The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of I’m Quitting Heroing, “My next interview is at the Demon Queen’s Palace!” now streaming on HIDIVE.
A lone hero enters a ruined castle filled with all manner of evil monsters. Although he is their sworn enemy, they do not notice him thanks to the secret disguise he wears. Silently, he walks towards the throne room of the demon queen, the greatest homesickness.
However, he did not come to kill her, but to fulfill a more personal mission. In his hand he holds neither a sword nor a staff nor a weapon, wielding instead a sheet of paper – his curriculum vitae. This is how the spring 2022 fantasy anime I arrest the hero begins, with its valiant knight of a protagonist applying for a job with his former enemy.
A lot of anime these days has attempted to tell stories of swords and sorcery while toppling some of the greatest stalwarts of the fantasy genre. Many have done this by placing their main character in an unorthodox situation or by giving them or their party quirky personalities and traits. I arrest the hero continues this trend not by reinventing the hero’s journey, but by highlighting what comes next.
In the context of his story, Leo the Hero single-handedly felled the forces of the Great Demonic Queen Echidna, ending her invasion of humanity. Despite this, once he returned from the battlefield, he was greeted with contempt and disdain by the citizens of the kingdom, who came to see him and his immense abilities as a new threat to their safety. Banished from the very land he fought to protect, Leo wandered from town to town until he hatched the random plan to try and enlist himself to the demon queen he had just defeat.
Many series try to create realistic human dramas for their heroes, but few have ventured into I arrest the heroof what happens after the credits of the role-playing game. There’s a tendency to assume that Warriors who complete their quests will be rewarded with accolades, treasure, and a love interest once everything is done. Yet it’s a sad truth that society often rejects those who overshoot their goal – even if that goal was to defend the very civilization that would eventually betray them.
Yet, while Leo doesn’t deserve the nastiness thrust upon him, I arrest the hero makes it clear that he is far from perfect when it comes to dealing with others. Although he initially had a group of comrades to help him on his adventure, he parted ways with them because he believed they were slowing him down. Even after approaching Echidna and her four generals, Leo struggles to show modesty. Rather than coming to her in a humble state, he affirms the idea that she needs him, displaying his own victory over her as one of his accomplishments.
It is perhaps this aspect of Leo’s character that I arrest the hero will focus on. It’s clear that each of the four generals, who secretly agreed to host him on a trial basis, has the potential for a unique dynamic. It may well be that, although he was unable to truly connect with any of his kind, he could find more than just allies among the forces of Echidna. This may be his chance to grow as an individual and learn to engage with others as comrades and friends.
Besides Leo’s personal arc, there are a number of mysteries surrounding Echidna and the four generals. At the end of Episode 1, Leo recalls a first encounter with Echidna during the early days of his invasion, during which she intercepted his minions and stopped them from killing innocent people. According to his lecture, his goal was not to be a tyrant on earth but to peacefully rule the territory, showing that there may be an altruistic motive behind his campaign.
Additionally, the four generals all seem to have chosen to follow Echidna of their own accord, rather than being forced into their roles. These elements formed an excellent basis for exploring compelling themes. By falling with this ragtag group of underdogs having already been defeated, the narrative can use Leo’s exile to unpack what it means to be ostracized and marginalized. Perhaps once reunited, Echidna and Leo can let go of their plans for conquest or revenge and work in tandem to build a better future.
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