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The Fall 2022 Preview Guide
I've Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills

How would you rate episode 1 of
I've Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills ?
Community score: 3.3

How would you rate episode 2 of
I've Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills ?
Community score: 3.4

What is this?

A young man named Al Wayne vows to max out all his farm-related skills and become the king of farmers. He finally accomplishes precisely that to live as the best farmer that ever was. However, on the day he mastered these farm-related skills, his life took a completely different direction from farming ... (from manga)

I've Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills is based on Shobonnu's light novel series and streams on HIDIVE on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

James Beckett

The thing you might want to know about me going into this preview is that I don't merely dislike anime wherein characters occupy a ridiculously bland fantasy world that is so beholden to videogame cliches that its reality contains literal JRPG stat menus to navigate; I am philosophically opposed to them on a deeply fundamental level. So, if you love nothing more than to watch cartoon characters spend their entire lives flipping through the user interfaces of their lives to track the incremental growth of every abstract concept of their existence that can somehow be quantified into a set of simple numbers, then feel free to add a few stars to my score. Go nuts! Though not too nuts, because I've Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills is still ugly and boring enough that it would still probably suck for even fans of this strange sub-sub-genre.

Here's the thing: The only reason that role-playing games developed statistics systems and attribute trackers in the first place is because they're a necessary metaphor to communicate a host of really complex and nuanced ideas about the completely fake version of yourself that exists in a pen-and-paper game about dice rolls and theater-of-the-mind monster battles. When RPGs transitioned to the medium of software, the stats were still useful, and they remain useful, because we're not yet at the point where we can fully engage in a virtual world with all of our senses and natural intuitions. If you can't feel your body become stronger, then the only way for you to know if you're powerful enough to punch a dragon to death is if you have a convenient reference sheet to pull up at will, so you don't die horribly on some misbegotten quest for treasure.

The point is, outside of very select circumstances, I don't know how possible it even is to make a good story out of a world wherein these mode-specific metaphors are just taken to their most absurdly literal extremes. There are a select few examples that I'm sure somebody who isn't me could name, but I'd wager that, 90% of the time, if your anime has a character messing around with an RPG menu, then it's probably a bit shite. Even in a goofy sendup like I've Somehow Gotten Stronger, the joke can only get you so far if your protagonist is a complete idiot (not the fun kind, either) and everyone surrounding him has all of the personality of the characters a cheap sketch-comedy parody of cheap, unoriginal light-novel junk food. This episode contains precisely one moment that elicited any reaction from me whatsoever, and that's when Al blew up a dragon by chucking a carrot at it. I did not laugh, or even snort in mild amusement. I simply said to myself, silently, “Oh, I get it. He's got mad farm strength. Huh.”

That's maybe five to ten seconds of middling visual comedy out of a half-hour that is otherwise completely devoid of any creative, amusing, interesting, or even complete ideas. So, regardless of whether or not you share my particular distaste for the tropes that I've Somehow Gotten Stronger is leaning on, I don't think you're likely to get anything at all out of this show. Save yourselves some time and just pretend it never showed up in your streaming feed in the first place.

Richard Eisenbeis

One of the things I love about anime is how we get so many stories of not only the same genre but the same sub-genre as well, but most of them still have a twist of some sort that sets them apart from the rest. Of course, even with their own spin on things, there will be hits and misses. I Somehow Became Stronger by Raising Farming-Related Skills is, unfortunately, a miss.

This entire anime appears to be built around one joke and one joke only: Al is super powerful but all he wants to do is go work his fields. That's it. Everything in this episode is just a different variation of this joke. He kills a dragon with a carrot—then runs away because he doesn't want to get involved in non-farming things. He saves the princess from being kidnapped, but cares only about making his crop delivery on time. Even the potential death of thousands at the hands of a monstrous army means little to him until he realizes that if everyone dies, no one will buy his crops.

