Original Run: October 2, 2019 - December 27, 2019 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai Based on the Series Created By: Light Tuchihi and Saori Toyota
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious. Reader discretion is advised.***
There exist thousands of parallel worlds, and all too often, one of them is in danger of being destroyed. When this happens, the many different gods and goddesses summon powerful heroes to fight on behalf of the people. The relatively new goddess Ristarte (voiced by Aki Toyosaki) has been tasked with finding a hero who can save a world from an S-class demon lord.
After an exhaustive search, Ristarte stumbles upon a candidate with miraculously high stats and instantly summons him. Standing before her is the destined hero Seiya Ryuuguuin (voiced by Yuuichirou Umehara). Ristarte is anxious to start the mission, but Seiya bluntly tells her that he needs time to get ready. However, a few hours becomes a day, then a day becomes three days, which then becomes a week, and still, Seiya believes he has not adequately prepared.
In her excitement at finding what she thought was the perfect hero, Ristarte failed to notice that Seiya’s most notable attribute was his impossibly cautious attitude. Before anything can be done, every possibility, no matter how farfetched, must be considered.
I suppose if there were any series Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (Cautious Hero) could be in the same vein with and be considered a plus, that series would be KonoSuba. Before I go on, I am not saying Cautious Hero was as good as KonoSuba (for reference, I consider KonoSuba to be the best isekai anime out there, as well as one of my personal all-time favorites). No, Cautious Hero was far from matching that level.
However, this series was as strong as it was because it mirrored many of the same elements seen in KonoSuba.
For starters, although this was an isekai anime, Cautious Hero did everything it could to poke fun at the genre. Although there are outstanding entries, isekai anime are, frankly, far too numerous, and as is too often the case, many frustratingly follow a set pattern. If you want to know how dull anime can be, watch a lackluster isekai.
Conversely, if you want to know how an isekai anime can avoid many of the genre’s pitfalls right from the start, tweak the summoning. For those who aren’t aware, one of the hallmarks of an isekai story is that a hero is brought to a strange, fantastical world. Some of the standard ways a hero enters the narrative include them dying in their world, them touching a mysterious item, or them being the target of a summoning ritual from the other world.
In many isekai anime (like a shocking amount), this critical, genre-defining moment is quickly glossed over and/or holds little weight for the rest of the story. I can’t tell how many series haphazardly forced in a summoning when the show could have easily worked as a regular fantasy tale. In Cautious Hero, not only was Seiya Ryuuguuin’s arrival a crucial aspect to the narrative that came up consistently throughout the series, the whole incredibility of the summoning itself was explored.
It was through Ristarte’s perspective, not Seiya’s that we saw the summoning. Along with that, Ristarte explained that the gods and goddesses of the universe were responsible for providing the thousands of parallel worlds with heroes to fight great and powerful evils. And oddly enough, Japanese people made for good heroes because most of those summoned are quick to grasp the situation due to the odd popularity of this sort of story.
And all this was just in the first half of the first episode.
Following a strong start, Cautious Hero needed to walk a fine line.
At first, I thought Seiya’s over-cautious attitude would get old fast, and initially, his obsessive preparation was undoubtedly heavyhanded. Although it made for a funny one-off joke, I was worried this series would take it too far. Fortunately, it was because Cautious Hero was so over-the-top from the outset that this show didn’t need to keep driving the point home.
There weren’t gruelingly dull training segments for Seiya to get stronger. This series firmly established that even with already high base stats, he wouldn’t be satisfied until he prepared for every possibility. Since it was clear that that was what he was doing all the time, this show could focus its attention in other places and on other characters. And because Seiya’s one personality trait was caution, he wouldn’t have been an effective catalyst to drive character growth. Instead, that responsibility fell to Ristarte.
Let’s compare Cautious Hero to KonoSuba one more time. Again, although she didn’t reach the same level of enjoyment as KonoSuba’s Aqua, Ristarte had the power and occasional grace of a divine being, as well as the personality and temperament of an immature high school girl. She was the one who gave this series its energy, and I was pleasantly surprised by how often Ristarte’s reactions to Seiya’s unapologetic rudeness got a laugh out of me.
Lastly, one of the more interesting aspects of Cautious Hero was how little time the story spent in the world Seiya was trying to save. The divine realm was as crucial to this series as anything else. I would argue the whole have-to-slay-the demon-lord thing was of secondary concern. Much of this show’s fun came when Seiya, Ristarte, and their team was interacting with the other gods and goddesses.
I firmly believe that there are too many isekai anime coming out. Nevertheless, I am a fan of the genre, and it is always nice to see one succeed.
Seiya’s catchphrase was stupid and dumb and a very Japanese way of assuming that throwing together English words makes someone sound cool.
It wasn’t cool. It was irritating, and this is bothering me more than it should because I have been an English teacher far too long, and I can’t help letting it tick me off.
Don’t worry; I’m not going to let this bring down my opinion of this show. It was much too solid for that to be an issue. That said, there were aspects of this series that didn’t sit right with me.
For instance, most of Cautious Hero’s personality came from Seiya and Ristarte. When they were interacting with the other deities and other side characters, those two would dominate any interaction, and it worked because everyone else would go away once their bit was done. The same cannot be said for Seiya and Ristarte’s two other party members Eruru and Mash (voiced respectively by Aoi Koga and Kengo Kawanishi). There are sidekicks, and then there are people who are just around for no real reason.
Remember, Seiya was so powerful that even when people were trying to help him, there was nothing for them to do because he would have already taken care of the threat. Plus, since Ristarte had such an energetic personality, she could almost fill up the entire background noise. And then there were Eruru and Mash who could only stand there.
These two characters didn’t do anything wrong, but they didn’t do anything else either.
Also, this show was at its best when it was goofing around and not taking anything seriously. The first episode suggested that the story that would precede it would be filled with slapstick humor and straight man routines. Therefore, it was always a bit jarring when Cautious Hero went even a little dark, and that’s not considering the amount of blood and brutality there actually was.
This series reached its lowest point, which was still pretty good mind you, in the final few episodes when the story began revealing specific facts about our characters’ pasts. Shifting gears to match a more serious tone when everything up to that point was considerably lighthearted felt off. If I had to put things in a certain way, I think I would have preferred it if this series had left open the possibility of a season two rather than a rounded-off narrative.
I’m always happy to come across an isekai anime that isn’t a dime-a-dozen (and frankly, that is getting much harder to do).
If there is one thing that can be said about this series, it’s that it was extremely fun. The characters were interesting, the story was surprisingly fascinating, the comedy was solid, and overall, this was a really good time.
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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