Jun KasamaTanya the EvilIsekai QuartetRising of the Shield Hero
Isekai Quartet 2
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2020: I
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2020
Writer/director: Minoru Ashina
Original creator: Carlo Zen, Kugane Maruyama, Natsume Akatsuki, Tappei Nagatsuki, Yusagi Aneko
Actor: Ai Kayano, Akeno Watanabe, Aki Toyosaki, Aoi Yuki, Asami Seto, Ayaka Suwa, Ayane Sakura, Chinatsu Akasaki, Daichi Hayashi, Daiki Hamano, Emiri Kato, Hiromi Igarashi, Hiroshi Kamiya, Hitomi Nabatame, Hochu Ohtsuka, Inori Minase, Jun Fukushima, Jun Kasama, Kaito Ishikawa, Kei Shindo, Kenta Miyake, Kenyuu Horiuchi, Mamoru Miyano, Manami Numakura, Masayuki Kato, Mikako Komatsu, Rie Murakawa, Rie Takahashi, Rina Hidaka, Saori Hayami, Satomi Arai, Satoshi Hino, Shigeru Chiba, Shinichiro Miki, Sora Amamiya, Sumire Uesaka, Takehito Koyasu, Takuya Eguchi, Tessho Genda, Tetsu Inada, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuichiro Umehara, Yumi Hara, Yumi Uchiyama, Yusuke Kobayashi
Keywords: Isekai Quartet, KonoSuba, Overlord, Re:Zero, Tanya the Evil, Rising of the Shield Hero, anime, favourite, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 twelve-minute episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22549
Website category: Anime 2020
Review date: 29 February 2024
isekai 4tet
Season 1 was, I believe, an anime first. It was a comedy chibi crossover between the four most popular modern isekai series, then even more were added for Season 2. (Kadokawa was in every case either the anime's producer or the source material's publisher.) I've no idea how well this would work if you haven't seen the original shows, but that's not the point. It's a crossover. If you're a newbie to these franchises, it wasn't made for you. If you want to catch up before watching this show, these are its progenitors:
KonoSuba (two seasons and 22 episodes plus a movie, not counting the 2023 Megumin spin-off series. Season 3 has been promised for this year) = misadventures of a mismatched party of outrageous loser adventurers in a fantasy world. It's also the only comedy in this list. I love it.
Overlord (40 episodes at that time, but Season 4 has since come out) = villain protagonist and his army of evil. Basically fun, but can be mildly disturbing.
Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World (two seasons and 52 episodes, with a third season having been announced.) = not a comedy at all. This gets really dark, with its protagonist, Subaru, having the special power of getting repeatedly killed. It's strong stuff, but I ended up bailing on Season 2 because it was too much like hard work forcing my way through the episodes.
The Saga of Tanya the Evil (12 episodes + movie, with a second season announced in 2021 but nothing more heard since. Maybe it fell victim to COVID?) = no, the title isn't joking. Tanya has the body of an eight-year-old girl, but she makes Overlord's Ainz Ooal Gown look like Mary Poppins. This one's cool as hell. I love it.
...and this year they've also added The Rising of the Shield Hero (only 25 episodes at the time, but they've since made two more seasons and a fourth has been announced) = another dark-ish fantasy series, albeit less murderous than Re:Zero. I like this one a fair bit, actually.
Also, if you're going to town on this and even want to understand that cameo in this year's ep.11, you could follow up with Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (12 episodes and not currently expected to get a second season. This one's a good laugh, but it's a less well-known show than the others I've mentioned here). That's another comedy, with a rude, unchivalrous loon for a lead character.
Anyway, this show has everyone together at school. Tanya and Ainz's gang aren't being evil, because they're intelligent, goal-focused villains who understand that their job right now is simply to study in class. (Tanya could almost be called nice, since for once she has no reason to commit massacres. She's still entertaining, though.) The Re:Zero crowd fit in fine, but they're also more realistic characters from the most grounded of all these shows. There's nothing wrong with them at all, but they're not the show's main comedy engine.
Unsurprisingly, the KonoSuba gang provide a lot of the laughs. Screen time is shared out fairly between all the shows, but even so it's always fun to see Kazuma being unreliable scum, Aqua being a tantrum-throwing incompetent, Darkness being a masochist and Megumin being a chuunibyou. (Aqua's classmates don't really believe even now that she's a goddess. You can't blame them.)
The newcomers (The Rising of the Shield Hero) are treated respectfully and the show's fans won't be unhappy, but Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo are in a different classroom. They only interact occasionally with the core cast. (Had they joined the same class, the show's title would have had to become Isekai Quintet.)
Is the season infallible? Nope. Eps.2-3 dragged a bit. They've got a single storyline and fewer ideas, although both also have a comedy highlight. I preferred the simpler, more everyday episodes that simply had everyone being themselves.
It's fun. There's not much to discuss in a review, though, beyond merely quoting your favourite bits. Ainz's Time Stop during a school test has become one of this season's signature scenes. I enjoyed the way they explore differences between the different shows, e.g. magical incantation length. (Oi, Megumin.) I liked the season finale a lot, with its crossover between the school play and the female sidekicks' battle against the Destroyer, but the preceding episodes' build-up is good too. Ep.11 made me laugh.
Season 3 has been promised. I'm looking forward to it.
"If Aqua doesn't ruin everything, we'll be fine!"