Cute Girls Do Hero Things? Go ENDRO!
I’m going to honestly say I wasn’t planning on watching Endro! The cutesy characters and pastel colours shining on all the images I saw of the anime prior to watching were more or less a flashing warning sign to stay away. It was Matt from Anime Q and A who suggested I should try this one after the first episode aired. Now, if you follow both of our blogs you will know our tastes in anime are vastly different as is our hook for watching, and yet knowing that Matt still suggested I give this one a go. That certainly got me curious.
While Endro didn’t end up being an anime that wowed me, I am kind of glad he made me pay attention to it. For all that the slice of life and the cute girls doing cute things tropes are definitely there, the fantasy setting and the comedy built around the heroes defeating the demon lord which is such a vastly overused setting actually work pretty well. There’s certainly a range of reasons to try Endro and depending on what sort of anime you like there’s different things you might take away from it.
Now generally when an anime tries its hand at too many things what you end up with is a convoluted mess. Endro is actually pretty skillful at working its different aspects together. The opening sequence is the class scene you would normally see at the end of a story with the four heroes finally attacking the demon lords stronghold and making their way toward the final foe. The fact that the heroes are four pastel and scantily armoured girls in this instance is just something you can put down to anime at the time because otherwise the scene is playing out exactly as you would expect.
However, as the heroes launch their final spell you notice things aren’t exactly going right and soon we are back in time with the demon lord now an obnoxious loli character who decides to become a teacher at the school the girls who will become the heroes are attending in order to ensure that they never become a threat to her.
From fantasy, to self-aware satire, and then into a slice of life school life kind of story, the transitions are relatively seamless and all seem fairly logical at the time. Where it is less appealing is that as we move away from the adventuring to the school living side of things my overall interest in the characters took a dive. Still it wasn’t as though the story just jammed itself in neutral after it got there.
At fairly nicely spaced intervals the girls go on other adventures and face other dangers. So those enjoying the fantasy quest angle will get enough to hold their interest, just as those who enjoy the quiet moments talking about dreams in the school dorm will get their fill. As I said, it is a rarity, but Endro does balance things nicely and never leaves you waiting too long. Where it didn’t quite succeed for me was the main characters themselves.
Don’t get me wrong. They’re all beautiful and charming in their own way with sufficient diversity in hair colour and personality to pull off a reasonable group dynamic. Yet individually none of them were all that compelling and really, for the slice of life elements to do more than mark time (for me) I really need some kind of actual connection with the characters involved. Here they were fine. Which made watching those segments fine. But would I do it again? Probably not.
The cast is made a little less thrilling in the earlier episodes by how truly annoying and childish the demon lord is in her schemes. Later on, they manage to make her character far more interesting and a little bit likeable, but she’s hard to take early on in the series, unless you find her funny in which case you’ll probably like those moments a great deal more than I did. Still, I would have liked a little more ‘thought’ in some of her plans as she is given a prime opportunity to do away with her potential killers and yet she’s almost laughably bad at it (laughably bad is not the same as actually funny).
Though it isn’t all bad news from a character point of view. As mentioned, they are all very cute, which is probably a must for the cute girls doing cute whatever fans out there. And then we have the introduction of the Princess, Rona, who really turns things on their heads on her arrival. Few characters get an introduction episode like Rona and honestly, she’s a breath of fresh air, manages to comment on the role of Princesses in stories and on same gender romance, and is just a fun character all in one package. Admittedly, she has diminishing returns after her first appearance, but it was quite a solid entrance.
I will admit that I was a little fatigued with the comedy aspect of Endro by around the three-quarter mark but I’m glad I hung in there. This story does get a nice and complete ending and overall there’s a lot more to like in the show than there is to criticise.
There’s also a very weird focus on food throughout the story. Maybe it is part and parcel of the slice of life genre but whether it is camping out, preparing a meal for a sick teacher, or just dreaming, there’s an ongoing food obsession in this story. Part of that probably comes from one of the characters nibbling on another’s ear when she gets hungry and there’s no food, but they really do find the weirdest moments to bring food up and make it a feature.
If you want your fill of cute girls doing hero things in a fantasy world, Endro is definitely worth a try. While it may not work for everyone, there’s plenty of appealing attributes and for once they’ve thought about how to make it all come together. The end result is relatively satisfying to watch even if not the most compelling.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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