聖剣使いの禁呪詠唱 第1話 「転生せし者」
Seiken Tsukai no World Break #01. 「Those Who Reincarnate」
Source Material: Light novel series by Awamura Akamitsu (あわむら 赤光)
Director(s): Inagaki Takayuki (稲垣 隆行)
Series Composition: Yamaguchi Hiroshi (山口 宏)
Music: Sakabe Go (坂部 剛)
Seiken Tsukai no World Break is a light novel series written by Awamura Akamitsu, illustrated by Refeia, and published by SB Creative under their GA Bunko imprint. As of August 2014, the series has eight volumes published, and a manga adaptation began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten‘s Comp Ace magazine in June 2014.
In the dead of the night, Haimura Moroha finally remembers all the memories of his past lives and confronts a dragon descending from the dark sky together with his comrade-in-arms called Saviors. In a valiant display of combative teamwork, Moroha’s friends hold the dragon off while he completes the incantation for a powerful spell called Thunderstorm Helix, which causes an enormous explosion. Half a year ago, Moroha first enrolled in an academy for prospective Saviors in order to refine the power of the Ancestral Arts and overcome the menacing force known Metaphysicals. At orientation, Moroha meets Ranjou Satsuki, a girl who was his little sister in their past lives when they were named Flaga and Sarasha respectively. Although Moroha remembers nothing of his former existences, he utters Satsuki’s former name upon gazing at her, and she, who has a much more vivid memory, embraces him in ecstatic tears. Urushibara Shizuno interrupts their fateful reunion when she collapses from her chair to the ground due to drowsiness. When Moroha and Satsuki approach her, she utters Moroha’s name from another one of his past lives, Shu Saura, and kisses him on the mouth, much to Satsuki’s disapproval. At class, the outspoken Satsuki makes a distasteful impression on her peers when she exclaims that she will become the second strongest Savior on campus. Later on at first-hand training, an instructor elaborates on the two types of Saviors, Shirogane and Dark Mages, users of Light and Dark Arts respectively, and exhibits the usage of Plana, the source of all Light skills. While the rest of the students struggle to call forth their Plana, Satsuki is able to channel hers into both arms with ease. She then proceeds to confront Isurugi Jin, a haughty student who is uninterested in the lesson and wishes a Metaphysical would attack so that he can be mobilized to fight. Annoyed by Satsuki’s hero complex, Jin proposes a one-on-one fight, to which the instructors allows only because Satsuki also consents. Satsuki is able to summon her weapon from a past life, Arciel, and confidently deliver a barrage of attacks at Jin at first but eventually has her weapon knocked out of her hands by Jin’s large axe. Jin tells Satsuki to pick up her weapon so that they can continue the match and be a suitable example for their spectating classmates but suddenly attacks her and exposes her naked back the moment she runs past him to do so. After Moroha intervenes on the battle and Jin further insults the two, Satsuki runs off in embarrassment with Moroha following after her. Later, at a café, Satsuki fervidly reveals to Moroha that because she always had her past life’s memories of her older brother to rely on during times of loneliness, she has always placed him as her first priority, before her second priority of being any kind of hero of justice. With tears in her eyes, she begs Moroha to scold her for picking a fight with Jin like an older brother would, but Shizuno interrupts the conversation when she suddenly appears sitting next to Satsuki, eating her french fries without permission. When Moroha starts eating Satsuki’s fries too, the somber atmosphere begins to fade. Shizuno pushes Moroha’s face into her breasts, which leads to Satsuki, in a display of rivalry, to pushing Moroha’s face into her own breasts, which leads to Moroha expressing the pain induced by Satsuki’s bony chest, which leads to Satsuki scampering off in light-hearted frustration, which leads Moroha to thanking Shizuno for trying to cheer Satsuki up in her own patronizing way. The three go off their separate ways and that evening, Moroha confronts Jin, demanding he apologize to Satsuki and initiating a duel between the two by doing so. Moroha, unable to draw-out any Plana whatsoever during the fight, is completely overwhelmed by Jin’s attack; but when Satsuki arrives at the Coliseum and reenacts a passionate moment from their past lives, Moroha is compelled by his nostalgia and summons his weapon, Saratiga. In a single clash of weapons, Moroha cracks Jin’s axe and renders him unconscious. Having arrived at the scene mid-battle, the female faculty-member who had directed the orientation earlier that day witnesses Moroha’s transformation and identifies it as Ancient Dragon, the oldest spirit of the war dead.
In a particularly lukewarm season of anime, the action-fantasy series don’t come to impress. After a rather unsuccessfully majestic opening scene of MMORPG-esque party-quest nature, Seiken Tsukai no World Break eases into the commonplace high school setting to tell an overly-comfortable tale of teenage angst and magical lore―all of this told through the lens of resident protagonist Haimura Moroha, who takes the story to a higher level of convention by being the destined hero to an ominously foreshadowed catastrophe which arches over the much more tame narrative of school shenanigans. And succeeding this exposition of course comes the general routine of introducing this magic campus of elite students specifically selected from all across the country, the key attribute that makes them so special (they’ve inherited the memories of their previous lives), what exactly they’ve been enrolled in the academy to do (train the miraculous power they possess called Ancetral Arts), and the fancy phraseology that isn’t shy towards being vigorously used before even being elaborated upon (“Saviors”, “Metaphysicals”, etc.); and with that, we’ve successfully (or unsuccessfully) prepared our typical action-fantasy light novel series, complementary of a heaping helping of harem. The thing about World Break is that with its auxiliary premise of its cast of characters being reincarnated beings who remember their past lives, it makes the more structural premise of a harem actually very plausible. Indeed, I’d say that a male character engaging in more than one love life over the span of many lives is a lot more likely than him truly believing in the practice of polygamy (though I can’t say anything about the odds of being reincarnated as a male with the same pretty-boy appearance in every one of your lives). In any case, while this plot point does justify the engagement in a harem path of story-telling and character relationships an exceeding amount (relatively speaking), it doesn’t quite justify the rest of the series’s bland undertakings; in fact, it’s probably the only thing the show’s got going for it at the moment. Amidst unimaginative character designs (don’t ever let someone tell you one wash-away white streak makes your main character unique), painfully predictable plot proceedings (the genericism of resident school bully Isurugi Jin’s complete 180° flip in attitude from totally-in-control-cocky to frantically-overpowered-and-overreacting followed by the line, “It took me two years to master it, you’ve only just awakened it!!” had me breaking out in laughter, in the internal, non-literal, embarrassed-for-you kind of way), lackluster art (when put in comparison, the show really does the original artwork and character designs by Refeia dirty), dull animation (Diomedéa‘s aforementioned big presence in this not so big anime season is not without shortcomings it seems) , and coarse conceptual design (the terms “Thunderstorm Helix” and “Ancient Dragon” damn near deported me back to my elementary school chuunibyou days), quite frankly, the only things to look forward to are the fan-service and the next episode hopefully being better. World Break has but one interesting tidbit to offer (the aforementioned) but its lost in a wreckage of poor execution and even poorer design, much like it’s protagonist lost in the void of his shrouded memories; only, unlike the protagonist who will come to evoke his memories and realize his wondrous fate, World Break will definitely not be experiencing a phase of self-betterment so long as it stays on its current running course.