Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious is a 2019 anime based on the light novel series by author Light Tuchihi, and was directed by animator Masayuki Sakoi. It’s another isekai anime with a rather long title and a story that follows a familiar premise: a goddess summons a hero from another world in order to save it from destruction by a Demon Lord.
In this instance, the goddess is Ristarte (Aki Toyosaki) a novice whose specialty is healing. She is tasked with choosing a champion to save Gaeabrande, her home, and ends up selecting Seiya (Yuuichirou Umehara), the titular “Cautious Hero” of the story.
Seiya is, typically for the genre, overpowered in terms of ability and picks up new skills quickly. What sets him apart from other protagonists of this nature is his quirk of being overly cautious about many of the tasks he faces as Ristarte’s chosen hero and companion.
Where the premise differentiates itself is the dynamic of the central pairing – Ristarte, despite being a goddess, spends much of the series being exasperated by Seiya’s actions. Her reactions and sometimes perverse behaviour contrast their status as a goddess to comedic effect.
Seiya meanwhile is very blunt and to the point, with an overly cautious nature that allies itself to some humorously destructive tendencies. He provides a great counterpoint to Ristarte’s quirky personality due to his no-nonsense attitude to the world he gradually becomes accustomed to.
The main supporting players are Elulu (Aoi Koga) and Mash (Kengo Kawanishi), a Dragonkin mage and warrior respectively who accompany Ristarte and Seiya on their quest to save Gaeabrande.
Though Seiya initially rejects them, deeming their roles unnecessary, he eventually warms to them in their own way (regarding them as his baggage carriers but still being supportive in the process – fitting for his personality).
Mash hones his transformational skills whilst Elulu develops Support-based magic abilities and tries to assist her party anyways he can, even putting her life on the line at one stage to try and save the world.
Though there are more serious moments and character developments throughout, Cautious Hero is first and foremost comedy-driven, and the first two episodes do a good job of showcasing this.
Within 20 or so minutes, Ristarte has summoned Seiya, who quickly rebuffs her, stumbles upon a slime-based creature and decides the best call to action is to go full scorched Earth on the poor thing.
Also, upon facing a villainous threat out to hunt them down, instead of putting up a fight, Seiya promptly bolts in the opposite direction, leaving Ristarte gobsmacked and forced to flee with him.
Seiya does eventually vanquish the villain who terrorises some local townsfolk to get them to reappear – but ends up essentially raising their village when burning the villains’ remains – rendering his actions null and void. This sets the stage pretty well for what to expect moving forward.
As a story there are some tropes that you may expect to see like a tragic backstory for Seiya, or the plot progression involving a growing cast and some decent world-building as other gods are introduced.
Comedy isekai series have also been done before, see KonoSuba as perhaps the most notable recent example, especially since Aqua and Ristarte are a bit similar in their over-the-top natures. Cautious Hero, like KonoSuba, also manages to hold its own thanks to the humour throughout which is elevated by the expressiveness of the characters and vocal performances from the lead and supporting cast.
The series was animated by White Fox, who have taken full advantage of the characters’ quirky interactions and provided a goldmine for reaction faces, especially for Ristarte. Though the animation isn’t always the strongest when it comes to physical comedy it delivers pretty well. This is aided by the character designs, which allow for a lot of expressions and personality to shine through.
The score for Cautious Hero was composed by Yoshiaki Fujisawa and it does the job, fitting scene-by-scene fairly well. The OP, “TIT FOR TAT” by Myth & Roid, and ED “Be perfect, plz!” by Riko Azuna were also solid, though the latter was accompanied by a slightly uncanny dance sequence from a CGI-animated Ristarte.
The series is presented with both Japanese and English audio, though my preferences lie firmly with the former as the lead voice actors fit their roles well and bounce well off each other. The dub didn’t really work for me, as the comedic timing and chemistry that was so effective with the Japanese performers didn’t feel as convincing.
Cautious Hero is being released in the UK by Manga Entertainment, who offer the series on both Blu-ray and DVD alongside a Limited Edition set which also contains two CDs containing the Japanese audio drama series plus some other goodies like an 80-page artbook.
As review discs were not supplied, the series was instead watched via the Funimationnow PS5 App, which worked for the most part but occasionally crashed and had less than ideal subtitles with an awkward font and garish black box. The actual Blu-ray discs however, feature subtitles expected of a Funimation release – white lettering with a black outline.
Overall, Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious offers a fun and enjoyable comedy isekai with a likeable and quirky cast and enough serious moments to keep the stakes up, though is ultimately focused on its comedic elements which are the main highlight.
That being said, comedy is subjective, so you may want to give this a “try before you buy” with the trusty “Three-episode rule” to see if the comedy is to your liking, and if so you’ll be in for a fun time!