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The Winter 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Banished From The Heroes' Party Season 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
Banished From The Heroes' Party (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.0

What is this?


Red and Rit's idyllic country life has finally returned to normal – for the most part. Ruti has moved into town to embrace her freedom from the Hero's Skill and its destined compulsion, hoping to live her own, slow life alongside them. Yet forces new and old won't leave the former Hero alone for long. Not only is Yarandrala still searching for her former party members, but a new Hero, calling himself Van and leading a party of his own, has arrived on the scene. It would seem the Almighty still has plans for its chosen one.

Banished From The Heroes' Party Season 2 is based on a light novel series of the same name by Zappon and Yasumo. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Sundays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

Thematically, the first season of Banished From The Heroes' Party is a story about free will. In this fantasy world, everyone is given a blessing by god and that blessing determines your role in life. But more than that, it also influences your personality. The rarer and more powerful your blessing, the more it controls your actions. Red, our hero, was freed from his compulsion once he was no longer needed as the hero's teacher—making him one of the few people in the world to have true free will. Meanwhile, his sister, Ruti, was at the other end of the spectrum. As the Hero, she was unable to do anything but fight against the Demon King. Her free will was almost nonexistent—leaving her a prisoner in her own body.

However, thanks to the events of the first season, Ruti has once again regained her free will. She, for the first time in her life, can live selfishly—and thus chooses to live alongside her brother and friends, far away from the war with demonkind. This episode is largely about exploring what's next for Ruti.

When it comes down to it, the Hero has now disappeared from the front lines—something that has to have caused more than a bit of chaos. But even more than that, Ruti is now living in direct opposition to god's will. The question looming on everyone's minds, Ruti's included, is “Is it really okay for her to live as she wants?” It's clear that everyone surrounding her is on her side but how can such a kind girl not feel guilty knowing that people are dying because you're not there to save them?

Yet, it might not be these worries that pull Ruti back into the fight. It looks like the church is already well aware of what happened—and has forced another into her role. However, rather than Ruti who always battled against her blessing, the new Hero seems to be a religious zealot. He believes that all that happens is fate—removing him from pesky feelings like guilt entirely.

So while the stakes of this episode are low, it provides a solid start to the new arch of the story—and it should be interesting to see how the two main plotlines evolve (and likely collide) throughout the second season.

Kevin Cormack

With such an overly wordy title, you'd expect Banished from the Hero's Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside (hereafter referred to as Banished, you'll be glad to hear) to be another one of those godawful soulless production-line pre-molded isekai abominations that overflow from every season like the fetid sludge in a gastroenteritis-infected toddler's diaper. Thankfully, Banished is a whole lot more entertaining than that. Although protagonist Red (The Hero's Party Member Formerly Known As Gideon) has retired to the sleepy frontier town of Zoltan, the past has a way of catching up to him and interfering with his planned slow life.

Red's now engaged to former adventuring companion Rit, and together, they make a confirmed, rock-solid, fully-loved-up couple, unusual for most anime. In this episode, they set off for some nearby mountains so Red can acquire a sapphire for Rit's engagement ring… because it will match the color of her eyes. Awww. It's not all romantic gooey-eyed mush. Another of Red's former companions has come searching for him – the formidable elf-lady Yarandrala, and she's kicking ass first and asking questions later, making quite a mess of the village while she's at it. She seems delighted at Red and Rit's forthcoming nuptials, though she does seem somewhat into Red herself…

Red's terrifying sister Ruti is now also retired, having found a way to overcome the depersonalizing aspects of her "Blessing." As the nation's hero, ordained by the creator god, The Almighty Demis, she was born with "The Hero's Blessing," which compelled her to battle the Demon Lord, subsuming her own emotions and desires to do so. She was miserable but lacked the ability even to feel this. The opening sequence focuses on Ruti to an almost disturbing degree, with some very… specific… shots, especially for all those Ruti Foot Fetishists in the audience, there's a tonally incongruous nudity jumpscare...

The whole worldbuilding aspect around the Blessings and their implications regarding predestination and free will elevates Banished above other similarly generic-looking fantasy anime. With new Hero Van and his party in the world, it looks like his more rigid adherence to his Blessing's demands will no doubt bring him into conflict with Ruti and her brother before the season is out. I, for one, am stoked for the prospect of an all-out animated philosophical and theological throwdown, hopefully involving massive swords and pretty warrior women.

For now, this episode is mostly set up. There are some fun moments like our friends' visit to the village of the tiny, cute, furry, yet man-eating critters, and the funny results of Yarandrala's village rampage. I'll keep watching to see how the plot seeds planted in this opener grow to fruition later.

Nicholas Dupree

I petered out on the first season of Banished From the Hero's Party. While I found its initial pitch of Red/Gideon forging a new life and finding purpose outside of the grand destiny of the heroic questing pretty charming, by the end of the first season, that had mostly been subsumed by all the drama and mystery around Ruti. Still, its ultimate conclusion of finding your happiness and fulfillment outside of the roles prescribed to you was one I liked, and the novelty of having an openly happy and committed couple at the center of the story did a lot to compensate. Plus, that JYOCHO ED song was fantastic.

While this season premiere has some capital P Plot going on, it's mostly on the fringes, book-ending the episode with scenes about this mysterious new hero and his devotion to the Almighty's existential prescriptivism. Everything else is just about bringing us back into the fold with our established characters and giving us a look into their new status quo. Red and Rit are still adorable – currently on a quest to barter with giants to get the perfect gemstone for Rit's engagement ring – and that carries much of the show. There's some uneasiness about Ruti's precarious freedom from her old Skill, but everyone is resolute in sticking by her no matter what, which is very sweet. It seems like Ruti will take up the lion's share of this season if the OP is anything to go on. I swear something like three-quarters of that thing is just shots of Ruti hanging around the house and getting dressed.

It's a fine re-introduction to the cast and world, but it does feel like a lot of place-setting before leaving us hanging with the dual endings. Yarandrala's presence represents a potential shakeup for the crew's dynamic, but she only meets everybody at the very end. The new hero is a cool twist, but he's so disconnected from the rest of the story that part of me wonders if it's setting up a twist where this is all happening in the past or something. Much as I enjoy this cast's general vibes, they do need something to do besides go on day trips to a village of talking groundhogs, but this premiere doesn't give much clue as to the further trajectory of the story. Given how that last third of the previous season floundered, that worries me a bit, but I can hope that the show will better grasp its strengths and more carefully balance its larger story and simpler character moments. Plus, that new JYOCHO ED song is pretty good.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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