One of the most common and cliched aspects of the Isekai genre is the fact that a majority of the protagonists are incredibly overpowered. Much of this is because they were summoned as heroes, or reincarnated with their memories and knowledge from the previous world kept intact.
Many of these protagonists are overpowered supposedly because they were summoned to be the world’s heroes, with a goal of vanquishing the world of a certain evil or threat. However, what makes The World’s Finest Assassin interesting for me is the fact that our main protagonist isn’t chosen to kill the demon lord, but instead, the hero.
That said, in this Isekai anime review, we’ll be talking about how The World's Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat holds out against the countless Isekai anime that are out there.
My Criteria for Review
Story is sovereign, and its champion is Character.
But what is a story?
In all my years of studying storytelling and story structure, both in and outside of my university education, there’s one thing I realized: a good story is one that is able to illicit an emotional reaction in its audience. Good storytelling isn’t simply about putting out interesting or unconventional ideas. It’s about turning those ideas into a plot that creates an emotional reaction in the audience.
A good story encourages reflection and creates connections. The more that your story can connect to an audience at an emotional level, the better-told the story is. The more that a story can make an audience laugh, cry, and relate to the characters and their plight, the better-told that story is.
In fiction, a good story always rules.
And the primary driving force of a good story is: Character.
Character is the champion of a good story because without excellent characters, a story can often fall flat. And while there are stories that can still function well even with flat characters, it’s often because that story can use excellent craft and story structure to create those reactions from the audience.
My criteria for this and all of my reviews always follow this line of questioning:
Did this story strike me in any way?
Did it create any emotional reaction within me?
Did it make me care for the characters and relate with them?
Did it impart to me any valuable life lesson?
Did it make a strong enough impression on me that I’ll remember the story for years and years?
The more that a story can make me answer, “Yes!” to these questions, the higher ranked it is in my book. A good story, for me, isn’t about whether the ideas were cool, or different, or unique. A good story is all about impact. If, after watching a series or reading a book, I’m easily able to forget it, then that for me isn’t as powerful a story.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s get started looking at our Isekai anime review for The World's Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat.
Powerful But Not Overpowered
One thing that makes this a very interesting series for me is the fact that our main protagonist, Lugh Tuatha Dé, is very calculating in his approach, given that he used to be a top assassin. He’s not immediately given monstrous power in order to defeat the hero. He’s not spoonfed any answers either. From the start, he’s had to make decisions, choices, and plans that would help him defeat the hero.
In this first season, we also get to see just how powerful his opponents could be, and how his skills and magic compare to theirs. Throughout the light novels, we further get a glimpse of the massive gap of strength and power between the assassin, the hero, and the demons. And it’s this gap that forces Lugh to be crafty. If he were to fight them head on, he would almost immediately lost. And so, instead, he has to come up with various assassination techniques, skills, and magic that would aid him in his quest.
The Assassin’s Team
Another thing that piqued my interest in this series were the supporting characters. Dia, Tarte, and Maha all end up as key elements and factors aiding Lugh in his quest to become stronger. Each one has their own unique and specific strengths, which turns them into a team that completely relies on one another.
In most Isekai, there’s a tendency for the hero to be so powerful that they don’t need the assistance of their peers or allies. They could pretty much dominate on their own. Not so with this series. What The World’s Finest Assassin does so well is that each supporting character adds a critical ingredient to Lugh’s mission to get stronger and defeat the hero. Without any one of these characters, Lugh’s chances would be close to zero.
This is made even more apparent in the later volumes of the light novels, as the bonds of this team grow stronger and tighter. Lugh ends up having to rely on each one of his teammates even more, which also deepens his affection for them.
Melting His Stone Cold Heart
Because Lugh was raised as an assassin since childhood in his previous life, he’s known nothing but violence, murder, and death. That his employers ordered a hit on him in his old age does nothing to improve his perception of humanity, either. Because of this, when Lugh first meets the goddess who grants him the opportunity to reincarnate with his memories intact, Lugh makes a choice to live his life for himself, and not for anyone else. And while he may still be tied to the goddess’ mission for him, saving the world by defeating the hero also benefits him. Otherwise, his next life, too, would be forfeited.
In his previous life, Lugh was also pretty seen and used as a tool, hardening his heart towards forming any actual relationships in his next life. That’s why, throughout this first season, we see Lugh operating in a cold and calculated manner. He doesn’t want to be used as a tool, and yet he has no qualms being the one to use others as tools instead.
If you were made to live a lifetime living as an assassination tool for others, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you would continue with that mindset in your next life, especially if that’s all you ever knew. And yet, because Lugh now has other relationships that are more loving than transactional, we can see him changing (albeit ever so slowly). It may take a while for him to actually reform himself completely. But that’s the beauty of this team that he’s formed. Because he has to rely on them to a great extent, he can’t help but feel an attachment towards them that’s not merely objective and transactional, but relational as well.
Final Verdict for The World's Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat
I would have to honestly say that The World’s Finest Assassin is one of the few Isekai anime series that has convinced me to actually pick up the light novels just so that I could continue with the story. And even then, I found I could hardly put the books down, given that I felt a strong connection to the characters, their plight, and their world.
No surprise, I ended up reading the first five volumes of the light novel in a week.
Overall, I’d say that this series is a pretty smart and decent entry to the Isekai genre. While it may hold a lot of the usual fantasy Isekai tropes and archetypes, it’s Lugh’s intelligence and charm that really makes this a worthwhile watch. I also like the fact that he’s not impulsive or overly influenced by his emotions, like a lot of other anime characters. Rather, Lugh keeps a cool head at all times, which truly makes him a good fit as the protagonist of the story.
My final verdict: 8.5/10
Did this story strike me in any way? YES
Did it create any emotional reaction within me? YES
Did it make me care for the characters and relate to them? YES
Did it impart to me any valuable life lessons? NO
Did it make a strong enough impression on me I’ll remember the story years after? YES