January 7th, 2017
I really wanted him to pop off Navi's head.
Well, nobody can accuse this of starting with too much exposition or character introduction. Not that it's hard to get a general idea of who the bad guys and good guys are between literally "The Black King" with glowing demonic eyes and the cutesy fairy, but when it started cutting around to all the other battles, I'm pretty sure that more than once, it showed people with basically identical appearances glaring at each other. I'm sure one probably betrayed the other, but hell if I could tell you which. Still, I far prefer being dropped into a story in progress and picking it up as we go rather than having everything explicitly laid out like I'm a four year old.
Okay, so there was a bit of exposition after the five minute intro hook and things slowed down drastically, but it earned a breather, and more graciously, continued moving forward instead of hopping backward to explain the truly complex backstory of "evil demon king wants magic book." I was happy to see it keep the animation up through the whole thing too, so it earned some bona fides on that front. I do think it's trying to perhaps do a little too much with too many characters. This is where the in medias res opening hurts it a little. Not that I have an issue with the characters, especially the lead. They earned the little bit of angst and literal mud slinging in their crushing defeat in the intro, and reaffirmed that they're not sacks of awfulness that'll fight generic magic evilness at the end.
All in all, this was a solid introductory episode. Certainly some things need more fleshing out, but let's do that as the story moves forward from where we are instead of going backwards. The protagonist(s) fought evil, lost his way briefly, but got inspired by random rogue character and his groove back at the end, setting up his quest for redemption going forward against a demon king/army that already kicked his ass once, all the while the action and animation being perhaps not tippy top tier, but certainly pretty far up there. It's not breaking any new ground, especially in the fantasy world, and I'm pretty sure at least 4 Fire Emblems had this exact intro, but it works, and it was well executed. Thank you, Japan, for at least one show with a really solid first episode.
Stop being so evil.