That title. The title says it all. Seven high school prodigies magically appear in a fantasy world and… have it really easy. It’s like isekai isn’t even trying anymore.
Now, I admit: I did enjoy watching it and will probably contine to do so. But we’re edging dangerously close to the MST3K “So bad it’s almost great” kind of enjoyment. I’ve read more than one blogger (ok, three bloggers) assert that Isekai Cheat Magician is the worst isekai anime of all time, but next to High School Prodigies ICM looks more a grand tale of suffering on the order of Les Miserables. How is this possible?!
Right out of the gate, we’re treated to FIVE MINUTES of character introductions without any plot. That’s right: Mr. Epic Voice the Narrator tells us, in sequence, who each of the seven (!) protagonists is and what their area of genius might be.
But perhaps the introductions indicate interesting individuals, you assert alliteratively. Perhaps they have interesting back stories? Nope. Intriguing limitations? Nope. Ms. Science has built her own Al robot and space station; Mr. Politics has just been re-lected as Japan’s Prime Minister (so he was in junior high the first time?); Ms. Soldier really can bring a knife to a gun fight (ok, it’s a katana; but still); and the rest are equally outrageous and conveniently diversified.
Then they are all conveniently put on a plane (with no reason, since we still haven’t had the chance to actually story) which crashes.
Conveniently, and unfortunately, they survive.
Seriously, that would have added a lot to the show right there. Storywriting pro tip: If you’re not sure how to advance the plot, kill off a main character. We’ve got seven–one or two won’t be missed!
After they wake up, and we suffer through an embarrassingly-bad French kiss or two, suddenly a month has gone by. Everyone has completely accepted their new situation, except (to the show’s credit) one boy. (Even he gets over it way too fast.) Then they hold a planning meeting where they decide what to do.
A chance to define characters through conflict and dialogue, yes? Yes, but a chance missed entirely. Mr. Politics tells them what he thinks and everyone else agrees with him. That seven young people would have no difference of opinion whatsoever is among the most fantastical aspects of the entire story, better proof than the elf and beast-men that we are truly in another world.
I half-expected a Dr. Stone-like survival tale, but no: Ms. Science brought her portable nuclear power plant, which survived their plane crash (and more impressively, made it through airport security).
At this point, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is a parody of isekai, deliberately over-the-top. The fact is, though, that the show keeps trying to play it straight. It doesn’t work.
The reason why it doesn’t work is easy. What are the most popular isekai anime in recent years? Re:Zero (played straight) and Konosuba (played for laughs). Both of these put many limitations on their protagonists, with Re:Zero managing to kill off its only main character multiple times! You’re better off watching one of these.
High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World is streaming on Crunchyroll, which causes me to doubt the existence of God.