She looks important. I bet she has a superpower!
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the
same man.”― Heraclitus
Adventure Ho! Yar mateys… no that’s wrong. We are off for the holy… no that’s not quite it. We seek to unite the warring… what is happening? Lets go murder an evil Demon! Okay, lets go with this.
If the Hero isn’t Flashy, Minus 10 points to Charisma
I like it when
people things go boom
Irene: Yes, for this series, I decided it was worth exercising my title as Athenaeum Châtelaine, and getting the quotes out. For indeed this is a journey that has begun with a little more than a single step, but we won’t sweat the particulars. This is a series that seems set up from the very beginning to be epic. It knows what it is and so pulls out all the stops from it’s very opening narration. It has a split between being a LotR-esque prologue and a storybook “once upon a time”, as a voice tells us of the tale of the evil demon god that arose and decimated the peoples of the land, only until a lone woman with divine power defeated it. But of course, it is never defeated for good, only put to sleep, or rest, or sealed, or something like that. We have to have something for our new heroes to fight after all. And so, every so often, six warriors–no more, no less–are summoned by the goddess of fate, a flower symbol appearing on their skin, to defeat the demon god and his minions.
The world of this series is the first thing you notice. I’ve heard that the original material actually went with the normal medieval European setting, but it was changed in this series to be a more Meso-American environment, which is something I haven’t seen in an anime series since back in the 90s. I’m glad for the change, as it is quite unique, and something that sets this anime apart from the others this season. The sweeping establishing shots are quite breathtaking and exotic, and they go well with the fantastic score by Michiru Oshima, who has done such stellar work as the music for both the original Fullmetal Alchemist and Zetsuen no Tempest. It is easily the second best score I’ve seen this season. (If you want to know which I consider the best, hint–(Oshima is doing the music for that one too. 😉 )
But now, like any epic tale, after introducing the world, you will have to introduce your fellowship of characters that will going on this journey and enduring this task. Majority of the time, these main characters will introduced one or two at a time, from the most important to the least. And so, following formula, we first meet the main character of Adlet Mayer. A cocky son-of-a-gun that has more confidence than couth, his is determined to become one of the chosen six warriors, no matter what it takes. While we do get a bit about his backstory (through a plot-halting exposition drop), and that he had trained to defeat the demon king, we still don’t know much about what his reasons are and why he decided to do this. It seems to be a single-minded goal in his mind and one that he will risk anything to achieve. So, you have to wonder where he came upon such a goal and why? Did something happen in his past that he decided to declare vengeance on the demon god?
I don’t believe Adelt has a history with tentacles, but that sure would inspire a grudge
Well, while his reasons may not be fully explained, one thing that should be drilled into our heads by now is that he is “the strongest man in the world”. If you didn’t catch that, don’t worry, he will remind you multiple times before the episode is out. You really can’t tell him otherwise, so it’s not worth even trying. Yet, while I doubt he is physically the strongest, and his fighting skills seem to rely more on tricks, being prepared and surprise than actual strength, he does seem to have a strength of spirit and character that is pretty indomitable.
The other member of our warriors we meet is Crown Princess Nashetania. She’s not that interesting of a character yet, but I’m hoping we’ll get more from her in the future. Her “bunny armor” doesn’t give me much hope that she’ll be more than eye candy with powers, but one can hope. However, her presence and her exposition about the history of these destined warriors does leave some interesting world building to consider. Who are these “saints”? How do you get to be one? It doesn’t seem to be a title associated with being one of the six destined warriors, so are you born with the power? Also, it doesn’t seem to be in just one nation, but these saints exist in different lands as well. And I can see how some of these saints would have useful powers , such as Nashe’s “saint of blades” or a “saint of fire”, “saint of water” etc. However, some of them are bizarre, “saint of salt”? How does one acquire that ability?
