Dec 29, 2021
With fantasy and isekai being a dominant force in the anime industry these days, you'd have to stop yourself and ask when enough is enough. With an anime title this long, sometimes, it feels like we're reading a meme. For the sake of your sanity and this review, I'll just call this show Banished from the Hero's Party. And you may have guessed it, the hero gets banished from a hero's party.

As the premise detailed, we follow protagonist Red, a D-rank adventurer who was banished from a party. He was formerly known as Gideon Ragnason, before being banished by his party members when they surpassed him in skill and level. The general premise sets up for his adventure and life in a fantasy world although his past continously comes back to haunt him. Meanwhile, we also meet Rit, a young charismatic woman who has developed feelings for Red during their time together. Of course, she has her own reasons to live such a carefree life and we find out more about her identity and past later on. For now, let's just say that the anime subscribes to a charming couple together.

Yet, I don't want to call designate this show entirely as a romance because at its heart, the show is more than just about Red and Rit. Treat it more as a blend between slice of life, romance, fantasy, and adventure. When we first meet Red and Rit though, it's obvious they have a mutual attraction towards each other. The anime makes it pretty much straightforward and doesn't do the usual ship teases. It's right to the point early to mid-season with Red and Rit admitting their feelings to each other. In essence, it's doesn't hold back establishing Red and Rit as a character pair bought together by different circumstances. And personally, this stands out as the best way to create a couple. It doesn't make the viewers wait or ask the 'what if' question. Plus, their personalities are compatible with their kindhearted yet also courgeous nature.

On the other hand, we meet also meet Ruti, a prominent hero and sister of Red. Being perhaps of the most emotional prone character in the how, as well as having a tragic past, she represents the darker side of the story. However, Ruti still holds a strong love towards Red, and her actions speaks louder than words. Ruthless and intimidating, Ruti carries an emotional burden on herself. Red seems to be the only light in her dark tunnel, who is able to suppress her emotional outbursts. The show offers a platonic relationship between the two built on trust. Because let's face it, Ruti never wanted Red to be banished by their hero party, namely Ares Srowa.

And speak of the devil. Ares Srowa serves as the antagonistic foil to Red. I can easily say that he is borderline psychotic fueled by jealousy. You ever played an online MMORPG member before and got scammed by one of your own guild leader, then banned forever? That's pretty much how Ares treated Red and banished him from the hero party. It's harsh but also reveals Ares' true dangerous nature: a selfish, greedy sociopath driven by his personal agendas. When we see him meet Red later in the story, it really shows how deeply resentful he is towards him. So yes, the show makes its a priority to make us hate Ares and succeeds. He is easily the least likable character for his actions, personality, and just about every single damn deed he's ever done in the story.

Watching Banished from the Hero's Party feels like it knew the type of anime it wanted to shows to us from the beginning. From background stories to the main character relationships, it's about as crystal clear as it gets. On the other hand, I am also somewhat disappointed by some episodes with its story pacing. There are a few episodes mid-season that drops in us in complex society conflicts, that feels needlessly rushed. Other times, you may also be bored by Red and Rit's relationship, especially if you're not a fan of fairy tale-like romances. However, at its core, the anime maintains a stable balance of storytelling and knows what the audience wants.

I won't be the first to say it or the last, but it appears the anime feels very JRPG-ish, in terms of its world setting. The towns, adventurous landscapes, magic, swordsmanship, battles, and overall, characters look like something that came out of an JRPG game. Hell, there's an actual game to be released on Steam although that has no ties to this story. Studio Flad and Wolfsbane combined their talents together to draw us into its fictional world. The visual quality overall looks colorful, vibrant of fantasy elements, but also contains darker tones of violence. Character expressions also play a key role in showing us emotions, most noticably for Ruti. However, there are some noticable drop in key animation in some episodes. Overall however, it's an anime that used its visual quality to success.

Fantasy adventures are usually a hit or a miss but it can even be more risky when you add in romance or slice of life. However, I can say that after these 13 episodes, Banished from the Hero's Party is without a shadow of a doubt one of the better light novel adaptations of the year.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
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