Shingo Ichinomiya, a 25-year-old man working at a firm company, while thinking of tomorrow's busy working day, goes to sleep. However, when he woke up, he found himself in a room unknown to him and realized that he is inside a 6-years-old body, taking over his body and mind. He soon learns from the memories of the boy that the boy was born as the youngest child of a poor noble family living in a back country. Having no administrative skill, he can't do anything to manage the vast land his family has. Fortunately, he is blessed with a very rare talent, the talent of magic. Unfortunately, while his talent could bring prosperity to his family, in his situation it only brought disaster. This is the story of the boy, Wendelin Von Benno Baumeister, opening his own path in a harsh world.
The 8th Son clocks in as the first isekai production of the season, and manages to put its absolute worst foot forward in this first episode. As the episode begins, we’re introduced to powerful nobleman and magician Well, who’s hard at work blasting rocks to make way for construction projects. Returning home, Well is greeted by four fawning women, who basically all seem to be presented as co-wives of our lucky protagonist. The stage thus seems set for one more of this genre’s most indulgent and insufferable properties, yet another story about how awesome the protagonist is, and how all women everywhere want him. Fortunately, the remaining portion of this episode is actually pretty darn good. Even in its brief illustration of Well’s pre-fantasy life, there’s a sense of genuine weight and realism to his struggles. Well isn’t an otaku who gets improbably struck by a car; he’s your average salaryman, working hard and living alone, struggling to keep himself awake long enough to eat dinner. When he’s transported to the kingdom of Helmut, that sense of weighted reality remains. Well might be a noble son, but his family is quite poor, and his introduction to this society through his eldest brother’s wedding allows for both natural exposition and an immediate sense of dramatic urgency. Isekai properties often shoot themselves in the foot through an overbearing weight of exposition, or by presenting a world that feels completely undercooked and gamified – 8th Son largely avoids these pitfalls, along with the tone of bitterness and entitlement that often comes with the genre. In fact, rather than coming off as bitter, this episode was actually pretty darn funny. The strongest gag here was likely the sequence when Well kept getting introduced to an alarming number of older brothers, but the show’s tone overall is warm and inviting, and Well himself is a reasonably likable protagonist. Nothing about 8th Son’s narrative so far is particularly novel, but that’s generally how it goes for isekai shows; I’m just happy nothing about its story seems truly obnoxious, either. In visual terms, 8th Son unfortunately falls somewhere below the median. While I enjoyed this episode’s colorful backgrounds, the animation is very limited, and the direction isn’t particularly inspired either. The show’s OP also revealed it’ll be relying on some extremely dubious CG monsters, meaning I wouldn’t expect too much from the show’s action scenes. And given both the first scenes and the priorities of that OP, it’s likely that 8th Son will soon adopt a more predictable isekai format, as Well assembles his full harem and begins his world-conquering adventures. Still, on the whole, 8th Son offers a reasonably charming and energetic premiere, with a fine protagonist and a much-appreciated dedication to grounding its conflict in believable cultures and characters. If you’re a fan of the genre, this seems like a solid example of the form.