Content Warning: fanservice, comedic body horror
What’s it about? Three years ago, the legendary hero Sion sealed the gates of Hell; unfortunately, the seal didn’t hold, and he’s been wandering the countryside since defeating demons. Even more unfortunately, he just died an ignoble accidental death in the spike pit of a small village’s local creep, Touka. To atone for this, Touka’s soul is placed in Sion’s rotting corpse, and he’s tasked with picking up the world-saving where the hero left off.
The world is full of bad anime. I just watched one. But I would rather watch all 12 inevitably cursed episodes of Kamikatsu than sit through one more minute of The Legendary Hero is Dead!. I would rather chew off my own fingernails than watch another episode of The Legendary Hero is Dead. Or someone’s fingernails, anyway.
95% of the show’s problems come down to Touka, the most rancid shounen protagonist I’ve come across in a minute. You’ve seen him before, particularly if you’ve watched shounen titles from the ‘90s and ‘00s: he’s rude, selfish, and treats women like shit, but circumstances have conspired to place him in a heroic role that he’ll eventually have to live up to. Most shows of this type do at least attempt to hint that there’s a heart of gold to be unearthed from the trash heap, but Legendary Hero has boldly chosen to forgo this narrative tradition.
Touka is a Pervy HeroTM whose fetish of choice is stockings, so much so that he puts them on the daikon he plants (so that we can have a cutesy visual gag for the opener and closer, y’see). But he is not just horny for ladies’ thighs. He also loathes the women who have the gall to be attached to them. His monologue about the poor girl saddled with the role of childhood friend, Yuna, describes her as a “mean old nag with perfect proportions” while the camera pans down to her inner thighs. Don’t worry though, once he wakes up in Sion’s body the first thing he does is use the fact that Yuna had a crush on him to make her dress up in a skimpy outfit. PG-rated rape by deception, oh boy!
The only woman who isn’t actively sexualized isn’t a woman at all but a little girl, which I guess I should be grateful for because the bar is stuck in the core of the earth. Anri the necromancer is a cute enough “boastful child” type, and if the show was just about her and Yuna going around being faillord adventurers together (since Anri is powerful but clueless and Yuna longs to be a mage but doesn’t have much magic), I’d probably have a good time watching it.
Alas, the show is shackled not just to Touka but his noxious worldview. The whole premise is built around the fact that we’re subbing out the idiot hero (who kind of reminds me of Princess Connect’s Yuuki) with a more rough-around-the-edges, relatable (?) dude bro, and the traits the series shows contempt for as a result—kindness, selflessness, treating women like people—color the whole affair a particular shade of nauseating. It’s smug and back-patting with no core of sincerity to offer, and its comedic timing is too sluggish and unoriginal (do you like sword-boner jokes? I hope you do!) to make the show work as a Terrible People Fantasy Comedy in the vein of something like KonoSuba. If you want a fantasy show about what happens to adventurers after the world-saving quest ends, you’re better off waiting for the eventual Freiren: At Journey’s End adaptation (which you can hear us talk about on our bonus podcast!). Otherwise, watch literally anything else this season. You will have a better time.