Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
Episode 10

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious ?

What kind of a sign is it that Cautious Hero had to take another break after just seven weeks? I'm no expert on anime production cycles, I just review the episodes, but it doesn't seem good for a series like this. It also, frustratingly, kept us waiting on that attention-getting cliffhanger last week focused on the age-old art of infantilization. Combined with the concerns about Seiya being less up on his storied preparation, and this had been a thread I was looking forward to Cautious Hero picking up. But with a week off to dent my enthusiasm, was coming back as momentous as it could have been? Given all the ways I just qualified that opening paragraph, what do you think?

The first thing we need to catch up with is that previous plot-twist with the Warmaster: So basically, he's baby. It had been hinted in earlier episodes that this storied warrior couldn't leave the castle area to just go defeat the Demon Lord himself for some reason, and this revelation turns out to be it. Or at least as much of it as the plot cares to dispense. Though we get a ton of narrative infodumping on the old dude's backstory courtesy of his daughter Rosalie (whose own age makes me seriously side-eye when he must have sired her), the exact nature of his babification is never properly expounded on. It actually receives nothing more than a passing metaphorical allusion, an admission that trying to confront the Demon Lord while feeling inadequate as a hero himself reduced the Warmaster to the feeling of a helpless infant. If this is afforded any more details in the source novels, I'm not sure, but here it's mostly a plot device for why this guy hasn't been doing Seiya's job for him this whole time, apart from the fact that he's also secretly evil.

Oh right, turns out the second-most-powerful entity on the supposed side of good that Seiya and pals have encountered in Geabrande is secretly allied with the Demon Lord himself. As far as the conceptual element of this episode goes, this is the most compelling Cautious Hero gets this week. The Warmaster has issues with inferiority, and they're taken not so much with Seiya's absurd power-levels themselves, but with his world-transported status designating him the title of ‘Hero’ overall. This anime has made a point thus far of laying out how summoned heroes form the core economy of world-saving in this setting: Simply being an isekai protagonist is what qualifies you, chosen by the gods, to fix everything. The idea that there might be other warriors just as qualified, ability-wise, to handle things has always been tacitly disregarded on the grounds that guys like the Warmaster didn't meet the anime-protagonist prerequisites to actually do so. I think a lot of people would be tempted to switch sides if some too-perfect jerk got summoned to be a self-insert stealing their job.

The problem is that, while this is a pretty interesting idea for a motivation to drop in and facilitate a plot-twist partway through this episode, it's pretty much all it has going for it and doesn't excuse the various structural speed-bumps we ran over getting here. As I mentioned, the Warmaster's age-reduction issue is reduced as he is down to a mere strength-limiting plot device, itself irrelevant as we find out he had no more reason to assist in the fight against the Demon Lord anyway. But then that causes the audience to mentally double-back on him helping fight the evil army, including taking out the most powerful of the bad guy's four generals. So was it all a long-con to get Seiya and Ristarte off-guard so he could whip out his magic super-sword and kill them himself? The plot isn't any more interested in explaining that than it is the coot's child-form curse. It renders most the ‘plot’ of this episode a shaggy-dog story of setup to get us to the obligate plot-twist and big fight at the end.

And that fight, sadly, doesn't make up for all the time taken to get to it. There are some interesting touches, like both fighters intoning additional abilities as they gear up, which seems almost like the team here trying to do their own spin on the famously-long buff-stacking scene from Overlord. And the final play of how Seiya uses the skills he learned from Valkyrie (I guess they really were training) is a pretty cool thing to see. But so much of the presentation of it feels rough, and rushed through, especially compared to visual feasts you might remember from the first couple episodes. Bits like the Warmaster's initial assault on Ristarte or his and Seiya's super-speed-slashing at each other mostly provokes a response of 'They spent two weeks on this?'. Purely mechanically, there's some cool, climactic stuff in here, but how we got to it and how it's shown to us don't measure up to the level the show thinks it's presenting.

Stretching things even further, the resolution to this turns out to be a mess. I read the Warmaster's character as him having been turned to an evil, self-serving bastard, but Rosalie's rejection of him in the aftermath is met with a few more running-gag smacks from Seiya and an argument that he deserves comfort and understanding from his family in his last moments. So I guess we were supposed to feel sorry for him that he never got to be an isekai protagonist? But we didn't get to know this guy long enough for him to make an appreciable impression, so I can't see him as anything than a goddess-attacking weirdo even if he did apparently love his daughter. The emotional elements are way off, and jumbled even more as the relentlessly-rushed Cautious Hero charges into the establishing elements of next episode's plot. The big concern now is that Seiya actually isn't ready for his final, Demon Lord-defeating challenge, and if this episode is anything to go by, I'm not sure the show is set either, even after an extra week of prep-time.

Rating:

Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious is currently streaming on FUNimation.


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