The last five years in anime can probably be best summed up as the age of the Isekai. Another world adventures have seized the reins of the Anime industry and there seems to be no sign of them letting go anytime soon. In the last five years we’ve seen good Isekai stories (Smartphone, Overlord, Knights & Magic), great Isekai stories (Konosuba, ReZero, Saga of Tanya the Evil), sexy Isekai stories (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord), and really bad Isekai stories (Master of Ragnarok). There has been a bit of something for everyone, and as we head into the third decade of the 2000s, I doubt things will change anytime soon.
In this last season of the decade, the overall last ‘word’ on Isekai before we put a lid on the 2010s, we’ve been blessed with a few Isekai stories, and the one we are talking about today is, in my mind, a solid cap on everything viewers have experienced. Join me after the cut as we take a Shallow Dive into Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious.
Cautious Hero is one of those shows that I’ve talked about before: it shouldn’t have worked as well as it did. After well over five years of Isekai, you’d understand if people took one look at the title page of this show and went “another generic Isekai anime? Thanks, but no thanks.” And in a sense they are not wrong. Cautious Hero has nothing that makes it stand out from the myriad of other Isekai anime you or me have watched in these last few years. It’s a fantasy, with RPG settings, an overpowered protagonist, the list goes on. It’s about as generic as you can expect, but thankfully Cautious Hero has something going for it to make it stand out.
It’s really fucking funny.
Cautious Hero is a straight up, no hold bards, laugh a minute, anime. While everything about the show has been done before, Cautious Hero is well aware of that fact and decides to have a little bit of fun with the genre. The plot is standard Isekai boilerplate: we follow upstart goddess Ristarte as she is assigned to save an S-ranked world from the demon lord. After going through a list of potential heroes to summon from Earth (making a note that most of them always come from Japan), she comes across her presumed golden ticket in the form of Seiya Ryuuguuin who seems perfect to get the job done. The problem is that after she summons him, Ristarte doesn’t realize that she forgot to read the fine print: He’s almost impossibly cautious.
What follows is twelve episodes of some of the best Isekai comedy since Konosuba (whose fingerprints you can see all over this) graced our screens. Cautious Hero remains 100% committed to its premise the entire way through and the antics of Seiya making her is ABSOLUTELY prepared had me laughing my ass off more than once. This is coupled with Ristarte who seems almost tailored made for this age of anime internet fan, with some of the most meme worthy and hilarious facial reactions of this decade. The antics and gags that she gets up too trying to shepherd her most cautious hero through the series things you need to see to be believed. This is one of those shows where I can’t explain the comedy, you just need to go watch it yourself. There are just too many good scenes that can be list here, though my favorite has to be the flying scene and the moments with goddess Adelena.
What was surprising though, was that despite Cautious Hero being a comedy through and through, it is also a series that is able to and succeeds in being serious when it has too. When the curtain is pulled back on Seiya’s past and the reason why he is so cautious, along with his relationship with Ristarte and how they both were brought together, it was a genuine moment of both shock and sadness that the series was able to pull off well. While it won’t win any award, it does show that Cautious Hero is more than capable of being just a string of jokes.
Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious is probably the best ‘capstone’ we could get to this decade of Isekai. It is by no means a game changer, but it represents the best of what we could ask from our generic Isekai adventures. It’s an anime that is absolutely committed to it’s premise, fucking funny while doing it, and has plenty of love, affection and effort put into the series. It is the quintessential B+ Isekai, and too often it is the best we can hope for when we have a genre that is as flooded as this one is. From the heights of ReZero, to the absolute depths of Master of Ragnarok, Cautious Hero represents the last word on the Isekai genre of this decade:
If you are perfectly prepared, your gonna be OK.