Awakening from a slumber, a massive knight glances downward to see that he’s not in his room playing a game with controller in hand, but is near a scenic lake, equipped with OP armor and weaponry—the same items his character was wearing while he played. As it dawns on him that he’s been isekai’d, the knight also perceives another important fact: He does not have a human body. Beneath his armor, “Arc” is a skeleton. As he gets used to his extreme skills, Arc realizes that he must wear his helmet to keep his skull hidden (this is the way), create a backstory to avoid suspicion, and find a way to earn money to eat. And while on a hunt to do the last of these, Arc comes across a horrific scene and must decide: Can he and will he help others at risk of incurring harm to himself?
Whoa, Nelly. I imagine those tuning in without much background were shocked by the opening scene (prepare yourself for sexual violence), but it and the rest of the episode convey pretty much exactly what the promo videos did: Skeleton Knight in Another World is a mix of the horrific and humorous, combining the two ends of the fantasy / medieval anime spectrum, though judging from the first episode, it won’t be nearly so punishing as Goblin Slayer or as cushy as Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, which ultimately sets it up nicely so that you can have your feel-good cake and eat the grimdark, too. I should note, though, that in episode one, it is the humor that is most distinctive. Arc is just a super cute character—really funny and kind of oblivious in the way a teenage boy can be (though we know almost nothing about his real self so far). I think he can carry the story well, and I’m eager to see how his companions fill out his guild or makeshift team in ensuing episodes, including that cute animal mascot.
So yes, I’m in for the time being. I tend to lose interest in series like this, but the stars are lining up for something that might feature just the right mishmash of isekai elements to keep me entertained. There’s intelligence here in the setup, but also in the overall creativity, like the decisions to feature action-oriented background sounds in the opening, and give Arc a Vincent Price sort of throwback laugh in one scene. I may be overselling the series (and in one sense I am—it was solid, not stupendous), but I think the show itself is trying to prove that it’s more than your “typical skeleton guy” anime (can you believe there are others?). Here’s hoping that promise will bear out.
Skeleton Knight in Another World can be streamed on Crunchyroll.