As far as the isekai genre goes, a lot of the stories follow a similar premise but what sets them apart is how they go about telling the story. The latest title from Manga UK, Wise Man’s Grandchild attempts to put a new spin on things, but does it succeed? Let’s find out!
The story begins when a young salaryman dies in an accident and is reborn in another world. In this new world, our protagonist goes by the name Shin Wolford, having been adopted by legendary hero Merlin Wolford as a baby. Surrounded by lush forests, Shin lives a quiet life while learning magic from grandfather Merlin and his grandmother Melida Bowen (also regarded as a powerful hero).
However, on Shin’s 15th birthday, as his family gathers to celebrate his coming of age, they realise that Shin wields incredibly powerful magic and that Merlin has taught him nothing in the way of common sense!
Shin’s powers are strong enough to wipe out entire armies and he’s completely oblivious to this fact. Merlin and his friend Diseum (the king of the Earlshide Kingdom) decide to send Shin to a Magic Academy where he will learn to better control his powers and hopefully realise that his strength is abnormal compared to those around him.
At the Magic Academy, Shin quickly makes friends and foes alike but his time spent here is invaluable. Now with friends his age and the power to protect them, our hero feels like he’s prepared for anything. As the threat of ‘Demonoids’ (powerful magical beasts looking to bring chaos to mankind) draws closer, Shin may have to put his strength to the test sooner than anyone could have anticipated…
If you’re familiar with the isekai genre, then you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with the story of someone being reincarnated and having overpowered abilities in the new world they find themselves in. Wise Man’s Grandchild does nothing in particular to break this trend but instead leans into it to have some fun with the cast.
A few episodes into the series, Shin makes an Ultimate Magic Research club at school, which is composed of eight students, including Shin himself. The goal of the club is to have Shin teach his friends his magic and help prepare them for any Demonoid attacks to come. The classmates enlisted into the group are all varied in terms of personality and appearance and while we don’t get to know all of them that well, they’re fun to spend time with.
Another point in Wise Man’s Grandchild’s favour is that there is no harem of girls around Shin. Instead, the series has him and female student Sizilien (who he rescues from some thugs early on), slowly fall in love. It’s refreshing for a series like this not to have girls falling over themselves for the main character and something I’d love to see other isekai take note of.
The one downside to the show is that while it’s great fun, it ends just as the story is kicking into gear. The original light novels the anime is adapted from are so far unlicensed in English, as are the manga adaptations, so right now there is no way to experience more of Shin’s tale. For an anime that spends most of its run setting up for a much bigger story, this is certainly disappointing and I hope we get a second season or the source material licensed sometime in the future.
Wise Man’s Grandchild has been adapted into anime by studio Silver Link (Bofuri, Strike the Blood) who have brought the series to life wonderfully. The characters are very expressive and the series jumps between comedic moments and exhilarating battle scenes perfectly. These are probably some of the best battle sequences Silver Link has animated in a long time, so the show is almost worth watching for that alone.
Music for the series has been handled by Kow Otani (Shakugan no Shana, Outlaw Star, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz) who provides a memorable soundtrack that helps support the on-screen action. The compositions never feel out of place and make for a good listen even away from the show. The opening for the series is “Ultimate☆Magic” by i☆Ris, while the ending theme is “Attoteki Vivid Days” by Nanami Yoshi. Both songs project the fun nature of the show well.
When it comes to voice actors there is both the Japanese audio and an English dub. There is a large cast of characters, so I think there will be characters you like and dislike in both audio sets. I watched the series in Japanese where I grew fond of Yusuke Kobayashi (Yuu Haruna in Fuuka, Subaru Natsuki in Re:Zero) in the role of Shin since he gives him a courageous and entertaining personality. In the English dub, our protagonist is played by Damen Mills (Fate Averruncus in UQ Holder!, Asaya Hasekura in Hitorijime My Hero), who also provides a suitably heroic voice.
As previously mentioned, this release comes to the UK thanks to Manga Entertainment and is available on DVD, Blu-ray and as a collector’s edition. The three releases all include the 12 episodes of the anime with both Japanese and English audio. On-disc extras include commentary for Episode 8, trailers, and clean opening and ending videos. The collector’s edition includes a fabric poster, 4 bookmarks, 6 art cards and a 120-page artbook.
Overall, Wise Man’s Grandchild is a fun isekai adventure. While the series doesn’t offer anything particularly new, it does a good job of bringing the best parts of the genre together. With some impressive animation and an entertaining collection of characters, this is one every fan of the genre should have in their collection!