Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside(Banished from the Hero’s Party) is a fantasy/adventure slice-of-life series produced by Wolfsbane and Studio Flad. Red was once an adventurer who traveled with the legendary Hero to slay the Demon Lord. But when Red is cast out of the Hero’s party because some say he is holding the team back, he journeys to an out-of-the-way town where he intends to set up shop as a simple apothecary. But when Red’s past comes back to visit him, the quiet life may not stay so quiet for long.
For a show that comes across initially as a light-hearted story about a former adventurer settling into the quiet life, Banished from the Hero’s Party tackles numerous themes that are significantly deeper than the show’s early setup would have one expect. Themes like duty, destiny, and how we measure ourselves against others are explored throughout 13 episodes. While it never dives too deeply into any of these concepts, it utilizes these themes well enough to give the story a bit more substance than the basic premise would have otherwise.
Much of these deeper themes revolve around Blessings. In the world of Banished from the Hero’s Party, every person is born with a blessing. Blessings dictate a person’s natural affinity for some skills, such as combat, magic, or wilderness survival. It can also grant immense powers like that of the Hero’s blessing, which provides numerous immunities, strengths and allows the bearer to go without sleep. Many people in the show’s world believe that the Blessing you are granted indicates what God wishes you to do with your life. This view fundamentally predetermines a person’s path in life. How valid this viewpoint is and how much a person owes society and God to utilize their Blessing to the fullest is ultimately the most significant theme of the season.
While Banished from the Hero’s Party spends a significant amount of time dealing with these issues, especially in the back half of the season, the biggest draw throughout is Red’s budding romance with fellow former adventurer Rit. Early in the season, Rit stumbles into the small town Red has taken up residence in and, upon reacquainting herself with her old comrade, decides to settle in and help him run his shop. From there, the two quickly fall in love.
While the speed that Red and Rit’s affection deepens at times borders on dizzying, the heartfeltness of the moments when the show dives into their feelings is always captivating. All too often, anime romances fall back on tired cliches of one or more parties spending entire seasons pining for the object of their affections from afar. How upfront Rit is with her emotions and how happily Red returns them is a wonderful breath of fresh air.
The biggest failing that I can level against Banished from the Hero’s Party is with its ending. The final few episodes that see Red’s old life as an adventurer finally catch up with him largely fizzle in their conclusion. The series seems to be unwilling to deviate too far from the lighter tones of the early episodes and refuses to commit to the big moments set up in its ending. This leads to a finale that feels a bit too cookie-cutter to powerfully impact the viewer.
The visual side of Banished from the Hero’s Party delivers the many fantasy elements of the show well. There aren’t any character designs or monsters that break the molds, but there aren’t any that fail outrightly either. The combat moments are short, and you won’t see anything particularly eye-catching in their execution. Like the rest of the visuals, they deliver what they need to, but little else.
So, when all is said and done, Banished from the Hero’s Party manages to deliver an enjoyable tale that tries to do a lot but only truly succeeds at some of its objectives. While the ending fails a bit, the wonderful romance between Red and Rit alone easily makes the series worth a watch in and of itself.
Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside is streaming on Funimation.
Banished from the Hero's Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside
So, when all is said and done, Banished from the Hero’s Party manages to deliver an enjoyable tale that tries to do a lot but only truly succeeds at some of its objectives. While the ending fails a bit, the wonderful romance between Red and Rit alone easily makes the series worth a watch in and of itself