Combatants Will Be Dispatched!
Combat Agent Six (real name unknown) works for Kisaragi Corporation, an evil oragnization bent on taking over the world. One day he is sent by his superiors Freezing Astaroth and Flaming Belial to go to a backwards planet named Grace to take over it. Armed with only his wits, his suit, and an android named Alice Kisaragi, Six will have to survive in this mostly desert world if he wants to prove himself to his higher ups.
After watching KonoSuba: God's Blessing on this Wonderful World! and Kemono Michi: Rise Up and having (varying degress of) fun with those shows, I was looking toward to series creator Natsume Akatsuki's third adapation of his works. And while it isn't an isekai, Combatants Will Be Dispatched! still has the stink of one all over it. It's always by far the weakest of his adaptions.
One thing Combatants shares with KonoSuba and Kemono Michi is that the characters are more known for their quirks than as full-fledged characters. This was also a problem I had with Akatsuki's earlier two series turned anime, but here it's boiled down to just archetypes. Flat, boring archetypes. I suppose we should talk about our male lead Six first.
Six has two personality traits: being a pervert, and being a jerkass. One of his personality trait gimmicks is that he needs to do evil activities in order to earn "evil" points to buy weapons, food, etc. from his bosses at Kisaragi. Which, nine times out of ten, usually involves juevnile actions like pulling down a woman's clothing, seeing her panties, or in one scene even juvenile for this series' standards, literally peeing on a prince's head. No joke. (Well, the peeing IS a joke, but I found it out more childish than funny.) A couple of these scenes did get a giggle out of me, but I doubt it was as much as the writers expected, with one major example in the latter coming when Six and Alice change the password to Grace's legendary artifact to "penis festival", just so he can hear the royals having to say that each time after. That's the level of juvenile this show runs on. If you don't find that funny, you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of this show.
Six also has a powerful suit that allows him to temporarily gain super strength, at the cost of a recharge time before and after. This is used for a few of the series' big battles, which of course he always excels at because, despite being a colossal pervert, he's also super strong when the show needs him to be. When not in battle or strategizing, he's otherwise a perverted shmuck.
His partner is Alice, who, despite being a robot, is ironically the most human of the characters in this show. And 99 times ouf of 100 she would be better off in charge. She's the one who calls the shots and devices plans for battle, except the rare time Six bothers to actually plan a strategy himself. (A third of them ending up being waiting until the enemies are asleep to ambush.) She's also pretty much the only character in this show with a functioning brain, as we learn quickly how the other characters in this show are more than a little quick to cave in to their vices.
Not long into Combantants Six and Alice end up with with a group of three other misfits who work for them. Up first is Snow, the once Commander of Princess Tilli's Royal Guard who protects Princess Tillis...which she isn't worrying about her sword or wanting money. Second up is Rose, a fiesty chimera created by a deceased scientist who loves to eat, her character not evolving much beyond that. And lastly there's Grimm, a dark mage confined to a wheelcahir after a backfired spell makes her unable to wear shoes. An Archbishop of Zenarith, she can be revived from death at a temple, which she does often. When she isn't, well, dead, she msotly tries to flirt with Six, to no avail.
And yeah, these characters don't seem like much at first glance. But what's really irritating about the writing style of Combatants Will Be Dispatched! is how the show fools you into thinking they'll explore more about Snow, Rose, and Grimm, only to not. For example, Rose mentions early on how eating monsters makes her stronger and can even alter her appearance. Guess how many times we see this? ZERO! Snow mentions to Six later in the series that she grew up in the slums and that her parents were killed in a war. Do we ever get any more insight into this, or even learn if she has other living family members? No! And what exactly was Grimm like BEFORE she was confined to a wheelchair? Why, the show will never get to you on that. Why flesh out our characters when there's tasteless jokes to be had?
