It’s textbook… too textbook.
It’s textbook… only worse.
At the very least it is a case of being behind the times, I’d say. With the influx of isekai anime over the last few years, just checking all of the boxes isn’t enough anymore. If anything, the number of boxes that need checking has increased, but unfortunately Isekai Cheat Magician didn’t get the updated list.
Still, it’s an anime, and it does check some boxes.
Isekai Cheat Magician is about a regular highschool boy Taichi and his friend Rin, a duo that get summoned into a fantasy world. They discover that they both possess immense magical abilities, and proceed to become adventurers in this new world.
As I followed this anime weekly as it aired, I wrote about each episode along the way. You can find those here:
- Episode 1 – Two Ordinary People Summoned To Another World!?
- Episode 2 – Magic Boot Camp
- Episode 3 – Expensive Fruit
- Episode 4 – Desperate Power
- Episode 5 – City in Danger
- Episode 6 – Stop! They’re Already Dead!
- Episode 7 – Taichi Becomes A Summoner
- Episode 8 – Looming Rebellion
- Episode 9 – Taichi of the Rebellion
- Episode 10 – Duel
- Episode 11 – Lunatic of the Rebellion
- Episode 12 – Unclimactic End
It’s An Isekai
Well, there’s no doubt about one thing, this is indeed an isekai anime. Character(s) summoned to a fantasy world where they have to take stock of their situation and adapt accordingly. Sometimes the world features video game mechanics such as levels, stats, items, et cetera, but Isekai Cheat Magician keeps things simple by using a regular fantasy world with magic and the like.
Also like many isekai, Taichi and Rin at first work towards the goal of going home. But this goal is very quickly forgotten, and seldom mentioned past the first few episodes. In fact, I don’t even recall this being very important to our duo from the beginning. Best I can say is that it’s a typical isekai feature that exists, but that’s about it because the anime doesn’t focus on it very much at all.
Another feature of many isekai is that the summoned character(s) are very powerful, or downright overpowered in the world they end up in. And as you’d expect given the title of the anime, Taichi and Rin are quite overpowered…
I mention this in almost every anime that contains them, but there is a trick to getting overpowered characters right. If you want a great example of how to make overpowered characters very bland and boring, look no further than Isekai Cheat Magician.
See, just being overpowered is not enough. Many characters come alive through struggle and growth, and these are two aspects that do not exist with an overpowered character (at least not in the traditional sense). What this means is that the characters need something else to make them interesting and enjoyable to watch.
Some examples of “something else” are: questionable ethics, pride / arrogance, a goal that can’t be solved through power alone, humor… things like this. The point is that being overpowered is boring unless you take advantage of it to create characters and situations that are still fun to watch. It’s just not fun to watch an overpowered character ALWAYS do the “right thing” and take on the role of a typical shounen protagonist, minus the character growth.
This is my personal take on overpowered characters, and my favourite examples of some interesting overpowered characters are: Momonga (Overlord), Izayoi Sakamaki (Problem Children), and Saitama (One Punch Man). There are definitely more but you get the idea.
This isn’t a black and white deal either. Some overpowered characters are more interesting than others, and there are all sorts from bland to great. It really just comes down to the character’s personality, motivations, environment, and supporting characters.. things like this.
Unfortunately for Isekai Cheat Magician, the anime tried to “cheat” by throwing a couple overpowered characters into an isekai anime thinking it would just work by itself, but it’s just not that simple. The characters Taichi and Rin were both not very interesting. Taichi in particular was about as bland as characters can get, with next to no personality at all – a character that goes with the flow, has no conviction whatsoever, and just does whatever seems right at the time.
To be honest, this anime would have been more enjoyable if Taichi and Rin weren’t overpowered at all, and had to struggle their way up through the ranks of the adventurer’s guild through hard work and perseverance.
I touched on this a little earlier, but an isekai anime needs a purpose. Oftentimes the default purpose is simply for the characters to go home, but other purposes can easily be inserted, such as the purpose of “to have fun” in No Game No Life. It doesn’t have to be anything mind blowing, but it’s important to have some sort of goal to work towards.
