What’s it about? Haruyoshi (now known as Seika) was a powerful onmyouji during the Heian Period in Japan, but was unfortunately betrayed by powerful court officials who began to fear his powers. With his dying breath he used a reincarnation spell and hoped to be happier in the next life. Surprisingly, not only is he reborn into another world; he’s able to harness his ki from his former life and use his powers to survive in an environment that considers him magicless.
This one genuinely surprised me because I really liked it (I’m not joking). Maybe it’s because the series writer, Machida Touko also adapted My Master has no Tail, but something about this clicked for me. We’ve had countless reincarnated sorcerers or exorcists’ stories over the years, so it’s no wonder I came into this expecting another generic series with nothing special to offer. So what made this premiere work while shows like The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest should be thrown into the C-tier pile? The first couple of minutes in the episode really utilized its short time to convey how powerful Haruyoshi was and how he used his abilities to help people, but he didn’t see the growing jealousy of those in positions of power. I understood the kind of person Haruyoshi was and why he’s determined to be more cunning in the next life so that he can protect himself from envious eyes.
What sets Haruyoshi apart is that his past life is firmly rooted in the Heian Period rather than modern day Japan or a high fantasy western setting. Even though he’s seen as an anomaly in his new life since he can’t use magic, the fact is, he can still use his “ki” (“life force” that flows throughout your body) and is able to access all his abilities and the ayakashi he sealed away during his lifetime. The show does a good job utilizing Haruyoshi’s Japanese spiritual knowledge to learn more about the new world he is living in and takes the effort to think its narrative logic through — for example, Haruyoshi has traveled to western countries in his past life so it wasn’t difficult for him to adapt to his current surroundings.
He’s also not emotionally attached to his “family” since they mostly treat him like an outsider for being the son of a mistress (it takes two to tango). Haruyoshi knows he is strong and beyond what is necessary to defend himself, he isn’t eager to show off since he doesn’t want to become the target of envious and jealous people. He can feel a bit generic since he’s mostly stoic all the time, but he does have a quiet mischievous side to him that’s actually endearing.
While there are plenty of things that I enjoyed about this premiere, there are aspects I hated about it too. Haruyoshi’s second older brother, Gly is a complete asshole who not only bullies our protagonist but actively torments and later sexually harasses a maid named Yifa. Thankfully, the camera doesn’t linger too long on her breasts, but it’s enough to establish that Gly is sleazy and gross. He keeps calling Yifa a “slave” and to be honest, I’m not sure if he is just calling her that because he thinks lowly of her or if there is an actual system of slavery that exists. The show doesn’t address this for now, so I’m hopeful we aren’t dealing with another isekai that’s going to handle anything about slavery poorly.
If anything, I have reason to believe that the series is going to respect Yifa’s agency and handle her characterization with the thoughtfulness it deserves. She’s able to see spirits called “elementals” and thanks to Haruyoshi’s tutelage, she’s able to use her powers to defend herself. It was incredibly satisfying to see her not need Haruyoshi to rescue her from the incoming monster attacking the manor. Perhaps it’s a low bar, but considering how many damsels in distress exist in the isekai genre, I’ll gladly take the scraps I’m given.
Aside from worrying that every ayakashi is going to turn into a cute girl and form part of Haruyoshi’s entourage, the animation was decent and everything flowed together really well. Maybe it’s because Giant Beasts of Ars was such a letdown that anything looks good in comparison, but I mean it when I say, I might watch the next episode. I think this one is okay folks, and perhaps you might think so too.
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