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The Summer 2024 Anime Preview Guide
I Parry Everything!

How would you rate episode 1 of
I Parry Everything ?
Community score: 3.1



What is this?

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The Kingdom of Clays faces a conflict that will shape the face of the continent for centuries to come...but Noor doesn't have a clue about any of that! Having freshly arrived at the royal capital after over a decade of rigorous, isolated training at his mountain home, he's dead set on achieving his childhood dream of becoming an adventurer, even if the only skills he possesses are useless ones. Sure, he can [Parry] thousands of swords in the span of a single breath, but everybody knows you need more than that if you want to be an adventurer! Our hero's road to making his dream come true will be long(?) and arduous(?)—but if there's one thing Noor's not afraid of, it's some good ol' fashioned hard work!

I Parry Everything is based on the light novel series by Nabeshiki and Kawaguchi. The anime series is streaming on HIDIVE on Thursdays.


How was the first episode?


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Caitlin Moore
Rating:

Regardless of the quality of upcoming shows, I Parry Everything wins for best first episode title: “I Parry a Cow.” It brings up images of a cow flying through the air toward our protagonist, only to be blocked by a swing of his sword. While that wasn't quite exactly how it ended up happening, I will forever treasure the memory of that title coming up and everyone in the room bursting out laughing.

Other than that, I have to give it a lot of credit for having the beats of game-based isekai while leaving off the trappings that most annoy me. Noor, who I keep mentally calling “Perry” to the point that I started actually thinking that was his name, does not once pull up a menu screen. Neither he nor anyone else mentions levels or Talents. Yeah, there are named abilities akin to skills or feats in an RPG but they're pretty low-key. There's subtext that everything is defined by inborn talents and stats, and that no amount of practice can develop skills enough to overcome a lack of aptitude, which is a hallmark of game-based worlds.

But there's no incessant narration or a word salad of proper nouns. That's the most remarkable thing: I Parry Everything actually has faith in its audience to follow its story and understand its world without explaining every single little thing. I don't know who to thank for this, whether it's the original light novel author, the director, or the scriptwriter, but whoever made that choice… thank you. Thank you for letting the visuals speak for themselves. Thank you for letting us understand Noor as a character from his actions and dialogue. Thank you.

It's weird, being excited that an anime succeeds what most people consider to be basic storytelling but that's where we've ended up with the proliferation of Narou anime. It really is a decent series in every way. Noor is a hard worker and a sweet guy who's out here living his dream of being an “adventurer,” even if it means a life of menial service. He's also pretty easy on the eyes, if I'm being completely honest. The climactic action scene, where he fights the titular “cow”—more accurately described as a minotaur—is well-produced, though I could have lived without him yelling, “Parry!” every time he, well, parries.

In a better world, “decent” wouldn't be high praise for a modern fantasy anime. Well, this world stinks in a lot of ways and the proliferation of low-effort, SEO-driven content like most LitRPG anime is one of them. I Parry Everything is a fine enough alternative.


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James Beckett
Rating:

I Parry Everything has a lot going against it right from the start. For one, the full subtitle of the show is “What Do You Mean I'm the Strongest? I'm Not Even an Adventurer Yet!” That alone speaks to a very…meager sense of ambition and creativity in an anime, at least most of the time. Also, the nature of its setting honestly makes my skin itch with irritation. I know full well that there have been a handful of decent stories involving fantasy settings that, for no logical or compelling reason, just so happen to function by the rules of an incredibly generic tabletop or video game RPG. That said, the vast majority of the shows I have seen have absolutely nothing interesting to do or say about the cliches of fantasy stories and games, or the interesting conflicts that could come from existing in a nightmare reality that adheres to the arbitrary laws of low-budget Ultima ripoff. I know not every series is going to have the frankly genius worldbuilding of shows like Delicious in Dungeon, but dammit, is it too much to ask to let one season go by where I don't have to hear of any godforsaken ranking systems or ability sheets?

Anyway, all of this is to say that, despite the many points I had against I Parry Everything when I started it, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an anime that is perfectly adequate. It's not good, necessarily, and you'd probably have to pay me to go out of my way to watch more than just this first episode, but the show seems like it's trying, at the very least. The visuals have just enough of that bronze lamplight vibe to give its world a slight sense of atmosphere, for one, and the animation has a bit more depth and weight than most of its competitors. I wish the character designs were more memorable, but hey, you can't win 'em all (unless you're watching Delicious in Dungeon, I guess), and I could at least tell people apart in I Parry Everything. It's a low bar to clear, but credit where credit is due.

More significantly, though, is the fact that I Parry Everything seems to understand that the “One Punch Man” premise only works when your hero is preternaturally gifted at one thing, but mostly sucks at everything else. It's not enough for Boring McPotato-kun to simply be average or disinterested in everything that isn't his overpowered skill; he has to actually be bad at stuff. That's how you get things like “conflict” and “character development” going in your stories, and those are two vital elements that a concerning amount of anime seem to think are entirely optional. For his part, Noor got so discouraged by how much he sucks at being your average RPG hero that he dedicated his life to perfecting the one skill he is good at. This is a solid storytelling choice because when the show pits Noor against a giant Minotaur monster, it knows that he has to struggle with his deficiencies before figuring out how to take advantage of his superpower.

I don't want to damn I Parry Everything with faint praise. This is not going to be anyone's new favorite anime; it probably doesn't stand much of a chance against the other shows airing this summer, even. Still, so far as oversimplified power-fantasy junk food goes, I Parry Everything manages to get the job done and get out without making a bad impression. Check it out if you really need to kill some extra time this season.


