I was delighted, because it's a sequel to the 2017 anime, Grimoire of Zero
. The original light novels ended in 2017, so sequel prospects had looked remote... but there's a follow-up light novel series by the same author, guest-starring several of his old characters. This is its anime adaptation.
It's intelligent and entertaining, although a bit less dark than the original. Ten years have passed and witches will no longer be killed the moment they're found out. It's still the same world, though, so there are plenty of reminders of church-sponsored witch-burnings, attempted genocide, prejudice against the beastfallen, etc. Pretty much all the main characters have had stomach-turning childhoods.
For me, this season's about forgiving and finding the good in your enemies. People get accepted who've done unforgivable things. (This doesn't always work out well.) Even if someone ends up finding a sadistic way to rationalise that acceptance, at least that's better and more productive than just hanging someone on the spot. There was at least one big surprise for me in that.
Our four heroes are Saybil, Holt, Kudo and their teacher, Professor Loux Krystas Laos (aka. the Dawn Witch). Our first glimpse of Saybil made this show look like an isekai, which it isn't. Superficially, he resembles a typical light novel protagonist (nice guy, self-effacing, no personality), but he's far more damaged and robotic than that. He has personality-wiping amnesia. A real person who behaved like him would probably be autistic. He's a student at the Royal Academy of Magic in a country called Wenias, but he's rubbish at it and lacks motivation. He makes ep.1 underwhelming on first viewing, since we don't understand him yet and so he just seems boring.
Holt and Kudo are his fellow students, while Loux Krystas is a 300-year-old witch in the body of a small girl. She's got a ton of attitude and a life-draining magic staff. It keeps her alive. Anyone else who touches it will be less lucky.
It's a good show. It can be funny or shocking. It's asking interesting questions about the meaning of evil and to what extent our beliefs are shaped by what we've been told. One day, I'll watch this show back-to-back with the original Grimoire of Zero
and probably see lots of links that aren't so fresh in my mind right now. I don't know if I'd have necessarily watched stuck with this show after its middling first episode if I hadn't enjoyed and wanted more of its parent show... but I'm pleased that I did. It's worth a look. Recommended, especially in combination with its predecessor.