By: Peggy Sue Wood | @peggyseditorial
I think I might love this anime more than anything else that’s come out this season so far–yes, even more than the Inuyasha sequel Yashahime or Noblesse, the long awaited adaptation to a webcomic I obsessed over when it was still being published.
How can I say that I love it when, in the title of this very post, I called it terrible? And how can I recommend it so often to close friends while also saying that this show is potentially the worst series of the season?
I believe this ONA’s script is poorly written. I can admit that it’s hard not to be consistently pulled from the story by random plot jumps and pivots, but it is an enjoyable wreck.
Hero Return seems to serve as a great example of writing mistakes to learn from while continuing to be entertaining to a viewer like myself. I can’t take it seriously, so instead, I’m laughing and poking fun at the random places we’re taken to while watching.
In the span of a few minutes, a random throw-away gag becomes a recurring characters. At times, we go from the beginning of an event to the conclusion with explanation provided later. A perfect example is the new dog character that randomly appeared in a recent episode (we don’t see or haven’t seen yet where the dog came from). We only see the following of his arrival as the characters that brought him home are being scolded about bringing home said dog. The next thing you know this cute new family addition has already been used in a science experiment that allows him to read graduate level research notes. What happened in between? The world may never know–
And that’s kind of the fun of it.
I feel like you have to pay attention to the story, not because it’s so dense it’s difficult to follow but because it jumps so quickly from scene to scene that you need watch closely to see how far from the expectations you had on where the story was going can be shifted.
It’s not a series to be taken too seriously–it’s just funny and enjoyable. I mean Nothing about this series is a 10/10–but the series seems to know that and so the pressure is off to feel like you need to be invested in any drama or story analysis.
I would add that if you understand a lot of tropes in the dystopian subgenre of heroes rising up in a post-dungeon break world from novels/comics like “Solo Leveling” or “The S Classes That I Raised,” then you’ll probably be able to understand the story and jump-cuts better than someone who has not read similar works. Story-wise, the “dungeon” problem seems wrapped up and what’s left is the people and problems in a world that’s already been rebuilt with society reinstated but still contains power-heavy users and the problems those users can cause. Overall, the story is dreadful in terms of cohesiveness, but I still find it enjoyable as I can laugh at the random places we jump to between scenes.
10/10 will probably watch several more times!