At first glance it seems like I didn’t really like watching Banished From The Hero’s Party particularly during the mid-season where I was expressing a fair amount of indifference to it. And realistically, indifference is where I’ll be in a few weeks as any memory of this anime vanishes from my memory.
Except that there’s one or two things about Banished From The Hero’s Party that will out last any memory of anything else that happened during its run and weirdly because my mind will fixate on those couple of points rather than the ho-hum nature of most episodes, if I do think about this anime again in a few months or a year I might actually recall it being significantly better than it actually is.
So I’m going to need to break this down now because while this is a perfectly adequate slice-of-life fantasy anime it is one of those mid-tier affairs with very little outside of one or two points to really recommend it and in a sea of anime this is one that really doesn’t need to be prioritised for viewing.
Banished From The Hero’s Party meanders but maybe that’s what you are looking for.
The title of ‘Banished From The Hero’s Party, I Decided To Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside’ pretty much tells you the set-up for this story. Red, who used to be Gideon, left the hero’s party after the Sage (Ares) told him he was holding them back because he wasn’t strong enough to support them anymore. Agreeing, in his own way, Red decided what he wanted to do with his life post adventuring hero was open his own apothecary shop in a small town kind of away from everything.
Of course he first has to earn funds for that venture and so initially works as a low level adventurer which gives him time to build relationships with many of the people in town and then he builds his shop. Also, a Princess who also acts as an adventurer who knew him before, known as Rit, just happens to come across him, decides to hand up her adventurer’s hat and moves in with him.
Their day to day lives take up the bulk of most episodes and while there are some really great relationship moments between them (more on that later) their pursuit of the ‘quiet life’ as they have picnics, visit saunas and generally manage a shop just isn’t that interesting and that’s kind of why the mid-season ends up feeling pretty empty. Which could work for a slice-of-life but the slices need to be interesting or charming and here the supporting cast in the village are pretty dull and there just isn’t much to hold your interest.
However, Banished From The Hero’s Party doesn’t forget about the hero’s party and most episodes end, or at some point cut across, to a few moments with them. Turns out Red was a lot more needed than even he realised as the party are now frequently getting lost, are unable to negotiate with others for what they need and are generally miserable. Also turns out he’s the hero’s sister and while her blessing, being the hero, makes her fairly cold and unfeeling eventually she decides enough is enough and heads out to find her brother.
That kind of brings all the plot threads from both Red’s life in the village and the hero’s party together as all the characters collide for a series finale that actually feels a lot more satisfying than it perhaps should and realistically that is the second reason I’m feeling this anime was better than it actually was. I’m a sucker for a good finish and that most of the plot ideas did come together and we finally resolved the situation with Ares and the Hero and well pretty much everything except perhaps the demon lord who may or may not still threaten humanity really left me feeling this ended on a high note.
The other reason Banished From The Hero’s Party left a positive impression was the super cute relationship between Red and Rit. There’s a lot of the usual blushing, saying something suggestive and then looking away, but there’s also genuine warmth and affection between the two and their relationship progresses smoothly throughout the series in a way few anime manage as they usually force characters into a holding pattern.
Honestly, Red and Rit are going to be remembered long after I forget everything else about this anime because this was definitely one of the better romances I’ve seen in a fantasy anime and it isn’t the main plot. Their romance is just another thing that happens in their time in the town.
But I do then need to remember the things that Banished From The Hero’s Party didn’t do so well. Such as creating any supporting characters who were in anyway interesting or in anyway felt like real people. Or the whole premise of characters having blessings that sometimes had such strong impulses people would go on killing sprees but at other times didn’t seem to affect the person at all. it seemed inconsistent and the explanations we got of blessing didn’t do much to clarify.
Banished From The Hero’s Party also had some serious pacing issues. We’d go from sleepy and stalled daily life to suddenly a mob forming in the town and conspiracies involving drug trafficking and demons and it felt like someone just decided they’d gotten bored and so had kicked the hornets nest just to shake things up. Likewise the cutting between Red’s life and the hero’s party were clearly meant to show how his life had changed and the impact on his absence, but the two plot lines were so disparate that each time we cut from one to the other was jarring.
Visually the character designs are super cute with main characters getting adorable though not entirely functional clothing and armour but the supporting cast, once again, is short changed in Banished From The Hero’s Party and their designs and clothing are all pretty bland and forgettable. Likewise the fantasy setting is nice and bright but generic. Even the ‘elven ruins’ they set the final conflict in have pretty much no distinguishing traits.
Honestly though, Banished From The Hero’s Party is easy enough to watch but it wouldn’t be my first recommendation if you were looking for fantasy. On the other hand, they do wrap up the plot pretty well which means you at least aren’t left hanging out for a sequel (though they did leave some room for continuing the story) and the relationship between the main two characters is sweet. So if you do watch it you should find something to enjoy.
As always, I’d love to know your thoughts so if you watched Banished From The Hero’s Party, I Decided To Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside leave us a comment.
Images from: ‘Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided To Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside‘. Dir. M Hoshino. Studio Flad and Wolfsbane. 2021
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