Original Run: April 2, 2020 - June 18, 2020 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Action, Fantasy, Isekai Based on the Series Created By: Y.A and Choko Fuji
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for The 8th Son? Are you kidding me?. Reader discretion is advised.***
One day, Japanese salaryman Shingo Ichinomiya falls asleep and wakes up as the young Wendelin (voiced by Junya Enoki), the eighth son of the noble Baumeister family.
Despite the Baumeister’s social status, they remain poor. As such, Wendelin doesn’t expect he will be able to inherit any of the family’s land or title. Then, Wendelin discovers he has an aptitude for magic. Not only that, he soon proves to be the most powerful magician alive.
Since magicians often outrank elder brothers, and not wanting to cause trouble within his family, Wendelin decides to forge his way as an adventurer. Along his journey, Wendelin makes many friends and builds a legendary reputation. However, his rise to prominence has not gone unnoticed by those who wish to maintain the status quo.
As I sat down to write this section of the review, a thought occurred to me. What did I like about The 8th Son? Are you kidding me? (The 8th Son)?
Although this show was dull, predictable, cliched, and forgettable, I don’t recall there being a point during my watch where I was in pain. This was an easy enough series to sit through. Nevertheless, I am struggling to think of anything about it, even superficially, that I can praise.
I suppose I was following along with the behind-the-scenes politics of the nobility in the later episodes. There were plenty of strategic maneuverings, deceptions, and mischief-making to serve as a decent replacement for The 8th Son’s lack of exciting fight scenes. However, that doesn’t amount to much seeing how this was, to my understanding, a fantasy adventure isekai anime, and not a political thriller.
Be that as it may, I do have to admit something.
When I was about to watch the final episode, I ran into some slight technical problems with my video player. When this has happened before with shows I didn’t care for, I would usually power through. After all, I don’t need the last episode of an already problematic series to tell me why I am going to write a negative review.
And yet, with The 8th Son, I did want to know what was going to happen. I’m chalking this up to an isolated incident because episode twelve was wrapping up a last-minute plotline involving Wendelin’s eldest brother’s fall into a power-hungry-induced madness. I like to see asshats get what’s coming to them, sue me.
Even though it may have only been for a moment, I found myself invested in The 8th Son’s story. And coming from someone who has seen their fair share of terrible isekai anime, even a small amount of interest is better than no interest at all.
There was no reason why The 8th Son needed to be an isekai anime. Wendelin’s previous life as a Japanese salaryman had no bearing, purpose, or effect on this show’s story. Sure, Wendelin had a small – I repeat, SMALL – obsession with Japanese food, but that was it.
The isekai genre has thoroughly saturated the anime market. Although there are still plenty of series that manage to stand out, far too many feel cheap, rushed, and pointless. So to have a show shove an isekai plotline in for no reason feels like an insulting attempt to jump on a bandwagon that is threatening to burst.
Why not start Wendelin’s story when he was a kid? Hell, that’s what happened anyway. For someone who had already lived a full life as a grown adult, Wendelin sure acted like a know-nothing five-year-old when we met him.
Admittedly, had The 8th Son just been a fantasy story, it would have still been a lousy fantasy story. However, adding an utterly irrelevant aspect to an already broken, dull, and done-a-million-times narrative only added to the cry:
THIS SHOW IS AWFUL!
And so we are clear, The 8th Son successfully managed to tick me off within its first fifteen minutes. Fortunately, since the isekai element was so irrelevant, it was easy to ignore, much like this show did.
What was harder to overlook was this collection of nothing-characters. Wendelin’s adventuring party was amazingly lifeless. This group had no personality, they hardly filled out the background, and they added neither strength nor skill to whatever situation they were in.
The only person who had any real effect on Wendelin’s overall success was his fiancée, Elize (voiced by Asuka Nishi). Elize, by the way, was only twelve years old when we met her. That might not be fully evident given how she looked like she was nineteen, what with her mature disposition and full chest.
In fact, everyone who was apart of Wendelin’s party was under the age of fifteen. Cool, I don’t buy that for a f@#$ing second, but there are more pressing things to complain about – Wendelin, for example.
I can think of no better cherry to put atop this no-thrills exposition of mediocrity sundae. Aside from all the rest of The 8th Son, Wendelin was the most forgettable aspect of this series. Nothing about him stood out.
The only reason Wendelin had any status in this story was that he could do some magic. I say “some” magic and not “was an all-powerful magician” because I have no reason to think he was. Although this show may have framed him as such, what were we supposed to compare him to? All of Wendelin’s fights never felt overwhelming or impressive. He shot a few fancy sparkles out of his hand and, BOOM, he was famous.
In any other isekai anime with an overpowered main character, there is always some event to illustrate just how powerful they are. The 8th Son never had that. Granted, Wendelin defeated a dragon singlehandedly, but this show made that accomplishment only seem complicated, not impossible.
As this series went on, there was never any cause to root for Wendelin. He didn’t have much of a goal. All he was doing was trying to make a life. That’s fine and everything, but The 8th Son had Wendelin in a position where he could have brought about real change to this world of fantasy and magic. But no. There was no threat, no daunting obstacle to overcome.
To put it simply. In The 8th Son, there was nothing.
I hate to think that it is required for an anime season to have at least one bad isekai anime. However, whenever I come across shows like this, it makes me wonder.
This show, in a single word, was boring.
We got a predictable story, worthless characters, forced plot elements, and a cheap attempt at cashing in on what’s popular.
The 8th Son? Are you kidding me? can be skipped.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise The 8th Son? Are you kidding me?? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.