FunimationCon2020: By the Grace of the Gods Premiere

by Lynzee Loveridge,

What do you need to know about By the Grace of the Gods, Funimation's upcoming anime co-production? Let's get the fact that it's an isekai series out of the way. The word has started to carry some baggage along with it, so where has our hapless hero ended up this time? It's not the usual world of human-hungry monsters and there doesn't seem to be a grand quest in sight. Instead, By the Grace of the Gods introduces audiences us to less-trodden, leisurely life of...slime farming.

Like many isekai light novel series, By the Grace of the Gods got its start on the "Shōsetsuka ni Narō" (Let's Become Novelists) website, the same creative hotspot that introduced the world to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Ascendance of a Bookworm, My Next Life as a Villainess, and nearly every other popular light novel. Since its 2014 debut, the novels have gone on to inspire an official manga, and now the anime is set to premiere in October. (Readers can get a head start by reading the books from J-Novel Club, Square Enix Manga & Books will release first manga volume in November).

As for Ryoma, his alternate life choice feels all too relatable, especially to anyone out here surviving the torrent that is The State of the World 2020. Prior to his foray into slime husbandry, Ryoma was survivor of parental abuse and buffed himself up physically only to land a job at a Black Company that demanded obscene amounts of overtime and continual belittling by his boss. When it comes to escapism, who wouldn't want a quiet hermit life in the woods, favored by deities and hanging out with pet monsters?

This chill series is under the guidance of Takeyuki Yanase, a long-time animation and episode director. He made his full-fledged director debut with If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord, also animated by Maho Film. If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord and By the Grace of the Gods have the same cute aesthetic (and same character designer) and I might have even watched the former series had I not been warned that it goes full Bunny Drop.

The premiere itself managed to be endearing despite lacking anything visually impressive. I thought I'd hardened up enough around the edges when it comes to exposition sob stories but there must be something about a world-weary buff guy crying tears of joy at the opportunity to live a life free from abuse that pulled my heartstrings immediately. You know what, Ryoma, you be the best slime trainer in all of Seilfall, you deserve it buddy! Let those little blobs do your dishes and dissolve the bones of your enemies make fertilizer.

Even hermit life can get a little mundane, though. The episode closes out its introduction to Ryoma and his situation by reuniting him with a traveling party he helped rescue earlier in the episode. This time they're flanked by maids and a cute blonde girl who looks roughly the same age as Ryoma (did I mention he's 11?) and sure to introduce some puppy love to his wounded heart.

I'm interested to see where By the Grace of the Gods leads Ryoma on his journey to trust people again. I haven't watched an isekai series the stars a good guy with emotional trauma before. The show could serve to be a really touching iyashikei if it plays its cards right. I'd certainly be down for some "isekai healing" right now.


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