A First Impression: Kenja no Mago Episode 1

I’d actually be way more interested in a show focusing on a kid with magical powers but nah, this show has yet another teenage protagonist.


Shin used to be your average overworked salaryman… in his past life. After being hit by a truck and killed, he is reborn in a fantasy world and is raised by a powerful magician named Merlin Wolford. Surprisingly, Shin still holds some memories of his past life. Even more surprisingly, Shin has a natural talent for magic and fighting; and is able to take down a powerful demon by himself at the young age of 10.

He looks… generic

At age 15, Shin has officially entered manhood (by this world’s standards). While he is even more powerful now than when he was a kid, he lacks knowledge in basic skills (such as buying things with money) and social skills. His honorary “uncle,” Diseum, is rightfully worried that such a powerful but naive young man would upset the balance of power. So Diseum suggests that Shin enroll in a magic academy to both learn more about the world, and to make friends with people his age.

I’m far more interested in Merlin and Melida tbh

After Shin moves into the city (with his “grandparents” Merlin and Melida), Shin goes sightseeing on his own. He eventually comes across some thugs trying to do questionable things to a pair of girls. Shin easily beats up the thugs, and then falls head over heels for a girl with blue hair.

My Opinion:

There’s nothing I hate more in anime first episodes than lengthy exposition fests and dozens of characters being introduced all at once. So guess what this entire first episode was. I also cannot believe this is not only a, “character gets reincarnated into a fantasy world” anime; but it is also simultaneously a “magic academy for magical teenagers” anime. Possibly my two least favorite types of plot.

God, where do I even start on this mess of an anime. Alright, I guess I’ll talk about Shin. I don’t like calling characters Mary Sues/Gary Stus because of how overused those terms are. But damn is Shin edging dangerously close to being a Gary Stu. This entire episode was basically dedicated to showing off how amazing and utterly powerful Shin was. Everyone is impressed, everyone heaps praises on Shin, etc. etc. Shin’s sole flaw at the moment is being really naive to human society, as he was raised in a fairly isolated environment away from most other people. This is… a pretty flimsy and cliched flaw for overpowered characters to have, but at least it’s something.

I also have a few problems with the pacing of this episode. As if it wasn’t bad enough that this first episode was “exposition, exposition everywhere;” the pacing was also ridiculously fast. It felt like two or three episodes worth of content squished into one. I’m admittedly split on this myself–I appreciate that the anime is willing to condense the less interesting stuff to get into the real meat of the story. But at the same time, it would have been nice for the episode to slow down just a tad, because the result of this fast pace is that we have a crapton of scenes where characters have to outright tell us stuff rather than showing it in a more nuanced way. It makes the characters feel unnatural, like they’re exposition spouting machines rather than real human characters.

There were definitely some tonal issues present. It becomes more obvious towards the end of the episode (after the OP is revealed) that this is meant to be a more comedic kind of anime–possibly even a parody of “reborn in a fantasy world” tropes. It’s just that the first half of the episode was so serious that the sudden appearance of anime facial expressions gave me a bit of whiplash early on. There’s also some… pretty bizarre outfit design choices. It’s a fantasy setting so most characters wear old-timey and stereotypical fantasy clothing. But there are also fashions featuring modern suits and ties? What??? It felt so jarring to see Shin in what looked like a business suit when he’s surrounded by people wearing robes, armor, and capes.

Despite my all my ramblings above, I did like a few things about this show so far. This anime has some pretty high-end production values. And I do like that most characters (other than Merlin) do realize how dangerous Shin is, because he has such powerful magic and fighting skills yet close to zero social skills and knowledge about the outside world. As far as characters go, I actually really like Merlin and Melida, Shin’s adoptive grandparents. They’re outright stated to be a divorced couple, and I love that they’re still chummy with each other even after this fact. This is one of the few times I have seen a divorced couple in an anime portrayed in a positive light. I also like that this series seems to be pushing Shin towards a single love interest, which means there hopefully won’t be any harem shenanigans. (Although I did frown a bit at Shin having to rescue her from being possibly molested, and that the anime showed off her breasts before they even showed her face. Hmm. :/)

This anime is pretty obviously not “my type” of anime, so my overall opinion of it will be biased. While I did find more negatives than positives about this show, I still found it a bit intriguing and I’m tempted to watch a second episode to see how that plays out. I would love to see more scenes of Merlin and Melida, but that alone won’t motivate me to keep up with this series unless it improves in other areas.

Out of five:

precure heart2precure heart2

Dammit, love interest girl is actually cute.

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