Sunday, July 4, 2021

REVIEW: The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent, Season 1 (anime TV series)

The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent is a fantasy romance anime based on a light novel series of the same title. I watched it on Funimation's streaming site. This first season is 12 episodes long.


Sei is an exhausted office worker who suddenly finds herself transported to a new world, along with a teen girl named Aira. It turns out that this new world is dealing with some kind of magical miasma that causes monsters to appear, and a saint from another world is occasionally needed to dispel the miasma. But which one of them is the saint: Sei, Aira, or both of them? 

Moments after the summoning spell is complete, Prince Kyle whisks Aira away, having immediately decided that the pretty young girl is definitely the saint. Sei is angry about being ignored and asks to go home, but that isn't an option. Plus, despite Kyle's certainty, there's no guarantee Sei isn't the saint. With nowhere else to go, Sei opts to work at the Medicinal Flora Research Institute, learning to make potions. She gradually makes friends and learns to love this world. But what will happen to this new life of hers if it turns out she's the real saint?

I was going to wait until after I'd read the first three novels before watching this, but I was having a rough weekend and decided I wanted to watch something light and undemanding. This seemed like a good pick.

I've read the first book and the first couple volumes of the manga. While I'm definitely not a newcomer to the series, I can at least say that events after episode 4 were new to me (I'm guessing the adaptation stuck to approximately four episodes per book).

This was definitely not a top tier series. The world and most of its characters were pretty generic. The same went for Sei and Albert Hawke's romance, which was heavily dependent upon Albert just being nice and handsome. Thinking about it now, they rarely (maybe just once?) sat down together and talked about themselves and their lives. It's a shame, because the romance turned out to be a pretty important plot point. It would have been nice for it to have a more solid foundation than "he's hot and she once saved him from dying."

Although lots of reviewers seem to view Sei's age (20-something) as something a little more fresh and new - similar series are more likely to star a character Aira's age - her behavior where romance was concerned still came across as very young to me. Albert was so restrained that, yes, his behavior towards Sei could initially be mistaken for politeness, but Sei continued to behave like a bashful schoolgirl until nearly the end of the season, after multiple people told her Albert was interested in her and he treated her like the center of his attention. The anime didn't make it as clear that this was Sei's first experience with romance, but even considering that, her complete inability to talk to Albert about their relationship was frustrating and annoying.

Anyway, based on what I've read so far, this was a pretty faithful adaptation, with one exception: the "Holy Magic: Level Infinity" thing was entirely dropped. In fact, all hints of any kind of RPG-like levels and leveling were dropped, possibly because those elements were fairly light to begin with and didn't absolutely need to be there. 

The series started off fairly slow, but I still got into it enough to watch the entire thing over the course of a couple days. I still think aspects of it, like the romance, are more enjoyable in the novels (or at least the first one), but overall it wasn't bad. It's probably not one I'll be adding to my collection, though.

While the color scheme worked well in the color art for the novels and manga, it was a little too garish for the anime. Albert's uniform, in particular, was hideous. However, I did really enjoy the design and colors for Yuri Drewes - his light blue eyelashes combined with darker hair and eyes were surprisingly appealing. In general, that character pretty much stole the show whenever he was on-screen - I really enjoyed his laser-focused enthusiasm for magical research. Albert might have been handsome, but he was kind of...bland? I really wished he'd had more opportunities to relax and be Albert rather than Commander of the Third Order.

The key to Sei's saintly powers was a bit saccharine, and she was definitely an overpowered heroine whose primary limitation was just figuring out which things were possible and which weren't. Still, the series was generally more focused on the characters, their relationships, and Sei's discoveries in her new world, so her overpowered abilities didn't bug me too much.

All in all, this made for a nice few hours even if I never get the urge to rewatch it. I'd be willing to watch another season. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about the next couple novels by comparison.

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