Saori OnishiMitsuki SaigaAmi KoshimizuNanaka Suwa
Management of a Novice Alchemist
Also known as: Shinmai Renkinjutsushi no Tenpo Keiei
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Writer: Shigeru Murakoshi
Original creator: Mizuho Itsuki
Actor: Ami Koshimizu, Hina Kino, Kanon Takao, Mitsuki Saiga, Nanaka Suwa, Saori Onishi
Keywords: anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 14 February 2024
Management of Novice Alchemist
It's a low-level sort of "okay". I enjoyed it to a passable extent, but it's forgettable and often almost slice-of-life. Sarasa graduates as an alchemist and starts a new business in an out-of-the-way mountain village.
...and that's it. It's twelve episodes of "Running A Small Business In A Fantasy Setting". Sarasa is thoroughly nice and makes a huge difference to her adopted community, but she's also money-grubbing and occasionally scary. She'll save your life, then give you the bill. Business is business. Most of her neighbours and competitors are kind (and she is too), but there's the odd rotten apple. Sarasa needs to stay alert.
The show has a modest amount of darkness. Bandits killed Sarasa's parents and she grew up in an orphanage. She kills all the bandits in ep.8, including those who ended up begging for their lives.
Usually, though, we're watching nice girls help each other. Sarasa recruits a housekeeper and two gatherers, who are likeable despite having only one personality between them. (Iris Lotze is a clumsy goof, which her family background will eventually explain. She's in an unexpected line of work to which she's ill-suited.) Spending time with these girls is nice. There's also a certain amount of freshness to Sarasa's bluntly mercantile approach, which she maintains despite being altruistic and often an outright benefactor. Ultimately, though, the show's not drama-driven and doesn't usually even have a baddie or a monster. (Fantastical creatures often come Sarasa's way, but usually because she'll kill and dissect them for magical ingredients.)
I was mildly disappointed that Sarasa's a magical badass. She can boost her physical prowess and beat up pretty much anything. This lets the show become action-based when it feels like it, but it's clearly inferior to Ascendance of a Bookworm.
She also makes a shocking mistake in ep.9. She sends everyone to collect some magical honey without saying that it's poisonous. It looked delicious. They did the obvious. I thought she wanted crucifying for that. No one ate it in fatal quantities, but it's still an industrial-strength laxative. Fortunately, though, subsequent developments make that the show's funniest episode, by a long way. (Sarasa can make two kinds of anti-toxin. One has a price that would mean selling your internal organs. The other's made from crushed maggots and has a taste that could strip paint.)
I wouldn't recommend this show. It's nice and has a mildly interesting angle on fantasy magic-users, but it's also drama-light and soporific. Its finale is predictable. I'd probably watch a second season if they made one, though.