Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
Episode 6

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious ?

Similar to the incredulity other characters regard its titular hero with, I'm not really sure what Cautious Hero is doing anymore. It pretty much gave up on true parody several weeks ago, and this latest story takes it to some genuinely dark, serious places, particularly this episode. But even though the potential is there, it's not really using those opportunities to dive into commentary of any sort on the stories it's skewing. So with just a few vestiges of its formational flavor left, the series presents itself as a slightly offbeat isekai at best, and a purely average entry in the genre at worst. And while there's nothing necessarily wrong with being average, I'd think those still watching this show would prefer it justify its existence somehow.

This episode follows directly on from the reveal dropped at the actual last second in the previous episode: Elulu has such low aptitude as a mage (and everything else, really) because her true purpose is to sacrifice herself to turn into a super-special sword that will allow Seiya to defeat the Dark Lord. Immediately, this scenario sets up a potentially-interesting conundrum using its base scenario. Seiya's whole thing so far has been taking every possible advantage he can get in completing his quest, but does even his pragmatism extend as far as letting an otherwise-innocent young girl die? Our hero has demonstrated several times that despite his closed-off demeanor, he actually does care about saving people, so if the show is going to attempt some serious subject matter with a characteristic it's primarily mined for comedy so far, this would be it.

Unfortunately, the result is obscured by what I'd say is Seiya being too stoic- It's made apparent fairly early in the process that he has no intention of letting Elulu be sacrificed, but we're shown little of his reasoning or process on the way. Only at the end does the episode even allude to the idea that he specifically put his knack for obscenely cautious planning on pause to safeguard the life of his comrade, and then that's put on the back-burner as a development to be analyzed in more detail later. It's frustrating that this is where Cautious Hero chooses to fall back on gags, as a detailed dive into how Seiya actually regards people is something I feel we could use this many episodes into the series. But instead it's brushed off simply to prop up his now-tired one-note personality.

So with that characteristic analysis being barely a background element, this episode's plot instead seems to fall on questioning the nature of destinies and sacrifices in stories like this. The uncertainty around Elulu going through with her sacrifice naturally brings up the question of how obligated people should feel to fulfilling prophecies like this one. We're told by the draconic matriarch of the Dragon's Den that the world of Geabrande is actually worse off than the few villages we've seen so far, but does a shot at righting things for the greater good oblige Elulu to throw her life away? This is loosely thematically connected with Seiya's role, where he's simply going through the steps of saving the world (as effectively as humanly possible) because he was summoned there with no choice and no way to return home otherwise. It's another undercooked facet of this episode's themes, as the obvious questions exist as part of the setup, but aren't really addressed by the characters.

The only thematic element that really gets any mind paid to it is the surprising zealotry of the dragons in their girl-sacrificing sword prophecy. They and their methods for carrying out the ceremony are portrayed with such a clearly ‘villainous’ spin that I spent a large part of the episode expecting some sort of twist that this was all actually in service of the Dark Lord. But no, this group seems genuine in their desire to defeat the villain, simply being presented as too ride-or-die for the act of yeeting a kid off a cliff to do so. The actual idea seems to be to call out the ‘illogic’ of taking such extreme measures on mere faith that they'll lead to a solution, especially in regards to the scope of the problem attempting to be solved. It's a unique perspective, if nothing else, and the most interesting part of the episode by far.

That's sadly not a difficult bar to clear though. Other than those incidental ideas, Cautious Hero is in full ‘series of things that happen’ mode this week. There's hardly any reflection in the lead-up to the sacrifice attempt, and when we get to the climactic fight there it just kind of drags on. Cautious Hero has shown an affinity for nicely-animated fights a few times before, but this is not one of those fights. Though in terms of other visuals, we do get a full-frontal scene of the disrobed dragon-dame (complete with buy-our-blu-rays beams!) right before she transforms into a giant dragon, so if you're into that, this is your lucky day. But aside from a few more eccentricities like that, such as a good gag about Seiya crafting a spare super-sword and then dual-wielding them both or a handful of requisite Ristarte antics, this episode has remarkably little going on. It's ‘fine’ in that it's functional and moderately interesting at moments. But it's also yet another week of Cautious Hero failing to live up to the real potential it has in its concepts.

Rating:

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


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