Many isekai also sidetrack the “go home” goal with something else, something grounded in the new world. In Overlord it’s several goals of “securing Nazarick’s safety, cautiously expanding, and finding another player character in the new world”. No Game No Life starts with “have fun”, and then evolves to “conquer all of Disboard’s races, and then challenge Tet to a game of chess”. Isekai Cheat Magician lacks any purpose.
The only purpose I can even remotely think of is “go home”, the default one. It’s seldom mentioned, but there was slight progress on this in the form of the Princess promising to look into it. Taichi and Rin themselves express no real desire to go home though.
So what other purpose do Taichi and Rin have?
The only other overarching plotline is that there is a shadowy organization led by some woman that has been watching over Taichi. The thing is, Taichi and Rin themselves don’t know much about her and don’t express any interest in investigating her either! They don’t really have any motivations whatsoever!
Without any characters constantly working towards a goal, reminding us that “we need to do X so that we can achieve Y”, we are left with some overarching plotlines that no one is interested in. And if none of the characters are interested in them, why should we the viewers be interested in them?
Long story short, there’s a definite lack of “purpose” to Isekai Cheat Magician, with each episode feeling like it doesn’t really matter.
Aside from Taichi and Rin being uninteresting, most of the side characters in the show were also uninteresting.
- Lemiya was a generic teacher character who has a slightly “untamed” side, although it’s clear she’s still very much a lawful good character.
- Myura felt very underdeveloped. All I can say is that she uses magic and a sword, and was good friends with Rin. Not much in terms of personality.
- Cassim was an antagonist that felt like he had potential, but instead fell into a rival role for Taichi. It just felt too forced though.
- Anastasia also had potential at first, as an assassin turned adventurer, but once she joined the “good side” she quickly changed into a damsel in distress. Overall her character felt like it didn’t make sense, given the drastic change in her design.
There were also many other side characters that all felt very forgettable, such as the king, the princess, the scruffy villainous character, a dragon… Plus there was a pair of twins that randomly changed from evil to good for a single battle, and then disappeared for the rest of the anime.
Overall the cast of this anime was just extremely bland and no single character stands out as even remotely memorable.
On The Plus Side
Now that I’ve beat the anime down, it’s time to pick it back up, right?
Well.. I wanted to try and cover the good and the bad, but it’s not easy to come up with positives for Isekai Cheat Magician. It’s an anime that simply “put a couple overpowered characters into a fantasy world”, with nothing else to back that up.
I think the world itself had potential. The idea of a fantasy world that leans more on magic than physical prowess is not new, but it can really work well. If we had been given some real reasons to care about the shadowy organization following Taichi, like revenge or something, that would have really stepped up my interest in the anime.
The characters themselves are all a blank slate too, so technically you could re-do this anime with more vibrant and interesting characters and that would help quite a bit.
The sound and animation is just about what you’d expect from an anime – good. Nothing noteworthy, but nothing bad either. Which is a good thing in my books, because it’s just awful when bad animation / sound take a toll on an anime. As long as they’re acceptable, that’s a good thing.
In the end it just comes down to potential. Just like every other below average anime out there, it had the potential to be good but just didn’t deliver.
I won’t even go into plotholes, or what I see as plotholes. I talked about several of them in my episodic posts, so if you’re interested in more disparaging words about Isekai Cheat Magician be sure to go check those out.
I’m going to give Isekai Cheat Magician a 2 / 10.
I wouldn’t even recommend this one as a casual anime to watch. Even if your anime list is completely empty, you’d be better off just searching for a random fantasy anime to watch.
This might just be the worst isekai anime I’ve ever seen, which is unfortunate because I love the genre. I love fantasy above all else, so it’s really disappointing when a isekai / fantasy anime falls flat like this.
In Isekai Cheat Magician’s place, my personal recommendation for a good fantasy anime to watch (or rewatch) is Akame ga Kill!, and my recommendation for a good isekai anime to watch is Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?.
And that’ll be it for this one.
It’s good to be free from this anime, forever.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.