The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids -A Tank with a Rare 9999 Resistance Skill Got Kicked from the Hero’s Party- – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore January 7, 20240 Comments
Dark lighting. Rud and his nameless party. Subtitles: We beat it because of you, Mr. Rud

What’s it about? Rud was a tank in the hero’s party, but something has gone wrong. His shield has started to fail during combat, making it hard for him to perform his function. The hero Kygal kicks him out, and instead of objecting, Rud decides to go home to his sick little sister. On the way, he encounters an escaped illegal homunculus who possesses the rare Identify skill. With the knowledge he gains from her about his skills, he could actually be the strongest tank in the world…

Even if The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids had a pretty weak premiere, with an uninspired story, stiff animation, and a bland script, there is one thing that sets it apart. As unimpressed as I was by the whole thing, I realized it lacks a lot of the underlying bitterness or petty meanness of most “kicked out of the hero’s party” series. This made it a considerably more pleasant watch than its brethren and while I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t hate it either.

Superdeformed Nin with tears in her eyes. Subtitles: Well, it's not like I'll miss you or anything, you know.

For one thing, Rud seems like a genuinely nice guy, with maybe some self-worth issues. When Kygal, who looks kind of like Cloud Strife but is a raging asshole, publicly humiliates him by dismissing him in the middle of the guild hall, he feels bad but accepts it—he already felt like he was holding his party back and wants to go see his little sister. He temporarily joins a low-level party and asks for nothing in return. He’s bummed out by the proceedings, so it’s not like he’s weirdly okay with it all. He just makes the choice to accept it.

What stood out most is how Rud responded when they happen upon an escaped slave. In the setting, humans can have homunculi to do their bidding for them. Generally, the homunculi have no emotions or will of their own, like a more anthropomorphic golem, but there are a few illegally-created ones that are more human-like in their capacity to think and feel. Such is the case with Luna, who they find on their way to Rud’s hometown. Rud treats her decently, offering her clothes and a chance to join them. Compare this to your average isekai protagonist, who does treat enslaved people decently, but only after going to the market and purchasing them. Or worse, enslaving them himself. When his fellow party members start talking about how homunculi creep them out, Rud notices how hurt Luna is and puts a stop to the conversation.

Rud kneeling and smiling at Runa

At no point does another character look at the screen and swear up and down that Rud is actually a really nice guy, asking us to ignore all the selfish, cruel choices he makes. There’s no internal monologue (thank god) revealing that it’s all just an act and he’s thinking about sexually assaulting all the girls around him. There is no man behind the curtain, and the emperor really does have clothes on.

I want to reiterate, though, that The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids isn’t actually good. It’s definitely doing the “world based on video game mechanics” thing, which leads to outright goofy moments. Rud’s major contribution to a fight against a giant snake is to yell, “PROVOKE!” and stand stock-still; couldn’t he have, I don’t know, throw some pebbles or something? Why animate good-looking action when you can have characters that yell attack names and jump around? 

Rud and Nin from behind fighting a golem in a cave. Subtitles: Members of an adventuring party have various roles, such as attacker and healer.
Oh, word? I, a person who consumes scads of light novels based on games, had no idea!

Plus… I get some weird vibes from the mostly-female cast. I wish we lived in a world where that was a reason for excitement or, better yet, one where that was totally normal and not something to remark upon at all. Alas, we live in a world where a show with a male protagonist, aimed at a male audience, with a lot of cute female characters, is a cause for deep suspicion. Yeah, their outfits aren’t fanservicey, though they do have the usual combat miniskirts, but they still set off my harem-sense. Maybe it’s because already, the only two named male characters are certified chill dude Rud and the raging asshole Kygal, and those two call all the shots. Kygal even gets to kick Rud out of the party, even though clearly none of the female members are on board with that decision. Plus, there’s a pair of twins that are way too close.

Lots of girls
The camera had to pan to include all the girls…

I do not recommend The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids, but I also don’t not recommend it. From my perspective, it’s not a very good show: it lacks original thought and relies on lazy shortcuts, both visually and in the script, in a genre I’m highly skeptical of. But if you have an extremely specific itch that can only be scratched by a game-based fantasy, this isn’t a terrible way to meet that need. At least we know its stance on slavery right off the bat!

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