Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Hajime Nagumo and his high school class are suddenly summoned to a fantastical land as heroes. But while most of his classmates have powerful stats and abilities, Hajime does not. Underappreciated and unprepared, he tumbles into the depths of a monster-infested dungeon where voracity and sacrifice are his only options. To thrive in this savage world, he’ll have no choice but to welcome the abyss. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Arifureta makes it intended audience clear early on when it kicks things off with a naked and bound girl featured heavily in the opening credits and a fair number of the other female characters in revealing costumes or pandering camera angles, making it feel like the girls exist to either need rescuing by or to fawn and fuss over our male protagonist. And for the squeamish viewer, while the show hasn’t been super graphic, the very first episode shows our hero getting his arm slashed off and then devoured by a creature, so that’s worth noting.
Tom: Arifureta rushes through its opening set up, going so far as to condensing its Isekai origin story to a quick couple shots in the opening credits! We snap back and forth between Hajime Nagumo’s present situation, trapped deep inside a horrific labyrinth of powerful monsters, and the snippets of events that lead him to that predicament. It’s an interesting choice, one that tries to give the audience the bare minimum of information needed so instead the series can focus on the mental collapse of its hero as he goes from timid to brutal and crazed all in order to survive such extreme hardship. The trouble is, for as interesting as that psychological journey is, the rest of the story feels too jumbled to be worthwhile. It doesn’t help that the writing often feels lazy and convenient, crafting a scenario woven exclusively to turn our timid protagonist into that crazed warrior all by episode’s end.
Linny: How lazy and convenient is the writing you ask? Well apparently consuming the flesh of a wolf like creature gives Hajime the ability to assess minerals and materials, which apparently then gives him the ability to fashion a magic gun even though nobody else in the world seems to use one and he’s supposed to be just an ordinary, timid school boy. Where and how did he gain the knowledge to make a working gun all alone in the depths of a labyrinth? Not to mention the fact that he spouts out loud exposition dialogue to himself clearly, and painfully, meant for the audience’s benefit.
Tom: Arifureta’s concept interested me. Most Isekai begin as out and out power fantasies, with titles like The Rising of the Shield Hero few and far between. I was intrigued by the idea of a hero who’s worthless gradually having to build himself up into the toughest of Isekai warriors. The trouble is Arifureta is like most Isekai: an out and out power fantasy. These typical Isekai aren’t so much interested in the journey into the hero, but the end result. That end result can be fun, but if the journey there is as haphazard and conveniently written as it is here, then the power fantasy offered feels equally as thin and underwhelming. If you’re an Isekai fan and just want the same old stuff with a tint of the psychological, edgy, and brutal then Arifureta should satisfy. Everyone else can call this an easy pass.
Linny: The lazy writing is done no favours by the use of poor CGI, employed in the episode to depict a horde of skeleton enemies as well as a giant Minotaur like monster that look shiny and clash with their surroundings to a distracting degree. The contrived plot developments only further cement this show’s fate as yet another isekai tailored to fuel the power fantasy of young boys and limit its viewership solely to that group.
Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest is available for streaming via Funimation.com