Welcome, one and all, to another anime review. Today, I’m looking at YUSIBU, which is set to be released in June here in the UK by MVM Entertainment. So, let’s get down to it!
Title: YUSIBU (I Couldn’t Become A Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided To Get A Job)
Anime Studio: Asread
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Harem / Comedy / Ecchi
Released: June 11th 2018
Running Time: 325mins
Episodes: 12 (+1 OVA)
Extras: Textless OP and ED, Trailers
Raul Chaser never wanted to work in retail, but when the war against the Demons ended unexpectedly, the Hero Training Program he was in shut down. But although combat-trained Raul may feel out of place dealing with customers in a department store instead of dealing out death with hardened steel, his newest co-worker’s culture shock is even worse. While Fino Bloodstone is ready, eager, and willing to please, she’s also the daughter of the now-deceased Demon King!
Not only are her social skills a little challenged, but it’s going to be up to Raul and the staff to teach her the finer points of the human concept of a “pleasant shopping experience”… not to mention when it’s proper to wear what kind of clothes and whose bed you can sleep in. And they’ll have to do it quick, because there’s a sinister major retail chain moving into the area with plans for global domination.
NOTE: When referring to the series in this review, I shall be using the shortened name ‘YUSIBU’.
The mixing of fantasy realms and retail is nothing new in the wacky world of anime. In fact, many readers will likely be familiar with The Devil Is A Part-Timer, another anime adaption of a light novel that displaces a demonic character into the world of face-to-face customer service. While both these series share some similarities though, this is not a retreading of the same material. If anything, I would say that YUSIBU is in some ways perfectly suited for those who felt that The Devil Is A Part-Timer was too tame.
You see, this places a lot more focus on ecchi material, with all the usual suspects putting in an appearance; anime physics, pantsu, and even some far ruder things are present throughout the episodes. As such, your tolerance for such material may play into how much mileage you get out of this series. But, we’ll get to that. For those that either enjoy or can at least tolerate fan service, there is some fun to be had.
For starters, the mix of RPG-style fantasy and modern world living that encompasses the setting is decent. To clarify that, all our current mod-cons are present and accounted for, but with a fantasy twist: much as in Hasbro’s late 80’s cult hit Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, magic is the power that runs everything. And I do mean everything. Air conditioning, microwaves, cameras, and even weapons such as swords are all imbued with the need for magical essence, hence the proceedings having a pseudo-RPG feel. Perhaps the best part of the magical system though is the copyright-claim-avoiding names like ‘Kuji Film’, that are just close enough to make it clear what the items are. And where else would you buy such items, but a department store? Reon is therefore the root hub for the majority of the stories, with our (couldn’t become a) hero Raul Chaser front and center.
As harem leads go, Raul is actually pretty good. Yes, he does follow the expected tropes of being generally nice and fairly oblivious to the idea that the women around him find him near irresistible, but there’s a little more going on that too. For one, he isn’t too happy with his position in life. He grew up dreaming of being a hero, and when the Demon King was slayed, he soon found himself having to settle for whatever position he could get in this new, safer world. What makes this so interesting is the way that it plays out with his supporting cast. Much of it comes across in his interactions with Airi Ortinet, another former hero that is now seeking a new life for herself. This works pretty well, because as well as being a tool to advance Raul’s backstory, Airi is also simultaneously acting as a potential love interest and would-be rival. The arc is well paced too, with snippets littering the episodes and a nice little twist coming towards the end that helps push Raul’s tale to a natural conclusion.
Though Raul isn’t a bad lead, it’s his female counter-part Fino Bloodstone that shines the brightest though, at least in terms of comedy. The Demon King’s daughter starts the series far from used to living among humans, and she has plenty to learn about acceptable boundaries when it comes to speaking to people. She has a habit of mentioning the macabre during conversations with customers, such as comparing the colour of a lady’s potential purchase to ‘fresh brain matter’. Then there’s the language issue with her slight mispronunciations of certain phrases drastically altering the overall meaning of what she’s trying to say. Moments like this were genuinely laugh out loud funny and are used sparingly enough so as not to allow the joke to wear thin.
When not providing comic relief though, Fino’s story arc is also one that has a lot of potential for entertainment. It is her presence that kick-starts the questioning of whether or not humans and demons can coexist in the post Demon King world. They certainly couldn’t during the more battle riddled days, and their lack of visibility in the new world certainly casts doubt on the possibility, making it necessary to mask Fino’s nature (which of course leads to more hijinks). There’s also the point that Fino had a rough time of it in her father’s care, and as such has no interest in becoming the next Demon King. She does want to be a store manager though, so perhaps she inherited his ambition but not his nature?
From a technical standpoint, things are pretty much what you’d expect. The character designs, while nothing unusual, are perfectly serviceable, and the vast majority of the cast at least have a distinct look to them. The animation is mostly fine, but really shines during the action scenes, where the high-speed battling and occasional flashy move adds an almost shōnen feel to the show. Outside that, there are the odd moments of light and shadow being used effectively, but it’s mostly standard stuff. Everyone is the voice cast pulls their weight, with Azusa Tadokoro’s Fino being the standout, and I didn’t spot anything that seemed out of place in the subtitles.
Which brings us to the fan service I mentioned at the start of the review. Now, this is where there may be some points of contention for viewers. For one, a lot of it feels kinda unnecessary. Take the opening scene for example. There’s an epic battle going on, and it all looks pretty impressive. But Airi ends up flashing a fair bit of her body without any real reason to do so. The anime physics reaches ‘rubber ball’ levels, with the ladies bouncing all over the place at the slightest movement at times. There are also a couple of instances of partial nudity, and a few moments where Fino’s face and body end up covered in the white, goopy remains of magic eating slimes (which looks exactly as it sounds).
This is mostly par for the course with an ecchi series though. My biggest complaint is more that the series is littered with instances that could be seen as assault. Now, Raul and Fino do stand against these – as protagonists should – but most of these scenes are clearly being played for laughs. That in itself is not acceptable, no matter how common a theme it may be in some genres of anime.
On a more minor front, the OVA is an almost non-stop run of the ecchi themes, designed to do little more than confirm that Raul has a little sister. Honestly, it feels a little superfluous to the rest of the story to me, though I’m sure that there are many that will enjoy it. Meanwhile, outside Lam, the other characters that I haven’t mentioned by name don’t really get given enough development to be memorable. In much the same way, it could be argued that some of the more interesting plot points could have been afforded a little more screen time to really flesh them out, though it’s worth noting that these moments are at least well formed enough for them to get their points across.
So, in summary, how much you enjoy YUSIBU will likely come down to how you feel about the genre as a whole. For ecchi fans that like a little quirkiness to their humour, it should be an easy four-star anime. If you have a low tolerance for fan service and the above-mentioned themes though, you can probably knock another star off the rating.