Combatants Will Be Dispatched! has exactly one episode of its 12 that bothers to explore more on the world of Grace. Grimm - in a rarity of her being mostly alive in an episode - tries to prove to Alice that magic is real in their world, which the android refuses to believe in, by summoning demons. Despite her succedding in summoning a sexy demon, Alice still thinks it's a hologram, even shaking the very summoning sheet the demon was summoned on (who indeed turns out to be a projection and not the real deal, so Alice wasn't too far off). It's a bit amusing, and again it fleshes out Grimm's character more beyond being a simple flirt of a joke about how she dies a lot. If only the show bothered to do this more with its cast.
Not that it would matter much in the long run anyway, because anyone not named Six or Alice adds very little to the show overall. Even Snow, who the show builds up early on as the primary female love interest/heroine, is reduced to a walking joke revolved around her money vice shortly after her debut. (A woman who, mind you, notes with not a hint of sarcasm she would kill her own comrades for money if offered the opprtunity. And this woman is working for the "good guys".) At the end of the day none of the characters actually grow as characters. Which would be fine if this were a slapstick story with no plot, except Combantants Will Be Dispatched! has an ongoing story. The world Six and Alice are on is noted to be dying, with water and food in short supply, and powerful monsters lurking around the outside of town. Not to mention other evil races as well who also hate humans. A large chunk of the final third of the series is about Six and the others trying to get water for their home town. Alice even notes to Six at one point the planet will likely be inhabitable in a manner of decades.
Battles are rare in Combantants Will Be Dispatched!, but to the show's credit, there is at least a bit of tension with them. But even then the best fights don't last long enough to leave much of an impact. The series' final battle - which has a villain in a giant robot - is resolved before the halfway point. In fact, they almost spend more time INTERROGATING the pilot afterward than they do fighting him. Most of the enemies are largely forgettable with the possible exception of Heine, the only one of the four demon kings who's a girl, and that's only largely because of how Six embarrasses her. Her partner, Russell, who like Rose is also a chimera, could've brought some interesting insight into Rose's own past, but again the show does nothing with him. Shocker shocker.
Aside from Princess Tillis (who plays the "sweet and dainty princess who has a dark streak" archetype), the only other character of note is Tiger Man, who looks like the love child of Chester Cheetah and Tony the Tiger if he also worked out five hours a day. His gimmick is that he loves little girls and wants to become one himself one day. He also likes to randomly insert himself into scenes because why not. Minus bonus points for the last episode and how he acts in it. (I can still feel the shudder from it even now.)
Six's higher-ups Astaroth and Belial, as well as scientist girl Lilith, also add nothing overall to the show after the first episode, regulated to mostly conversations with one another during the next episode previews as they look over Six's reports. I actually find this a nice way to integret them into the series. The one episode they do bother to have the three as the leads in - a celebrational livestream - is the worst episode of the show, a dumb filler episode involving a popularity/beauty contest where Lilith tries to one-up Astaroth and Belial. Astaroth has a cute crush on Six, and Belial and Lilith even try to push her into confessing. She doesn't try to deny it, either, simply too shy to say to him she loves him. Sadly, this goes nowhere, like all major character development in this show.
About the only major compliment I can give Combantants Will Be Dispatched! is that it's the best looking of the three Natsume Akatsuki adaptions. It's not as stiffly animated as Kemono Michi or as sloppy looking as the saggy breast cast of KonoSuba. But even then I'd watch either of those shows any day. KonoSuba's cast is way funnier and more memorable, and Kemono Michi has a far better gimmick with its lead being a hammy wrestler. The only major thing that separates Combantants is that's not technically an isekai and takes place in present day. Not that it matters, since 90% of the show takes place on a backwards planet, aside from when Six needs to deux ex machina it up by getting weapons from Kisaragi for battle.
TLDR version of this review; go watch KonoSuba instead. You'll have way more fun, trust me.
Alice alone saves this from a single star. One or two interesting episodes does not a great show make, and the juvenile humor doesn't help. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: There's quite a bit of fanservice in this series and juvenile jokes that even Beavis and Butthead wouldn't stoop to. Ironically pre-teen boys would probably get more mileage than the actual teenage audience this is supposed to be aimed for. But the fanservice makes this inappropriate for younger kids. Parental discretion devised.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Combatants Will Be Dispatched! © 2021 Natsume Akatsuki / KADOKAWA /
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