Rokka no Yuusha: Trapped & Paranoid

Rokka no Yuusha is an anime based on a series of light novels by Yamagata Ishio. The light novels are still going too. There’s also an ongoing manga based on the novels. So, in 2015 there was an anime version from Passione, a studio that also did Rail Wars & Haitai Nanafa, which I haven’t seen, and nothing else. They haven’t exactly been the most prolific of studios, but maybe that doesn’t mean much. They haven’t exactly been around for that long. And their few projects could be really good. So, let this serve as my introduction to them as I delve into Rokka no Yuusha.

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Story:

We open with our main protagonist, Adlet, interrupting an exhibition match while declaring himself “the strongest man.” Get used to that line, it gets repeated a lot. Turns out that Adlet really wants to be one of the Braves, six chosen warriors who are destined to fight the demon king. His little stunt lands him in a dungeon and, after spending a long time within, he has a strange dream and wakes up with the Brave’s Crest on his hand. He shouts out that he’s been chosen and gets rescued by Princess Nashetania, who has a Brave’s crest on her upper chest, just below the neck. Which I’m sure is not a design choice to excuse her exposing her cleavage. The two run off to meet with the other Braves.

The biggest fault with the series is that it starts out slow, looking very much like a typical fantasy story. When the series is a third of the way through they introduce a locked room mystery surrounding a seventh Brave where Adlet and his companions are trapped and have to find out who among them is an enemy. At that point, it actually does get interesting. The ending also does drop the ball a bit by promising that the continuation will regurgitate a major plot point from this series. Which could easily become repetitive unless Yamagata is very careful.

In all fairness to the slow start, it is kind of necessary in this case. The series enhances its mystery by setting up the viewer’s expectations for a very typical type of story, including having characters who look pretty readily suspicious, only to subvert those expectations as the series heads towards its climax. I will give the series credit, it is done in quite the clever way. I’ll also give it credit for being excellent at foreshadowing. There are several events that appear to be just part of the world building or ordinary character moments that are actually important when the climax comes around and the series is good about treating them the same way they do the world building and regular character moments. Which results in a climax that’s not telegraphed but has a good amount building up to it. I also will give the ending credit. It does stop at a good point with the promise of more challenges but with a huge one out of the way. It also does craft a sense of paranoia quite well with the seven characters being trapped together, not knowing which one is their enemy. 

Characters:

Like the narrative, the characters are initially set up to look very typical but, as the series progresses, they start demonstrating facets that go beyond the archetypes that you’d associate with them on that basis. At least, most of them do. There are some who are a bit under-developed. Which isn’t particularly surprising, given that there are seven major characters in this and twelve episodes. If there’s a follow up series, maybe those characters will get more to them. And I will give the series credit that even the more under-developed characters get something that advances them above the usual archetype. Even if it isn’t much. About the biggest issue is that the main romance feels a bit forced. Maybe the story develops it better in the stuff that takes place after this, but it starts really abruptly.

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Art:

Take a wild guess at what my major issue with the art in this is. If you’re familiar with my reviews, you can probably guess it easily since it’s probably the complaint I have about art most frequently. Yes, this series has a bit of an issue with fan-service, giving several characters ridiculous outfits. Whether its Fremy’s tiny strip of cloth covering her breasts while her stomach is fully exposed, Nashetania’s fetishy bunny girl thing or Goldov’s muscular stomach being shown in much the same way as Fremy’s outfit, including a tiny strip of cloth covering his chest. So, at least its equal opportunity fan-service. On the positive side, the backgrounds in this are very well detailed. The monster design is superb. These things just look really cool. The action sequences are also nicely done, with smooth, quick action that can be really intense.

Sound:

The acting in this is well done. Saito Soma, Yuuki Aoi, Hikasa Yoko & Suzumura Kenihi all give strong performances and there aren’t any weak ones. The music is good. It was done by Oshima Michiru, who also worked on the music for Fullmetal Alchemist.

Ho-yay:

There really isn’t any.

Final Thoughts:

So, that’s Rokka no Yuusha. As a whole, I really liked it. The subversive aspects work well. There are some strong characters. Ridiculous outfit design aside, the artwork is strong. It has really good acting and music. There are some things that could have been done better, but nothing too substantial. I’m actually really interested in the possibility of a sequel, just because a lot of the establishing stuff is out of the way and it could dedicate more time to fleshing out those aspects. That being said, my rating for this one is a solid 8/10. Next week I’ll look at Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin. Until then, take care.

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