The Fall 2021 Preview Guide
The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made
How would you rate episode 1 of
The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made ?
What is this?
Seiichi Hiiragi is at the bottom of his school's social pecking order, but he and his entire school are upended when everyone in the school is transported into another world. Seiichi finds himself alone and approached by a gorilla, who instead of attacking him, proposes to him. At the moment that Seiichi thinks that "I guess a gorilla is fine too," they find the Fruit of Evolution, and when they eat it, their lives are suddenly changed once again.
The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made is based on Miku and U35's light novel series and streams on Crunchyroll on Mondays.
How was the first episode?
Hiro Shimono, I know you're a capable voice actor. You were adorable as Zeno in Yona of the Dawn and charmingly laconic in ACCA-13. But when you put on that screech, I want to jump through the screen and throttle whoever it is that you're playing. It was so bad that I switched over to the dub for Demon Slayer just to get away from your portrayal of Zenitsu. Alas, that was not an option for The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made, and to top it off, there wasn't a single redeeming thing about the show otherwise, either.
I'm not the only one who found Seiichi deeply unpleasant to be around; he was the class punching bag, apparently for being fat and smelly but based on this episode, probably for having a truly awful personality as well. While nobody deserves to be bullied, I found myself itching to punt him as well after a few minutes of his over-the-top screeching. He doesn't do much of anything in the episode other than stumble around and eat a bunch of fruit until it turns him hot (by which I mean average), strong, and able to turn his body odor off and on. Body odor that is, apparently, so powerful it can kill a monkey. Then he gets into a fight with a she-gorilla who wants to fuck him because he's so strong, and as we know from the intro, will turn into a hot girl with big boobs.
They say living well is the best revenge, so I guess this qualifies as a revenge fantasy isekai; seen through that lens, it's not so bad compared to some of its more heinous ilk. However, that doesn't change the fact that The Fruit of Evolution was deeply unenjoyable to watch. Every aspect of it is subpar — the script is witless for a comedy and generally substitutes yelling for jokes, and the animation is awkward with no sense of storyboarding, composition, or motion to speak of. There is nothing redeemable here, unless you can't resist the idea of seeing a couple of former gorilla tiddies.
The Fruit of Evolution. The Fruit of Evolution. Where do I even start with this one? Let's check my viewing notes:
“See, it's funny because the gorilla wants to have sex with him.”
Yeah, that sarcastic note just about sums up my feelings on the matter.
The Fruit of Evolution is another entry in a long line of male empowerment fantasies. A fat, bullied kid is transported to a fantasy world where he's super strong and all the pretty girls want him. It's pretty much the blueprint for isekai stories at this point.
And to be clear, that's not a problem in and of itself. Using an established framework is a great way to get to the heart of the story you want to tell with minimal effort. What's important is the twist you put on the story to make it stand out. Maybe you make it ultraviolent. Maybe you center it around the villain instead of the hero. Maybe you play the tropes completely straight and take everything to its logical conclusion. The problem with The Fruit of Evolution is that the “twist” (if it can even be called that) is that it's a comedy where the protagonist is always the butt of the joke. Not only has this been done before (and better), it doesn't quite work as well as it probably intended.
The series clearly wants us to sympathize with the protagonist. We see that he's bullied, overweight, and has a serious body odor problem. Moreover, every experience he has in the fantasy world is a painful one. He's abandoned alone in the wilderness, wholly unable to fend for himself. Even when he succeeds, he fails. He finds food, but it's poisonous and tastes terrible. He evolves, but his bones break and reknit themselves, causing excruciating pain. He wins a life or death fight—and discovers his B.O. is now so bad that it can now literally kill a person.
And then we arrive at the scene that prompted my quote above. He finds the first girl for his harem, but she's a gorilla. Sure, the teaser shows us that she's going to evolve into a beautiful naked girl by the end of episode 2, but I'm sure there will be an accompanying downside to that as well. Nothing I've seen makes me think the humor of this series is going to change in any way going forward.
In the end, this episode lives or dies on whether you find it funny or not—and if you do, I suspect you will enjoy the series going forward. But as for me, you know how they say humor is just suffering plus time? While that's often true, but sometimes suffering is just, you know, suffering.
I really have to give my thanks to The Fruit of Evolution. Pretty much every preview guide winds up with me watching a show that makes me wish for the icy embrace of death, but usually it's later on in premiere week when I'm already worn out. Not this time! We got this bit of brain torture out of the way barely a quarter of the way into our debuts, so there's nowhere to go but up!
