she meets and gets to know Hank though, she decides to accompany him and see for herself the reason for which her father had to be killed. As time passes, she begins to sympathize with Hank. Watching their interactions and relationship develop is one of the better points in the show.

Talking about the animation, I was extremely disappointed. I was expecting a lot better from MAPPA, who’d done such amazing work in the past. Far too many of the battle scenes, which are supposed to be the best animated panels, are crappily done for the most part. The character designs are better but nothing to write home about. The soundtrack is meh, the voice acting okay. I guess they really had a low budget because there was one soundtrack they kept repeating over and over again in tense situations.

The animation or the sound aren’t the factors that brought down the show for me though. The culmination of what Hank and Schaal did throughout the season didn’t have much of a payoff. The first few episodes were interesting, then the loop begins, ending on the same note. This may work for comedy, but doesn’t for action fantasy. The story had potential to develop into an intriguing story that shows the grey side of human nature. But alas, it never took off after the first episode.