Tetsuya KakiharaYuka OtsuboKana AsumiYu Kobayashi
Hortensia Saga
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2021: H
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2021
Director: Yasuto Nishikata
Writer: Rintarou Ikeda
Actor: Atsuki Tani, Aya Uchida, Kana Asumi, Kazuma Horie, Kenji Nomura, Kenjiro Tsuda, Koji Ishii, Miyuki Sawashiro, Reina Ueda, Rie Kugimiya, Shigeru Chiba, Shizuka Itou, Shuichi Ikeda, Takahiro Sakurai, Takaya Hashi, Takehito Koyasu, Takuya Eguchi, Tetsuya Kakihara, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yui Horie, Yuichiro Umehara, Yu Kobayashi, Yuka Otsubo
Keywords: fantasy, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22958
Website category: Anime 2021
Review date: 16 February 2023
hortenshia saga
I liked this one a fair bit. It's a completely bog-standard fantasy epic, based on a free-to-play mobile phone game, but it's also taking itself seriously and doing a good job. In the first episodes, the king of Hortensia gets killed by a werewolf and the kingdom gets effectively taken over by the Pope of the Orthodox Church, who's got the child king under his thumb. The late king also had an older daughter, but she's gone into hiding because she knows what'll happen if the Pope finds her.
The series portrays a three-way power struggle. Hortensia is at war with a neighbouring country, Camellia, but the pope's more interested in killing the missing princess and anyone he thinks might be allied with her. (He's declared that she's a witch.) These priorities might well lead to Hortensia getting invaded. There are Knights Templars, Ecclesiastical Knights, assassins, zombies and more. There's also a "reset button" magic item so powerful that it can reverse time and unhappen anything you don't like, although fortunately the heroes agree that using this power would be bad. (Why doesn't the baddie make more dramatic use of that in the finale, though? He gives himself a sex change and turns into a monster, but that's about it. In fairness, though, we're told that using the item's more extreme powers is difficult, so maybe he wasn't a sufficiently skilled wizard to unlock the really bad stuff?)
It's fairly bloody. The politics is important and interesting. The last episode has quite a good use of the "fathers getting resurrected by the baddie as killer zombies" trope and has an ending that's darker than I'd expected. The dickhead villain in ep.10 is such a twat that his voice actor's final line is outright comedy. I liked the show. My complaints are minor, but...
1. Reina Ueda's voice in the role of Nonnoria might make your ears bleed.
2. There's a small cute magical beast that says "moru" at the end of all of its sentences. What's it even doing in this show? This isn't PreCure, but instead an epic fantasy with battles and people getting hacked to death with swords.
It's sincere and quite good. I enjoyed it. It's also, importantly, not an isekai. It's brave enough to be a fantasy with a cast who all belong to the show's fictional universe, which isn't fashionable these days. The Ecclesiastical Knights are scumbags. It feels like a realistic portrayal of a pseudo-medieval society, but without having an exclusively male cast. I don't imagine I'll ever rewatch this, but I'd still give it a modest recommendation.