Cute heroes and even cuter Demon lords!
Overview (Spoilers Below):
Endro begins with a party of four girls going up against a gigantic demon lord. The battle doesn’t go well, and they eventually resort to using dark magic in an attempt to overpower him. But instead of destroying the evil, the spell transports them all back in time!
Seiran, Yusha, Fai, and Mei are back in adventurer school on Naral Island, a place where anything is possible – even a former demon lord becoming your teacher! That’s right, the demon lord has been transported back in time, too, and they are eager to take Yusha out before she can even become a hero. Mao takes them on a field trip to the aptly-named ‘nearby ruins’, where he attempts to kill them off. His plans fail, however, and the group emerges victorious… and with a new sword to boot!
The end credits start rolling less than five minutes into the first episode of ENDRO! It’s not the most original or clever ruse ever, but it’s a little gag indicative of the type of show it looks like ENDRO! will be: cute and fun, but without too much substance going on underneath.
Our group of main characters is typical adventurer stereotypes: the mage, the priest, the warrior, and the hero. The show isn’t doing a whole lot so far to distinguish them from one another outside of these tropes, but they do find some funny moments in the midst of well-trodden ground. Mei is especially funny, as the others try to ignore her constant streams of consciousness about card magic. Some have taken issue with the fact that their costumes are completely impractical for adventurers. While I can see that point, it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s an animated show, so why not give everyone cute costumes? The group of four got together not because of any grand plans of destiny, but because they sit near each other in class and the teacher told them to split into groups of four. This is pretty funny, honestly, which sums up a lot of my feelings about the cast so far. They’re funny, but not particularly unique or memorable.
The plot of ENDRO! is at least interesting. The whole ‘turn back time’ angle is one I haven’t seen before, and creates a strange dynamic between the tiny Mao and the heroes who are destined to defeat him. (Although I did not like how the entire plot was delivered in a long expository monologue by the demon lord.) The adventure in this episode is more of a montage of cute moments, like when the girls make friends with a giant ape and ride on leaf sleds down a grassy mountain. It’s amazing that the demon lord waited that long for them to finish the trials!
And let’s talk about the demon lord. He (I’m assuming their pronoun is ‘he’, since that’s what is listed on MyAnimeList) is a pretty typical bad guy at the beginning, giant biceps and booming voice, etcetera etcetera. However, after the time skips backward, he’s extremely adorable! Even his students can’t help but come after him in attempts to squish his cheeks and hug him. It’s always funny to see someone so cute who thinks they’re so evil, and it reminded me a lot of Satania from Gabriel Dropout. Even the way he evil laughs is cute, as he breaks into a coughing fit every time.
The dub is fine. At this point, none of the voices have stood out to me as being exceptionally acted or perfectly suited for their characters. (Although Alison Viktorin’s performance as Mao has a lot of promise.) There were some great lines, like how Mao gets fed up with the tall teacher’s desk getting her his way: “Get outta my way you big hunk of wood!” Also: “Tears are nutrition for the heart!” I’m going to have to try and remember that one.
So, all things considered, ENDRO! is fine. It was passable entertainment that I didn’t mind watching. Would I watch the next episode if I wasn’t committed to sticking with it for reviewing purposes? Probably not. But there’s a lot of good stuff with a lot of upward potentials as the weeks go on, and hey… anything is possible on Naral Island!