Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World – 1st Episode Review
Synopsis: Embroiled in a hundred-year war, young Iska is sent to assassinate the Ice Calamity Witch, Aliceliese. Meant to murder each other, their initial encounter on the battleground creates doubt in their missions, but finding common ground together would make them traitors to their own countries. Though circumstances previously made them enemies, their now conflicted hearts may just make them lovers! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Our Last Crusade offers up an as old as time itself premise; powerful members of opposing factions meet, fall in love and find their affections the catalyst to peace and unification between the warring parties. There’s likely to be passionate forbidden meetings and lots of heartache and drama as our two lovers try to keep their romance going as the war rages on. It’s definitely a story you have seen in one form of the other, so that does dock the show several points in originality but its saving grace is that it also hasn’t been done to death in recent anime seasons unlike say stories with an isekai setting, making it feel semi-fresh for this particular medium.
Tom: Because it’s such a tried and true tale across fiction maybe that’s why Our Last Crusade doesn’t seem to put a lot of effort into fleshing out its setting. In fact, we rush through establishing exposition, making this war between two kingdoms feel overly distant and ill-defined. Because there’s a lack of definition to the conflict, as well as a lack of visuals that sell us on just how brutal this one-hundred year was has been, it becomes difficult to believe the characters we’re meeting are living through a war that stretches back before they were even born. In fact, there’s quite a few niggling elements to Our Last Crusade that don’t make logical sense. We open with Iska, the empire’s newest and greatest soldier, freeing a kidnapped Witch from prison. For his treason he’s sentenced to one year in prison. But when he’s later released, and given the task of hunting down their enemies’ greatest witch, Aliceliese, his former comrades don’t seem to have any qualms with his treacherous actions. That feels really strange for a setting where both kingdoms are bitter enemies that have allowed a one-hundred year war to stretch on. Heck, where’s all the propaganda? How do they convince the populace that a never ending conflict like this absolutely needs to continue? Later on we learn Aliceliese has a passion for the opera, specifically one certain play that focuses on two star-crossed lovers, on opposing sides of a war (on the nose much?) Why would a kingdom that holds little but hatred for their enemy allow a more humanizing play like this to run? It’s little details like these that make Our Last Crusade feel as if only the most minimal of thought has been put into this tale or that ending the war for lovers Aliceliese and Iska is going to be easy, as no one really has the stomach for it anymore.
Linny: What further hinders Our Last Crusade’s overall appeal is how bland or basic a fair chunk of its cast feels right now. While Iska has some mystery to him as someone who broke an ‘enemy’ witch out of captivity for reasons yet unknown, the rest of his team feel like shallow tropes, especially the female characters, who feel more so aimed at catering to a male audience’s gaze than anything else. We have the clumsy, childish captain, Mismis Klass who speaks and acts like a kid, making you question how she even got to that rank (I remain exceedingly dubious she’s 22 like she claims.) Despite her baby voice and stature, she is very voluptuous like near every other featured female character. Then there’s Nene, who is also equally perky and extremely affectionate, immediately hugging Iska and coming off as basically more eye candy/fan service. Even Aliceliese, our heroine, though initially framed as a most powerful opponent, is in truth no match for the hero, as she is quickly shown to be just a squealing maiden at heart who can’t get enough stories of forbidden love. The only other male character who gets a fair amount of screen time besides Iska is his team mate, Jhin who for now seems to be the token snarky teammate who makes mean and teasing digs at their clumsy Captain. These hollow and basic characterizations coupled with the lack of logic are major issues Our Last Crusade will have to overcome in order to really sell itself. Unless you are someone with a penchant for tales of forbidden love like Miss Aliceliese, it feels difficult to heartily recommend Our Last Crusade as a worthy addition to the new season.
Tom: Our Last Crusade is half-baked, suffering tropey characters, poorly written women, a distinct lack of logic to the portrayal of its war-time setting and more. I don’t think there’s a single redeeming quality, as the show isn’t even all that visually impressive. It’s not bad, but just sort of ‘there’ with acceptable action and typical, unmemorable character designs. This title is best left off your watch list.