The harem and ecchi genre of anime are full of series that feature either indecisive or weak willed main characters with girls that just so happen to fall right into their laps. In recent years there have been a few series where a protagonist will actually make an effort to develop as a character and even give viewers a reason to believe that these girls might actually like them. However what happens if you go to the opposite side of weak and bring forth a powerful main character that pretty much does whatever he wants? Well you would get Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero, and now that FUNimation has brought the series over to North America is it worth picking up?
Roughly thirty years ago, young people from across the world began to vanish into summoning circles which has transported them to another world. While thousands of people have been brought to these other worlds, only around half of them manage to escape them and those that do come back with enhanced physical abilities and more often than not, magical powers that they gained during their time in the other world.
As such, when someone manages to make it back to their original world alive, they are seen as unique and gifted individuals. An organization named Babel has been formed by the United Nations to take in these gifted people and not only train them to better harness their abilities but also house them from going rogue and possibly causing untold levels of destruction.
The story of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero follow Akatsuki Ousawa, a summoned hero who has vanquished the Demon King and saved the world from destruction. Despite pleas, and attempts to subdue him, by the thankful members of the world of Alayzard, Akatsuki is determined to go home and when he makes his way back through the portal, it is revealed that he has taken the Demon King’s only daughter, Miu, with him to the normal world in an effort to protector and fulfill the Demon King’s dying wish.
When he arrives, Akatsuki and Miu are quickly brought to Babel where they are enrolled in the curriculum, with Miu pretending to be Akatsuki’s long lost younger sister who just so happens to have amnesia in an effort to pass her off as a normal human. There is a reason that the series is called Rogue Hero however and that is because Akatsuki’s personality is that of a laid back pervert who is exceptionally skilled at all manner of melee combat, thanks to his energy manipulation ability, though he tends to use this power to strip women of their bras and panties in an instant while their clothes are still on.
The bulk of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero follows Miu as she attempts to become acquainted with how life works in the normal world and making friends while general ecchi show shenanigans occur throughout. There is some very vague story moving along in the background as Akatsuki wishes to fight against the leader of the Student Council, who also happens to be a member of a powerful worldwide force known as COCOON, which has grown concerned over how powerful Akatsuki might be.
However this storyline never comes to fruition and is merely mentioned a few times thanks to the amount of time that is spent on these ecchi harem events which usually see Akatsuki harassing Miu, her new friends, and a female member of the Student Council named Haruka. While it is nice to see a powerful and confident male lead at the helm, most of the things that Akatsuki does leave a dirty aftertaste and although Miu often thinks back at how it might have been him being considerate in a way, it almost always feels poorly done and generally portrays Akatsuki as a boorish guy who comes off as a brute that cares little about decency.
There is some final bits of plot that come together during the last few episodes of the series which see the bulk of the cast fighting against an enemy that has returned from the land of Alayzard after Miu, but after this concludes viewers are left with a cliffhanger ending that could potentially lead to some great things, but sadly that may never be the case. Instead, all viewers are left with is general ecchi shenanigans with an unlikable male lead and a paper thin plot made worse by the fact that it teases an actual storyline but goes nowhere with it.
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is clearly an ecchi show and it lets viewers know that almost immediately as Akatsuki strips his pursuers of their undergarments. There are so many panty shots and instances where the female cast in the series is put in revealing clothing, or completely stripped naked that it actually starts to lose a bit of its charm. There tends to be a point of overkill and some variation is necessary but sadly that isn’t the case with this series as Miu tends to be the only girl naked or fondled and even then the detail on these scenes is rather basic.
As far as the character designs themselves, they are relatively simplistic outside of Akatsuki who exudes a lot of power thanks to his buff appearance and confidence. The action sequences are nicely animated and any time the characters use their magical abilities or powers the visuals take a nice jump in quality but sadly these scenes tend to be rather limited overall.
With Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero FUNimation has provided both the original Japanese voice track as well as their newly recorded English dub. The English voice cast does a satisfactory job with their characters, with Miu’s voice actress Felicia Angelle taking the spotlight here. While some may prefer the original Japanese voice track, the English writing team has managed to make a few of the scenes a bit more enjoyable thanks to the terms used.
As far as the series soundtrack goes, most of the background themes are easily forgettable though the series does tend to feature the orchestral version of the opening theme as combat music. Speaking of the opening theme, we have “Realization” by Faylan which has a nice action feel to it and is accompanied by some nice looking animation, and the ending theme is “Ai no Sei de Nemurenai” by Aki Misato is calmer but less enjoyable.
As far as bonus features go, Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero comes with a number of on-disc extras to help pad out the standard inclusions of promotional videos from Japan, textless opening and ending themes, trailers for other FUNimation anime and the US trailer for the series. There are two commentary tracks as well as six original videos that equal twenty three minutes in length. These videos are presented in Japanese only and feature the female members of the cast in numerous lewd situations in an effort to help provide some various elements of fan-service that the main series could not.
As far as the commentary tracks go, episode 2 features Alexis Tipton, the voice of Haruka, Monica Rial who handles the voice of Kuzuha, and Felicia Angelle, the voice of Miu. Episode 8’s commentary features Joel McDonald. the voice of Motoharu, Ryan Reynolds, the voice of Chikage, and Eric Vale who voices Akatsuki. This is the first time that Ryan has been on a commentary and both commentaries are fairly enjoyable.
There have been many harem series that have managed to create a likable male lead and even put together a strong storyline while also delivering on all of the ecchi goodness that fans of the genre like. However Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero only manages to deliver on the latter and sadly, even then there is something to be said for teasing viewers a bit and having some variation instead of always instantly stripping every girl in sight and having their poorly animated breasts fly out. Sadly this leaves Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero as an easily forgettable title with decent action scenes that had a few moments where it could have been great but consistently failed to deliver.
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