Kenja no Mago Ep. 1: Here we go again

Yet another isekai for us to enjoy. Yay. How many are we up to now in just the past year alone? Honestly, I’ve lost count. My plan after I got home from work was to cover Shield Hero out of spite and then give Carole & Tuesday a shot. But guess what? Netflix has the rights to that show! Isn’t that just grand! Of course I’m unable to watch the show with Shinichiro Watanabe’s influence! I know he’s just a supervising director, but still…

Now, you might point out that I’ve blogged Netflix shows in the past (e.g. High Score Girl). That’s true, but I had to go digging for adequate fansubs. I appreciate the fact that people are subbing these shows for free. My problem isn’t with them. It’s just that I don’t wanna do that sort of thing anymore. Will I blog about Carole & Tuesday when Netflix releases entire series in a few months? I dunno, we’ll see. But anyways, enough about that. Let’s get to the show.

— Not surprisingly, our hero used to be an adult nobody with no friends or family. He then gets classically isekai’d by a truck. I guess Naofumi from Shield Hero is a rare specimen, because he still wants to return to his original world. At the moment, anyways. I’m sure his devoted loli followers will wear him down and convince him to stay in magical fantasy land, but I digress. My point is that it always seems as though isekai protagonists rarely have any attachments for their previous lives. This way, they can embrace their new world without any regrets. But isn’t this tension — the lingering anxiety that we must have one day have to choose between our former and current lives — one of the few things that is unique to the isekai concept? And then we just go and chuck it out the window like that? What a waste, I say. What. A. Waste.

— Anyways, our hero Shin has to start over in the new world in a literal sense: he is reborn as a baby and quickly loses his birth parents. An old wizard in the forest (creatively named Merlin) then has to go and raise the kid all by himself. Luckily for us, we don’t have to waste too much time on our hero’s childhood.

— Like most every isekai protagonists, Shin is overpowered right from the get-go. His grandfather teaches him how to use magic to locate demons, and before you know it, the kid has already beheaded a monstrous bear without breaking a sweat. He has no problems picking up anything that Merlin throws at him. So does he actually have to work hard… ever? But this is what pure escapism is all about, isn’t it? In his old life, Shin stayed late at his job to work extra hours and for what? For nothing. He was just another dime-a-dozen wage slave. So of course, in magical fantasy land, the kid could fart and end up inadvertently composing a grand symphony.

— Regarding demons in this world, they just appear to be either people or living creatures going berserk thanks to magic. Not exactly what you or I would normally consider demons. Then again, demon lords are a staple in isekai anime, and there’s nothing demonic about them either.

— Not only does he pick things up quickly, he can come up with never-before-seen spells like… uh, teleportation… and this nuclear blast. Okay, okay, so it’s not original to us, but it’s original to the world that Shin now inhabits. It’s enough to leave all of these jaws hanging, and they’re no slouches. They’re all at the top of their respective fields in this fantasy world. Apparently, faint memories of his past life is what allows our hero to come up with these “original” spells. This reminds me of one of my main pet peeves about isekai anime. Other than the first, I dunno, five or so minutes of the show, does the isekai thing really matter anymore? Isekai protagonists rarely care about going home, and in this anime, he barely even remembers his past life anymore. The whole thing just serves as a flimsy explanation for his ingenuity. But you could just say that he is naturally ingenious, and we’d be none the wiser. So really, at what point does the whole “I come from another world” thing really matter?

— Moving along, we soon see Shin and his family celebrate his adulthood at the ripe old age of 15. Yep, adulthood. Now, the kid is gifted in magic and swordfighting, but Merlin never bothered to teach the kid a lick of common sense or even basic, everyday skills. It’s like being a genius destined for the Ivies, but you don’t know how to balance a checkbook.

— I’m a bit amused by the fact that he still looks like a salaryman. So even in this fantasy world full of wizards and demons, they wear suits and ties? Hm.

His uncle — obviously not blood-related — is actually the king. After witnessing the raw power at Shin’s fingertips, he and like-minded folks worry that countries will fight to get their bloody clutches on this kid. Must feel nice to go from a nobody to being highly sought after.

— So to help teach the kid about the world and also help him make friends his own age, the king has a suggestion: let’s enroll Shin in a magical academy! So he’s an adult, but he’s going to attend high school. Uh huh. Make up your mind, people. I mean, I suppose you could argue that the academy will be like college, but I doubt it. Anime and high school life is inseparable.

— We then learn some stuff like how his grandfather saved the king’s life way back when. Not only that, he used to be married to his partner-in-crime, but the old man and his former lover have since separated or divorced for unspecified reasons. Still, it seems they will now live together for Shin’s sake. Isn’t that just wholesome? Our hero can even repair families! Okay, whatever.

— Before you know it, Shin and his family are headed for the capital so that he can start attending the magical academy. Merlin used to be popular in the day, and it seems as though his fame hasn’t waned one bit. And by extension, Shin is also popular. That’s convenient.

— Being buddies with the king obviously has its benefits, so when Shin and his family arrive at their new home, they find a legion of servants just waiting to fulfill their ever whim and desire. Ah Japan, you guys are so obsessed with butlers and maids. Just so desperate for that bougie life.

— Alright, alright, we’ve gone nearly an entire episode and we have yet to meet any hot anime babes. How can you call yourself an isekai anime if you don’t have any hot anime babes?

— So sure enough, Shin finds a trio of bastard men harassing two girls in an alleyway. Well, if he can make short work of a bear, three dudes are obviously no match for him.

— We meet this redhead, but she’s probably not the main love interest (assuming that this isn’t yet another harem anime). After all, Shin immediately swoons when he lays his eyes on the blue-haired girl. Our heroine has comically huge breasts — what one might call, “big anime titties” — but tch, I’ll take that over loli slaves any day of the week.

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2 Replies to “Kenja no Mago Ep. 1: Here we go again”

  1. This was a very cliche novel that does not do anything new, but Hey at least is sincere and honest from the start since it is obvious his intentions and no one tries to pass it off as a gender revolution where there is no harem or the protagonist is not OP so that later the same anime ends up denying.
    I’ll take a light hearted idiot harem that knows what it is over the so-edgy-it-cuts-itself idiot harems like Golbin Slayer and Shield Hero that have come into vogue lately.

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