Blu-Ray Review: Wise Man’s Grandchild – The Complete Series

Wise Man’s Grandchild delivers an interesting concept of magic, romance and school life; but what did think of this particular Blu-Ray release from Manga Entertainment UK? Let’s take a look and find out.

Synopsis:

A young man dies in a car accident and is reborn in a magical new world. The old, yet wise Merlin finds the boy, names him Shin, raises him from infancy, and teaches him combat and powerful magic along the way. 15 years later, Shin is ready to travel the globe on his own, but Merlin forgot to teach him something major—common sense!

Our View:

Adapted from the light novel of the same Wise Man’s Grandchild tells the story of Shin Wolford as he enters a magic academy in hopes of learning the ways of the world after being raised in isolation by his ‘self-proclaimed’ grandfather. At its core Wise Man’s Grandchild is a simplistic and comical story that delights in some areas and fails in others; but the true disappointment is the lack of a true narrative for the series to unfold especially those outlined within the opening act of the story. A magic themed anime with a hint of romance is what Wise Man’s Grandchild has to offer; but if you are looking for a fulfilling and compelling story line then you won’t find it here.

The story of Wise Man’s Grandchild begins in the human world, whereby a young salary man finds himself killed by a van after failing to cross a busy Tokyo street successfully. At the same time this mysterious man finds himself reincarnated as a baby in another world, and involved in a carriage crash, but fortunately for him he is saved by a magician.

This mysterious man is named Shin Wolford and during the past fifteen years he has been raised and trained by Merlin, the magician who saved him and his self-proclaimed grandfather, Melida, the partner to merlin and guru of enhancement magic, and Michel, an expert swordsman and former royal knight, in the ways of magic and swordsmanship.

As Shin does not have any knowledge of the real world, or any real social skills, the king of Earlshide, known as Diseum von Earlshide, suggests that Shin experience the real world by attending the magic academy in his kingdom and such the journey of education and friendship begins.

The Magic Academy within Earlshide is a place for budding magicians to learn the ways of magic, and upon taking part in the entrance exams he learns that his skill are far superior than any of those around him. To Shin his skills don’t seem that strong and as such continues to accidentally go over board with his magic and in turn finds himself becoming the centre of attention at school, and not just because of his skills and magical abilities. This is where the reoccuring comedic elements of Wise Man’s Grandchild come in to effect.

This attention is brought upon by his connection to the Wise Man and the Guru, of which everyone respects, but when Shin’s own abilities shine brightly within the academy walls he soon gains the unwanted attention. This attention also sparks the birth of the Ultimate Magic Study Group which sees Shin’s class members work together to increase their strength and, due to the jealous of another student, sees the birth of a new, but abnormal, direction within the narrative of the story.

This direction sees the introduction of Demonoids, humans processed by demons filled with grudges, and its learned that a former teacher is infecting certain students in order to raise chaos within the capital. Shin is able to quickly dispatch the threat, both the uprising student (Kurt) and the mastermind (Oliver) behind the situation, but it all ends rather quickly.

This abnormal direction in the story then focuses on the magic development of Shins classmates through the study group they formed and as such they take part in various activities, both on campus and outside of campus, in order to improve their skills. It also paves way for some much needed character development between Shin and Sizilien, a girl who Shin saved upon arriving at the city and classmate at the academy, as well as August and his noble duties as the prince of Earlshide.

At the same time as this on-going character development we learn that the mastermind behind the Demonoid attacks within the capital of Earlshide is alive and has begun to move forward with his plan for revenge in another nation. This time Oliver Schtrom takes over a neighbouring capital and converts those within it to Demonoids and when the kingdom of Earlshide discovers this they send the nearly formed Ultimate Magicans to attack.

This, in hindsight, is the biggest magical battle event of the series and it sees the S-Class Students of the Magic Academy, all of which have been empowered by Shin’s teaching skills and magical gear, easily take down the Demonoids that have been deemed ‘destroyers of civilisations’ throughout the series. It’s all pretty underwhelming and only becomes entertaining when the stronger Demonids appear; but even then the fights quickly draw to a close.

The biggest threat of them all meanwhile, Oliver, also remains absent in the battle – as the final battle itself, a preemptive strike on a neighbouring kingdom to Earlshide – was led by Oliver’s subordinates in hopes of kick-starting a rebellion against the humans of some kind. As with most anime seasons of late Wise Man’s Grandchild does not end on a conclusion and is instead left open-ended and most likely carries on within the original source material.

