The Demon Sword Master of Excalibur Academy

Alt title: Seiken Gakuin no Maken Tsukai

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2023
3.273 out of 5 from 2,210 votes
Rank #11,428

Awakening from magical stasis after a thousand years, the Dark Lord Leonis suddenly finds himself in the body of a ten-year-old boy! He quickly meets Riselia, a girl confronting the Voids, creatures that have nearly exterminated humanity. Determined to uncover the mysteries of this strange new era, Leonis enrolls in Excalibur Academy, a school that trains students to fight back against these enigmatic monsters. Could the Voids hold some connection to Leonis's past?

Source: Yen Press

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This is definitely one of those stories that was way cooler in the author's mind than what ended up on the screen. I haven't read the Manga so I'm not sure if it's just an issue with the adaptation, or if the manga is just as mediocre, but either way I'm honestly surprised I even finished this thing. Story: The Dark Lord resurrects 1000 years later... but surprise, he's a Shota now for no real reason. Everything he knew from his time is gone, and the world has been reduced to a two-sided conflict between Humanity (and straggling demi-humans), and the mysterious CGI creatures known as "Void", which are very clearly just traditional fantasy creatures from his day, but corrupted by some kind of crystal that's never explained. The Shota is "rescued" by a group of girls who are presented as simultaneously some sort of onee-san/dommy-mommy archetype who are badass combat agents, yet also still underage teenagers in high school... because reasons. The story then follows their exploits as the Shota tries to integrate himself into the new world "to gather intel before reclaiming his throne" by joining the girls' school as basically their mascot. The conflicts are super generic, with copy-pasted CGI baddies literally appearing out of nowhere for a surprise, and the interpersonal relationships are extraordinarily stiff. 4/10; There really were moments where I thought it was going to get good, and then it just fizzled out again. Animation: A very mixed bag. I don't know much about the studio's production environment, but I have to assume they were encountering all kinds of issues, because there are several scenes where they really demonstrate that they have skill and know what they're doing, but then the rest of it is just... extraordinarily meh. Like, even discounting the ugly CGI "Void" monsters, there's just a lot wrong with the visuals, especially in the later episodes. 5/10; Feels like competent animators that just weren't given enough time. Sound: While not particularly compelling or memorable, the soundtrack and SFX are competent and suit the scenes well. It's just a hair above average, which is to say, not bad, but not even remotely impressive either. The voice acting was excellent, though, so bonus points for that. 6/10; I don't really have any other remarks for this category. Characters: Fairly impressive concepts and origins, with reasonable motives and backstories, but mediocre expression. Most characters are already immediately flanderized the moment they enter the story - the side cast are all one-dimensional nobodies who only exclusively do their designated schtick and then step back off screen. The main characters are moderately interesting, though, and I do see the appeal of an ancient Dark Lord having to adapt to modern society in the guise of a student... I just don't feel that the show pulled it off. 5/10; Let them cook! Cut down on the meaningless action shots and give the characters some room to breathe and grow! Overall: I really wanted to like this one, and just about every episode had a moment in it that made me think, "This is what I'm watching this for", but those moments were short lived, and the rest of the show was mediocre as hell. I have a lot of respect for the Author that came up with the idea, and I wish that I could've seen what that looked like in their mind instead of whatever this adaptation ended up being. 5/10; Pretty much the very definition of "mid"

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