What’s the show? Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight, Episode 1.
Ah… a long anime title, is this by chance an isekai? No but we’re close! We’re in historical fantasy territory today! And do I detect the promise of this turning into a harem anime?!
Oh good, a harem, just what we need. You joke but this is exactly what I’ve been waiting for this season—seems like we’re a little light on harems this year, although ‘Conception’ starts soon and I’m very excited for th—
Hey! Focus! One harem at a time! Right, sorry.
So what’s this one about? It’s the 15th century in France and the people of France are at war with England. We meet our main characters as (presumably) 10 year-old’s, all members of wealthy and powerful families attending a knight’s school in Paris. Our main male protagonist is a starry eyed dreamer by the name of Montmorency who’s ~fascinated~ with alchemy—he even has a philosopher’s stone of his own—even though he doesn’t quite know how to use it. His goal is to discover immortality so that no-one has to die in all the fighting that’s going on. During the battle of Agincourt he (presumably) loses his best friend Richemont, and so desperate to ensure this doesn’t happen again he tries to sell his soul to the devil in order to gain the power of immortality.
And does he? Well the ritual doesn’t quite go as planned (presumably) and he summons a fairy Queen by the name of Astaroth, whom he willing pledges his allegiance to in order to gain his desired powers. He begins a ritual to liquefy his Philosopher’s Stone in order to be able to ingest it safely and somehow 7 years pass while he’s waiting for this to happen—and he somehow seems surprised by this fact and didn’t notice (presumably) and yet he has on clothes that fit? And then the episode ends.
A lot of (presumptions) in there, is this anime not very clear? It’s a light novel adaptation so presumably a lot is being left up til either later explanation or just being presumed that we’ll fill in the gaps. And you know what that’s fine, as long as things are entertaining and interesting then I’ll obligingly go along with the ride, and for the most part they are. But this episode is very set-up heavy, and throws a lot of stuff at us all at once. But it’s clear why they put it all into one episode and ended with the time-skip forward at least if the credits which close out the episode are anything to go by.
Oh and what’s that? Skimpy outfits are coming! At least that’s the impression I got from the character designs—probably not anything to rival How Not To Summon A Demon Lord in service, but probably more than The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar—though that’s just my assumption based on the character designs alone, I could be wrong, maybe this is going to be a totally serious take on the warring families of France and their troubles with the English.
You don’t want that though do you, you’re placing your bets (and hopes) on this turning into a harem, aren’t you? Obviously!
So what’s your verdict on the show’s first episode? I enjoyed it—I mean it’s got a lot of familiar and dare I say derivative elements from other media, but that’s a given since how common a lot of the terms and themes are in this show. We’ve even got a wise old man character who looks a lot like Dumbledore but whose name is Nicolas Flamel (yes I know he was a historical character and this isn’t just a Harry Potter reference). If other shows this season could be guilty of showing exactly the tone and narrative aesthetic they’re wanting going forward (Goblin Slayer, That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, etc.) then this show has almost done the opposite, with a rather straight-faced opening episode and a credits sequence that suggests it’ll become otherwise—but only time will tell for sure!
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