We’ll Go Hunt The Demon Lord Just as Soon As The Hero Is Done Training
It’s an already crowded market the comedy isekai one. The real problem being that most of them take the exact same approach to the comedy: give the hero one ridiculous gimmick and surround him with characters that each have one joke and repeat ad nauseam. That doesn’t mean they can’t be entertaining but if you’ve watched one comedy isekai you have mostly seen them all and the only real difference is in whether or not you enjoy this gimmick or that zany cast of characters or not. Certainly many of these entries fall into the below average category through sheer lack of effort as they tiredly march out the tropes with no effort to add some glitz or sparkle and still expect audiences to eat them up with delight. Fortunately, provided the characters here click with you, Cautious Hero is actually not all that bad and is at times quite entertaining.
For a lot of viewers in the early episodes, they were thrilled with Ristarte, the blonde and busty goddess novice charged with saving a difficult world from a demon lord who summoned Seiya, a hero who has amazing stats but is ridiculously cautious. For me, Ristarte was tolerable at best but her scenes and her shtick of panting over Seiya or exploding with rage and shouting were actually the low point of the early episodes. Again, to each their own and some people found her hilarious. I just found her irritating and at times her actions made me feel just a bit uncomfortable.
What saved this show from an early drop was Seiya. His point blank refusal to go adventuring at the goddess’ request until he’s trained up his skills and stats, his withering glare and laconic nature all worked perfectly at providing some balance to Ristarte’s noisy presence on the screen. Seiya, as a hero who is doing the heroic thing but very much in his own manner, was great to watch as he kind of scratched an itch I’ve had for a long time to see a hero who didn’t just hope for a power up mid-fight but one who actively prepared and held-off on racing in to save the day until he was sure he actually could. While this wouldn’t work in a story played straight as it would be hard to get behind such a hero it certainly works for a comedy and to be honest I found Seiya to be pretty amusing from start to finish. Admittedly, if he’d been by himself that would be a pretty flat show so I’ll accept that we needed Ristarte’s exuberant character early on for the anime to function.
Cautious Hero falls quickly into a pretty straight routine. Ristarte tells Seiya about the next town, threat or step on the quest and Seiya refuses to budge until training. He then trains solo or enlists the aid of another god to train, usually resulting in the breaking of that god’s fundamental personality, before Ristarte pushes the issue and Seiya declares he is perfectly prepared and they go and face whatever the next thing was. Which is usually then utterly destroyed fairly quickly because Seiya is in to overkill in a very big way.
It is pretty formulaic but each step introduces new characters, either through the gods and goddess who train Seiya, or through the people he meets and interacts with in the world he is trying to save. The party expands when he takes on two dragonkin as bag carriers (they were supposed to assist him in saving the world but whatever) and he also has a few run-ins with various other groups who are trying to save the world but feel Seiya’s brand of heroism is somewhat lacking. That doesn’t mean the story doesn’t start feeling a little stretched but for the most part things sail along at a good pace until we arrive at the climax when things definitely escalate and the formula breaks just enough to deliver a pretty exciting and very firm ending to the series.
That solid ending is definitely a tick in favour of Cautious Hero. The story feels nicely complete and we aren’t left waiting for a continuation that may or may not happen. Not to mention, the final episodes were pretty dramatic. Though that gave the small problem of the comedy elements feeling a little out of place in those final episodes when the comedy had been driving the majority of the show up until that point.
Visually this anime is completely unimpressive. While the character designs are fine they aren’t exactly standing out from others in the genre and then the action is to be honest minimal. Sword fights consist of characters mostly standing still with blurred limbs and swords flailing across the screen or lights flashing before something explodes and things end. Even sequences where characters are just talking and interacting feel oddly lacking in animation. When we throw in fairly forgettable music on top of that we’re looking at an anime that cut a fair number of corners in its production and while it isn’t broken there’s nothing here that is going to be a draw for a viewer.
As I said at the start, for those who enjoy comedic isekai, Cautious Hero is an anime that isn’t breaking free of the pack but it does what it set out to do well enough. Some of the jokes are too repetitive and really pushing to hard to actually be funny, but the cast are pleasant enough to spend time with and the story resolves well. Overall, while this one isn’t the best comedic isekai I’ve watched it certainly isn’t the worst and due to my enjoyment of the protagonist I mostly had a pleasant time with this one and was particularly happy with the ending. However your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for these sorts of stories.
Let’s Talk about how Seiya over-prepares while Ristarte freaks out in Shinchou Yuusha.
Images from: Shinchou Yuusha: Kono Yusha ga Ore Tueee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru. Dir. M Sakoi. White Fox. 2019.