By: Peggy Sue Wood | @peggyseditorial
Whenever I think about adaptations, I always try to remember that the anime and manga are different works. I try to enjoy them as you might enjoy two different books with similar premises, but that doesn’t mean I don’t compare them, and this series is pretty hard not to compare to its comic-counterpart.
Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, is a comedy, as the title implies. The MC, Lloyd Belladonna, is our overpowered center of the story seen front and center in the image above.
As of Episode 1, we’ve already diverged from the manga’s events, character designs, and dialogue pieces. Probably because of the race to get through content in this opening episode. What do I mean?
I mean that Episode 1 is essentially the first three and one-eights chapters of volume one, which was only about four chapters long. Now, keep in mind that much of the first volume was filler, with jokes about how overpowered Lloyd is and how he doesn’t have any common sense regarding what constitutes normal because of where he grew up. The manga did not appear to be aiming for a solid, long story so much as setting up for a series of comedic events playing with tropes of the fantasy-adventure genre. (Not to imply that there wasn’t a plot in there, simply that it takes a back seat.)
The anime condenses a lot of these comedic moments, and even leaves out many details in a way that seems focused on setting up for a larger story.
For example, in both the anime and manga, Lloyd goes on an errand run for Marie, the Witch he’s to live with while attending school. When he returns from running errands in the manga, he gifts Marie a beautiful broach that she notes is way too expensive given how much money he had when leaving. Lloyd explains that he ran to another kingdom and back again to get the items she asked for since they had lower prices, allowing him to spend the money on this luxury gift for her. He also explains how he fixed a number of problems along the way that would be deemed miracles by most regular people in the text. The scene serves as another example in the text of how strong Lloyd is while also showing how little he knows about the world beyond his village. This conversation acts as confirmation, and a slight copy, of a previous retelling of events to Marie, in which Lloyd retold of how he arrived at the capital after running there over six days–a feat anyone else might deem impossible but is considered “slow” in his village. The anime, however, leaves much of these details out. For example, Marie doesn’t ask him about the jewelry, nor does she hear about him running to another kingdom to pick up the items she asked for–instead, she blushes, and we move on to the next day.
Other differences in the anime include introducing an elder-brother character who gives Lloyd a book of fairy tales that inspire Lloyd’s wish to become a knight. The concept of stories inspiring Lloyd’s wish is mentioned in the manga, but I do not believe that a specific book was shown nor that a brother character was present. In fact, Lloyd seems to be a child “raised by a village” in the manga, while his anime counterpart appears to have a family consisting of at least one elder brother and a grandparent.
During the aforementioned errand run, Lloyd meets Selen Hemein, or the Cursed Belt Princess, who he saves in more than one way–first from a monster and then from her curse. She becomes his stalker-like love interest (she’s stanning him hardcore) that he sees her as a new friend (played for comedic effect). Her character design and personality at the end of the episode look pretty similar to her manga counterpart as with the other characters. I mention “by the end” because when we first meet her, I noticed that she had long hair, which becomes short in subsequent scenes even though I’m pretty sure we only see her with short hair at the start in the manga.
Are these changes good? Bad? I think these are good changes. It certainly makes the story move a lot faster. However, these changes do hold the consequences of stealing from the comedy and character personalities in many ways. For example, we see less of Lloyd’s struggle with self-confidence, which changes how we view him as a character. In the manga, his self-confidence issues play a role in how he acts around others–making him act meek and brushing off compliments as someone being overly kind. This issue is compounded by the three times he does something amazing (getting to the capital in six days by running there, cleaning Marie’s house with ancient magic/using runes, and the events on his errand run). This is shown in how Lloyd retells the events and is told that what he did is impressive, only to respond to the praise with growing depression and discomfort because he sees his actions as simple or lacking due to how he was raised. In the anime, we see his low self-confidence but don’t get to see how extensive this issue is because we mostly see him happily exploring, smiling, and helping out. Meaning that the different approaches don’t his us the same emotionally.
This change may still be for the good of the story, as the same scenes that brought us this emotional difference in the manga, also served as comedic scenes that felt repetitive in showing us Lloyd’s OP skills.
If the anime plans to focus more on the story’s adventure/fantasy elements, then these changes will remain good. It certainly allows us to fly through the exposition portion of the story quickly, which could be a good thing for those of us who already know how it begins. And I don’t think it hurts new viewers who are unfamiliar with the manga-version to start with the anime. It’s different, but it’s consistently different, and it will probably set up an entirely new story, meaning that you won’t feel the same whiplash I felt upon seeing an unknown character so early.
Side note, someone I watched this with said that Riho Flavin is the actual female lead/main love interest, and all I can say to that is: You’re wrong. Sorry (but not really).
Episode 1 leaves off at the admissions board for new students of the soldier’s academy, and Lloyd’s name is missing (but don’t worry too much about that 😉). That’s where Chapter 4 opens in the first volume.
Would I recommend it? Yes. It’s pretty good, and I have high hopes for the future of this series. I’d rate it 7/10 for now, but that could go up or down dependent on further episodes. You can watch it now on Funimation.com.