Any saint worth their SALT knows its all in the neck
The plot so far is being unfolded at a pretty slow pace considering this is only a single cour series as far as I know. We basically only get to see the world, set up the story, have the inception of the plot, and get through the introductions of two of the six warriors–oh, sorry! Seven warriors. Yes, they haven’t revealed it yet, but there is going to be a bit of a problem when Adlet and Nashe get to that rendezvous point. Remember that there was only supposed to be six warriors, no more, no less? Well, this time around there will be seven warriors, which means…’one of these things is not like the other, one of these thing is not the same…’ One of the warriors is an enemy implant, but which one is it? I’m not sure yet as we have only meet two of the seven, but I will enjoy playing the whodunit game every week and seeing if I can deduce which of the seven is the actual mole. It might just even be someone who is under the demon god’s influence, and doesn’t even know it. Looking at you, Adlet-san…
I’m all about Swashing and Buckling
For my next trick, I will make a demon disappear!
Samsura: Hurr Hurr hurr, thats real purty. I think Rokka will win points for just being the most visually impressive premier of the season. I’m coming into this season having previous experience with the novels, so I am aware of what is different and what is plain invented. For instance, there really wasn’t any world building for the city of Pienna in the novels, so the look here is 100% anime original. Which is great! I sure can’t recall the last time Montezuma made an appearance in a show, I’d pick him over Cao Cao any day. Though since this setting is anime original, it does clash with some of the outfits that are faithful to designs from the novel. Now I’m no expert on Olmec fashion, and I know putting animal ears in your hair is a long standing anime tradition, but I think we can all agree that Nashetania looks completely out of place.
Must… not… make… Fate joke
So for a show that’s supposed to have 6 heroes but is gonna have even more, we so far have met two. Adelt is a trickster who acts like Baki Hanma and fights like Batman. Nashetania is the willful princess who always gets her way, tradition be damned if its gonna stop her. Both of these two come off as immediately likeable, I for one don’t get tired of Adelt’s proclamation because I like how the show has already stopped giving him the credit. Spoiler: There are a lot of strong people besides Adelt. I quite liked the fight scene we got, the way the camera spun and the fight was choreographed quite impressed me. When Adelt breathed fire and gave the old soldier the old arm toss I was happily watching every move he made. If this level of fighting can keep going on, this show can only become more impressive to me. Hopefully to you too.
Can I get some Lore with a side dish of foreshadowing?
Now I won’t pretend that the info dumb in the middle was the most graceful way to get a large amount of info across. The “two characters tell each other information that everyone but the viewer knows” is the easiest way to get stuff across, but it is never the ideal. The short and simple is that long ago big bad demon showed up, one saint appeared to fight the demon. Saint seals demon, every few hundred years a new generation of saints and warriors appear who try to seal the demon. For me, if this was all the series had to offer, I wouldn’t recommend Rokka as highly as I do. But the things that really sold me on Rokka appear later on, so mums the word.
All and all, I’ll be fascinated to see this new story with a classic plot about the newest warriors fellowship battling against the great evil of the land, but this time, with a bit of a twist in that there is someone among them that doesn’t belong and what that means for the safety of the mission and the chosen six. Also, what will all the other characters be like? What powers will they have? What will be there position in the group? And what about the villains? We’re going to need some personal, front and center villains if we’re going to keep this threat alive. And not just zombie-like monster goons either. Even Sauron had the Witch King, Sarumon, and the Uruk-hai to keep the conflict levels high. So, hopefully we’ll see more of what kind of bad guys we get in the coming episodes.
This was a great premiere and one of many series to look out for this season. I would suggest it to anyone just on the animation and score alone, but the plot is also great too. I will be following the heroes’ journey as they face increasingly more desperate odds, and remember that it is the journey, rather than the destination, that makes it all worth it.
Rokka is the type of show that does the basic generic stuff well, then gets better with its own unique twists and turns. The standard action and characters are fun and exciting. The standard fantasy plot is no better or worse than others, but Rokka adds a wonderful outer layer. This episode was all about setting up the world that we are gonna see going forward, and I can’t wait to be on this journey with all of you.
If anyone of you readers are working for the demons though I will have to choice but to turn you into furniture.