Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Sanctuary Arc - Reviews

Alt title: Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi: Seiiki-hen

fudish123's avatar
Jun 28, 2023

What could have been a breath of fresh air amidst the sea of questionable quality fantasy isekai, turned out to be a generic and forgettable fantasy

A total of 6 novels were crammed into 12 episodes, volumes 16 to 21*, here they are:

16: Dance Across My Battlefield, Visitors! - 145 pages - 2 episodes;
17: Echo Through My Garden, Gunshots! - 174 pages - 2 episodes;
18: Wander My Mansion, Falsehood! - 186 pages - 2 episodes;
19: Swing Wide In My Sanctuary, Gates! (Act 1) - 170 pages - 2 episodes;
20: Swing Wide In My Sanctuary, Gates! (Act 2) - 212 pages - 3 episodes;
21: The End Of Kiesalhima (Unnoficial translation) - 208 pages - 1 episode;

First things first: 6 books adapting 12 episodes. This is the most rushed season of all 4 (or 3 if you count it as a second cour of season 3) and I think this last episode should have been a movie. I thought it would be, because Nanatsu had one, just like Sasaki to Miyano, so I thought Orphen, a classic in Japan with over 14 million books sold, would have gotten a movie to at least finish the main series with a better material than the episodic anime. I was dead wrong.

There's no way a studio can properly pace an adaptation this long, really. Production-wise I bet this anime was utter chaos, I mean, just look at how many revolving staff, specially this last season which had NO PERMANENT DIRECTOR, rather a bunch of episode directors. Good names, too, like Takayuki Hamana (Psycho Pass, Kuroko no Basket, Prince of Tennis, although he wasn't capable of doing Orphen justice along with Deen), Reiko Yoshida (Koe No Katachi, Violet Evergarden, K-On!) but talented staff are no miracle workers if the episode schedule is this tight, if the budget is this low (low budget = small studio, rushed adaptation, rushed background scenario, everything is rushed to meet production schedule on time). They did what they could and the end result wasn't objectively bad, but mediocre, lukewarm.

This last season was the weakest of them all, even comparing to the first one, although being slightly better in animation and drawing. Anime adaptation are usually made so it can boost the original story sales and merchandising, as well as dvd/blu-ray discs, but how can an adaptation like this attract people to read the novels if they didn't like the anime? Or even buy the blu-ray (which by the way are only sold in the deluxe format, ranging from 200-300 USD) box?

I am disappointed overall, not 100% disappointed because season 2 was actually good, season 3 was ok-ish I guess and I expected the finale to be groundbreaking. So, as much as this may sound unadvised, given how bitter this review was, read the novels, at least the first volume. I promise it's way better than the anime. Or you could watch the J.C Staff anime, although not faithful to the source material, it's a better product, overall.

*It's not quite a 21st volume cuz it was written 6 years after the 20th and it was not planned to be the actual closure of it, but it turned out to be nonetheless. It also doesn't have english translation, so the title may vary if it ever gets translated.

6/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
6/10 overall