While it's all played for laughs, it also makes Al a boring and extremely predictable protagonist. You know how he will react in any given situation, as the only things that matter to him in the slightest are things directly related to his life as a farmer. The humor basically writes itself, but without the element of surprise, it falls flat.

Rebecca Silverman

Despite the fact that I keep thinking of this as “isekai farming,” it is not, in fact, an isekai show. Or at least, nothing in the first episode suggests that; it's instead RPG-based fantasy, complete with stats screens, levels, and all that. I also enjoyed it much more than I was anticipating, which is always a lovely surprise. In part, that's because I love a Shakespeare reference, good, bad, or indifferent, and this definitely has that. Possibly the original author of the source light novels really doesn't like Shakespeare, because the names are all on the demon side – Demon Lord Macbeth and his trusty sidekick Romeo. (Unless Princess Fal-Ys is supposed to be a Falstaff reference? I have my doubts.) I got a good chuckle out of it, even if it's not particularly kind to my favorite Shakespeare play. (Macbeth, not Romeo and Juliet) But there's also something sort of delightful about a man who can explode a dragon with a hurled carrot, a carrot which I desperately hope he didn't go on to sell to some unsuspecting customer.

The plot is relatively thin, which could eventually become a problem: Al is a ludicrously strong farmer with very broken stats. The king and the princess want him to work for them in defending the kingdom. Al just wants to farm, but since if the kingdom goes up in smoke he won't have anywhere to sell his produce, he ends up reluctantly allowing himself to be bribed with farmland. Now he's set to become a reluctant warrior-farmer, and we can all guess which role the royals are going to want him to put more time and effort into. That's not a setup for a lot of storytelling variety, but if it paves the way for Al to bore more demons with his in-depth descriptions of farming spell techniques, it could still allow for a pretty good time.

On the whole, this feels like a standard production in terms of plot, quality of animation, and art in general. The forest dragon's less than impressive in animation terms, there's nothing remarkable about the way anything looks, and if you want fantasy eye-candy, you're better off heading over to Legend of Mana. But this could be an easygoing low-key bit of humor where Al farms, fights, and gets all the girls (per the opening theme). If the stats screens aren't a dealbreaker, it's harmless enough to merit checking out.

Nicholas Dupree

Hey kids, do you like One Punch Man? Well, what if I told you there was a new version, but not as funny, looks like crap, but also Saitama occasionally rattled off basic farming trivia during fights? If that sounds like fun to you, then please get help, but while you're doing that you can also watch this show with its overlong, grammatically confused title. For everyone else, this is a barren, salted field from which no nourishment shall grow.

This isn't the most laborious premiere I've sat through – Vazzrock still exists, after all – but it's certainly the one that had me checking how much time was left the most. While this isn't an isekai story, it's got all the annoying hallmarks of one, sans the world-hopping gimmick. Our hero is an innocuous potato who just sort of lucked into superhuman power that puts the rest of the world to shame, information he's privy to because this world runs on Video Game Rules where everyone has a glowing stat screen that perfectly quantifies all their abilities and game skills. The world as we've seen it is a generic JRPG setting with the standard monsters and negative amounts of charm. The characters all exist to either talk about how great our protag is or get beat by said protag. It's all been done better a million other places, and the stapled-on gimmick – that our reluctant hero really just wants to farm – is too thin to make it even a little interesting.

It doesn't help that the show looks like butt. After a whole season of the Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer anime, I'm mostly inoculated to bad animation sucking the energy out of comedy and action scenes, but there were still moments where I was taken aback by how poorly this episode delivered its punchlines. The funniest part of the episode is the one moment that isn't supposed to be a joke, as our leading lady battles against an attacking demon, and they spend what feels like an eternity just cutting between the same still shots as the two parties shoot magic beams at one another. When the only moment that can get a laugh is the one time I should be taking any of this seriously, that's a sign this show is cooked.

There is just nothing here. Any aspect of the show that might be charming is either poorly delivered, or is something so common you can find it done far better in a multitude of other places.

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