So far The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest has proven to be an utterly generic fantasy anime.
The word generic gets thrown a lot particularly with adventure fantasy anime and it is almost always used as a derisive term or at least one of resignation and disappointment. Almost as though novelty must appear in a story for it to have value. I don’t necessarily agree with that generally finding that generic fantasy can work just fine provided it is done in an interesting way so when I say The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest is incredibly generic I’m not necessarily dismissing this title (at least not yet).
Naturally there are plenty of isekai anime out there that seem to just rehash an old formula with minimal care or effort and the end results are pretty dull and trite. Now The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest isn’t actually an isekai but it may as well be in terms of the tropes its employing and the main character has been reborn, just in the same world he was from and generations in the future.
The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest hasn’t left much impression yet.
So is The Strongest Sage actually putting in any effort?
Hard to say. This anime by from J.C. Staff has so far not left much of an impression and kind of blends in with a lot of other fantasy titles by the same studio. Though I do have a soft spot for the studio given they are responsible for DanMachi which I love.
The first episode of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest rushes through introducing some super power warrior defeating a monster in a near nuclear display of magical power before he laments that he can’t get any stronger with the crest he was born with in that life. So he promptly casts a really flashy spell and then we jump to 12 year old Mathias heading to the capital to enrol in an academy.
On the way he defeats a crazy strong monster, enchants a sword and during the tests he defeats the captain of the guard in swordsmanship and practically blows up the magical testing grounds.
So yeah, pretty much your usual I’ve been reborn and have massively over-developed skills and yet I’ll still be fairly sweet and humble and by the way the cute girls I helped by enchanting that sword are also really sweet and nice and we’ll all instantly be best friends with a love interest thrown in for good measure.
Other than the crests themselves, there’s nothing going on here to distinguish The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest from dozens of other fantasy anime and even the idea of crests on the hands to show someone’s power has been used in more than one other story. Coupled with the most generic of generic protagonists and pretty much I can understand why some viewers would be wondering why they are bothering to watch something they’ve seen before.
More than that, this first episode doesn’t just stop at the entry into school. In twenty minutes it continues to hold the entrance ceremony, outline why magic has become weak, recruits Mathias to assist in teaching the other students chantless magic and we go to a tournament between schools where Mathias destroys the competition and reveals one of the students to be a demon before cutting it down.
Potentially The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest was aware its premise and set-up was pretty ordinary and we’ve seen similar stories before so it is trying to cut through that so it can move on with the story to something we maybe haven’t seen, but it is still a really rushed introduction and one that leaves me pretty indifferent to Mathias Hildesheimr.
Weirdly though it wasn’t actually bad, just not particularly good. So the question of whether The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest is worth watching more becomes one of ‘are you in the mood for something generic that might become something better?’. For me, whether I continue to watch this particular fantasy anime becomes a question of what other fantasy anime will already be on my line up.
That said, so far The Strongest Sage is giving me Kenja no Mago vibes or something similar to that and I actually found that kind of relaxing to watch. But that isn’t to say it won’t end up feeling more like Isekai Cheat Magician which mostly left me wondering why I’d wasted my time.
Images from: The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest. Dir. N Akitaya. J.C.Staff. 2022
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