First Look: ENDRO!

Alternative title(s): Dragon Quest LXVII: You Know What, We Just Don’t Fucking Care Anymore
Anime “original” by Studio Gokumi
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

After many an adventure, Yulia “Yusha” Chardiet and her friends finally manage to defeat the Demon Lord with the power of friendship and copyright infringement. Yet in stead of banishing the monstrous overlord to another dimension, the heroes accidentally send them back in time — back to a time when Yusha was just a student at the Adventurer’s Academy. Infiltrating the academy as its newest instructor, the Demon Lord tries to eliminate Yusha and her friends before she can fulfill her destiny, but fate is harder to fight than it looks.

Aqua’s verdict: Endross

I have to congratulate Endro! for its ability to nimbly navigate its way through potentially interesting ideas, only to end up with the lamest possible combination of the elements it entertains. Narratives about a chosen Hero and a generic Demon Lord deserve to be prosecuted as a human rights violation in and by themselves, but Endro! is so shamelessly self-congratulatory in how generic its worldbuilding is it puts the isekai genre to shame. It’s a story that could be told entirely through the use of sprites from Dragon Quest on the NES and nothing would be lost. Predictable as it may be, I could see Endro! using the utter dearth of inspiration found in its setting as an excuse to brand itself a parody, but the complete lack of humour here should prematurely bury that line of thought. I spent the entire 17,526 minutes this episode seemed to take waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never did. This show is exactly what it says on the tin. And what it says on the thin is a gormless, unholy blend of the two most tired and tiring microgenres the anime medium is rich — or rather, poor — with.

Whipping up twelve episodes’ worth of pastel-coloured cuties squeaking at each other is easy, but making it entertaining is a fine art. Finding jokes in the saccharine-tinted fever dreams shows like Endro! inhabit is like drawing blood from a stone, and the only way I know to make it work is to turn the infantility up to eleven. With the potential for zaniness buried somewhere deep within its premise — if this show doesn’t end on the reveal that the Demon Lord going back in time created a stable time loop in which she herself engineered Yusha’s rise to power and consequently, her own downfall; everyone involved deserves to be fired — Endro! could have become the new Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the guts to refuse playing every single trope in its book straight. It’s a cavalcade of pervasive nothingness, smugly patting itself for coming up with the most basic jokes imaginable, valuable only as an entry in some kind of ill-advised pissing contest to see who can come closest to the platonic idea of cute girls doing cute things. This is the kind of show bingo cards were invented for.

Iro’s verdict: Booooooooooring

The only decent gag in this show was rolling credits five minutes into the episode, and honestly we should have taken that as a cue to stop watching. The remaining bulk of the episode was just the most paint-by-numbers, cute-girls-do-cute-things faff that we’ve seen a million times, but with the ol’ (also overused!) coat of Dragon Quest RPG-verse paint over it. It’s hard to even come up with anything else to say about Endro!, because it was just that much of a nonentity. Hard pass.

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