Like the world of Avatar: the Last Airbender, the newest anime adapation of a light novel, Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World, features hundred-year war. The belligerents are the magic-intolerant Empire (no further name is given) and the pro-magic Sovereignty. In the prologue, imperial warrior prodigy Iska receives the title Saint Disciple at age 15, but then helps a mage escape from prison. The main story picks up a year later, with Iska now a disgraced convict. The Empire releases him from prison and sends him to capture an especially powerful mage—the “Ice Calamity Witch.” He’s joined by the members of his old squad, the acerbic Jhin; engineer (and Jhin’s younger sister) Nene; and a youthful 22-year-old the others call “Captain” or “Boss.” They intentionally walk (well, drive) into an ambush by Sovereignty mages in order to lure out their real target, a girl named Alice. After wading through the mooks, Alice appears and she and Iska go all Gilgamesh on each other, launching barrages of swords (Iska isn’t magical, but his swords are). Iska and Alice both express their determination to find a way to end the war, somehow Alice falls into Iska’s arms, they exchange a look that implies she’ll fall for him as well, and they part ways. Later, Alice goes to watch a tragic opera about enemy knights who fall in love. Teary Alice borrows a handkerchief from another theatergoer and when she tries to return it after the show and the lights have come on…the handkerchief belongs to Iska. The end.
Blue uniform, dark hair, teenage boy, wields two swords? Blonde girl named Alice dressed in white and red? Part of me wants to watch this series just to see whether it’s really as much of a ripoff of Sword Art Online as it seems to be. Am I supposed to believe it’s a coincidence that the male lead comes across as Kirito-lite and the female lead could be mistaken for SAO’s Asuna and Alice fused together? The first episode of Our Last Blah Blah Blah was mildly entertaining, but…not really something I can recommend. There’s nothing particularly unique about the premise, the characters feel problematically familiar, and the writing is contrived. I am slightly curious whether the story is going to follow the tragic Romeo & Juliet path, or give the leads a happy ending, but not curious enough that I can be certain I’ll even come back for the next episode.
Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World is available to stream through Funimation. Read our thoughts on all the new fall anime series, in additional comments from our other writers, on our fall 2020 anime first impression master post.