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The Fall 2022 Preview Guide
Reincarnated as a Sword

How would you rate episode 1 of
Reincarnated as a Sword ?
Community score: 3.9

What is this?

Reincarnated as a sentient weapon with memories of his past life, but not his name, a magical sword saves a young beastgirl from a life of slavery. Fran, the cat-eared girl, becomes his wielder, and wants only to grow stronger, while the sword wants to know why he is here.

Reincarnated as a Sword is based on Yuu Tanaka and LLO's light novel series and streams on HIDIVE on Wednesdays.

How was the first episode?

Caitlin Moore

FOURTEEN MINUTES. That's how long it took Teacher to meet Fran and for the actual story of Reincarnated as a Sword to get moving. Fourteen endless, agonizing minutes of being subjected to a sapient sword zooming around, massacring monsters, and hooting about all the super cool skills he's getting. Fourteen minutes of what is essentially an RPG tutorial as stats and monster descriptions flash across the screen. Fourteen minutes of Teacher's self-satisfied monologue, interrupted only by the occasional *ding* and a narrator describing how he has improved. Oh, and some incongruous shots of Fran being tortured and abused for being a slave.

I love Shinichirō Miki as an actor, really I do. He's played some truly memorable characters. However, that man has a niche, and that niche is f--- boy. He needs someone to play off of, someone to direct his oozing smugness to so we can enjoy his eventual comeuppance. In Reincarnated as a Sword, he's just a flying asshole that enjoys killing. Goblins may be nasty little freaks, but they're intelligent enough to form a society, so wantonly stabbing a bunch is tantamount to mass murder. They have families. I sincerely believe that Teacher is the real monster here, and no amount of saving innocent catgirls can change that.

It's pretty disappointing, actually; I didn't have high hopes, per se, but I was excited to see an isekai that stepped over the low, low bar of not endorsing slavery. I liked Fran a lot in the brief glimpses we got of her before she entered the story proper! But the episode prevents us with lost opportunity after lost opportunity for something with emotional weight. There's exactly one resonant moment, where the visuals and plot come together to create a sense that something important is happening, that these two will be changed forever by their encounter. But then it just gets back to its weightless, stat-obsessed nonsense and I cease to care once again.

I could spend at least a thousand words unpacking everything I disliked about Reincarnated as a Sword and all the ways I felt let down by it, but this is neither the time nor the place. Just know this: if you are wearied by overpowered protagonists who can solve every problem the run into instantly, skip this. If your eyes roll back in your head every time a character starts rattling off RPG-style stats and skills, skip this. If you want a story that respects your time, definitely skip this. Suffice it to say, I'm skipping it too.

My husband just looked at me and asked, “What do you think happens to a sword when it gets horny?” because he watched it with me. That's another half-star off.

Richard Eisenbeis

We've had anime about people reincarnated as heroes, villains, slimes, and spiders. And now this anime dares to take the next logical step: being reincarnated in another world as an inanimate object. So yeah, Reincarnated as a Sword no doubt has a silly premise, but that doesn't mean it can't teach an important lesson—even in its first episode.

When it comes down to it, this episode is all about ego, and how it can lead to the downfall of those with great power. On one side of the story, we have our talking sword. He's overpowered from the start, able to kill monsters and absorb their skills in addition to normally leveling up. Soon he's killing giant acid slimes and dragons without much in the way of danger. He's basically unstoppable—until he's defeated by the literal ground. In his ego, he thought he had nothing to fear, and the unknown can always claim an easy victory over the complacent.

This is true on the other side of the story as well. Fran is a slave that is constantly abused by her masters. Because she is of a weak demi-human race and wears a slave collar that forces her to obey them, they don't fear her in the least—even when she holds a magical sword in her hands. The mixture of unchecked ego and the unknown are once again a recipe for defeat. It's a solid moral and hopefully one our heroic pair takes to heart.

That said, the episode does have some ups and downs. On one hand, it feels a bit poorly paced. We don't need all those scenes of the sword killing monster after monster when a tight montage could have worked better (unless, of course, knowing his exact skill list and how he learned them is vital to the plot in the long term). Basically, it feels a bit like 15 minutes of material being stretched into 22 minutes so that the pair's first battle will happen right at the end of episode 1.

On the other hand, Fran is a great comedic foil. Her dandere nature makes it impossible for the sword (and us) to tell what she is thinking just by looking. Moreover, her quest is a somewhat novel one. She's not out to save the world or her people. She just wants to evolve—to better herself—and let the world see that they were wrong to look down on her based on her race alone. All in all, it's a decent setup for the show.

Nicholas Dupree

With the announcement that the long-fabled Vending Machine isekai is getting an anime, it's fair to say the isekai trend is firmly in its gimmick era. There are so many of these damn shows every season, every year, that they have to resort to cheap and eye-catching central bits to stick out, and today we've landed on “reincarnated as an inanimate object” as our shtick to run into the ground, literally. And much like our titular blade, this show has two edges – one decently sharp and probably worth keeping around, and the other a dull, chipped, rusted hunk of scrap.

We'll start with the latter, which is our central iseguy, the sword currently known as Teacher. He may look like a sword, but he's in fact the anchor around this show's neck, robbing it of any energy or momentum whenever he's the only named character on screen. His solo adventures in monster-slaying take up just over half of this premiere, and they are interminable. It's nothing but him staring at stat screens, indiscriminately killing random monsters, and then going back to look at stat screens again, all while making the blandest “comedic” commentary he can. It's the worst parts of So I'm a Spider, So What? without the soothing salve of Aoi Yuuki's unhinged vocal performance. It represents the most uninteresting, tacked-on tropes of isekai at large, and if I weren't obligated to watch the whole episode I don't think I'd have made it to the first eye-catch.

Thankfully, I did hang on, and things are a lot more compelling once we start introducing the other half of our central duo, Fran. Not to say Fran's story is all that original, but she's at least a character with a meaningful motivation and conflict to sort out, wanting to escape slavery and attain the power her (catgirl) race has been denied for so long. It's schlocky, but once Fran picked up our loud-mouthed sword protagonist and used him to cut a cerbearus down, I finally saw the appeal of this story, and was at least a little interested in seeing more. Even Teacher was less insufferable once he had somebody to talk to besides himself, and he did earn some points for immediately murdering a slaver and burning Fran's magical slave contract. An explicitly anti-slavery isekai shouldn't be a novelty, but that's where we are right now, and I've got to give credit where it's due.

Still, I don't know that the positive aspects of the second half outweigh the miserable time I had getting there. It'll ultimately depend on how our central personalities balance out along their quest, which I suppose warrants at least one more episode, so this sword has one more week to hone his blade.

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