The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
I'm Quitting Heroing
How would you rate episode 1 of
I'm Quitting Heroing ?
Community score: 3.8
What is this?
Leo is a hero who once saved the world from a demon army's invasion. However, he was feared and ostracized by people afterward, and ended up with no job. Feeling that his skills would be better appreciated elsewhere, he joins the demon lord's army that he once fought. Now in a new work environment, Leo strives to use his skills and revive the demon army that is on the brink of collapse.
How was the first episode?
You know, I have to give I'm Quitting Heroing some credit. It's not a premise I've encountered before, which can be very valuable when it feels like half the series that come out each season are variations on the same three themes. It also gets off to a strong start, with Leo marching himself into the Demon Lord's castle and proudly presenting his resume. His blunt, arrogant, and somewhat abrasive personality kind of sucks and he knows it, but he's also confident that his skills more than make up for his social deficiencies.
With the first few minutes dedicated to some solid physical comedy and character-based gags, I was ready to lean in and accept that hey, maybe this isn't the anime for me, but it's still pretty fun. The character designs are attractive and varied without being totally hackneyed; plus, one of them has very similar energy to Iskander from Fate/Zero, and I kind of love that. By the time Leo was meeting with the Four Generals in the boardroom, I had settled in for a good, solid 3.5 star premiere. Not my thing necessarily, but a solid recommendation for people who read the summary and think it sounds like something they'd enjoy.
But then the flashbacks start. Leo talks about how he defeated each of the Four Generals while black and white depictions of what he's describing play on screen. It's half showing, half telling, all redundancy, and it really sucks all the oxygen out of the room. It's too abbreviated for any kind of decent action, but there aren't really any jokes there either. It gives us a little information about each character, but mostly shows off what kind of archetype they are, along with reiterating that Leo is really, really strong. My eyes started to glaze over but hey, at least it handled Lily's crush on Leo without being really creepy about it.
And then! And then! It slides straight into melodrama as Leo tells the Four Generals how he ended up deciding to join them in yet another gray-tinged flashback and by now I am checked out. We've gone straight from “fun romp” to “whiny slog” in the space of less than an episode, and I need someone to go out and buy me a neck brace because I am seriously suffering from tonal whiplash. It's a real galaxy-brained choice to make the first episode almost entirely backstory, and I don't mean that in the good way. It stops the story in its tracks before it can even get going. It has the stink of an overly-faithful adaptation of an under-edited light novel to it, and I'm not holding my nose for it.
Watching a premiere like the one we get with I'm Quitting Heroing is like eating a Hot Pocket for dinner. You know that it isn't going to be very healthy, or filling, or even very tasty. As you spend two-to-three minutes watching the little meat-and-cheese pastry spin around on the microwave plate, secure in its patented “crispy sleeve” or whatever the hell it's called, you will have plenty of time to ask yourself the important questions: “Is this really what I'm going to settle for?” “Surely, there must have been something better to choose from than this?” “How many years is eating this mass-produced and possibly irradiated junk food going to take off my life, anyways?” Then you eat the thing, and it's…fine. It's technically food. It contains plenty of sugars and empty calories to keep your body functioning for a few hours more. It could have been worse, probably. It could have been a Lean Pocket.
Anyways, you all know the drill with these overlong food metaphors: They indicate that the subject being reviewed is too bland and featureless to inspire much thought-provoking criticism, so the writer in question had to reach just to find an interesting way of saying that they were mildly but not offensively bored by the whole experience. Also, I'm very hungry as I'm writing this.
I didn't hate I'm Quitting Heroing. It's just that, as a generic workplace comedy twist on even more generic anime fantasy tropes, there is literally nothing about the cast or the story that we haven't seen done ten thousand times before already. The main character is named “Leo Demonheart” for crying out loud. He and all of the Demon Queen's generals look and sound like they were yanked right out of the Default Templates folder you'd find on a vanilla install of RPG Maker.
A couple of the jokes in this episode made me laugh, and at no point did the main guy behave in a way that was creepy or irritating. The episode didn't feel any longer than its 23-minute runtime (though it didn't exactly breeze by, either). So, while I didn't like anything about I'm Quitting Heroing, I didn't actively hate my time with it either. It just sort of exists, designed to be consumed and immediately forgotten, like so many of the cheap frozen dinners that have come and gone throughout the college dorms of the world.
The premise of this series boils down to a single question: “What happens to the hero after they win?” You may want the legendary hero around when there's an army of invading demons led by an all-powerful Demon Lord, but the moment the hero is triumphant, the whole situation changes. Now you have someone powerful enough to take down the ultimate evil—without the evil part of the equation. This begets fear in the general population which then turns to anger. Soon they will want him gone—if not dead then at least out of sight and out of mind.
This is doubly true in the case of Leo who is a hero so overpowered, he single-handedly took out not only the Demon Lord's army but the Demon Lord and her four generals as well. So what does he do when he is abandoned by all those he worked to save? He sets off to join the remnants of the Demon Lord's army. After all, they will surely accept him since they've seen how effective he is—won't they?
