Hagure Yuusha no Estetica First Impressions
July 13, 2012 Leave a comment
I am sure everyone knows the fantasy setting of someone being summoned to a weird and wonderful land where they must become a hero in order to defend its people. This setting has been used in film, fantasy and even anime on numerous occasions to great effect, with some wonderful stories and interesting settings. But all these stories, no matter what magical land they are set in all end in a very similar way, with the hero defeating the great evil and essentially living happily ever after. The closure to such stories, while adequate often leaves a lot of unanswered questions, with questions surrounding the fate of the hero and what happens after he has defeated the great evil. In a sense such tales only give us half the story and due to the structure of the narrative leave out the rest. Hagure Yuusha no Estetica takes a slightly different approach to this classic fantasy genre, and instead of starting when the hero is summoned, instead starts after he has been through his adventure and killed the demon king.
Whereas series such as Zero no Tsukaima focus on the hero and how he adapts to his new surroundings while interacting with its inhabitants, Hagure Yuusha no Estetica is focusing on the goodbyes. It is a series where our main protagonist Ousawa Akatsuki has apparently defeated the great demon king and now wishes to return home. Out introduction to him is when he is trying to escape from the magical world of Areizaado, and it is clear that the kingdoms princess does not want to let him go, sending her maids after him. This gives us some indication as to the back-story of his first adventure; with the introduction of princess Listy who clearly has feelings for Akatsuki, but cannot truly admit to them, as she is the princess of her country. Such a setting, including Akatsuki’s name ‘Maverick Hero’ provides a certain amount of context for his status as a hero without giving us the entire back-story. In a sense it is designed to demonstrate that he had to go through a lot of pain to get where he is and now wishes to return to his world, the story that came before, while important, is not the central theme of this series and is treat as such.
One of the key plot points appears to be Akatsuki’s companion, a pink haired girl named Myuu who happens to be the Demon Lords daughter, and thus and incredibly powerful, and potentially very dangerous person. Through flashbacks we see that Akatsuki did kill the demon lord, or was there when he died, which raises questions about who was good and who was bad. That the Demon Lord entrusts his daughter to Akatsuki, asking him to take care of her and to treat her like a normal human suggests that the world of Areizaado is significantly more complex than a simple fight between good and evil. That she is the daughter of the Demon Lord clearly means that she is powerful, but it is mentioned that if she were tog et into the wrong hands and therefore be used by humans it would only lead to her and humanities demise in a painful and very sad fashion.
It seems clear then that part of the reason for Akatsukis decision to return to his world (aka earth, and quite possibly Japan), is partly to give Myuu a chance at a fairly normal life. There is also the suggestion that it is in part to atone for certain sins that he feels he has accumulated during his time in the other world. His decisions for leaving Areizaado and brining Myuu with him are therefore quite complex, and are both selfish, but also altruistic, with a focus on his willingness to help others and in particular to help the daughter of someone who was supposed to be his enemy. This is all neatly wrapped up in a character who appears to have the reflexes of a god and a slight of hand good enough to steal women’s bras and panties without them even noticing, and while they are still wearing their clothes. You could call Akatsuki a playful, yet serious hero, one who has his own will and goals, but is not adverse to a little fun on the side.
The series itself will take place at what is a special school for those who have been to the magical world and returned. As explained in the episode it appears that thousands of children have been summoned to this world throughout history, and while most never make it back, the few that do have special powers that are similar to magic (known as Samon Syndrome in the series). Akatsuki and Myuu are automatically enrolled in Babel, a pretty mysterious organization that takes in those who have returned and trains them up, allegedly to can do ‘good for the citizens of the world’. Of course considering the organization is called Babel, and that the school Akatsuki and Myuu are attending appears to be a tower something will go wrong eventually. Using biblical references such as the tower of Babel is hardly new, and very often it is done in a clunky or ham-fisted manner, but in this respect it appears to work (at least for now) in an understated fashion.
Interestingly we see both Akatsuki and Myuu getting tested, quite possibly to see what their powers are, but the reasons behind the tests are not made clear, so this is simply speculation. That these tests appear to have coincided with a meeting of what one can only assume is the student council adds weight to the idea that there is something immensely special about Akatsuki and Myuu. Furthermore, it appears that there is a prophecy involving the ‘True Hero’ and ‘Supreme King’, phrases that at this moment in time mean absolutely nothing, but appear to coincide with the return to earth of Akatsuki. It is clear then that this series will partly be about the struggle of Akatsuki and Myuu as they begin to learn about their roles on earth and how they fit into the prophecies of Babel.
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica got off to a good start for me, with a very good opening sequence and music – I do very much like the J-Rock/Visual Kei style of music from Japan more so than J-Pop – that is coupled with a potentially very interesting story. At its heart Hagure Yuusha no Estetica is simply a series about a school where the gifted come to beat the living snot out of each other, much like in series such as Maken-Ki, Ikkitousen and so on. So in general it is nothing new, and we can expect specific obstacles put in the way of Akatsuki and Myuu, no doubt orchestrated by Hikami Kyouya the Student Council President. We have only really been introduced to Akatsuki, Myuu, and to a lesser extent Kyouya, however the case does appear to be significantly larger. Furthermore we do not truly know of any of these characters powers, and have yet to see the massive sword that appears towards the end of the opening, signaling something pretty incredible will happen later on in the series. To me the series looks incredibly enjoyable, and takes a well-used concept, but presents it in an interesting and different manner. I look forward to seeing how the story, and the relationship between Akatsuki and Myuu progresses.