Reviewby Theron Martin,
Peter Grill and the Philosopher's Time
episodes 1-12 streaming + manga vol. 1-2
Every 10 years the Grand Fighting Tournament is held to determine the title of Strongest Man on Earth. This year – for the first time in 150 years – the title goes to a human: Peter Grill, an adventurer from the Yappekachi Warriors Guild. Both Peter and fellow guild member Luvellia see this as the means to finally convince Luvellia's recalcitrant father, Guildmaster Albatross, to allow the two to marry. However, Peter failed to understand that one of the consequences of becoming Strongest Man is that women of various races would aggressively attempt to seduce him so that he would sire strong children with them. In other words, they're after his “man yogurt.” Peter wants to remain faithful, but can he in the face of forceful ogre sisters, a bewitching elf, and a surprisingly sexy orc while also preventing the Guildmaster from killing him?
This review covers both the anime series (which aired during the Summer 2020 season) and the first two volumes of the source manga, as both are available at roughly the same time. The first four anime episodes are an almost exact adaptation of the first manga volume, while episodes 5-8 take some liberties in adapting the second volume; the orc girl Piglette is introduced prior to a drinking party and treaty rather than after, so that she can participate in them as well, and the venue and person responsible for initiating the drinking party is changed. This results in one character and location wholly being cut out, but the story works better – and makes more sense – with the changes.
In either version, the basic premise is exactly the same: a young man has gained more sexy, earnest female attention than he knows how to handle, and he is unable to avoid caving in and having sex with other young women despite wanting to remain true to his longtime love. In fairness, these women are extremely aggressive about copulating with him so that (in three cases) they can bring his genes back to their respective races to make them stronger or (in one case) so she can raise children strong enough to get revenge against those who bullied her amongst her people. These women are not above using blackmail, magical curses, aphrodisiacs, liquor, and guilt trips to have their way with him, either. One is even openly willing to be his mistress to accomplish her goals, and the four of them (three of them in the manga) at least attempt to hash out a fair-use treaty concerning Peter until they each get pregnant.
While this might sound like typical harem antics, this series goes beyond any other series of that type in that sex – sometimes even group sex – actually does happen. One of the running jokes of the series is Peter waking up in the morning with one or more sleeping, naked beauties around him and an expression of pained regret on his face that he once again wasn't faithful to Luvellia. Whether Peter deserves scorn or sympathy for this is entirely a matter of perspective, though he is portrayed as the victim in most cases. He may be the strongest man in battle, but he is apparently powerless when it comes to lust. That Luvellia is so innocent as to still believe that storks deliver babies also plays into this, creating the (intended or not) crass suggestion that he might not be so tempted if he was getting some action from his leading lady. That his heart does not waver from Luvellia – even as his loins do – and he is at least trying to get himself out of these situations is his one good point.
No attempt is made at serious social commentary here, so an analysis of the issues in play should not be expected. This is a harem sex comedy in fantasy RPG form, one which packs standard anime/manga gimmicks like the powerful, intimidating, overprotective father of the love interest. Personality types for all of the women involved – whether it be the chipper idiot, the pushy older sister, the arrogant girl with no figure, the innocent, or the “I'm soft everywhere, including in personality” girl – come straight out of harem romcoms, with the twist here being that the personalities are paired with different races. There are minor action elements involved in some episodes, but they are simplified both in execution and (in anime form) animation.
As a sex comedy, both anime and manga versions are naturally packed almost wall-to-wall with fanservice. Both versions feature plentiful male and female nudity, though it is censored in the anime version and shown in undefined form in the manga version; the Great Philosopher Version shown on Crunchyroll, and the only version shown on HIDIVE, has less censorship but still censored. (That version showed defined nudity in Japan, so detail can probably be expected if the anime eventually gets a physical release in the States.) That sex happened is all implied rather than shown, and the content here is not on the level of an Interspecies Reviewers episode, but things get sexy enough and little artistic effort is spared at making the female characters look appealing. In fact, character designs are generally the strong point of the artistic effort in both versions. The language can also get quite dirty, with both versions delighting in using all sorts of colorful, sometime funny euphemisms for sperm.
The anime version of the series, which is provided to both Crunchyroll and HIDIVE by Sentai, is done in 12½ minute episodes, including full opener and closer. The former is a lively number which fits the series well, while the closer is a bonus fanservice fest. Unsurprisingly, it is helmed by a director who comes from a hentai background, and the sharp coloring effort easily makes it the more attractive of the two versions. It is animated by relatively new studio Wolfsbane (as near as I can determine, this is only the second anime that the studio has worked on), who devotes most of the animation budget to fanservice scenes. In this case, that works. The manga version tosses in little comments in the naming boxes for each character that gets introduced, and sometimes these can be added jokes.
Sentai has provided a simuldub for the anime, which currently streams exclusively on HIDIVE. Though some long-time veterans can be heard in smaller roles, most of the core cast are relative or complete newcomers. Performances can be a little stiff in places but mostly work fine, especially Joe Daniels' in the titular role. The dialogue retains the manga and subtitle's predilection for creative names for Peter's sperm.
The two basic evaluating factors here are whether or not the series delivers on its fanservice and whether or not it delivers on humor. It does well on the former point and passable on the latter. Some will undoubtedly find this too crass to be tolerable, but it can be a fun little read/view if you do not expect more than base entertainment value.
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B-
Story : C+
Animation : C+
Art : B+
Music : B
+ Plentiful fanservice, attractive girls, can be funny
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