Management: This is a comprehensive review of own devising, where I go over a pro and con analysis of the material in an attempt to convince people to watch the show-in-review. Hopefully, in encouraging people in general to watch things I think are interesting, they’ll at least somewhat know what to expect while watching.
For me, one of those small little things I’ve taken from anime the past years is a fondness for afternoon naps. It’s more effective than glasses of cool water or hot showers, though somewhat less effective drugs (though naps don’t carry nearly as many somatic side effects) and I’ve never been one for meditation, so I can’t really say anything there.
Imagine applying that kind of practice to communities, cultures, and civilizations throughout the world, and humanity might be the better for it. Hot heads might be soothed enough by an hour or two of sleep every day to other day.
But there are also times where greed abounds, prejudice runs rampant, and the world generally burns. Taking one too many afternoon naps despite that becomes a problem.
A skilled magician and swordswoman are off on a quest commissioned by their king to find “hero relics,” legendary objects of power theoretically capable of ending all war. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes has all the trappings of generic fantasy, and the first episode unfortunately caters to that image, plus the show’s called “The Legend of the Legendary Heroes,” for crying out loud.
The show, however, veers rather violently from this early setup, becoming something more akin to the graphically related content of Berserk with a similar premise to Elfen Lied, save without the moe character designs.
Though not exclusive to them, the show primarily follows the perspectives of three characters, Ryner Lute, the magician, Ferris Eris, the swordswoman, and Sion Astal, the king. Sion, the illegitimate son of the former monarch and a commoner mistress, had to claw his way up to the throne he now sits on. Ferris is of a warrior household sworn to uphold the king’s justice by any and all means. Ryner is a man of special eyes known as the Alpha Stigma. Eyes, which, under normal circumstances, allows the user to understand and imitate any and all forms of magical incantations. Eyes, which, under utterly broken ones, possess the user to becoming less or more than what he once was.
A monster, devil, god, hero. Whatever he is when he’s driven mad with wrath or grief, he creates nothing.
He just erases.
Because of the scale potential of this uncontrollable and indiscriminate destruction, people like Ryner are ostracized by society, if not altogether hunted down like feral dogs, and yet it is ironically that discrimination, most often, that causes otherwise normal people with feelings like our own to become demons to begin with.
It’s discrimination that lead Sion the bastard to become king and Ryner the so-called demon, in part, to spend his days napping lazily on afternoons.
That, and war, kind enough to nobles who declare them, but exceptionally cruel for the people who have to fight, suffer, and die for them.
It’s the same discrimination and war that drives Ryner to develop a thesis on hero relics as a solution to this suffering.
It’s the same that drives Sion to commission Ryner and Ferris to search for them.
For lasting peace. For a “Kingdom of Afternoon Naps.”
However, it’s this same discrimination and war that makes Ryner and Sion retreat into themselves, the former more apathetic, the latter more tyrannical. And here Ferris stands, a supposed tool, stuck in the middle.
As ambitious as all these themes are and these characters are supposed to be, and I think its all pretty ambitious, the show has some stumbling blocks, outside of its generically fantastical surface image, which again, Episode 1 does not help.
The way it presents its themes are not at all really subtle, coming off as a bit preachy at times when expositories are apparently needed, and a bit blunt at others when blood, guts, chains, torture, torn clothes, and more are apparently called for. The show also tries to play kingdom politics without really presenting any of its potential complexities or intrigues, merely organizing the lot of decisions into “good,” “evil,” “naive supposedly naive good good,” and “supposedly greater good, but the road to hell evil” categories. The initial protagonists, the nobles, are left a lot to be desired themselves by just how plainly villainous they are characterized as.
The dialogue’s not without its wit, especially between the three main leads, and the writing’s not without its moving moments, but the former falls into some unfortunate anime stylized conventions, and the latter can end up being melodramatic at times. Animation’s not the most consistent thing, not that I’d heavily mind except for the fact relies significantly on fights to carry itself, with some fights getting better detail and choreography than others. The pacing gets exceptionally rushed towards the conclusion, with an ending that just begs for another season that will most likely never come.
And in spite of these drawbacks, I couldn’t help but be inspired enough by this show to adopt afternoon naps every day to other day as one of my routine standards. That, and captivated by how unapolegetically it portrays the horrors of discrimination and war, how poignantly it portrays our three main characters awful and desperate struggles against both.
Greed abounds, prejudice runs rampant, and the world generally burns. To take afternoon naps and to take action. People usually have one or the other under their belt. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes suggests we do a balance of both. “Kingdom of Afternoon Naps” or not, I’m working on it.