It's a solid premise with a lot of potential for both comedy and drama. But in setting it up, this whole episode becomes little more than a giant backstory dump. We meet the Demon Lord (however briefly) and get introduced to the four generals. Each of the four are walking fantasy stereotypes but this is played for comedy by showing how easily Leo beat them by exploiting their obvious weaknesses. Normally that alone is not enough to carry the episode, but thankfully Leo himself is able to pick up the slack.
Leo is a deeply flawed person. He has ungodly amounts of power and an ego to match. Because of this, he just expects things to work out in his favor and seems more than a little confused when they don't (though he rebounds quickly). But what makes Leo interesting is the simple fact that he doesn't seem to care about anything. He doesn't care about his fellow humans or the things they hold dear. He likewise doesn't care about the demons and all the pain and suffering he has personally put them through.
He doesn't even really seem to care about himself. Even when he is exiled, he doesn't get angry or go on a killing spree like the people fear, he just kind of becomes aimless. It's not like he forgives the people for casting him aside but it seems to roll off of him like something that can't be helped. This is equal parts intriguing and unsettling. Behind the jokes, we have this mystery of a broken man and what made him become this way. And for me, that's enough to give it another watch next week.
Even if you don't admire Leo's chutzpah for waltzing into the castle of the very demon lord he just defeated and asking for a job, you have to give him credit for realizing that he was fighting on the wrong side before. This wouldn't be the first title to posit that humans are the real monsters, and while it isn't necessarily going to be expanded upon here, that line of reasoning is very much open in this first episode. That Leo, after realizing that he wasn't doing great work with a party, took it upon himself to fight Echidna the Demon Queen and her four generals, only to be completely rejected by the very humans he was fighting for after defeating them, is a good demonstration of what's wrong with the story's world. In another show, I might say that it was an indication of what's wrong with the basic narrative of good versus evil, but I honestly don't think that's what this series is going for.
What it does appear to be working towards is a simple role reversal: Leo wasn't respected as a hero, so he's going to try his luck as a villain. He knows the road will be a tricky one, seeing as how he was the instrument of the demons' defeat, but he's also tired, emotionally wounded, and really, really sick of living in a cave since he was banished from the very kingdom he saved. I wouldn't blame him if he had a serious grudge; that he doesn't appear to seems to indicate that this is going to be more of a lighthearted piece – or at least as lighthearted as it can be when there's war involved. Not that anyone seems all that keen on attacking the humans again, Leo included. In part that may be due to the drubbing the demons took, but it's just as likely to be because absolutely nobody involved has any taste for logistics. Since Leo came equipped with handouts, graphs, and a resumé, I think we can assume that planning and other logistical tasks are in his wheelhouse.
Despite all of this relatively interesting information and a decent premise, the episode is kind of dull. Most of it is Leo explaining things, both to his prospective employers and to us in the audience, and while there's some animation, it's not very exciting. Lily's constantly wagging tail is cute, and the scene where Leo returns to town after defeating Echidna has the right uncomfortable balance, but if you don't love exposition, this may be a real slog. It has potential in Leo using his skills to turn things around for the people he previously defeated, but I could see the drag of this episode turning people off.
Just off the bat, I hate this title. Sure, it's succinct enough and doesn't have an overlong subtitle, but “Heroing” is such a clunky word that just never looks right when I read it. The show itself is perfectly alright so far – maybe a little too muddled on whether it wants to take its premise seriously or treat it entirely as a farce – but overall this premiere isn't a bad sit. But that title? Terrible. Awful. My phone keeps auto-correcting it to “I'm Quitting Heroin” and I don't need that kind of mistake in my work e-mails. As protest I'm going to call this one I Quit for the rest of time.
Anyway, the actual premise of I Quit is a solid enough one, though I can't shake the feeling of having seen so many parts of it done better in other shows. I'm also just really tired of over-powered heroes wallowing in how being a LVL 99 Übermensch isn't as fun as they always thought it would be. So Leo himself is kind of a bore throughout this premiere whenever he's supposed to be taken seriously. Thankfully he's a lot more charming when he's played as an obtuse jerk who can't stop talking about how he's so much stronger than the demon army he's trying to get a job at. He's a jerk, sure, but his casual ego gives him some personality and lets him bounce off the other characters in this episode in a way that's funny more often than not.
Though there aren't really any laugh-out-loud moments in this episode, mostly because a lot of it is used for building up the same joke four or five times in a row. Yep, Leo sure is way stronger than everyone else and he totally punked out the demon generals! We definitely needed to see that gag run through the wash multiple times across the episode. Doesn't help that while some of the Generals at least sass him back, a couple of them just roll with Leo's obnoxious personality. Jokes like this one need some real friction to be funny, and that's in short supply across too much of this premiere. I'm especially not a fan of the underage beast-girl who's declared she wants to marry him. The show hasn't yet used her for obvious fanservice, but the prospect of seeing more of that is a pretty good motivator to not watch another episode.
And it didn't really need more help in that endeavor. While there's nothing particularly bad about this premiere, it also just doesn't do much that's interesting or compelling. Maybe it's the generic art style and character designs, maybe it's just the show splitting itself too much between a wacky comedy and a serious story of a banished hero joining the “dark side” – either way, not being bad or objectionable isn't the same as being good, and I can't give much enthusiasm for a show that leaves such little impression.
discuss this in the forum (308 posts) |
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history