What’s it about? After defeating the Demon Queen Echidna’s army almost single-handedly, Leo expects a hero’s welcome. Instead, he’s feared for his powers and exiled from the kingdom. With no home and no friends, Leo decides to switch sides and fight for the demons instead—but getting the army he routed to accept his application may be easier said than done.
I’m Quitting Heroing—or “Quitter Hero,” as I’ve been calling it—is the worst thing I’ve watched in the last 24 hours, but this says more about how great my last 24 hours have been than anything particularly bad about the show. It was watchable and competently made, with a few jokes that landed well enough. It just wasn’t much more than that.
The biggest issue is that Quitter Hero doesn’t seem to know what kind of show it wants to be. The first half reads like a setup for a comedy about a garbage protagonist: he trash-talks his party members behind their backs, leaves villages destroyed in the wake of his battles, and treats war like an office job. Comedies about unlikable characters are difficult to sustain over multiple episodes, so who knows if the show could have pulled it off, but Echidna blasting Leo with fire while he attempts to present her with graphs and spreadsheets explaining his value as an employee is a solid opening scene.
Unfortunately, the premiere doesn’t maintain that silly energy. Instead, it pivots to depicting Leo as a sympathetic victim of injustice. The humans he fought to protect fear his power and denounce him, turning him into the next “monster” for them to rally against now that the demons are gone. It doesn’t gel with the earlier comedic scenes about Leo being a bad hero, which leaves the audience uncertain if Leo is intentionally an unreliable narrator or if the author is performing narrative backflips to make us feel bad for a dude who kind of sucks.
Whatever the case, it changes the vibe of Quitter Hero from “trash boy comedy” to “bitter boy dramedy” and makes it hard to guess where it goes next. Generally stories like this tend to spin in one of two directions: either they become a mean-spirited revenge fantasy or they morph into a found-family tale about misfits forming a community.
And, true to its tonal inconsistency, Quitter Hero shows signs of both in its premiere. Despite Leo’s insistence that he’s out to “kill the world” now, there’s a genuine warmth to the way the demon generals welcome him into their ranks and Leo later admits he’s drawn to Echidna because of her “illogical” desire to protect enemy civilians. It speaks to a story more interested in empathy than vengeance, but it’s too early to tell for sure, especially given the track record recent fantasy light novels have with this kind of story.
Ultimately, though, I can’t imagine myself sticking around long enough to see which direction the pendulum swings, because Quitter Hero just ain’t that compelling otherwise. Trash-boy elements aside, Leo is your typical ridiculously overpowered LN protagonist who can defeat anyone easily. Terms like “stats” and “AOE” get bandied about even though this doesn’t take place in a game-world and has no game mechanics to speak of, leading to an irritating disconnect between the setting and dialog that feels more like lazy writing than intentional world-building.
It’s not gonna win any awards for progressive themes at this point either. While there’s nothing in the way of overt sexism, Leo does defeat the female characters (other than Echidna) with way more ease than the male ones; and I sure don’t love that the beast-child is crushing on Leo and his response is “not until you’re older,” even if he is (probably) just saying it to get her to leave him alone.
There’s also a weird pro-imperialist undercurrent to Echidna’s promise to “rule peacefully, with minimal killing” after her seemingly unprovoked invasion of human lands. I suspect there’s more to her story that might explain the war in a way that doesn’t sound like sugar-coated colonialism, but it’s still a point of concern worth noting.
Quitter Hero earns a handful of points for not being viciously mean-spirited, and I’ll even toss it a cookie for being a straight-up fantasy instead of another isekai. But “I didn’t hate watching it” is not the same as “I want to keep watching it,” so I’m gonna take a page out of Leo’s book and quit on this quitter. Unless you’re absolutely wild for DnD-esque fantasy anime, you’ll probably want to pass on this one too.