This one has a pretty poor reputation but I like to make my own mind up about things and the funny premise meant that I couldn’t resist buying it. The main character is a 15 year old boy called Touya who is introduced to us when he has died and is meeting God. He is told that his death was an accident and God is very embarrassed by his mistake. To make up for it, he is given the opportunity to start afresh in a different world and will be allowed to take one thing with him. In a move that will surely ring true to all parents of teenagers, he chooses his phone.
The world Touya finds himself in is one of those fantasy worlds where magic is real. There are seven kinds of magic and most people can do only one or two at the most. Each person also has one special magic ability unique to them. God has been kind to Touya and he can do every different kind of magic and everyone else’s unique kinds of magic. In addition to that he can combine magic with his phone to solve problems even easier. For example, if he uses a map app he can reveal the location of anyone or anything that he wants.
From that point we move into harem anime territory pretty quickly, and we follow the obvious path that harem anime normally takes: Touya finds a girl who needs help, saves her, she falls in love with him (although he is oblivious about that) and starts following him around. In his eyes he’s happily assembling a gang of friends just by accident. To the girls he’s the perfect man whom they instantly love. There are lots of battles along the way, and each time Touya solves a problem he is rewarded in some way, not just by adding another girl to his gang, but generally something like a friendship with somebody powerful or some money or a palace, etc. He can heal with his magic, so that guarantees him friends among royalty pretty quickly. A queen afflicted with blindness? No problem for Touya.
If you are a fan of big, dramatic fantasy battles, all swords and sorcery, then you will find lots of those here, but you probably won’t like them. The problem is that Touya can basically do anything so most of his battles are over before they have begun, especially when he starts acquiring some pretty powerful friends. One spell called “slip” makes his opponents incapable of standing up without slipping over, and that one can basically floor any foe. It’s overused. So there’s absolutely no fear or drama to the dangerous situations, which exist solely as plot contrivances to move him further along the road of becoming everyone’s hero, living an ever more wealthy and powerful lifestyle, and collecting girls. Luckily I’m really not a fan of sword and sorcery fantasy battles, so I was pleased to see these moments dispensed with quickly. I realise that makes me in a minority of viewers, but what this series does is take a fantasy series premise and treat it like a slice of life, removing all sense of jeopardy. So this is actually one for the slice of life fans rather than the fantasy fans, and that means me!
As for the other characters, they are a lot of fun. The best are the ones who are something a bit different to the standard harem anime girls, colour coded by their hair. Leen looks like one of the youngest but is in fact the most powerful girl Touya meets and is over 600 years old despite her appearance. I have read a few reviews that tear this series to shreds and they tend to be so fixed on their harem anime bashing agenda that they conveniently never mention the characters like Leen that actually work really well. She is manipulative and fun, and in some respects represents the viewer by taking a step back and laughing at the unrequited love shenanigans and Touya’s obliviousness. Then there is a tiger-shaped godlike creature who Touya defeats and then adds her to his band of friends. She takes on the form of a very cuddly cat. Oh, and Leen has a walking teddy bear. So there’s a lot of cute.
As for the girls, they come in for a lot of criticism for being such generic harem anime clichés, and it’s hard to argue that they are anything but that. Elze and Linze are twins, and the first to be added to Touya’s collection. One has short hair, one long, one is feistier than the other. It’s standard stuff. Yae Kokonoe is the next to be added to the harem, and she is the cutest of the character designs, which is lucky because she basically doesn’t have a personality beyond “girl from another kingdom”. Yumina is the fourth and final of the main love interests for the series, the daughter of the king, and she decides to get engaged to him almost immediately, with the king’s blessing. That’s a bit of an issue for Touya, because she’s only 12, but he at least manages to negotiate a compromise of a long engagement. Other characters who are attracted to Touya are thrown in along the way for good measure, including a robot girl, and in the end it all becomes a bit much.
What I did like was the honesty with which the harem anime story is told. It’s not trying to pretend it’s something else, and eventually it moves towards a literal harem. Yumina recognises that her three friends are all in love with Touya and she also realises that he is such a kind-natured person that when he finds out he’s likely to turn them all down to avoid choosing one and breaking the others’ hearts. Her solution is for them all to marry him. That way they all get to live their lives with their best friends, in a palace, and they all get their Touya. Most viewers will probably find at this point the sensible, logical part of their brain is screaming out that this can’t work. There is an attempt to ameliorate that, with the writer at pains to point out to us that this is a fantasy world of magic and things work differently. It’s all well and good, but by that point in the series the magic battles have been almost abandoned and the series has gone firmly down the harem anime route, so it very much feels like watching a human relationship series rather than a fantasy. It’s never entirely convincing, but it’s not a bad effort at convincing the viewer that there are different kinds of love and maybe somebody in Touya’s unique situation could find a way to make it work.
If fanservice bothers you then you won’t be able to stomach this series. There’s a lot of it, particularly during the obligatory beach episode towards the end of the run, and it’s not at all subtle. Also the ages of the characters might be disturbing to some viewers considering the harem anime subject matter, with the 15 year old Touya’s love interests ranging from a 12 year old princess to a 600 year old superwitch who looks about 12 anyway, and just about everything in between, including girls around his age, adults and something akin to a sexbot.
In the end though, the humour made it worth watching this one, and it’s so funny in its outrageous approach and just so gloriously silly that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Yes, it does all the obvious things, but clichés are often clichés because they are fun ideas that work, and throwing together every cliché in the book actually works pretty well for this series. It’s like being given a three course meal of chocolate followed by chocolate with a dessert of chocolate, but hey, I like chocolate.
One piece of advice. Even if you’re a fan of subtitles, watch this one with the dub. It’s an absolutely brilliant effort, adding another layer of humour. But… and this is important… don’t be a cheapskate. BUY it. If you go looking for the dub on youtube etc you’ll likely find a fan dub by accident, and it’s rubbish. Get the real thing.
I’ll leave you with the opening credits, which showcase the main characters. You’ve gotta love the way Yae runs. Oh, and Touya’s long heroic jacket perhaps indicates that nobody involved in this was taking things too seriously. It’s the girliest superhero jacket you’ve ever seen. RP