Radiant – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Seth dreams of being a great sorcerer. He wants to be powerful and defeat the Némésis, monsters that come down from the sky. But his eagerness constantly gets him into trouble. He can’t seem to avoid angering the villagers and even his guardian, Alma. One day, an enormous Némésis really attacks the village! Determined to save the world, Seth embarks on a journey in search for the “Radiant,” the legendary lair of the Némésis. Making new friends, fighting tough enemies, and confronting hardships, Seth’s adventure begins! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Radiant screams classic, staple Shonen from the get go with its ‘grand’ voice over opening that will remind you of many other shonen offerings. Even the comical and colourful aesthetics are going to remind you of a similar approach to visuals and designs found in many a popular shonen title.
Tom: And that’s Radiant’s biggest issue. It feels like its checking boxes, making sure it features everything and anything a shonen fan could ask for. We’ve got the underdog lead facing hate from society that feels just a few steps away from being a Naruto rip off. We’ve got the hidden secret power angle, a prickly mentor, and such. Maybe this stems from Radiant’s french origins. The anime is actually based off a french manga, the art clearly reminiscent of Japan’s unique visual style. By wanting to recreate something uniquely Japanese, Radiant feels like perhaps it falls too much in the shadow of the cultural medium it so seeks to replicate. [Edit: Unfamiliar with the manga myself, a twitter user notes that this first episode suffers major changes from the original manga. So perhaps it’s the anime team, readjusting the original french work to fall more in line with ‘typical’ expectations.]
Linny: Continuing on with checking things off on the shonen stereotypes and staples checklist, our hero, Seth is, like so many shonen protagonists before, a well meaning but mischievous young lad who dreams of being the most powerful ‘something something’ and saving the world but for now, only causing more headache for those around him. He even has the tragic backstory of belonging to a class of society that’s mocked and derided by everyone else, looked down upon as good for nothing besides a singular purpose. As Shonens go, Radiant is actually competent and manages to check things off and integrate shonen tropes in a style that should please any devoted fan. But for anyone long tired of the genre or less enamored, Radiant will unfortunately come off feeling like yet another shonen to be forgotten.
Tom: I’ve ragged on Radiant, but the truth is its competent. All the elements it uses, it uses well. It’s just tired, the same with its comedy. Truly good shonen either innovate (One Piece, Dragon Ball, Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter x Hunter) or adhere and utilize the classic tropes so well (My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man) that they stand out. As it is now Radiant doesn’t stand out. It feels a lot like a shonen that’ll ultimately be forgotten to time, because it has nothing unique to say. All that said, if all you want out of it is another story about an underdog hero who’ll set out on a quest to save the world, Radiant so far seems to nail that perfectly.