Banished from the Hero's Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside

Alt title: Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasareta node, Henkyou de Slow Life Suru Koto ni Shimashita

TV (13 eps)
Fall 2021
3.653 out of 5 from 7,806 votes
Rank #3,667

Red was once a member of the Hero's party, a powerful group destined to save the world from the evil forces of Taraxon, the Raging Demon Lord. That is, until one of his comrades kicked him out. Hoping to live the easy life on the frontier, Red's new goal is to open an apothecary. However, keeping the secret of his former life may not be as simple as he thinks. Especially when the beautiful Rit, an adventurer from his past, shows up and asks to move in with him!

Source: Yen Press

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Banished from the Hero’s Party is an interesting idea trapped within a generic framework. It’s a pop song that features a virtuosic guitar solo for about 15 seconds before returning to a bland, uninspired verse followed by a forgettable chorus. While the anime does feature some memorable characters and the story explores features of adult romance that are rarely shown, the overall premise and world of the show was so typical that I couldn’t immerse myself in it. The anime tried being a comfortable slice of life featuring a slow life fantasy. Instead, what should have been the premier showcase of the plot was merely a subplot to the author’s run-of-the-mill Dungeons and Dragons campaign. To give credit where credit is due, the strength of the anime is undeniably the relationship between its two main characters, Red and Rit. Mature romances, ones between two adults, are a minority in anime, and ones that don’t overuse the hackneyed stereotypes of emotional embarrassment are even rarer. Not only does the story get straight to the point (the characters begin a serious relationship after the first episode), but they largely actually act with the maturity of adults. Even other anime featuring unexpected cohabitation (e.g. TONIKAWA or Taisho Otome Fairy Tale) don’t quite have the maturity of the relationship between Red and Rit, mainly because the characters in those shows are much younger. The best moments in the anime were whenever the two shared time together and gradually grew closer in their relationship. Unfortunately, these moments were contained within a story that was otherwise so generic and overplayed that I had a hard time getting invested in it. The fantasy worldbuilding barely differentiates itself from any of the others in the genre. It features a class system that at times seems distinctive, where people are granted “blessings” and essentially railroaded into certain life choices. However, even this doesn’t break the show out of formulaic monotony. In fact, it contributes to the issue of characters doing things just because it’s what they’re “expected to do.” Demons are supposed to be evil. Heroes are supposed to slay demons. Thieves are supposed to be morally corrupt crooks. While ultimately the battle of nature vs. nurture was raised, it was too late and too underdeveloped to salvage a story that was already on track to being one of the most forgettable I’ve seen in the genre. The characters, particularly the villains, suffered from this lack of depth to the story. Ares in particular, the one who starts the whole conflict by kicking Red/Gideon out of the hero’s party, was laughably bogus. I’m sure that Taku Yashiro had fun screaming half his lines, but his single minded motivations were more fitting of a Saturday morning cartoon bad guy than an antagonist in an anime for more “mature” audiences. Sisandan barely got any development at all despite being the “big bad” of the show, and the arc centered around him seemed full of inexplicable twists and plot holes. I felt at times that the story would jump to a scene and I’d have to rewind to see if I had missed anything. Outside of the main cast, the only character with any noticeable development was the hero, Ruti. Her story was strong and emotional, and at times her internal struggle as the hero were some of the best moments in the anime. Although as with everything in this story, it was diminished in quality by being set in a world that is for the most part bland. Part of what makes the world tedious and boring is the rather mediocre animation and sound designs. The character designs were forgettable. The fight scenes were fine but unspectacular by modern standards. The show hardly gave the audience anything interesting to look at in between fights. The sound from the music to the sound effects were as cookie-cutter as they come. There wasn’t much that was offensively bad by the production, but absolutely nothing about it stood out. While Banished from the Hero’s Party did some things well and without a doubt had its moments, it’s not something that left me engaged. Although not terrible, I felt like I’d seen many of the good parts of this show included in anime that I enjoyed more overall. It’s one where I found myself checking the progress bar more than forgetting that the progress bar existed. I can see the appeal of the unique elements of the show, but it certainly was not for me. Perhaps if you’re a fan of the slow life fantasy as a trope then you’d like this show, but after being too bored to finish shows like By the Grace of the Gods and Drugstore in Another World and laboring to get through this, I feel this genre is not for me.

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