Wise Man’s Grandchild – Anime Preview
Synopsis: A young man dies in a car accident and is reborn in a magical new world. The old, yet wise Merlin finds the boy, names him Shin, raises him from infancy, and teaches him combat and powerful magic along the way. 15 years later, Shin is ready to travel the globe on his own, but Merlin forgot to teach him something major—common sense! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Visually Wise Man’s Grandchild stands out this spring, offering fairly crisp animation and artistic style to keep action scenes eye-catching. Outside of a few early scenes depicting Shin’s life in Japan, before dying and being reborn in a magical new world, the episode looks uniformly good. Even comedy scenes have a ton of life to them as character designs and faces shift to hammer home the gags. It’s not a quick cash grab, or obviously troubled production, giving the series an immediate appeal on visual strength alone.
Linny: What’s also notable about Wise Man’s Grandchild is how cumbersome our hero’s overpowered capabilities are treated as. When the full extent of his current abilities are revealed to his family and friends on his fifteenth birthday, while they are impressed, there’s also plenty of scolding from a grandmother figure and the others quickly acknowledge that his powers could cause nations to fight over him, wanting to recruit him for their army. There is no dramatic twist like his powers could kill the ones he loves but rather a pragmatic approach which feels refreshing, compared to so many other Isekai where main character’s are simply overpowered, with little to no repercussions or consequences. However, once that scene is over, everyone quickly goes from sounding as if they need to hide him from the world to enrolling him into a school where his powers would surely catch other’s attention. Making matters worse (specially from a female viewer’s perspective) is the fact that while we get capable female characters, the episode introduces Shin’s likely love interest TITS first. That’s right! When the episode first zooms in on her, they start from her breasts, which is something that comes off so crude and insulting as if her breasts are what’s most important about her, undoing a lot of the goodwill it garnered by having strong and capable female characters before that.
Tom: The things Wise Man’s Grandchild gets wrong don’t stop there. A big question lingers over this first episode: Why is this an Isekai? After those first few minutes in Japan learning about Shin’s overworked life none of it comes to matter again. While most Isekai never go back to the world the MC came from, their previous life holds some influence over the character’s actions, yet here Shin seems to have no ties to his origins. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has the hero’s dying wishes hold complete dominion over what he comes back as once reborn. In Konosuba, Kazuma’s knowledge of games and hilariously pathetic death largely influence the way in which he interacts with the new world he’s transported to. Re:Zero has the MC utilize his flip-phone to great degree. So many of these Isekai find ways to tie characters back to who they used to be, but here Shin’s origins mean next to nothing thus far, giving Wise Man’s Grandchild this weird ‘so what?’ feeling. Why isn’t this just a typical fantasy story?
Linny: Something else that stands out is how peculiar Wise Man’s aesthetics are. For some reason, at Shin’s 15th birthday celebration, Shin is wearing an honest to God modern day suit whereas almost everyone is wearing more medieval style clothing. Why is he wearing something that looks so extremely out of place? Did he conjure them up using magic or is there apparently some store that sells men’s suits in this magical fantasy world but everyone else just prefers to wear typical fantasy style clothing? If so, how has this suit store not gone under? It may seem like a negligible and silly complaint to some but it does speak to how erratic Wise Man’s world building is. This and all the other points we’ve mentioned so far lead me to declare Wise Man’s Grandchild an average Isekai at best. Yes, you could do a lot worse and the show does offer up some decent comedy and interesting story elements but it’s execution is uneven and it has yet to actually utilize its status as and reason for being an Isekai. If you’re always happy to pick up another Isekai, go ahead and add this show to your watchlist. But if you’re on the fence or not especially enamoured with the genre, there’s nothing in the show that makes it exceptional enough to make it worth your time.
Tom: Wise Man’s Grandchild also suffers a boat load of exposition in this first episode, choosing to hammer in as much information as possible. Some of it feels natural, some feels forced for the audiences’ benefit, but no matter what drags this introductory episode down to a crawl. The comedy helps to alleviate this, but only so much, and not enough to make me willing to recommend this series. As Isekai comedy goes it doesn’t come close to Konosuba. Then again, I’ve seen worse, and that puts Wise Man’s Grandchild as another middle of the road entry into the pantheon of endless Isekai.
Wise Man’s Grandchild is available for streaming via Funimation.