Production Studio: Arms
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero can be summed up for in one word: problematic.
This 2012 series purports to tell the tale of what happens after the dragon is slain and the kingdom is saved in a role-playing game. This concept seemed fascinating when I first heard it, so I was expecting good things from the show.
What I got, and what Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is really about, is a tale of a “Mary Sue” sexual predator who assaults all the women in his life before inevitably graduating to full-blown rape in a magic school setting.
I mentioned before that this series is troublesome. And, while the aforementioned plot certainly is, it’s not the only problem. Personally, I felt that the show’s biggest issue was failing to deliver.
There is a lot of promise in the Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero’s premise and subplots. In the hands of a more skilled writer, it’s rife with comedic potential, or could be crafted into a serious look at returning to mundane life after an epic adventure. This was actually realized in the immensely more enjoyable I Couldn’t Become A Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided To Get A Job.
Worse yet, several of the side characters hint at subplots hiding beneath the surface of this shallow series. The world is filled with characters like Hikami, the student council president who hides a dark secret life as a member of a shadowy organization. Or take Kaido, whose aloof personality hides his true strength… and the fact that he is also watching our main character for a terrorist group.
That’s not to mention the political machinations surrounding the daughter of the dark lord back in the fantasy realm our “Rogue Hero” hails from. This may actually be the most interesting part of the whole show, as characters in the fantasy realm have real problems and real motivations. I would’ve preferred to follow these characters and their stories rather than what we got, but these characters were sadly relegated to setting up the finale of the show.
While these subplots hint at a big, broad world, that is all they really do. The real story revolves around Akatsuki Osawa, and he is the worst. He is little more than a one-dimensional sexual predator.
All of Osawa’s scenes serve to prove that he is in control of every situation, with even the most dire situation posing only a minor inconvenience. As a result, the audience is left with zero dramatic tension. Even when other characters find themselves in life and death situations, Osawa swoops in and saves the day. Every single time.
Osawa claims to want to protect crying women. And, while he does, he only does so after kidnapping, fondling, undressing and exposing them. In one particular scene, which almost made me turn the show in disgust, Osawa makes three girls piss themselves to help one of them “avoid embarrassment.”
While it seems that all it takes to dissuade Osawa is a slap to the face or running off in embarrassment, we are constantly reminded that he’s the ultimate “Gary Stu” and, if he so desired, he could totally take these women at any moment. Osawa’s “linked energy manipulation” is the ultimate technique, and he can’t be stopped. The best one can hope to do is to slow him down. Even then, though, he’ll be up on his feet after all the women in the area either throw themselves at him or his enemy.
In short, there is no dramatic tension regarding this character, and therefore everything about the climatic fight is ultimately dull. Osawa dispatches the Dragon with ease, and then prepares to head back to his fantasy world within the span of the first episode. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes the villain, and in a better show, perhaps that would be the journey the viewer is taken on.
And don’t even get me started on the ladies, all of whom are little more than eye candy for our main character to sexually assault.
It’d be very easy to write off this series if it was garbage on a technical level. That said, though, the animation is actually well-produced, complimented by slick character designs.
The music is not particularly memorable, save for the opening theme that seemed somewhat out-of-place. Really, the song would’ve been more fitting for a horror show or a Castlevania video game.
Funimation’s release offered the standard assortment of extra features, including clean openings and closings and Japanese promo videos. The release also offered English commentary on episodes 2 and 8, as well as six short side episodes . These extra episodes, each about 3-4 minutes in length, mainly serve to highlight Osawa’s sexual assaults, including having a second example of him making girls wet themselves.
Frankly, I can’t recommend enough that you avoid Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero. It’s dreck like this that gives anime fans a bad name, and we should all take steps to assure that it never gets made again.