What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Radiant! This one I jumped into a while back because once more I am a sucker for anything that is adventure/fantasy. Especially when that element of fantasy deals with magic. Initially this one also caught my attention because I wanted to know what an anime series is like when it is a series written and illustrated by someone French, Tony Valente. Now of course I should say that because this is the anime series I’m talking about, the anime is directed by Seiji Kishi and Daisei Fukuoka, and written by Makoto Uezu, with animation by studio Lerche. Either way, this was a first for me, and Radiant did not disappoint as such!
As a quick summary for those new to Radiant, in the world of Radiant, monsters called Nemeses fall from the sky. These Nemeses contaminate everything they touch. People who survive their contact become cursed, but also gain the ability to wield the magic power known as “Fantasia”, in turn becoming Sorcerers. Seth, the protagonist of Radiant, is a teenage boy who has survived a Nemesis attack. He dreams of defeating all of the Nemeses and bringing peace between Sorcerers and the rest of humanity. So the direction the story takes mostly involves Seth setting out on this journey to find Radiant, where these monsters come from, and destroy it.
Being our main character, first impressions of Seth was very important. One other thing which drew me in at first was seeing that this was not going to be another main character who was over-the-top or too loud for your ears. This is not to say that Seth didn’t start out as the kind of character who always had to be the center of some trouble, but he always had heart and the best of intentions. There wasn’t a kid who was overpowered and wore it like a badge. I mean he did have a lot of power, but most obstacles he faced required him pushing just a bit further than what he was capable of beforehand. The only thing you might find troubling about him is the fact that to say he is dumb is quite the understatement. Things that should click with explanation go right over his head. There are some situations where I did feel like they could have dialed it back.
Mélie, Alma, Doc, and others were all well-written for what they had to offer this story too. There was not one who didn’t surprise me because there was creativity which went into what made each one of them stand out. Eventhough the endgame is to create this team of allies for Seth, there was not one who didn’t grab your attention because they had something else going on with them that was just as worthy of exploration. So far I have enjoyed Mélie’s character development as someone who represents when curses can make life more difficult. She reminds me of another character I loved from the Dragon Ball series, Tank. She suffers from the same problem, but both halves of her personality are interesting. When it came to Doc, he could have easily become a bit of an annoyance for always trying to keep his head down, but it was hard to ignore the message they were trying to send about doing the right thing. Even when it seems wrong to you. As for Alma, you quickly find her to be that one connection to family and normal for the main character. Though her personality jumps out at you because when you have a main character who is as rash as Seth, you need someone who looks at him and says “No”.
Now as with most stories like this, an excellent point of progression is where you find that nothing is as straightforward as it seems on the surface. Through this adventure with Seth, Mélie, and Doc, we find that it’s really not that simple. As the adventure continues they questions everything that they were led to believe all of this time. They questioned if you can truly treat all Nemesis as dangerous monsters. They also questioned if it is actually possible to bring about peace in this world even if they destroy Radiant? Are the hearts of these people that cold that the hate wouldn’t cease? This and more did wonders for the depth to the plot along with other things which added more layers to our investment.
Aside from that, Radiant is another one of those anime series which has excellent pacing. When the story begins, there is barely an episode that they waste on filler. Even when it seems like it might be filler, there is too much that you are learning and experiencing to not see the value in what you’re getting out of it.
Where things do get interesting is in the choice for antagonists for this series. To avoid pushing too far into spoiler territory, I’m going to focus on the Inquisition primarily. This organization stands as the central threat to both sorcerers and Nemesis alike. Off the bat I did have some reservations about them. I understood that because this is from a French author it couldn’t be helped. However, then you had to question, how quickly would it become annoying following bad guys who are blinded by their faith? You can get so much of that in the real world, that it could easily turn out to be a snooze fest if they didn’t take the right approach to it. This was a bold choice which surprisingly paid-off over time. As you would expect, things did turn out a bit one-dimensional at first. Though from there they spent their time well diving into the effect that these people really have on this world. Some genuinely believe in their cause, some abuse their power, then you have that one who asks all the right questions in the best interest of everything they stand for. All the bases were covered, and they offered one hell of a fight when it counted.
You would think that the Inquisition would be a bunch of pushovers since they don’t use magic the same way as sorcerers, and then you would be proven very wrong when you see some of their strongest in action. With that said, the animation was stunning. From the first episode this was what kept me coming back for more. This was quality work that they put into the characters, the settings, the uniqueness of the Nemesis, and the variety of magic experienced throughout the series. I mean the palette of colors were beautiful, and let’s not get started on the effects. When they wanted to go big? They held nothing back to put some umph into the spells. Whether it was for impact or specific effect, everything seemed very well thought through.
Overall, Radiant is a fantastical adventure that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. It’s a breath of fresh air from other fantasy tales which are more cookie-cutter, and takes some interesting influences from being written by someone French. After the second season, I definitely found myself hoping for a third eventually.