As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a distinct change in my taste in anime, as well as my general attitude towards consuming it. When I started, I was all in for everything I could get my hands on, which tended towards brighter, action-driven narratives like Bleach and comedies like Azumanga Daioh. I also felt this stubborn need to finish everything I started even if I hated it (A Certain Magical Index???).
These days, I treasure my time more. No longer do I feel an obligation to finish everything I try (though I do still try everything once if possible), and I’m pickier about what stays on the menu each season. There just isn’t enough time everyday to do all things in life I’d like to, so the activities that are kept around are that much more meaningful.
What in the world does this have to do with Banished from the Hero’s Party? Red is a man whose life revolved around his love for his sister and her mission as the Hero to save the world. Once he’s forced out of the party, he re-focuses on his passions in a little village on the edge of the world. For the first time, he can prioritize his desires over others’, even if they’re arguably less important.
I’m not sure what it is about the activity, but I tend to find characters who gather and mix herbs and potions interesting (Snow White with the Red Hair, Saint’s Power). Red’s goal of opening his own apothecary shop goes the next step to where he can control the quality and output of his goods. The build up of business, as dry as it may sound to some, was probably my favorite part of the show once Rit arrived on the set. As a fellow former adventurer, she pledges herself to their success as business partners, and hopefully something a lot more.
The central romance between their characters also completely surprised me, since I half expected this show to take a more harem route. We already know of his sister’s complex and learn of other female companions from the past; it’s not too much to expect that we’d get what so many other shows of this genre give. Instead, we’re gifted a believable love story that grows steadily over the episodes and provides a satisfying finish.
Another surprising aspect centers on the world’s rules–every person is born with a “divine blessing” that for most of the season we’re to assume is unavoidable and binding. Ruti sacrifices much of her humanity in exchange for her Hero powers. She does not need sleep, nor food, nor warmth. She feels an overwhelming sense of obligation to fill the assumed Hero’s responsibilities of hunting down the demon lord and saving the world. Then there’s Red, whose seemingly average gift allows him to learn other gifts to average levels; he is the epitome of the “jack of all trades, master of none.” This is a major theme in the story, however, that challenges that notion as well as the commonly accepted understanding of how blessings should be treated. Are they contracts to follow until death, or are they gifts to use as one wills? Or is it a combination of both?
Rating: 1 dango
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.