Yusibu Collection (Cert 15)
2 Discs DVD / Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 296 minutes approx.
You know how it goes – one minute you’re fighting an eternal battle against the mighty Demon King to save the world from his tyranny and the destruction of humankind then, when victory is yours and there is no need to fight anymore, you have to find something else to occupy your time. So of course, you get a job in retail.
That is the fate that befalls Raul Chaser, a young warrior on the cusp of becoming a fully qualified Hero when the defeat of the Demon King and the ensuing outbreak of peace means the Hero Training Program is now shut down. With no reason to fight, Raul heads to Royal City, where magic is used to power everything, and takes a job in the magical appliance store Reon.
Yusibu is the contraction of the rather cumbersome original title Yūsha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shūshoku o Ketsui Shimashita, which translates into English as I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job. It began life as a light novel series by Jun Sakyou and this anime adaptation by studio Asread arrived in 2013. This release from MVM contains all 12 episodes of the TV series and an OVA.
Royal City is pretty much like any other except vehicles are drawn by dragons and other fantasy beasts as well as the magic power source that only a select few people possess. Raul is the conscientious junior at Reon, managed by kind-hearted Seara August along with assistant manager Viser Crossroad, and co-workers Nova Luminous and engineer Lore Periferal.
Joining them is a brusque young boy in a hoodie, arriving with a CV and demanding employment which Seara grants. Assigned to showing this newbie the ropes, Raul discovers this boy is in fact a girl, Fion Bloodstone, and she just happens to be the daughter of the recently deceased Demon King!
At this point, you’d think the script writes itself as the forces of good vs. evil try to co-exist – but you’d be wrong. Fion is actually a naïve young girl who isn’t interested in following in her father’s footsteps, and instead is looking to do something meaningful with her life. Admittedly, working in a shop isn’t the highest aspiration but this is Japan and Fion means well.
There is plenty of humour to be had from Fion’s demonic side manifesting itself in her inability to see things in human terms and not through violent imagery, resulting in scaring off customers by proffering gory and unpleasant uses for the appliances. But she is earnest in her learning and quickly develops a knack for customer service, as well as forming an unusually (for anime) platonic and innocent attachment to Raul.
Maybe not entirely innocent. As fun and entertaining as this show can be, it is sadly blighted by the dreaded fan service, which should be evident from the opening credits if the skimpy outfits of the busty female wasn’t already a big enough warning. Coming five years before the “Me Too” movement doesn’t excuse the rampant nudity, objectification of the women and most shameful of all, Nova being regularly groped by an elderly customer.
Rather annoyingly, Nova shrugs it off as a harmless form of communication and bonding, even encouraging Raul to touch her if he wants, which he politely and gallantly refuses. It might be an anime but even so, this does make it clear that any feminist credentials in having a charismatic, strong-headed female lead are compromised by this prurient and lascivious content.
Ignore this and there is a mildly amusing show to be found here that pays tribute to the long suffering shop staff of Japan (and the world), with subplots involving the good they can bring in serving the public and the perennial battle of the stores, when a much larger superstore called Amada opens up nearby, with a wider range of magical goods at lower prices.
Fion, Nova, and Seara are not the only women in Raul’s life; Lawson, the neighbouring convenience store is run by Elsa who has the hots for Raul (which he fails to notice) and her assistant Lamdimia Do Aximemor, who hates it when people shorten her mouthful name to Lam. Finally, there is Airi Altinate aka All-A, another victim of the Hero training Program shutting down, forced to take a job as a bunny girl at Amada.
Whilst everyone gets a moment in the spotlight, the focus is mostly on Fion and Raul’s relationship which remains platonic throughout despite mutual feelings growing as caring co-workers. Raul remains as noble and level-headed as possible, a trait that rubs off on Fion as she learn to appreciate the full scope of customer service, proving she is not as devilish as her father, even if her points of reference are limited to blood and gore.
The magical power source aspect is a cute way of keeping the fantasy element alive until the final two episodes where everyone is forced to revert back to their previous ways to prevent a second coming of the Demon King. However, it does feel a little incongruous in escalating as quickly as it does, but this isn’t the first anime guilty of this, but it does allow for the humour from the preceding episodes to stay relevant.
Asread’s animation and artwork is actually very good, far better than this show deserves but that would be the fantasy influence rather than the fan service/moe leanings. It’s a tired complaint to keep making but his really could have been far more enjoyable and possibly would have reached as wider audience had the lewdness not existed.
In rating Yusibu, I am cautiously content with my score purely because there is a well-meaning, often amusing show beneath the excessive lurid material. It’s passable and silly fare at best which would have benefited from sticking to one genre and not three or four, but hardly essential viewing unless you crave gratuitous ecchi objectification.
Japanese Language 2.0 w/ English Subtitles
Disc 2 Only:
Rating – ***
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