Skeleton Knight in Another World
Waking up in his favorite online RPG and adapting the name Arc, our hero finds himself wondering just how he ended up where he did... and loving every second of it. He eventually encounters a dark elf woman named Ariane, who's in a quest to rescue her people from slave traders, and decides to offer her his services, which she eventually accepts. Because hey, if you're gonna live the high MMO life, then you need quests, right?
Let's just get the bad thing out of the way right now: this is about as boilerplate a power fantasy isekai as you can have. More than that, I don't think I have ever seen an isekai fantasy that has cared any less about its main characters pre-isekai'd life. The show literally starts with Arc waking up from his nap under a tree, and once he realizes he's been kainapped, he becomes downright enthusiastic about it. There is literally no reason why Skeleton Knight in Another World needed to use the isekai framework for itself save it being a "thing" even now, because outside of Arc mentioning he has indeed been reborn into a game, he isn't really all that interested in talking about it.
Sure, now that he's a skeleton, he finds interacting with people a bit of a challenge. He might be wearing a full body armor to hide his bony frame, but getting closer to people might still be a danger, just in case they want to see his face. As it turns out, Arc isn't actually an undead. He's under the effects of a curse that makes him look like a skeleton, which is actually a part of the backstory he made for his player character. This unfortunately means that he doesn't know specifically how to "fix" this, but on the other side, this does also mean that he has a goal to work towards as well.
And that is definitely one of the most positive aspects of the show; Arc is simply a hoot as a character, which carries over to his English dub voice. We might not know who Arc was before he became Arc, but he is a chatty, cheerful bundle of bones, a fact that alone puts him way above tepid washcloths like the one you have to project yourself on in In Another World With My Smartphone. He's very rarely at a loss for words, and there is just something about this bombastic madman that makes him so much fun to watch.
This is very much a good thing too, because the world Arc finds himself in is grim enough that episodes often come with content warnings. It's one thing that people are killed in this show, sometimes quite messily, but Arc's first good deed is basically saving two ladies from a band of marauding rapists. And again, that is also another swing-and-a-miss, because you aren't often wondering who is good in this show and who is evil. Skeleton Knight in Another World is about as unsubtle about it as one would expect, with all the sneering and cackling going on. So yes, the show is actually quite violent; people get impaled, cleaved in twain and there's even the scene that introduces us to catgirl ninja Chiyome, as Arc stumbles over her handiwork during one of her missions, consisting of a lot of dead brigands lying in bed with their throats slit.
Much like Ariane, Chiyome also eventually joins Arc's party, and the two girls are actually quite fun as well. They, much like everyone else, are there to marvel at the sheer power and skill of this mysterious knight, but it's not really their main modus operandi. Again, it's to the show's credit that Arc and the girls are working together, rather than him just being there to bail everyone out of their own ineptitude. Both of them are also incredibly skillful on their own, and they also have backstories that has nothing to do with Arc, which also makes them more fleshed-out characters altogether. For Ariane, Arc gets to go to her home village in gratitude over his part in saving the enslaved elven girls, and there, he gets to meet her parents and also her big sister. Another aspect of the show that's kinda nice is that Ariane is the first person whom Arc entrusts with his... well, face... and while she is surprised at first, she also correctly surmises that Arc isn't an actual undead, but rather someone who suffers the effect of a curse. She does this by logically reasoning that Arc wouldn't be able to bond with spirit creatures if he was, and even offers Arc a potential way to cure himself of said curse, much to Arc's delight. Everything about this show does a fantastic job of painting Ariane as a pragmatic personality; she hates humans, which is to some point understandable as her job is usually saving slaves from their human handlers, but she still came to trust Arc even before she knew he was a skeleton... that still classify as human, most likely. The only really weird hiccup is when the show felt it needed to have her walk in on Arc in the bath, and instead of excusing herself and making a quick retreat, she chose to attack him instead, as if that wasn't one of the most tiresome romance/harem comedy tropes ever created. As for Chiyome's home, it isn't quite on the map yet. But in addition to Chiyome herself, Arc also gets to meet another member of her clan, Goemon, who becomes Arc's equally bombastic brother in arms on two occasions, and their moments of bonding are actually kinda adorable. Her reaction to seeing Arc's actual face is quite different from Ariane's, but no less endearing and amusing because of it. Their dub voices are great too, although I was weirdly disappointed that Jad Saxton didn't play her. No slight on Sarah Wiedenheft as she does a fine job, but after going through two booby harem shows where she plays the catgirls, and then later an actual cat in My Roommate is a Cat, it would have been weirdly fun to hear her play Chiyome too. I guess Jad doesn't want to be typecast or something.
I was a little worried that Skeleton Knight in Another World would play up the "humans bad, everyone else good" angle, particularly in light of the fact that the first human beings we meet all seems to have this permanent sneer on their faces. It doesn't help that Ariane is the one who seems to have hit by this the hardest, which is understandable since she is usually tasked with freeing her people from the slave trade markets, but the show itself thankfully takes this topic a bit more seriously than that. So far, that has been more tell than show, but I'd still like to give it the benefit of the doubt just on the sincerity of its tone.
From a visual standpoint, the show fares pretty OK, albeit with some pretty cheap-looking segments. There aren't any particularly huge fight sequences here, partly on account of Arc being so overpowered, but we still get to see some pretty nice moves. Ariane, for instance, has a rather elegant style that she clearly did not inherit from her mother or big sister, yet Skeleton Knight in Another World animates this by basically showing some swinging lines on a black screen, and then fades Ariane and her targets in post-swing. Chiyome has some nifty ninja skills as well, but they are at least animated decently. Every move tend to be followed by the adversaries being slammed into walls or the ground, which consists of what's basically the "best" animation the show has to offer. There isn't anything particularly outstanding about all of this, but it it at least put into some pretty decent scenery as fantasy worlds go. Even beyond the combat aspects or lack thereof, the animation does a good job at portraying Arc's bombastic personality, if nothing else.
Skeleton Knight in Another World does kinda come across as a budget Overlord at times. It's a show heavily featuring nonhuman characters in main roles, which is always a draw, but still one that doesn't devolve too deep into the whole "humans are bastards" thing. It's not a terribly complicated show, so it's works more like a mid-level popcorn entertainment version of deeper or grimmer shows like Re:Zero or Overlord, but like I once said about other shows; sometimes, you just want to relax and have some fun. Skeleton Knight in Another World's got your back there.
Strong three star. If we get more, and it doesn't completely jump the shark, it might earn itself a rate upgrade. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Not for the kiddies. The marauders in this show deal heavily within slaves, and they are more than happy to "test the wares", so to speak. I suspect they're partially so over the top about it so that you won't feel too bad about them when they get sliced in half, or killed in their sleep. There's also a shot of Ariane walking in on Arc bathing, and she's basically naked save her private parts being somehow obstructed by either hair or various items or other body parts.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, English dub.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Skeleton Knight in Another World © 2022 Pony Canyon, DAX Communication.
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