Ah... Yet another show that seemed to have a ton of potential at the start, yet falls victim to the same tired tropes and cliches that makes up a fan service/harem anime. That's not to say Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is not a decent series, it is, it's at times very funny and at many times an off putting series that is actually a great addition to the fan service genre. Make no mistake about it, Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero appeals to one type of demographic, if you're not a fan of fan service, then you might as well turn around now, this show is all kinds of wrong for you.
In the opening moments of the show, we meet our "Rogue Hero", Akatsuki Ohara (voice of Eric Vale.) When we meet Akatsuki, he's on the lam from the Dark Lord's royal forces. The reason being is he has just assassinated said lord and saved the world from destruction. The cherry on top is that he kidnapped the Lord's daughter, Miu (voice of Felicia Angelle), to take her to his own world. Despite desperate pleas to stop him, Akatsuki leaves the realm of Alyzard to go to his original world to become Miu's protector as the Lord's dying wish.
When someone makes it back to their original world, they are considered unique and individuals, an organization named Babel has been formed to enroll these individuals for them to harness their capabilities, and with the ulterior motive of containing them so they don't go rogue and cause destruction. Since Akatsuki made it back to his original world, he along with Miu (under the guise of being brother and sister), enroll into the schooling of Babel.
The majority of the series focuses on Akatsuki and Miu adapting to life at Babel. With Miu making friends with a woman who is attracted to her named Chikage (voice of Ryan Reynolds) and a younger girl who attends the school due to her genius, Kuzuha (voice of Monica Rial.) As Miu makes friends, Akatsuki makes enemies including a friendly rivalry with Motoharu (voice of Joel McDonald), a fellow student asked to keep tabs on Akatsuki. Haruka (voice of Alexis Tipton), a female member of the student council, someone Akatsuki constantly harasses. Kenya (voice of Cris George), a bully at the academy who Akatsuki sets his sights on of his own to bully. Lastly, Kyoya (voice of Jerry Jewell), the leader of the student council whom has an overwhelming power, maybe even stronger than Akatsuki, a prospect that makes Akatsuki foam at the mouth for a one on one. Kyoya also turns out to be a member of COCOON, a worldwide force to be reckoned with, COCOON is growing concerned at the prospect of how powerful Akatsuki truly is.
While I expected the series to conclude with COCOON going after Akatsuki after he's become too much of a threat, this is not the case, COCOON stays more of a background enemy. The last 4 episodes mainly revolve around a strong knight named Phil Barnett (voice of Todd Haberkorn), comes from Alyzard to take Miu back to his realm and kill her publicly to become king. The only thing that stands in his way of accomplishing his goal is Akatsuki.
The first thing the viewer needs to know going into Aesthetica is Akatsuki is perhaps the biggest pervert in any form of media. He doesn't care who you are, if you're a woman, he will fondle you, and he will take your underwear. If you're a guy... well you're screwed, because Akatsuki is the ultimate troll/douche bag and he does whatever the hell he wants.
The fan service in this show is off the charts. Probably the most fan service I've seen in any anime. For example Episode 5 takes place almost entirely in a Lingerie store fitting room, where Miu, Akatsuki, Chikage, and Haruko trying on various bra's and lingerie, with Akatsuki's assistance. Episode 7 is the obligatory beach episode where a contest is being held, the contest is someone is selected to be "it." That person runs away from everyone else while they try to steal the selected persons underwear and the winner gets a unspecified sum of money. Unfortunately for them, Akatsuki is selected. He has the "eye for an eye" mentality, so instead of running away, he decides to disrobe everyone else. It's fan service at it's finest.
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is a show that I wish I could give a higher rating to, because I wanted to like it, but any time it got any little modicum of a story starting, it goes nowhere. It gets 2 and 1/2 stars because it is funny, it's got a good main character, legitimate endearing moments, and a solid beginning and end etc. But enough with the reasons why I enjoy this show, and on to the reason why I don't like it...
