Episode 3 – Skeleton Knight in Another World

Now that we’re three episodes in it’s safe to say we’ve established the status quo and here it is: as far as fantasy worlds go, this one objectively sucks to live in. Bandits rape and pillage with near impunity while nobles enslave women and release monsters upon the commoners for their own meager political gains. Rather than a high fantasy world, this one seems much closer to a dark fantasy world—though its clear that Arc is ignorant of this fact. He still sees himself as an RPG protagonist so it makes sense that he runs into conflict everywhere he looks. It doesn’t occur to him that the amount of bad stuff he has encountered is the norm for people in this world rather than the exception—which brings us to Ariane.

Ariane is well aware of the nature of her world—and as an elf (specifically a dark elf), she is more privy to its crapsack side than most. While her people are supposedly at peace with the humans, it doesn’t stop bandits from kidnapping and enslaving pretty much every elf they come across. As one of the warriors of her kind, it is her job to protect her people—which is something of a loosing battle at this point. It’s no surprise that she’s jaded and believes all humans are inherently evil liars given her experiences. Arc has got to be the strangest person she has ever met—and not just because of his breadth of powerful magic and skills.

In a world where those with power selfishly abuse it, Arc is the rare individual who uses his for good. What’s more is that he does good not for any kind of reward or prestige (aside from the meager funds he needs for room and board) but literally for the joy of doing good. Arc is an adventurer in the truest sense. He simply wants to go on adventures—righting wrongs and helping the downtrodden in the process. His whole life he has played at being this kind of hero in video games but now it’s his chance to do it for real.

This is what gives the show its conflicting tones: Horrible stuff is happening constantly in this world yet Arc is still upbeat about the whole thing. The show even acknowledges this through Ariane’s reactions to Arc—she is thrown off balance by the way he acts. Yet, these conflicting tones are not a bad thing. While Arc’s disconnection from the reality he faces can cause problems, it can also be a source for inspiration. His selfless actions in helping the elven children clearly change Ariane’s views on humans enough for her to ask him for his help. And in a more meta sense, it gives the show both some levity to offset its often dark subject matter and provide some good setups for fish-out-of-water humor.

In the most general sense, Arc is an unshakable optimist in a pessimistic world. What’s more, his optimism is infectious—spreading to those he befriends. He may not be saving the world in the traditional sense (at least, not yet) but he is saving little pieces of it, making life better for the poor and oppressed he encounters.

Rating:



Random Thoughts

• So Arc just basically reenacted the final scene of Rogue One on those unarmed bandits. He clearly has zero qualms about killing “bad” people (which has some potentially troubling implications).

• Ponta was totally down for all that bandit mass murder.

• I’m unsure whether Arc killed the sadistic noble heir or not. If he did, he’s just made a powerful enemy—though Arc looks to be on his way to taking him down anyway just by helping Ariane.

• While the show clearly doesn’t have an insane budget, I like the way they are mixing the CG and 2D animation for the best effect—i.e., 2D for the close ups, CG for the wide shots.

• More fantasy adventures should have power metal openings. Or better yet, Viking metal openings.

• I also love how the opening is a mini-adventure and contains both sound effects and voice acting.


Skeleton Knight in Another World is currently streaming on
Crunchyroll.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.

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