Seriously though, there is nothing more interminable than a bad comedy. A poorly executed serious show can at least be unintentionally hilarious, or so confusing it keeps you engaged as you try to figure out what the hell is going on. But comedies have one job: make you laugh. And if they can't do that, then the experience is like being locked in a broom closet with an amateur comedian rattling off his failed open mic set, desperately begging with his eyes for even the softest pity laugh. It's miserable, embarrassing for all involved, and exactly what watching this premiere felt like as I spent half an hour listening to a single voice actor breathlessly try to wring a single drop of comedy out of one of the worst scripts I've seen in ages.
It's such an unfunny, charmless exercise you could almost forget this is also yet another generic RPG-world isekai story, because of course it is. At this point isekai have stopped even trying to justify their own premises, with this one opening up with a disembodied voice just telling a whole class of kids they're going to RPG Starter Town, complete with a bag of holding to tide them over. But wouldn't you know it, the class punching bag doesn't have any friends, so he's sent to a remote location and has to fight monsters and level up to become a total badass that will one day show up all his peers and then bang all the cute, same-faced anime girls he could ever want! The only twist is his first bride-to-be starts out as a red gorilla before eventually being transformed by the titular fruit into a big tiddy anime girl, who of course slaps her naked body against the roughshod potato skin of our hero. It's trying for some kind of joke, but I couldn't tell you what's actually supposed to be funny.
Then to top off this miserable endeavor, the show looks like absolute butt. Movement is kept to a minimum at all costs, and even then the dirt simple character designs can't stay on model for two consecutive shots. The only real expressiveness is through the near constant ugly, mugging faces our protagonist makes as he screams into the camera for the 18th time, but they're so unpleasant and anti-endearing that they scarcely count as a highlight. Any action sequence is a weightless embarrassment that only gets by for ostensibly being a comedy, except it actually doesn't get by because none of the jokes are funny. I know I said Tesla Note is the worst looking show of the season, but it's still technically more competent than this half-baked flop.
To sum up The Fruit of Evolution: Its story is trite and simplistic enough to have been spat out of a random word generator. The animation is so rushed and sloppy that I can't help feeling sorry for anyone having to work on it. The humor is so basic and gormless you'd believe the script was scribbled on a gravy-stained napkin. In all, this feels like a show nobody involved actually wanted to make, and we wouldn't be missing much if they just hadn't.
In addition to its obnoxiously long title, The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made manages to commit practically every cardinal sin in the book, so far as anime is concerned. This would almost be impressive if the end result wasn't such an aggressively unfunny and stupid waste of time. Here's the rundown of everything that The Fruit of Evolution has going against it: It's got a stale isekai premise with a “different” world that feels indistinguishable from a deleted level you might find buried in the files of a mid-budget JRPG from the early 2000s. Everything in this world also literally functions like a mid-budget JRPG from the early 2000s, which is a trope that I absolutely cannot stand. The opening scene features our hero getting instantly proposed to by a busty, naked woman that he finds in some random cave, which is too random to function as a meaningful introduction to the story, and too stupid to be funny.
And did I mention that the show looks like it was made on a budget of maybe ten dollars? Somehow, every single character looks like they're the background character of a different anime. Even our would-be hero, Seiichi, looks like just the schmuck you'd pull out of Anime Central Casting if you were looking for “The Kind of Guy Who Would Be the Main Character of a Cheap, Mediocre Isekai Comedy”. For goodness' sake, the show can't even properly sell the central joke of its hero being a fat slob that nobody likes; I don't even know how this is possible, but The Fruit of Evolution has such tacky looking visuals that Seiichi just looks like a skinny guy that has been done up in a very unconvincing fat suit. Even though he's, you know, a drawing.
Oh, right, I guess there is the big “joke” of the premise, which is that Seiichi got teleported to this other world with his whole class by a mysterious 3rd party, and nobody wanted to group up with him, on account of being so smelly and unattractive and all. As such, the 3rd party took pity on him and gave him the ability to eat the evolution fruit and level up a whole bunch, or something. To be honest, I did like the basic idea of taking one of everyone's greatest childhood fears—being totally ignored at school when the time comes to do a group project—and turning into an isekai setup. However, the way that The Fruit of Evolution executes on that setup is just so unbearably lame and unfunny. Seiichi is an irritating protagonist through and through; the show is utterly incapable of animating a decent fight scene or coming up with an interesting setting; and all of the fat joke and body odor gags seem like they were written exclusively by and for twelve-year-old boys.
I didn't enjoy a single minute of The Fruit of Evolution's premiere. I have absolutely no plans to watch it again. It's awful. I hope by now that it is obvious that I don't recommend it. You'd be better off finding any other use of your time. Pay your taxes. Walk your dogs. Maybe go find a freshly painted wall to watch dry. Seriously, pretty much anything would be an improvement over this.
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