Endro! Episode 1: Best Short Anime of the Year.

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You’ve got to admire a show that’s willing to commit so much to a dumb gag.

I was cautiously optimistic about Endro ahead of this season, it managed to shatter those expectations entirely. I’ve always been fond of cutesy shows like this but in recent years they’ve kind of left me a little cold, so I didn’t want to get too excited for what might end up being just OK again. Luckily it’s great.

The main cast are fairly typical archetypes, but that fits for a show that’s intentionally playing with those fantasy tropes and expectations. It makes this fairly clear from the start with its fake out ending of course. The dungeon montage later in the episode reinforces this with its subversions of obvious expectations like the deer-gorilla monster while still adhering to others. This is a show which wants to play with genre trappings but in an affectionate way, it’s not going “ha ha fantasy games and stories are derivative and bad” so much as it’s appreciating the ways in which these archetypal story beats and characters are foundational. In this light the four main charcaters being somewhat standard works, and they’re a fun bunch who bounce off one another well, which always helps of course.

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The real star of the show is definitely Mao though. They’ve really nailed the combination of overwhelming, barely held back arrogance and childish ineptitude. Her introductory scene is a thing of beauty. Misaki Kuno has played similar roles before but she’s really in her element here, as a second coming of Kate Hoshimiya, Mao really steals the show. Her bumbling attempts to put team hero in peril are presumably going to be the show’s driving force. Her introductory scene is a thing of beauty

There’s the slight worry that I’ll run out of things to say about the series but it seems to have at least enough of a storyline going on to sustain a post each week. It’s a super fun series regardless and definitely worth a look.

Endro! Episode 1: Best Short Anime of the Year.

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