Of all the great shows that aired during the Spring season of anime, this was the one I chose to review. Sorry, Spy X Family and Kaguya-sama season three. I’ll get to you once I’m done sorting out the trash.
The isekai genre is like a sponge. One that Japan has squeezed so tightly for so long that it’s become crusty. We’ve legitimately reached the point where you could make a joke about an isekai where the main character is reincarnated as a refrigerator and find that very show coming out next season. They’re not just scraping the bottom of the barrel, they’ve torn the bottom off and are now searching through the dirt beneath it.
At first glance, Skeleton Knight in Another World is just another generic isekai. Worse, it’s one that is basically copying its basic premise from the much more successful Overlord series. So most people just wrote it off and ignored it.
I can’t really say they were wrong to do so. But I do think that there is more going on with this show than just it being an Overlord knock-off. I hesitate to call it a good show, but it does have its merits and it does carve its own little identity.
You know the drill. Our protagonist, Arc, is somehow reincarnated into his favorite RPG as his overpowered skeleton character. With little other choice, he hides his skeletal features and goes off on a grand adventure in this land full of fantasy! Soon, he becomes embroiled in a vast political plot, the fate of which will decide the future for all in the land.
Before we talk about anything else, I want to tackle this show’s biggest problem: the tone. For most of its run, Skeleton Knight is a delightfully charming and goofy adventure story. It’s the kind of thing that I would have loved to watch on a Saturday morning when I was little. If it stuck to being a cute and lighthearted fantasy adventure, that would’ve been great.
So why is there so much attempted rape in this show? Furthermore, why is the opening scene an attempted rape scene? These two extremes simply do not go together, so the show often feels like its at odds with itself. Does it want to be mature and tackle dark subject matters or does it want to be something lighthearted enough for children to watch? It never quite makes up its mind and the show suffers for it.
Not to mention that it handles it completely incorrectly. The very first episode opens with an attempted rape scene. But it’s the second episode that has the explicit content warning at the start. Unless my notes are mistaken, that’s one of the few episodes without sexual assault in it!
Okay. That’s the big issue out of the way. Now I can talk about why I kind of enjoyed this show.
Let’s start with our protagonist, Arc. Honestly, I found him to be surprisingly refreshing as an isekai protagonist! He’s just a chill dude who wants to go on adventures and appreciate the world he’s been put into because he’s a big ol’ fantasy nerd with a heart of gold. He doesn’t develop a massive harem; he’s got one love interest and a bunch of friends, and that’s it. He’s overpowered, sure, but he has little to no actual combat skill, a fact that leads to him actually getting beaten down by warriors who are better than him. Arc isn’t an especially complicated or interesting protagonist, but he’s fun! Plus, he has a fun group dynamic with his friends, especially Arianne.
The world itself is also pretty fun. Each setting is vibrant and colorful and fun to explore. Sure, it isn’t the most fleshed out fantasy setting; you don’t learn that much about their culture or history or anything like that. It’s a generic high fantasy setting, but it’s done fairly well. It’s even got little furry ninjas to spice things up!
Presentation wise, Skeleton Knight isn’t all that bad. Sure, the 2D animation is nothing spectacular, but it flows smoothly enough and it doesn’t make me want to claw my eyes out. Yes, it does rely a lot on CGI, and it does often look awkward, but for every ugly CGI shot there’s one that looks just fine. Arc’s 3D model actually looks really good!
Also, I enjoy the music in this show. Mainly the OP. It’s dumb Japanese butt-rock and it gets my blood pumping every time. The OST is your typical fantasy music, but it’s done well enough to give a pass.
Skeleton Knight in Another World is, at its core, a generic isekai power fantasy. It has some major identity issues, flopping between a family-friendly fantasy adventure to a dark political drama in the span of one episode. But at the same time, it is a somewhat enjoyable show with a genuinely likable protagonist and decent animation. It isn’t a great show, but I don’t regret watching it.
And now that this review is over, I’m more than likely going to forget about it and move on with my life. Ah, the life cycle of seasonal anime. Who needs one show that sticks with you when you can have fifteen shows that you’ll forget a month after finishing?
Anyways, now that we’re done with not-Overlord, I need to go and catch up on actual Overlord.