Endro! Series Review: Heroes But Not By Choice

Original Run: January 13, 2018 - March 31, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Endro. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

On Naral Island, there exists the Kingdom of Lapanesta. Throughout its history, the kingdom has come under threat from the mighty power of the Demon Lord. Fortunately, to face this evil, a hero has always risen to save the land. This long, unbroken cycle has occurred 998 times.

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In the current era, the 999th hero, Yulia Chardiet (voiced by Hikaru Akao), is ready to fulfill her destiny. To assist with the quest, Yulia relies on the members of her adventuring party, her closest friends Seira, Fai, and Mei (voiced respectively by Shiina Natsukawa, Ari Ozawa, and Inori Minase).

With their journey reaching its apparent conclusion, Yulia, Seira, Fai, and Mei finally face off with the Demon Lord. However, just because one is fated to save the world, that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made. As it would happen, Yulia and her friends tend to be a bunch of air-heads.

Instead of defeating the Demon Lord, Yulia sends herself, her team, and their enemy back through time. In the past, the four girls must re-learn what it takes to be adventurers. Luckily for them, they have an oddly knowledgeable, almost – demonic – like teacher named Mao (voiced by Misaki Kuno) to guide them.

For Yulia, Seira, Fai, and Mei, this setback of theirs doesn’t seem to bother them in the least. Mainly because it is unclear if they’ve even realized there has been a setback at all.

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Series Positives

Okay, so, what the hell happened here?

When starting Endro, the show that was presented within the first few minutes looked like a generic, run of the mill, and – frankly – dull fantasy story. All the trademarks of one were present:

  • The fated hero faced off against the demon lord
  • The hero’s party supported and, in turn, were bolstered by their leader
  • The demon lord was too powerful, and it appeared as though our group of adventurers was fighting a losing battle
  • The hero gave a corny speech about the magic of friendship, determination, and perseverance
  • The adventurers came together for one last Hail Mary attempt and were able to defeat the demon lord
  • Everyone lived happily ever after, and then the credits started to roll

That last one is not a joke. What seemed to be the end credits began to play after about ten minutes.

(Then again, that would also explain the title of this series, Endro; a Japanese-ified shortening of “end roll”)

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Overall, the opening moments of Endro were nothing spectacular, and the thought of having to sit through another eleven and a half episodes did not fill me with joy. Then this series actually started, and who would have guessed, but it ended up being way better than that first scene could have ever indicated.

Endro was a lot of goddamn fun.

This was a slice-of-life comedy series that happened to have fantasy elements, not the other way around. There weren’t epic adventures and high-tension magic battles. Although our leading group of heroes – Yulia, Seira, Fai, and Mai – were skilled warriors, they were also free spirits incapable of taking most things seriously.

For instance, the group’s “victory” over the Demon Lord (according to the opening scene) was made to look like it was the end of a hard-fought journey. In reality, that was just an extreme dramatization of what occurred; the four friends put in a full minute’s worth of effort before turning to a super powerful spell which Yulia immediately messed up.

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Yulia, Seira, Fai, and Mai’s pure talent, and not their competence, was what made them sufficient-enough heroes. However, that was also precisely why they were the highlights of this show. Endro was as enjoyable as it was because the best character of the main four kept shifting and was determined by who was the primary focus of a given segment.

Each of the four heroes had a full and robust personality, which allowed all of them to carry this show on their own. On top of that, they played off one another incredibly well. At any time, the roles of the instigator, the straight man, and the wild card could change; none of the girls had a monopoly over a single character trait.

For instance, Yulia and Fai were typically the energetic ones. They would jump headfirst into whatever situation was before them without hesitation. Often, it would be up to Seira, and occasionally Mai, to be the voice of reason. But then in the very same scene – let alone the same episode – something could come along that would throw Seira or Mei into a frenzy, and it would be left to the other two to defuse whatever was going on rationally.

Those sorts of transitions – despite their suddenness – were always natural and never out of left-field. Essentially, Endro preferred developing its main characters instead of just relying on one or two personality quirks. This meant the jokes were funnier, the interactions were more interesting, and everything had a more positive value.

As a result, this series became something I could not have expected. And if that was the purpose behind the opening scene, then I must say, it was mission accomplished.

Series Negatives

There was plenty to like about Endro. Throughout the majority of its run, I can confirm that this series successfully managed to hold my attention.

Granted, the keyword in that last sentence was “majority.”

There were times during my viewing when I could actively feel myself not caring. Interestingly, those moments coincided with the scenes which didn’t have the four main heroes as the focus. Funny how that worked out.

What I am saying is, Endro did as well as it did because Yulia, Seira, Fai, and Mei could carry everything by themselves individually, a factor that made this series all the more grounded since they were almost always together.

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This show could become the equivalent of a three-legged stool that is missing one of its necessary three legs. For Endro, when the story took away the four adventurers, it became much harder to stay engaged with whatever was going on.

Instructor Mao, for example, had episodes where she was the central figure. Too bad the best scenes in those episodes were the ones where she was with Yulia and company. When this show tried exploring the parts of Mao’s backstory that didn’t involve the heroes, everything in my peripheral vision suddenly became far more fascinating.

And that was with a character I didn’t find annoying. Thus, don’t even get me started on Princess Rona (voiced by Momo Asakura).

Moving on, it was a good thing Endro was more of a slice-of-life than it was a fantasy-adventure. Had it been the latter, specific storytelling devices – a.k.a., time travel – would have probably crippled this series. Trust me, the second you start trying to determine how to account for the time paradoxes, a lot of holes begin appearing in this show.

While such holes shouldn’t be excused, given what kind of series Endro was, they were much easier to ignore. Ironclad logic and airtight consequences weren’t this show’s forte. Therefore, if you are okay with that – or, at least, you are aware of it when you start watching – then I doubt this will become an insurmountable issue.

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Final Thoughts

If you are a person who usually develops an unshakable opinion of a show within the first few minutes, then I would urge you to save any judgment towards this one until you are through the first episode.

If you can make it that far, then you might see how much more this series has to offer.

With four outstanding characters serving as its primary driving force, this show proved to be quite funny, silly, and charming. While it is true that things may have been lacking when those four main characters weren’t around, fortunately, that wasn’t the norm.

Endro was a welcomed surprise, and it has earned my recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Endro? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

And if you’ve liked what you read and want more anime content, please follow me at LofZOdyssey Anime Reviews or on Twitter @thelofzodyssey.

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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I will see you next time.

Also Read: Pastel Memories Series Review: Recent Nostalgia

 

 

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About The Author

James Devlahovich

LofZOdyssey has been an anime reviewer since 2015, an anime fan for much, much longer, and is currently based in Osaka, Japan. As a rule, there is no anime he is unwilling to review, and any series he starts, he must finish. Leave all the feedback -- positive and negative -- in the comments. Also, be sure to follow LofZOdyssey on Twitter @thelofzodyssey for more anime related content.