Airing during the Fall 2013 season, Yu-sibu (or Yushibu) is one the titles that did manage to leave a lasting impression on my viewing list. Besides having an absurdly long name, it is also very similar to Spring’s 2013 The Devil Is a Part-timer, another fantasy/comedy themed work spawning from a light novel. Both being very different and unique in their own ways, Yushibu did manage to standout more for me even if I can’t necessarily deem it the better production, but do think of it being more of a guilty pleasure than anything else.
Title: Yu-sibu (Subtitled as: I Couldn’t Become A Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided To Get A Job)
Studio: Asread (Licensed by Sentai Filmworks)
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
The story revolves around a young man named Raul Chaser who dreamed of becoming a hero with his team of skilled heroes-in-training, but due to the collapse of the Demon Empire, the Hero Program was suspended. With Raul’s dream crushed, he was forced to find a new line of work and ended up employed at a small department store called Magic Shop Leon. Raul’s life since then has been busy but dull, when one day someone arrives at the store applying for a job. Raul finds out that the new hire is the Demon Lord’s child and also happens to be a cute girl.
Unlike The Devil Is a Part-timer that took a fish out of water approach to setting its backdrop and the characters in it, Yu-sibu is firmly rooted in one where fantasy conventions like magic and monsters exist alongside the modern like the usage of everyday appliances powered by the aforementioned forces. Not being the most original or creative setup, the presentation is very interesting and does offer a nice glance of this changing world. Of course, still being a comedy at heart, our wanna-be RPG Hero and protagonist Raul Chaser is the main focal point, forced to take up employment as a magic store clerk and inadvertently ends up working with the newest hire and Demon Lord’s daughter, Fino Bloodstone. Over eager, aloof, and really care-free, it is more like raising a dog than helpful store hand and thus begins a very weird relationship.
While I did say that the fish out of water concept is something a mote point, it does still hold true for Fino as she learns the inns and outs of working at Magic Shop Leon with Raul as her teacher. Certainly an unlikely pairing: Fino’s energetic naiveté clashing with Raul’s uptight demeanor, but one that performs well under the “opposites attract” adage and does slightly resemble something close to traditional comedy. The supporting cast characters only add to the shenanigans, but compared to Fino and Raul don’t have enough staying power to bring any lasting impact in that regard. That point withstanding, they are still a whimsical bunch and add abit of flavor to the overall setting. Whether it be terse Lore Beriferal that works in the Magic Shop as a mechanic or others like Lamdimia de Accimemor who hates her name being shorten, I personally found most, if not all the supporting roles very enjoyable…especially the lecherous old geezer. He is awesome. Being a situational comedy at best, you can count on the humor being very hit-or-miss: either dealing with juvenile fanservice or reliant on light parody or references. While neither quite do the job, it is the weird off-kilter jokes (couple of RPG puns in there) and idiosyncratic behaviors that manages to pick up the slack slightly. Although, don’t be surprised if you find yourself rolling your eyes or groaning at a majority of them.
Where I do enjoy the overall setup, I can not emphasis enough how much I like the backdrop and world that the series creates. With Raul and his former comrades-in-arms trying to figure out where they belong in a world that no longer needs heroes – a dream that Raul so desperately wants to make a reality, I do like how the show brings up the question of “Are some dreams unobtainable”. Granted it is a very surface level message, it is still one that holds relevance as Raul interacts with his buddies to see how they are adjusting to life and his own with Fino who is taking the adjustment relatively well. Other than that, the series does also appear to enjoy poking fun at and showing a great deal of admiration for the culture of shopping and convenience stores – a parallel to Japan’s own industry. Aside from the parodies such as Lawson Station (a parody of the Lawson chain) and Amada (meant to represent department and warehouse stores), the show somehow manages to work that aspect into the plot in very neat way. Whether it is trying to say something about consumerism culture or not (I lean toward the latter) is up to the viewer and more just for laughs than anything else.
When it comes to the visual portion, Yu-sibu really does bring to mind the word “budgeted production” and would have to say that it stands out. Even with the Blu-ray version, the colors of the character designs looked faded, certain scenes that appear to rapidly shift in animation quality, and overall – certain character designs (Fino, Airi, and Elsa are good examples) tend to look very wiry and coarse close up. Seeing how this an issue most studios tend to reign in for the home release, I wouldn’t penalize the series on this fact alone, but does appear to be an aspect that wasn’t given too much attention. The soundtrack on the other hand composed by Tsutsumi Hirokai is actually nicely done, containing a lot of string and bass instrumental pieces. My favorite would have to be Ou to Sono Sugata, a very heroic melody that has mix of strings, bass, and woodwinds into the mix. However, I do happen to like the opening and ending themes, especially the ending theme by Sphere entitled Sticking Places, that hilariously has Raul posing in his armor while the girl’s happen to be somewhere in the background posing in swimsuits. It’s just so ridiculous and out-of-place that it is charming…in a very weird way.
Overall, unless you are really not the mood to turn off your brain for a couple of hours, Yu-sibu is just plain adulterated whimsy of the worst kind, but oddly, nice to have nonetheless. Treating its fantasy elements with far more inspiration than originally thought and comedy…subpar at best, I wouldn’t be willing to recommend such a series, yet for those that don’t mind the aforementioned brand of humor and mild titillation, I will give it points for being playful if nothing else. Worth streaming at the very least if its your thing, but like most of the trite light novel adaptations out in circulation – you aren’t going to miss much.
Pros: Change from the usual fantasy concept, nice usage of fantasy elements, leading characters play off each other well.
Cons: Inconsistent character designs and animation quality, supporting cast not utilized all that often, humor is largely hit-or-miss.
Final Verdict: If you’re in the market for whimsical, oafish, and frivolous antics with a splash of fantasy, Yu-sibu has you covered. With the humor being all over the place, it is the wacky characters and setting that will likely interest most viewers. Nothing special in the field of light novels that leapt to anime format, but certainly not the worse.