To Be Hero – Mid Season Review
Note: Due to injury, Linny will be taking a diminished roll through the Mid Season reviews. She will return for the full reviews at the end of the season.
To Be Hero:
Original Air Dates: October 5th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: ‘Old Man’ is a very attractive, but terrible slob and failure as a father. He works as a toilet seat designer, divorced from his wife, and lives with his daughter, Min-chan, who is both very smart and athletic. However, one day after coming home scolded by his daughter for hitting on another pack of floozies, Old Man takes a dump and gets sucked down into the toilet bowl and sewers! There he’s given an important job by a strange muscular individual: to become a hero and save the world! As Old Man returns to his normal life he discovers his good looks are gone, replaced with a chubby frame in exchange. Now he must battle to protect the Earth and his daughter Min-chan!
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: To Be Hero is unrefined, particularly in its animation style. It feels a tad crude at times, rough around the edges, but perhaps perfectly fitting in with the series’ wildly gross and inappropriate comedy stylings. Indeed To Be Hero’s presentation perfectly captures its crass humor that was, initially, uneven. The series’ first episode is wildly unstable, often allowing jokes to go on long after they’ve stopped being funny.
But unlike its animation, the writing improves and changes over the course of the series. Comedy gets reigned in, jokes stop getting dragged out and the entire thing begins to feel well constructed and put together, if still rough around the edges. Greater avenues of humor pop up, and To Be Hero begins to master its balancing act very shortly after its premiere, improving with every single episode all the way. In fact, I’d say each episode has been better by the last, almost a meta commentary on the gradual growth and character development of its lead character: Old Man.
Surprisingly, despite its crass and crude trappings, To Be Hero has a heart, telling a tale of redemption for the Old Man as he comes to realize just how much he’s failed as a father. It’s not exactly original, but it is done well and can feel generally moving, at least better than most Short Form anime normally offer.
But the show’s true wheelhouse is its ever evolving comedy. Villains are often little more than one offs, but offer such fresh, on point, and well utilized comedy, never outstaying its welcome, that they feel fun every time. Other side characters, such as the Old Man’s daughter, Min-chan, get varrying degrees of screen time and development. In Min-chan’s case, while she serves the role of emotional center piece to the Old Man’s development, she herself isn’t a classic damsel in distress, tough enough to hold her own against the onslaught of villains descending upon Earth. Part of that is due to her voice actress’ budding talent, lending a sense of indepedence to the character. Although more emotional moments for Min-chan conversely could’ve used a few more takes to truly sell her saddened state.
All that said, the humor is indeed crude, crass and ultimately gross. It skirts the lines of comfort many viewers hold and will sometimes outright stray over that line with dirty gags that would make many uncomfortable. But for crowds more in tune with South Park’s offerings, To Be Hero is a wealth of enjoyable humor.
To Be Hero is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com