Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst – 1st Episode Review

Synopsis: Based on the popular RPG game from KLab. In the Wahrheit Empire, humanity’s spirit remains fragmented from a disaster in the past where many lives were lost to bloodthirsty monsters who were once summoned. But the fate of the capital is about to drastically change when shy transport worker Inumael and naive Empire soldier Leocadio get caught up in a smuggling incident. (Official Funimation Synopsis)

You need to work on your poker face.

1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):

Magatsu Wahrheit is one of those anime adaptations where it feels like this has been made with fans of the game in mind. Throughout the episode I couldn’t help but feel just a tad lost, like I didn’t fully understand the show’s world and exactly why events were taking place. There’s a level of assumed knowledge here, which keeps unfamiliar viewers from getting totally sucked in.

The episode starts with either a flash forward or flash back, it’s hard to tell. A man in robes says something about the prophecy of dawn, and thrusts a crystal into an apparatus. From there light blasts out across a city, tearing buildings apart and horrifying onlookers. Normally, a scene like that would gradually become explained through exposition, trickled in throughout the rest of the episode, letting attentive viewers realize and piece together exactly what they’d bee shown. But Magatsu cuts away from that scene to talk about something else entirely, making it hard to ascertain how relevant, and in what way, any of the preceding introduction truly was.

He trained hard for his protagonist role.

The basic gist of Magatsu isn’t too hard to follow though. You have a kingdom that’s suffering from an increased threat of monster attacks, citizens arming themselves, crime thus on the rise, and the government barring down in order to maintain control. From there we meet Leocadio, a fledgling trainee in the Empire’s army. He’s kind, friendly, but overall bland. And that’s where we get to Magatsu’s greatest failing: Its characters.

For all the assumed knowledge that hampers interest, Magatsu could overcome that as long as it treated us to endearing, immediately lovable characters. But Leocadio simply isn’t. He’s not a bad guy, we don’t hate him, but he remains so under-explored because so much more time is devoted to establishing a nearing conflict between rebels and the government. There’s no effort made to make Leocadio someone we love and adore. There’s little unique, special or memorable about him. He really could just be any typical soldier. The same goes for the series’ secondary lead, Inumael, a transport driver who is accidentally caught up in the rebels schemes. He’s ever so slightly more likable, as it’s not hard to sympathize with someone who gets caught up in disastrous events they had nothing to do with, but again outside of learning he has a sister, there’s little to his character that makes us actively root for him. There’s a time and place for making characters into every-mans, but when you have a fantasy world you’re throwing the audience into, we absolutely need characters that spark.

The saga of lost packages continues, even in fiction.

Still, Magatsu isn’t the worst I’ve seen this season. It’s got a solid plot concerning rebels vs. a potentially tyrannical government; and two decent individuals who end up caught on opposing sides. And to be fair, this first episode is called Getaway Part 1, giving the sense that they don’t really expect viewers to become enthralled until the opening tale is concluded (Though, if that’s the case it probably should have been an hour premiere.) I also assume that once the story truly gets going, and Leocadio and Inumael end up as true enemies, that perhaps that dynamic will bear fruit that can hold audiences attention. As it stands now though, I think Magatsu is best left off your watch list, unless you’re hurting for something to watch, as the fall season has otherwise been pretty strong.

Take it or Leave it: Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst makes the mistake of throwing audiences into the deep end of its fantasy setting, and only compounds its error with lead characters that simply do not impress.

 

 

Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst is available for streaming via Funimation.com

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