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Nicholas Dupree
Rating:

I gotta say, this show surprised me. While it's nothing groundbreaking, there are a lot of solid and familiar ideas here that just work. Considering how many shows in this genre space – including this season's The Ossan Newbie Adventurer – so often just drop their premise at your feet in the first few minutes, I was expecting yet another bland comedy where the nondescript but likable dude is actually the strongest ever, and the rest of the episode would just be a parade of that single gag. Instead, we get a decently told story about a kid trying his best to follow a simple dream, and we're much better off for it.

It's specifically the journey to Noor's god-level parrying power that makes this episode compelling. Rather than hand waving the years of training it takes for him to get there, we follow his constantly stymied journey towards being an adventurer and get to see just how determined he is. I like, too, that none of his instructors are sneering jerks who belittle him for his failures, but just responsible teachers who recognize he probably isn't suited for the highly dangerous job he's trying for. Noor isn't exactly a wealth of personality, but he's kind, humble, and understanding, which makes it easy to root for him. They even hold off long enough on the one joke that Ossan Newbie drove into the ground that when Noor solemnly swears to train more after struggling to fight a cow (read: a three-story tall Minotaur), I actually laughed. That's how you deliver such a simple joke in a way that actually lands!

That's not to say this show is amazing. The world-building doesn't offer much to chew on, the total focus on Noor's story means we don't get any sense of the rest of the cast. There are some strong cuts during his fight with the Minotaur, and in general, the direction is strong without really standing out; the same goes for the character designs. I also worry that the central mechanic of Noor's fighting style could get boring on its own. A Parry Tank who can stop enemies in their tracks without taking damage is a useful factor for fights, but I'll need to see how the rest of his party fills out before I can be confident in the show's action fundamentals.

The fact that I'm actually planning to watch another episode says a lot, though. I Parry Everything isn't amazing, or an exemplar of this genre, but it has enough charm (and this season is currently light enough) that I'm willing to see where it's going. If it can build a cast that's as likable as Noor and come up with some fun adventures for them to go on, this could be a pretty good time.


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Rebecca Silverman
Rating:

I Parry Everything doesn't have a novel premise; in fact, we've already seen one show this season about a man who has no idea how strong he really is. This one even has the additional element of people underestimating the hero's strength based on his paltry skills – on paper, it feels a lot like The Ossan Newbie Adventurer. But what sets this one apart is that it isn't a comedy. Hero Noor is very serious about everything he does, earnest to a fault as he pursues his childhood dream of being an adventurer. Even when he's turned away from the Adventurers Guild as a child due to a lack of marketable skills (that, in all fairness, would help prevent him from dying in the field), it's with sadness on the part of the people in charge, and when he returns and is basically offered a pity enrollment as the lowest possible rank, he's ready to jump on it. For Noor, the mere act of helping people is enough.

It makes sense how he got there – orphaned at a young age, Noor's used to fend for himself, and that he also took care of his mother through her final illness means that helping others is part of his sense of self. What does he care if he's doing fetch quests? He's living his best adventurer life, and that's enough for him. Is it odd that no one bothers to observe his work or to test his few skills to see how well he uses them? Yes, but not to the point that it feels jarring; everyone's working on the assumption that enhancing his strength, tossing stones, and parrying isn't going to stop a rampaging monster from killing him and/or decimating his group. If it feels shortsighted to us, that's probably because we're well-versed in this sort of story.

The catch is, of course, that he can destroy monsters with his few oddball skills. The episode is bookended by a fight against what Noor thinks is a giant cow (it's a minotaur; this is basically the one concession to humor in the whole thing), where he rescues a noblewoman and kills the monster. It's meant to reassure us that we won't just be watching a guy carry construction materials and rescue lost cats, and it does work on that front. The middle of the episode (and the bulk of it) is devoted to Noor's past, which isn't anything special, but works well enough, even if I spent much of it wondering if his livestock survived his nine-month stint in the city. I think, on the whole, that's the best way to describe this episode: nothing special, but it works well enough. It helps that the production values are higher than this sort of thing usually gets, and it may turn out to be the sort of fantasy adventure that you can enjoy without having to think too much about it – and that's much more than I was expecting.


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Richard Eisenbeis
Rating:

It's kind of a bold move to spend almost your entire first episode focusing on your protagonist's backstory, especially when his life's such a peaceful one. Backstories are often saved for the middle of tales to humanize the protagonist and show a different side to them. Moreover, saving the backstory for later allows for an action-filled beginning—a way to get the viewer hooked before moving into the more emotional, slower-paced bits.

However, in this case, starting with Noor's life story was the right choice. The point of this episode is not to show how cool Noor is but rather to show what kind of person he is. At his core, he wants to help others. Being an adventurer seems to be the best way of doing that. After all, what better way to help others than to stop monsters from killing them? It's important to note that he's not trying to be a hero for the fame and the glory. If he were, he never would have become an F-rank adventurer, much less been happy to do all the “dirty jobs” he'd been given.

It's not hard to like Noor, after seeing his past and personality in action. Hard work and a good heart are some major virtues, after all. The show trusts that our emotional connection to him will be enough to pull us into episode two rather than focus on action, though that's not to say we get nothing in that department.

The action scene that bookends the episode is a decent enough fight. We see him use his small skills in clever ways. And, of course, use parry to overcome the raging minotaur. The only question I had at the end was whether Noor reflecting the axe hit back at the minotaur was on purpose. Regardless of which it was, I feel that the anime failed to get that important detail across.

All in all, was the episode anything profound? No. Was it enjoyable? Yes. And since I love a good fantasy, I'll be sure to check out episode two to see more of what the series is about.


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