The reason I can't give this a higher rating is because the series is just flat out uncomfortable to watch. It's got a "molesting" vibe to the show where the lead character all but rapes the lead female cast several times throughout the series. He consistently grabs their breasts, In a unfortunate situation he makes them pee themselves so they will bond together, and for some reason they still love this guy. My jaw probably dropped about 5 times throughout this series because of sh*t like that. What's up with constant borderline molestation and incest in Anime?? On top of all the borderline rape and the misogynistic content, the thing that baffles me the most is that the behavior is condoned and glorified. One instance in particular at the end of the beach episode... when Akatsuki and Miu are in the water together, Akatsuki gropes her, and continues to slip his hand underneath her now see through bathing suit claiming that he's just trying to cover her up, she lets it go because apparently she feels he's just trying to be a "gentlemen." This is one example out of maybe 100 instances where he does this. This show could have been great but the writers went a totally different direction and made it nothing but the ultimate tits and ass show that was made for that specific demographic (aka the people who don't like plots and like anime porn.) People who are not fans of that will hate this show as it has little redeeming qualities.
- Eric Vale as Akatsuki Ohara and Felicia Angelle as Miu. Initially I was hesitant about the casting choice of Akatsuki, but once I seen a couple episodes, my mind was at ease. Eric has a ton of natural talent and charisma and he really shows it in this role. As for Felicia, this is her first major role in anime, and she nails it.
- Akatsuki in general. While he can be a bit too much at times, it's refreshing to see the male lead be a confident
- Shows tastes of greatness. However it ends up being underutilized.
- A story that could have been great had it been fleshed out better and with a properly done season 2.
- Too many loose ends. Most notably the expected fight between Akatsuki and Kyoya, which at the start you obviously knew was gonna happen, the writers make you want it and then once again they disappoint you.
- A thin plot made worse by the fact that it teases an actual storyline yet goes absolutely nowhere with it.
- COCOON, which is introduced early on builds up throughout the series, leading to what seems like the inevitable showdown with Akatsuki, instead ends up going nowhere.
- Cliffhanger ending just when it was getting good. Akatsuki essentially about to unleash war on Alyzard and it just ends... Season 2 please. Without the rape stuff.
- For most people, this show will be a little too crude. As I said earlier, the main character gives off a rape vibe quite a bit, jumping on one of lead female characters on several occasions, fondling random people and stealing their underwear (which is apparently OK since he's just kidding...) and there is obviously a TON of fan service in this show. Easily one of the most crude shows I've watched.
Video and Audio:
The animation quality for Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is beautiful. It features a strong palette of vivid colors and crisp animation. In particular, the moments where Akatsuki is fighting or magic is being performed is where the animation truly pops.
The audio options for Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero are a TrueHD English 5.1 dub track and a TrueHD Japanese Stereo track. Like usual I watched the English track, and it was solid dub work throughout.
- Episode 02 commentary with the female leads Felicia Angelle (Miu, Felicia's first lead role), Alexis Tipton (Haruko), and Monica Rial (Kuzuha.)
- Episode 08 commentary with the male lead Eric Vale (who doesn't know how to pronounce his character's name, Akatsuki), Joel McDonald (Motoharu) and Ryan Reynolds (Chikage.)
- Six original videos that equal a little over 20 minutes in length. These are Japanese audio only. It's basically just the female cast showing even more fan service. Ya, because the show didn't have enough...
- Character promo videos: Exactly how it sounds, short promo's on some of the characters, like Akatsuki. Japanese only.
- Textless opening and closing themes.
- U.S. trailer for Asthetica of a Rogue Hero.
- Standard FUNi trailers.
The limited edition set also comes with a great looking chipboard art box.
While at times, Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is a fun series that shows little bits of being great, it ends up just falling back on being nothing but and over the top fan service show. This series is for mainly those fans only, in that case it's highly recommended. For an average watcher of anime though, I can't recommend it. RENT IT.