Being sent to another world may not be so bad, after all. And this Summer we’re going to be getting no shortage of shows setting out to prove it.
Voyager: Well, this is going to be… a battle. No lie, this may honestly be the most difficult matchup in all of Round 1. And that’s not exactly praise.
EvilBob: Aha! You’re nervous! I’ve got this one in the bag and you know it, already.
Voyager: Do you never tire of being wrong?
EvilBob: No! wait… I mean…
Voyager: Too late. Let’s move on to the opening thoughts, yes?
EvilBob: Yes. Let’s.
EvilBob: The first episode of Maou-sama, Retry! was really enjoyable. It introduced us to the two leads rather quickly while establishing the world enough for us to get a feel for how things might be. Kunai and Aku make for an entertaining pair. So far, anyway. It’s also funny to note that he was summoned by accident and the ones who did the summoning are dead. Mostly standard stuff but that doesn’t make it bad. Although the animation could use a little work. And, like Vinland Saga, we also weren’t shown a lot in the plot department.
Voyager: Isekai Cheat Magician’s opening episode was… fine. It was basically just setting up for what’s to come. Though I have some concerns about where it began. It skipped over a lot of the earlier setup from when they were in their own world, which sorta hurts the establishment of their characters. I can’t only expect that they intend to revisit that stuff later. Otherwise, the defining features of the two leads are just kinda thrown to the wayside. That said, the episode still wasn’t bad. It was a bit generic, but I remind you that last season’s runaway hit – Kenja no Mago – also didn’t have the most graceful start. Though this doesn’t have the boon of god tier animation to help it over that hurdle. Everything seems pretty standard at the moment, but there are inklings of confidence in the execution that tell me they think they’ve got something special on their hands. Plus that OP is badass.
EvilBob: Ooh. You don’t seem too confident in your show, there.
Voyager: Hm. It was fairly suboptimal, I suppose.
EvilBob: I look forward to seeing that in the scoring section.
Voyager: Right. That.
EvilBob: So, Voyager. Care to tell me what makes your two leads stand out?
Voyager: Well… in the manga-
EvilBob: Ah. This is about the anime. Not the manga.
EvilBob: They seemed pretty milk toast, to me. Meanwhile, can we take a look at the characters in Maou-sama, Retry? Say what you want about their being trope-tastic, they’re still more memorable than… whatever your show was trying to give us. Also, Aku is adorable.
Voyager: Well, that just goes without saying. Probably helps that she just looks like a smol, blonde Rem, though…
EvilBob: Aha! So you admit that my characters are superior!
Voyager: I didn’t say-
EvilBob: Their interactions are sweet, their chemistry is surprisingly great, and Kunai is actually pretty funny, himself, in his reactions to things while trying to figure this world out and play the part of an ordinary guy while Aku keeps creating misunderstandings.
Voyager: …You finished?
EvilBob: No. But you are.
EvilBob: All right! I’m on fire! Now let’s take this last category and win this one, outright!
Voyager: So what’s the plot of yours?
EvilBob: The… the plot? T-that’s easy! It’s-! …um…
EvilBob: You know! The plot! It’s… it’s complicated! Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Voyager: Ticket to what, the city dump?
EvilBob: Well, what’s the plot of yours?!
Voyager: Two high school teens are magically brought to another world as the result of a botched summoning attempt involving the royal order of the kingdom in which they end up. Now they’re ‘lost’ and dark forces are set out to find them.
EvilBob: …I hate that you can do that so easily.
Voyager: Top of the class, baby.
EvilBob: Didn’t Sharlenne rank higher than you?
Voyager: Eh. Details.
EvilBob: B-but that’s just a plot! What’s that say about their character development?
Voyager: Not a great deal on its own, perhaps. The bits they cut out from the manga would’ve made it all a lot more apparent. But the inklings of it are still there. Them winding up in this alternate world together has essentially flipped their lives upside down. Now our slacker lead and his Not-Girlfriend are in a situation where they have to rely on each other, rather than his counting on her. And his attempted self-sacrifice comes from viewing her as above him, seeing as he’s always been average, whereas she’s generally exceptional, across the board.
EvilBob: Stop that!
Voyager: You did ask.
Voyager: Ooh. He’s sweating.
EvilBob: Of course I am. I’m still in Florida, ya yank.
Voyager: Huh. First time I’ve ever been called that. So. How ’bout those visuals?
EvilBob: What about them? Yours isn’t exactly a shining bastion of visual excellence either. Did you see how choppy the army was in that opening sequence?
Voyager: As opposed to how rigid the animation looks in yours overall? At least mine has a generally aesthetically pleasing style and does improve the animation in parts where it wants to woo us.
EvilBob: Oh, come on! That’s barely enough to go on!
Voyager: Perhaps, but as you, yourself, pointed out, neither of these are going to be winning any awards for best animation.
EvilBob: Then shouldn’t this be a tie?!
Voyager: Hm. But we can’t have ties. Ah, I know. Let’s judge based on the animation in the OPs.
EvilBob: Er… wait.
Voyager: Hm? What’s wrong?
EvilBob: B-but… OPs shouldn’t count!
Voyager: Oh? And why’s that?
EvilBob: ‘Cause yours is better!
Voyager: Ah! Thank you! Then I humbly accept the win in this category, and the round!
Voyager: And that’s a wrap on Bracket 2. For those wondering, we’re crunching a bit so we’ll start including Outrunners, next week. It’ll be fun, promise.
Voyager: Did you enjoy yourself, friend?
EvilBob: …Sure did… “Friend.”
Voyager: Such a good sport. Looking forward to the next bracket, best buddy.
EvilBob: I hate you.
Voyager: What was that?
EvilBob: Thanks for letting us waste your time, people!
Voyager: Ooh. Nice save. And, of course, thanks for reading, as always. Do you think Isekai Cheat Magician should’ve won or should this actually have gone to Maou-sama, Retry? Let us know, down below. Keep up the Awesome!
EvilBob: And Keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take Care!