What’s the show? Wise Man’s Grandchild, Episode 1 and 2.
And what’s it about? It’s just about the most “isekai” isekai anime ever made. Take the ‘overworked salaryman living in Tokyo’ trope, add the ‘tragic death that leads to a reincarnation in another world’ trope, throw in a splash of ‘reincarnated protagonist has abilites far-exceeding the ~normal~ people of their new world’ and let’s not forget ‘new world is a typical fantasy world with monsters and magic’. And that’s just the basic premise–that doesn’t even begin to account for character tropes like ‘older protagonist is suddenly a young boy’, ‘protagonist has wizened mentor who was once an epic hero’, ‘protagonist meets attractive young girls by the end of the first episode’ and ‘protagonist is self aware, comments knowingly on his surroundings, etc’.
Sounds kind of derivative if I’m honest… you’d think so, but no this show’s actually pretty damn great!
Huh?! Yep, it’s got that trope too! But seriously, if we’re to talk about ‘isekai’ as a genre for a moment I’ve got to at least admit my stance on the genre–that being, I don’t understand why so many people have a problem with it. But then again I’m like that with most genres that are poarising within the anime community: ‘Moe’? Love it! ‘Harem’? Gimme. ‘Ecchi’? Can’t get enough. And likewise ‘Isekai’ falls favourably amongst those genres in my list of anime preferences. And while I was quick to call this “the most ‘Isekai’ Isekai anime ever made” I absolutely mean that as a compliment.
And how exactly? You have to justify that against examples, not just opinions? Okay fine. Our protagonist, Shin is a bit like Kazuma from ‘Konosuba’ except his sarcastic droll is used sparingly rather than being the defining character trait. Likewise he’s a champion of the downtrodden (as long as they are a cute girl) harking back to the likes of Subaru from ‘Re:Zero’. The fantasy world its set in evokes such recent fare as ‘Endro!’ and the magical school which serves as the base is reminiscent of ‘Little Witch Academia’ (and by extension Hogwarts from the ‘Harry Potter’ series. And of course there’s myriad comparisons both thematically and narratively to ‘That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime’ not the least the idea of an overpowered protagonist who can ~almost~ do anything.
Okay, but how does “evoking” other series’ make it good? Isn’t it just lazy? It’s kind of hard to explain–it’s like it takes the best elements from each series it’s inspired by and distills them down to its core components then presents them in a way which is interesting and borderline parody to the audience.
Oh… so it’s a comedy? I don’t know if I’d go that far. I mean it’s funny, but for me a “parody” doesn’t necessarily mean to lampoon or ‘make fun of’ the subject in question–it’s equally paying reverence and respect to the subject matter in question. It’s still an isekai and is beholden to the rules of said genre.
Right, and what’s something about the series that you think is unique? Well I can’t say to have seen all the isekai out there, so maybe this isn’t unique but a continuing thread throughout the two episodes is how Shin’s immense power is both a blessing and a curse. In that he is capable of miraculous magical feats the likes no-one in this world has ever seen, but at the same rate–should his powers be made known to the general public he would be seen as a threat to world peace. Wars would be waged in order to gain his allegiance, his advanced magical abilities would upset the balance of power the world over. Basically he’s a human atomic bomb and whoever has him is the new world power and no-one wants that…
Anything else to add? I could go on and on, there’s just so much to these first two episodes that it seems like a disservice to being anything but thorough but part of the fun in this show is just experiencing it.
Sounds like you’re about to wrap up then, final recommendation for ‘Wise Man’s Grandchild’ Episode 1 and 2? I almost didn’t watch this show–it wasn’t in my ‘Spring Watch List’ and the only thing that brought it to my attention was its stellar OP that made its way to Number 2 on my list of Best Spring 2019 Anime OP’s. But not only am I glad I watched this show, I think it stands (so far) as a testament to what can be done within the confines of the “familiar”. Yes, this is an ‘isekai’ and by most measures a fairly standard one–it doesn’t strive for ‘weird’ or ‘edgy’ or ‘ultra-violent’ or ‘overtly-ecchi’ it’s just an isekai done very well and by that same measure an isekai done ‘very isekai’–which should ~never~ be a negative thing to say!
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