Over the past few years, shows of a similar nature have pooped up. The stories usually go like this: Teenage buy, usually, an “Otaku”, is transported to a fantasy world, usually an RPG-like setting, where he meets a quirky cast of characters and go on fantasy adventures.
This formula has been given the name ‘Isekai’, meaning ‘another world’ in Japanese. This has been going on for a while now, giving some of the most popular shows of each year. Konosuba, Re: zero, this year’s Shield hero are all massively popular in this community and all use this trope to tell its story.
Now I can’t say that I hate any show with this formula, but I can’t say I love any of them either. They all feel very generic, and at most tolerable. So when I heard that the studio behind the ‘Re: zero break time’ was going to make a series with the characters from 4 different isekai shows, I wasn’t that excited. I had only watched two of the shows, those being Re: zero and Konosuba, so I didn’t see myself enjoying most of it. But I could still see potential in the premise. Putting two characters from two completely different universes could be an interesting idea if it was done well. I wasn’t expecting to find it funny since I have lost my hope for anime comedy last year. But if I was lucky, I could at least see some interesting mashups, if you can call it that. But sadly, that didn’t happen.
Isekai Quartet follows the main characters of Konosuba, Re: Zero, Overlord, and Saga of Tanya the Evil who pushes a mysterious button to then all be teleported to a high school. With its 10-minute episode time, we see the characters interact with each other and we get to see what the characters would do if they were still in high school.
But unfortunately, the only thing that brought me to the series was never to be found. Even though some of the casts of characters were kind of funny, like the Konosuba gang, they don’t improve each other comedy wise at all. There should be a reason why all of these shows are mashed together that isn’t “Aren’t the Konosuba characters funny, let’s make them be funny by themselves and not take advantage of the premise of the show“. There was never a reason why Subaru and Kazuma were in the same high school together, or Aqua and Tanya for example. Of course, it had some funny moments, but it was never because two characters from different shows interacted but because two characters from the same one did. I think there is one example that differs from this though. There’s a scene where Tanya accuses Aqua of being “Being X”, who’s like the antagonist of ‘Saga of Tanya the Evil’ If I’m correct. Aqua is a god-like creature and Tanya hates a certain god-like character so we see a funny relationship between them. But something like that never happened after this. I kept thinking that I would rather watch konosuba again. I’m not saying that this show made it so that I couldn’t watch those shows or that the writers couldn’t write the third season of it. Just that it says something about the show if I don’t care that these characters are in the same universe, I just find konosuba pretty funny and would rather watch their gang do their thing and not be in high school with characters I don’t find funny.
But what really infuriated me was the last episode. While I have had problems with the show, it wasn’t awful. It had its moments. Maybe a 5/10 or something. But my god was the last episode bad. Jesus fuck. We see for the first time Subaru mentioning that he comes back after he’s dead, which reminded me of his power. Why wasn’t this used before? I completely forgot about it until like the last 5 minutes where he finally says something about it.
Then the promise that the team who won the field trip would get out of the high school is broken because “Roswaal said maybe when he said that they would be teleported back to their own universes” which is the most bullshit reason for having the main characters win but still be able to give the show a sequel.
And then they reveal that there will be more students in the next show but doesn’t show them, which just feels like the creators will make more but don’t know who’ll be in the next season.
The only thing that “saves” the show from being awful is the art style. The chibi proportions with the colored lineart are something I haven’t seen in anime and personally inspired my own. It isn’t great or anything, the animation is pretty stale and the backgrounds aren’t that special. But it made the show at least visually appealing at points.
In the end, Isekai Quartet is a show I will never think about. It has some good moments with its visual appeal but doesn’t manage to use the potential that it has.