Personally, my AOTS (and an underrated gem) of Winter 2019. The anime that I had no expectations whatsoever going in, and it certainly delivered in all its cuteness and "Girl Power" aesthetics, that left me laughing and crying all at the same time. Regardless of how much the anime worked and/or sucked, without much ado, let the Endro~ (End Roll~) begin!
Every CGDCT anime will always be cited in one of two camps: either it will have a beginning point that is further developed as time goes, or the latter in which the story is given, but is only emphasized at the very last moments. Clearly, it showcases the former first as means of a backstory, but once the aforementioned story passes, it End Roll~s into the latter, where majority of the slice-of-life elements come in with no drama and depth, just casual times for the main characters to do their daily stuff.
And this is the part where it determines whether you'll love or hate this show. If you're the type looking for drama that's filled with the fantasy-action vibes, then this is most certainly not the show for you. Otherwise, for those who just love the slice-of-life comedic moments that the CGDCT trope is known for and the non-seriousness atmosphere that's worth taking a relaxing sit back to watch, then keep reading.
The story starts with the Yuusha Party, consisting of 4 girls: Yulia "Yuusha" Chardiet, Ellenoar "Seira", Fai Fai (just call her Fai) and Mather "Mei" Enderstto. They start off their journey in the school of adventurers, then proclaim their plan to defeat the Demon Lord. But...with a twist of luck (or unluckiness), their claim to defeat the Demon Lord goes awry when the incomplete magic spell turns back time for both the Yuusha Party and the Demon Lord (plus her golem servant too).
From here on, the episodic timelines to flesh out the main characters plus the adorable Demon Lord Mao-chan, shrunk down to her chibi-form and then disguising as a teacher in their Adventure School to stop Yuusha from her Hero status before the entire situation happens again.
For an original series, this has some good pointers from the get-go. Directed by Kaori (Yuyushiki, Miira no Kaikata) with character designs by the one and only Namori (Yuru Yuri), this anime is certainly wonders at what it does best, and it manages to flesh out its storytelling through the Hero Party's 4 central loli girls, along with their own character-driven episodes:
Yuusha, for one, her dim-wittedness and stupidity makes absolutely no sense, but with that over-zealous cheerfulness of her, she is able to entertain her party of friends and keep the momentum going. Moreover, her hero duties are nothing more than just regular people saving others' lives. No wonder she's the spokesperson.
Seira, she is a very simple-going elven, always having to safeguard Yuusha and others, but the one thing that she does badly is in her cooking! That's too bad since she can be mother-material, oh well. She loves nature as well.
Fai Fai (I'll just call her Fai) is an interesting charcter. Raised in the woods as a warrior, her skills made for the wilderness are certainly no slouch. Not to mention that she is a big glutton, someone who loves eating, but most of her mischievousness in being hungry...is nibbling on Seira's ears like a mouse. How cute.
Mei the obssessive girl with Cartado cards, magic cards in all ranks that holds powers of all kinds. Her obsession sometimes drive her crazy, and even to an extent where in the presence of any Cartado, both rare and common, she becomes a know-it-all.
Along with their mascot Chibi Dragon, I'd swear this dragon always has me laughing at its small-sized prowess at consuming even the gods, it is one voracious living being.
Last but not least, both Princess Rona and the Demon Lord Mao. The ever-so-loving princess that have always wanted to marry a hero, doesn't shy away from even girls like Yuusha, creating that Yuru Yuri vibe. And Mao, even though she is made to be the antagonist, for the most part she serves her purpose well both as a teacher first, then Demon Lord second, often colluding with the Female Knight for off-day drinks.
Along with the VAs that represent these girls, Kaos-chan from Comic Girls is back to voice Yuusha, and the ever graceful-but-cunning Inori Minase back to voice Mei. Great choice and diversity of characters that help make this show more appealing to the masses.
There's always an off-the-hooks thing about Studio Gokumi originals. For one, they have a promising premise right at the start, but as time passes the true light is shed upon of the "expectations vs. reality" expression, that the true substance inside the shell is nothing more than just a series of occasional hits and misses, and Endro~! is no different. However, what they have done here is more than just the tip of the iceberg alone. The art really looks pleasing to the eye, giving it the watercolour-pastel looks that resemble a child's drawing. Animation-wise, for a series without much action, it is decent and still looks good. Not that it's great, mind you, but if that is what the producers wanted, they have efficiently succeeded.
Music and sound-wise, I absolutely love and adore the OP song, so much so that it is one of my top favorite OPs of the season. So much cuteness overlord, so much interaction and overall a blast to enjoy listening to. Inori Minase's ED is no slouch either as we are sent off every episode in a caravan full of wonder. OST has been good and it never has failed once for me.
In the end, this is a show that will divide people based on storytelling and perceptions alone. Like I've already mentioned, avoid this show if you have been burnt by the lesser action and fantasy-drama, and for those who just want the times of refreshing to sit back and enjoy this show, then come on in, because this Iyashikei, SoL magic fantasy series is truly worth the watch.
I highly, highly recommend for fans of the Iyashikei or even SoL genre-themed anime to NOT pass on this! Loved it at the beginning, and still loving it even now.