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The Winter 2022 Preview Guide
Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest Season 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.2

What is this?

Transported to another world and left behind by his former friends, Hajime had to make his rise from literal rock bottom. It was in the labyrinth where he strengthened his weak magic and found several beautiful allies. Now after saving his classmates, he ventures for Erisen to escort Myu and her mother. He'll fight and defeat anyone he has to in order to find a way home—including a god.

Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest is based on Ryo Shirakome's light novel series and streams on Funimation on Thursdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

While it had some issues with pacing and character motivation, I genuinely enjoyed the first season of Arifureta. The series as a whole has the perfect setup for adventure: Our isekai hero wants to go back to his own world but has no idea how to do it. Thus, he has no choice but to travel around the fantasy world exploring dungeons and overcoming challenges. And look, I know it's not cool to say this but, damnit, sometimes I like having a grimdark edgelord protagonist going around killing monsters and winning the hearts of women like it's going out of style.

That said, this highly enjoyable episode is all about knocking Hajime down a peg or two. With Kaori in the party, we have someone who actually knew him before he was the one-eyed, one-armed, silver-haired badass who can recreate modern technology through alchemy and kill thousands of monsters single-handedly. She's quick to point out that he's basically a walking trope now and half of his ideas for weapons are taken wholesale from other anime. While it's all in the comical context of Kaori and Yue fighting over Hajime, it also shows that he has far less control over his party than he would like to admit. And let's be clear, that's a good thing.

Hajime's horrible experience in the labyrinth forged him into the epitome of a selfish asshole. Coming out of it, the only person in the world he trusted was Yue. He generally didn't care about what anyone else thought, including the Kingdom, his old classmates, and even his first few party members besides Yue. However, as we see in this episode, that has changed somewhat. It's especially hard for him to ignore Kaori and Myu, the former because she was always kind to him and the latter because she's an innocent child. Even now, he'd rather just leave a suspicious man to die in the desert or a random town to suffer from disease. However, the two basically act as Hajime's conscience now, reminding him of the right thing to do even when it's inconvenient. And while both they and the rest of the party still show they are willing to follow his lead, he can't help but concede to their wishes. Frankly, the party is making him into a better person little by little, and that's something I like seeing.

Rebecca Silverman

Although this is the first episode of Arifureta's second season, it may not be the best to judge things by. That's due to the fact that it's mostly about re-establishing the cast and their relationships while setting up the next adventure, and while I appreciate that it's been a while since season one and the idea of easing us back into the story, in practice it doesn't do a whole lot to hook us into the plot. It probably would have been a better idea to spend more time with Bizen and his request than to remind us that everyone wants to sleep with Hajime and Yue's really, really smug about the fact that she gets to and they don't.

Not that she's not within her rights to tell the rest of the ladies to back off. It's frankly a bit off-putting that no one respects the fact that Yue and Hajime are together exclusively, and while I could see Kaori having a hard time wrapping her head around him suddenly being a hot commodity, Tio has no excuse. I never thought I'd see Shea as the more responsible party, but in this episode she absolutely is; it's not that she's not also crushing on (or lusting after) Hajime, it's that she's more aware of the situation everyone's in, and her scolding them because Myu's a child is a nice, grounded moment in an otherwise irritating scene.

We also check in with Hajime's schoolmates for a brief moment, which may not be interesting, but does seem important. Kouki is having a very hard time dealing with the fact that Hajime is now hot stuff who saved his ass in the Labyrinth, and that's something everyone seems to have noticed and that will have an affect on Kouki going forward. Shizuku remains the most grounded of the high schoolers, calmly explaining everything to the princess, and it may be that her cooler head is what ends up keeping Kouki in check, although Kaori's defection has to have hurt her a little, too. Like I said, this is all really setting up for how the two groups will interact going forward, and I suspect that when we get to see more of the results of their previous encounter, things will get a bit more interesting.

In the meantime, the monsters still look kind of crumby, although I want to say that they're a bit better than in season one, and that goes for Hajime's magic SUV, too. Less important characters do still look generic (like Bizen), but this feels more middle-of-the-road than the previous season's visuals. Hands- down the best part of the episode is when Kaori calls out the fact that Hajime is clearly living out his nerd dreams with his new look and gear. If she keeps that up, I won't mind the sniping between Kaori and Yue, although I can't say I'm eager to jump back into this show.

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