Futaba is a high school girl stuck in the sweet, sour spot where she realizes that she will be responsible for how her life turns out. Torn between the false ideology of pending adulthood and the ignorant beauty of bliss, Futaba ultimately desires to go to another world. Her wish is granted and she is greeted by a bald, short man in golden boxers.
He claims that she is the heroine can change this fantasy world she has mysteriously appeared in with her power to summon warriors through articles of clothing. Her clothes change into strong, beautiful warriors that will defeat practically any foe she encounters but before long, she realizes what’s really happening in this the world and the friendship she left behind.
To Be Heroine is not the typical anime by any means from its unique art style alone. The animation is the beautiful hybrid of Japanese and Chinese animation which overall gives this series a distinct look. Fast paced action sequences look consistently amazing even if there’s a possibility of blinking and missing some of Hanzo Hattori’s swordplay.
Along with the animation, the quality of the writing is well above the average anime and most the summer season lineup. One side of the story is a self-aware comedy that requires knowledge of other anime series or overused anime tropes to fully understand the humor. That’s not to say casual anime viewers wouldn’t pick up on things the humor of Episode 2’s magical girl mishap that leads into a terrible Futaba solo.
The other side of the story is a drama on the level of the heartbreaking series Erased. The writing on this angle clearly is meant to not only put the audience on edge with dramatic twists and cliffhangers, but to also remind the more adult anime viewers of the bliss of childhood. As Futaba’s true motivations are revealed, we learn that there’s much more to just having the fear of growing older. Nearly all of the adults in this series have disappointed, abused, and manipulated the youth or they experience a deep depression and loneliness as the years go by. Her fear isn’t just being responsible for herself, but it could be inferred that she fears turning out like the poor examples presented in her life.
My only problem with the show is the highlights of men fighting Futaba’s battles. Although I understand the connections these warriors have to her overall view of the world, I think it would have been much more impactful if her warriors were women. Thankfully her friend Min-chan exists but the show would have been so much more awesome and empowering if Futaba would have been kicking ass too. Instead, it feels like Futaba suffers from somewhat of a damsel in distress complex most of the time and they even brought back the dead rather than giving Futaba some action sequences of her own.
To Be Heroine is only 7 episodes long but still packs quite a punch. I would recommend this series to fans of Kill La Kill and Erased or anyone looking for anime that’s out of the ordinary. Even though it lacks what Kill La Kill has in abundance, To Be Heroine is still worth watching more than once.
Rating: 10 out of 10