As mentioned Wise Man’s Grandchild is a bit of an oddball of an anime series as it only features an idea rather than a narrative. That idea being Shin Wolford is overpowered and a genius with magic and as such everyone is in ‘awe’ of his abilities and creative designs. This idea, and the jokes that come with it, continue throughout the series to a point that it soon becomes quite stale.

The romantic element between Shin and Sizilien does add some nice flair to the series but with no prior romantic tendencies, or meaningful character development between them (other than a Florence nightgale effect) it hardly seems meaningful; although the consisted teasing from other class mates is fun to watch. Even the Demonoid elements of the series feel unfinished and mediocre as while they are consistently boasted as difficult foes they are quickly defeated by these mages in training and it doesn’t offer a compelling story either.

Wise Man’s Grandchild’s flaws do not just end with the overall story either as the animation and sound quality of the series is also lack lustre and underwhelming. The animation by Silver Link is simplistic with most backgrounds and support characters looking flat with no attention to detail. The sound effects, such as magical explosions and clashing of swords, also do not deliver the intended impact so magical battles sound rather silent and unsatisfying. Put simply Wise Man’s Grandchild is a real mixture of a series; a few interesting ideas with questionable pacing and production delivers a mixed product with its only saving grace being the characters and their personalities.

Extras:

Wise Man’s Grandchild offers a respectable mixture of supplementary content by featuring an English produced cast commentary on the first disc, of which ties in with the eighth episode of the series but discusses events throughout the entirety of the series, as well as Japanese promotional trailers and textless songs for the shows opening and endings.

Compared to most FUNimation releases of mediocre anime then the selection of bonus content is more than bare bones; mostly because the inclusion of Japanese Promotional Materials and an English produced cast commentary. Sadly the English produced cast commentary is definitely the weakest part of this release; but it is still a nice addition.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:11:08 (Disc 1), 1:36:18 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Wise Man’s Grandchild brings a few interesting ideas but fails to pull them together for a satisfying conclusion and instead delivers a mediocre experience with its only praise being the light hearted comedy and its cast of colourful characters. Wise Man’s Grandchild follows the adventure of Shin Wolford who, after being raised by the ‘wise man’ and the ‘guru’ , is sent to the magic academy in order to gain experience dealing with others his own age. In doing so Shin makes new friends, earns respect from the community and finds romance, but at the same time also unveils a grave threat lurking within the kingdom. The Demonoids.

As the story progresses from episode-to-episode we learn more about the power residing within Shin Wolford and the ways he can use his skills to improve the abilities of his classmates. During these training exercises Oliver, a powerful Demonoid in hiding, begins his plan of taking over a neighbouring nation that once abandoned him and in doing so creates a tense atmosphere for those within both kingdoms.

This leads to war, of which we do not get to witness as it is here the series ends, but before that we do get to see the newly formed ‘Ultimate Magicians’ lead by Shin do battle against an invading Demonoid army; but all ends rather quickly without much fuss. A shame considering that Demonoids have often been discussed as deadly creatures that only exceptional people could defeat.

From a series perspective then Wise Man’s Grandchild is disappointing; with its lacklustre storytelling and lack of clear narrative, but it does provide the right source of entertainment through its characters and interactions. This to me is the only highlight, as characters interacted and teased each other in entertaining ways and on occasion it does provide lighthearted fun when it needs to. Outside of this the story pacing, the animation quality and its soundtrack are all lacking and make the experience less than desirable; which is a real shame.

From a Blu-Ray perspective, and an English release product, then it remains consistent with other Manga Entertainment UK distributed, FUNimation produced, related releases. The English Audio is strong and the cast is consistently good with a strong and varied voice cast while the English subtitles are clean and presentable throughout; although at times the white text does often clash with the bright and clear backgrounds and environments.

Wise Man’s Grandchild is a solid product, with mediocre episodic content, but there are better things to watch out on the market and should only be considered if you are looking for a novelty isekai experience filled with some wit, some romance and a lacklustre story that doesn’t really have an ending.

Score: review-stars-2

Wise Man’s Grandchild – The Complete Series will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Limited Edition Blu-Ray from the 18th May 2020 via Manga Entertainment UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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