Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles – Episode 1

By: Chiaki Hirai July 5, 20210 Comments
A bunch of women in various styles of dress smiling with a young man in black at the left facing away and sheathing his sword.

Content Warning: Violence, death, brief depictions of gore, a harem.

What’s it about? Amakawa Haruto made a promise to his childhood friend Mii-chan that he would come back to her when they grew up. Around a decade later, he’s a normal university student in Japan when the bus he’s riding loses control and hits a train. Haruto wakes up as Rio, a young boy seeking revenge for his mother in the slums of the Kingdom of Beltrum. Confused by his two identities, he staggers into a plot to kidnap a princess.

Childhood promises of love, dying in a spectacular accident, being reincarnated as a street urchin with latent magical powers, saving a princess, blah blah blah, I definitely said “I’m bored” two minutes into the premiere of this show.

I’m sure there’s more to it. Did everyone in that bus get isekai’d together by train-kun, kinda like how an entire classroom got isekai’d in “So I’m a Spider, So What?” Is Haruto’s long lost girlfriend, whom Haruto pledged he’d come back to protect her even in death, going to be the protectorate goddess in the story? Will Rio win the hearts of everyone in the kingdom, especially the laydaaaays?

Look, these are all questions with answers, and I’m sitting here like, “I have better things to do with my life right now.

A ghostly image of Haruto as a child overlayed on an image of a mangled mess after the train collided with the bus. Subtitle: Even if I die, I'll protect you, Mii-chan!
Good luck buddy.

I will say one thing, Rio’s about to get a harem. That’s at least assured given the opening credits make it a point to mention maybe 4 dudes (one of them Rio and Haruto), and the rest of the dozen-or-so-large cast being nothing but flavor-of-the-week girls, including a healthy cast of animal-eared ones. The OP even goes as far as making its climax focus on a quick pan across the 12 heroines, ending with Rio posing triumphantly like Kirito from Sword Art Online going, “hell yeah, I’m a potato and everyone loves me.”

Okay, maybe I’m being too mean here. Maybe I’m just trying to rile the fans of the LN up and get clicks by saying wild things on the Internet. But, can we seriously take a moment to appreciate this cut?

So how’s the rest of the show? I mentioned there’s some violence? Yeah.

It’s nothing too gory, but there are a few instances where characters splatter blood out due to being brutalized or being stabbed. A few dead bodies rolling around with their necks split open. Nothing close to grindhouse quality, but if you don’t like seeing a child being beaten to a pulp or a man getting his arm broken, I’d keep this warning in mind. 

That said, the fighting in this series is probably the high point for the show. Good fluid action with sensible story boarding did make Rio shine as he disabled a would-be assassin.

Story-wise, I’m not sure where this will go from here. Presumably, Rio enrolls in magic academy and starts going on adventures with his newfound noble-class friends. The presence of beast-people usually insinuates there’s going to be some kind of messy stand in for racism here, but that is yet to be seen. Rio’s family also hails from a land called Yagumo, which sounds like an idealized Edo-era Japan. These are popular in fantasy isekai, and serve to introduce Japanese social or cultural customs into an otherwise Euro-centric depiction of a fantasy setting.

What I’m saying is, isekai harem master potato-kun is gonna just BE. I’m sure things will happen, but it’ll mostly be a mishmash of tried and true story beats with maybe a few flashy fight scenes in between.

Rio, bloodied and hanging by his arms. Subtitle: I have... nothing more... to say.

Look, I feel like I’m not doing my due diligence here writing this review, but this show is just the most boring kind of OK. There’s moments that make you go, “oh, well this is kinda neat,” but by the end of it, all I can really say is “well that’s nice.”

Maybe things will pick up as Rio gets a chance to actually get to know the wider cast — be more than a confused child in the slums — but for now, this single episode inspires little for me to be excited over. It’s unbuttered toast. I’ll probably forget about this show sooner rather than later.

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