The Banished Former Hero Lives as He Pleases – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore April 4, 20240 Comments

What’s it about? Once upon a time, there was a hero who gave everything for the people he loved. As he died, he made a final wish for his next life. That hero is now Alan, who has just been disinherited from his ducal line for being a lazy disgrace. But it turns out, he actually still has all his memories and powers from his previous life! He just wanted nothing to do with his evil family’s machinations. But now it looks like he may be drawn in again!

This is kind of a weird one, y’all. If it were a more competent production, I might feel slightly conflicted about how to respond to it. Luckily, it’s the kind of piss-poor execution that could ruin even the most brilliant, creative idea, so I can just kind of point and laugh.

A badly-drawn stone dog

If you looked at the promo art, you might immediately think, “Ah, a power fantasy harem series.” I know I did. And while it is certainly a power fantasy, I didn’t actually get a lot of harem vibes from the way Alan interacted with the female characters he encounters. Sure, the princess Lise, who has known him since childhood and desperately needs a hairbrush for that ratty mess on her head, seems to be pretty down bad for him.

But the rest of the female cast – the knight Beatrice, the hero Akira, and the blacksmith Noelle (who shows up in the second episode, which I watched a bit of because frankly, I wanted to see her) are just living their lives. I can’t speak for their motivations or ideals, but it doesn’t come across as if Alan is the supermassive black hole that the entire universe revolves around. Outside of Lise, their relationships range from platonic to businesslike. Do you know how rare that is? A crappy light novel where the principal female cast doesn’t actively or passively want to fuck the male protagonist?

But once we’ve cleared that bar, we run right into another. You see, Alan may have been disowned from his family for not having a Gift, which is this universe’s version of a super-special ability, but he can use his powers from his previous life. That means he’s a more capable healer than the girl who specializes in healing, and a far more powerful swordsman than the current hero, who just so happens to be a lady. While it may not have been the intent, the effect is that this dude is just automatically more competent than the women around him, pushing them out of the spotlight. Out of the way, ladies, a dick-swinging macho man is around!

Beatrice thrusts her sword at what appears to be a bunch of crumpled-up foil flying at her

Of course, these considerations pale in comparison to the utter level of incompetence in the production. Alright, the character design is… fine. Not as laden with fan service as it could be, but I’ll never not raise my eyebrows at a miniskirt being paired with a broadsword and pauldrons. But everything else – the script, the storyboarding, the editing, and the animation, good LORD the animation – is a complete and total mess. Alan’s character arc makes no sense. Supposedly, he wants to live a quiet life, which is part of why he got himself banished. He’s been hiding his powers for years, but uses a powerful attack when he sees Beatrice and Lise being threatened by some monster dogs. He then completely takes over for Akira when she’s struggling to defeat an evil dragon. Does he hesitate for a second? Feel conflicted over whether to help or to continue living incognito? Have even the vaguest hint of an internal life? Nope!

Beatrice making a weird face

I must admit, though, I did have a good time watching the episode. The animation was hilariously bad, and I spent the whole time busting a gut over it. The dog monsters appeared to be made out of crumpled up foil, and it’s hard to feel threatened by a supposedly evil dragon that looks like a Neopet. At one point I swear Alan’s arm deformed like a noodle when he swung his sword, rather than move like something with bones and joints. The episode is filled with random filters that do a terrible job hiding the fact that nothing exists on the same plane or weighs more than styrofoam. Their facial expressions don’t convey any human emotion I’m familiar with. Sadly, the bits of the second episode I watched looked a bit better. Not good by any stretch, just enough of an improvement not to be funny anymore. 

An extremely unfortunate-looking red dragon blows fire

So you know what? If you need a good chuckle, I do recommend watching the first episode of The Banished Hero Lives as He Pleases. Get in, get out, get on with your life, and don’t spend more time than necessary thinking about Alan. I promise you he’s doing the same.

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