I’m feeling a little sad writing my full season review of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi. It was far and away my favourite anime during the Summer 2021 season and the one anime I consistently looked forward to the next episode of. Sure it pushed boundaries and underneath all the bright and pretty colours was actually a fairly gory and violent piece of entertainment but it was pretty entertaining and had some fairly interesting ideas at play.
The problem is as at episode 11 the story just stops almost mid-sentence. There’s no sense that anything has been resolved and there’s no real climatic battle. It is almost as if they didn’t care where the story was up to when they ran out of episodes.
Which means without another season it makes it pretty much impossible to recommend Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi as an anime no matter how entertaining it may have been. I can’t even suggest reading the source because a lot of what I loved about this anime was the animation, colour and music, all of these things will be lost by reading a manga so I somehow doubt I would find the story as enthralling in that medium.
Basically, as much as I loved aspects of this, I won’t buy the DVD of such an incomplete story, I probably won’t rewatch because I know there’s no resolution, and really it just leaves you feeling somewhat less than satisfied.
If only it had given us something in its ending or resolved an issue I may have left the series feeling a bit differently.
What is Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi about?
For those who didn’t watch it during the season, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi follows a group of young Idaten (more or less gods) who came into being after the last generation of Idaten sealed away the demons. These new Idaten have only known peace so are more or less taken by surprise when demons show up again.
Of course, the story is a lot more than that as it looks at the very nature of gods and how they might actually view humans. It also gives the demons a lot of characterisation and really fleshes out their motives. There’s also some commentary on war, peaceful ideals, and for an anime that spends so much time with characters training to punch each other there’s a lot of focus on the more intellectual characters who are planning things behind the scenes.
The plot moves along at a quick pace as we go from the young Idaten discovering that demons exist, to identifying where they’ve made their base, dealing with the political fall-out of disrupting a major power in the world before taking down the country that supports the demons, and even the fall-out after that as we time skip forward and finish with the demons fighting back. Which is where Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi abruptly ends and leaves us without any kind of closure.
Along the way we’ll have some explosive battles, a lot of training sequences, and meet a range of interesting characters.
The characters for the most part are what gives Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi a lift from just being a relatively forgettable action story. While Rin and Hayato from the Idaten side remain pretty flat throughout as they seem to be very much representative of standard shounen tropes, Ysley, Paula and the late entry of Gil more than make up for it as each brings an interesting perspective and trait to the group. I don’t know that Gil really had enough time to be fleshed out but her existence makes for an interesting discussion and potentially she could be quite interesting.
It is however the demonic characters, even those that are fairly quickly snuffed out, that really sell the story. Right from the early episodes I was amazed that this anime hadn’t taken a monster of the week approach, sending out one mindless henchmen after another to be beaten up by the good guys (such as Sailor Moon and many other stories have done).
Instead, the demons offered a range of interesting personalities and for the most part demonstrated shrewd intelligence. They also demonstrated a range of human characteristics. The Empress Brandy even surprised herself when realising that the demon empire was about to fall she chose to send her biological children away in the hopes that they would survive.
But we can’t talk characters without looking at Miku.
Miku has a lot of potential as a character. She’s a demon but not physically strong as apparently she was some experiment in the blending of human and demon that didn’t go quite right, but she is brilliant. Her ability to see through the plots and plans of her enemies and to determine when it is time to cut and run make her quite a formidable opponent and honestly I kind of love that aspect of her.
The part I love a little less is ties up in how over-sexualised she is as a character. If done in a more nuanced way, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi could have potentially given us a sexually liberated and confident demon who made some kind of commentary on societies taboos. Instead what we get is a story that occasionally throws in some really confronting material such as rape and molestation seemingly more for shock factor than anything else and Miku, who is constantly engaging in some kind of sexualised act even when it serves no narrative purpose and at times actually distracts.
It would have been quite interesting to see such a character in a somewhat more mature form and less shock factor for the sake of it as Miku’s combination of brains and sexuality could have made her quite the unique character. Certainly she’s pretty memorable as is.
Aside from the characters, the visuals of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi are a feast for the eyes. One might also say that at times they are obnoxiously bright as they obscure blood splatter through the use of neon colours and almost every fight sequence ends up being an explosion of colour on the screen. Right from the OP, Seija no Koushin, (which is also just awesome to listen to) you get a sense that this anime really wanted to make you pay attention to it visually.
Basically, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi is one of those anime that I would love to call brilliant. Even with the few negatives in it and being that little bit over the top and at times lacking in subtlety, it was doing enough that was unique or different or just interesting to really hold my attention and it was fun. Even when the subject matter is quite monstrous there’s always this sense that it wants to be entertaining rather than depressing.
Unfortunately, without an ending, this one will be one of those anime that I hope eventually continues and in the meantime I’ll move on. If that goes on long enough I’ll probably forget about Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi which is a bit of a shame. When looking at the field of fantasy action anime, this one certainly had potential to be a stand out from the crowd.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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