Having fallen to a level that no other has likely gone before, Hajime’s chances of survival wouldn’t be good if he was a powerful adventurer. The only problem is he’s not!
What did you watch?
In a season smothered in Isekai, I thought I should jump in and get my feet wet, so to speak. So, this was Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest episode 1. I’m a big fan of the Isekai style stories, but I knew literally nothing of this series coming in. The title image does have an edgy looking guy with a big gun, so I thought I’d give it a shot… Anyhow, there will be spoilers any minute now.
Hajime wakes in a dark and cavernous room. He doesn’t know how far he’s fallen or even what level he’s on, but he knows it can’t be good. The monsters get tougher and scarier the further down you go, so this can’t be good. Before long, Hajime is running for his life after various monsters ate one another and the victor now has its sights set on him. It unleashes an attack that cleaves Hajime’s left arm clean off, which it then eats.
If Hajime were a strong adventurer things would be tough, but he’s not a gifted warrior and his only real ability is to changes objects form. Luckily for him, he’s able to use the skill to burrow into the rock face to escape from the wild ravenous monster. There he discovers a magical ball with the ability to heal his injuries. Tired, scared, and hungry, Hajime attempts to fight back, killing a couple of monsters and eating their flesh. A strange transformation occurs and he levels up, gaining the monster’s abilities. This might be his ticket to escape.
What did you think?
I was more than a little underwhelmed with the first episode. I have no problem being thrust into the action, but in this instance, it didn’t seem to work all too well. We didn’t know enough about Hajime to really care about him and he’s fairly underwhelming himself. Then all these monsters start appearing and trying to eat him, so he ends up going a little mad and tries to eat them. It all happened a little too quickly. I’m also not a fan of the animation style, so that doesn’t really help.
What was your favourite moment?
It would be when he levelled up after eating the first monster and used his transmogrifying skills to turn the minerals into a gun. Usually, in Isekai it tends to be all fantasy with swords and shields, but with his otherworldly knowledge and ability, he has created a weapon that will no doubt be a game-changer for him.
What was your least favourite moment?
That will be the flashback to the bridge with the CGI skeletons and dragon. It wasn’t a bad scene exactly, but the CGI just made it look terrible. I don’t understand animation studios putting these in when they quite clearly detract from the overall look of the show. Admittedly, it does look like CGI is used a lot, but these just looked terrible.
Who was your favourite character?
There was only really a couple of people that spoke in this episode, but the best character was clearly the enhanced version of Hajime after he’d levelled up and built his weapon. It did seem to happen too quickly and I do wonder if they are trying to hurry along with the cool edgy stuff and ignore a lot of the developmental stuff.
Who was your least favourite character?
Haha! This one’s easy. It’s Hajime… again, but this time before he’s eaten any monster meat. Didn’t That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime basically do the exact same thing? I don’t know which came first in terms of the source material, probably this one, but again it was too quick and we didn’t even get to see how hopeless he was and what he could have done to make one of his classmates attack him. We’re missing a lot of build-up, I think.
Would you like some more?
I really wasn’t sure I was going to write reviews for this series. This episode really left me feeling a little bit ambivalent about it too. There was some cool stuff, but I am worried about the pacing and the structure of the narrative. It is going to be a thirteen-episode season, so I am going to stick with it for now. Sorry, this has hardly been a glowing endorsement.