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The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
The Fable

How would you rate episode 1 of
The Fable ?
Community score: 3.2

What is this?


When you're the infamous prodigy hitman known only as "Fable," many things come easy. Being a normal person, however, isn't one of them. In fact, being told that he can't kill anyone for a while may just be the hardest job Fable's ever taken...

The Fable is based on the manga series of the same name by Katsuhisa Minami. The anime series is streaming on Disney+ and Hulu, depending on the region, on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

There's something to be said for a solidly competent first episode like this one. The premise is clearly explained—that this team of independent hitmen needs to lay low for a year and it looks to be easier said than done.

The best thing about this episode is that it's almost all “show, don't tell” when it comes to our characters. Right from the start we get to see our genius killer in action—and it's not hard to see why he's revered in the criminal underworld as “The Fable.” From there, however, we get a look at the man behind the mask—and what a character he is. Unable to eat hot food, has zero personality outside of being a killer, and is obsessed with a D-tier comedian, he's unsettling, to say the least.

He wouldn't be the most entertaining character by himself—which is why we get Yoko, his handler and driver. While she acts as the straight man in their relationship, it's clear she is just as desensitized to the violence of their job as he is (which leads to some great comic bits all on its own). She knows how to handle him—where she can push and where she can't.

The pair have a fantastic chemistry that completely carries the episode. I could watch them talking about anything and everything for hours—which is what I plan to do for the remainder of this season.

James Beckett

I'm always down for a good crime drama, and since I've been too gosh-danged busy to get Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth yet, I could use more shows like The Fable to scratch the old yakuza/hitman itch. The biggest fear I had going into this premiere, though, was that The Fable would end up like the last Tezuka Productions crime drama I watched, My Home Hero, because that show looked like ass and had a terrible script to match. Obviously, the script issues were more the fault of the source material, but still, I had my reservations.

I can't say that The Fable looks particularly great on the visuals front, but it is, at least, watchable. The way the show colors and lights its nighttime scenes is awful, and for the first ten minutes of the episode, I was legitimately worried that my monitor was busted, but no, the show is just like that. Thankfully, not every scene in the show looks like it was shot with a camera with several layers of pantyhose pulled over the lens, and the visuals eventually turn out to be perfectly fine for the most part. The character designs are solid enough for a realistic setting like this, I'll say, and the show at least has a solid sense of moody, noir-ish atmosphere.

The good news is that, even if the visuals didn't wow me, I really dug into the story that The Fable is telling. The core premise of a preternaturally skilled killer having to go into hiding and live an inconspicuous life for a full year is a great one right off the bat, and I like the whole dynamic that Fable/"Akira" has with his "little sister" Yoko. Akira is the prototypical killer of few words, but his back-and-forth with Yoko gives the script some much-needed pep and personality. Having a more traditionally "likable" female lead as the deuteragonist also means that the inevitable conflicts that arise when Akira gets into scraps with whatever violent weirdos the story has waiting for him will have stakes higher than "How will Akira get out of this one?"

So, yeah, I'm digging The Fable quite a bit, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here. The Fable is a refreshing change of pace from the rest of their season's offerings, and seeing these two play a perilous game of "house" together ought to be quite entertaining.

Nicholas Dupree

Is this a joke? Am I being pranked? It feels like I'm being pranked.

Listen, I've watched plenty of bad, incompetent, and just plain ugly shows. This premiere, however, feels different. It feels like the most boring fever dream imaginable, cycling through excruciatingly boring dialogue scenes with some of the most unpleasant voice acting I've heard in ages, animated on a budget of hay pennies. It does not feel finished or even like a real, professional product.

First, this thing didn't just get hit with the ugly stick: it got held down by the Ugly Yakuza and had both its legs broken with steel-reinforced Ugly Clubs. The character designs mostly remind me of Back Street Girls, another contender for one of the most aesthetically unpleasant things I've ever seen. Those designs can barely move but are often obscured by bizarre filters that cover half the screen in a hazy black. I checked multiple times to make sure something wasn't wrong with my stream. I swear it is physically unpleasant to rest your eyes on this thing long enough to read the subtitles.

The other part that makes this feel like a cruel joke is that nothing happens in this episode. This is ostensibly the story of a pro hitman going undercover as a civilian and trying to keep his cover, but that never actually occurs in this episode. Instead, our protagonist just sits in a car for 15 minutes, being driven to where that story will supposedly happen. This episode doesn't even end, so much as it stops mid-scene, in the middle of a conversation between two characters we've never met before. This is made all the worse because Kazuyuki Okitsu and Miyuki Sawashiro turn in career-worst performances, delivering every line in the most annoying monotone imaginable.

The source manga is a bit of a cult favorite, so I can't imagine what cursed magic turned it into such an unwatchable mess here. Maybe the aimless dialogue is more charming in a medium where the characters can express actual emotions on their faces. Perhaps the action is intense when not animated on a bar napkin and put under a grainy monochrome filter. Maybe the first chapter didn't end on the cliffhanger of "our hero goes to buy a new t-shirt." Regardless, if the premise of this story sounds interesting, check out the comics because there is nothing worth your time here.

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