HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | A "Total Fantasy Knockout" Lands Big Laughs

ANIME REVIEW | A "Total Fantasy Knockout" Lands Big Laughs

ANIME REVIEW | A "Total Fantasy Knockout" Lands Big Laughs


If you have to take a breath in-between saying a show’s title, it’s best to trim it. I know this is me being a broken record, but I need to point out that the English title of this series is actually LONGER than the original Japanese title. That show is Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout, a new isekai series that takes a different spin on the usual tropes we’ve seen in the genre. And the good news: most of it works!

Based on the manga series of the same name, Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated Into a Total Fantasy Knockout follows two childhood friends: Hinata Tachibana (Kent Ito) and Tsukasa Jinguji (Satoshi Hino). After a night of heavy drinking, Tachibana confesses that he wished he was a very beautiful woman, as his luck with the ladies is DOA. Enter the Goddess of Love and Beauty (Rie Kugimiya), who transports Tachibana and Jinguji to another world to be heroes. She also takes Tachibana, and switches his gender to that of a beautiful woman (M.A.O).

Not content with her interference, the Goddess of Love and Beauty puts a curse on the two friends, forcing them to have special feelings for one another. Thus the two friends — albeit awkwardly — set out to save the world so Tachibana can be a guy again. As the journey goes on, they cross paths with wannabe hero Schwartz von Liechtenstein Lohengramm (Kaito Ishikawa), the angry elf girl Telolilo Lilili Lu (Yukiyo Fujii), and others who either try to thwart or help with their plans.

The premise of Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout may be seen as problematic, as it takes the concept of having one’s sex changed as the main joke of the series. On the surface, one can understand why some people might not laugh at such an ordeal. Fortunately, while Tachibana’s gender is central to the plot, it doesn’t necessarily revolve around it either. Quite the contrary, the series would rather focus on how both Tachibana and Jinguji evolve as comrades-in-arms and heroes during their journey.

Right at the start, it’s clear that Jinguji has a very big soft spot for Tachibana, thanks to the way he’s protective of them. Whether or not it’s because they’re his best bud or because he’s started having romantic feelings for Tachibana is up to anyone’s interpretation. But the show hammers the fact that Tachibana’s newfound beauty can cause many problems in their world, as well as some solutions that come in handy. It’s how Tachibana uses their power that makes for this a very interesting watch.

And when I say “interesting”, I mean incredibly funny! Whether it’s the two friends bickering about their feelings or watching an entire angry mob slay themselves over Tachibana’s beauty, the comedy in Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout is some of the best this season has to offer! While there have been plenty of isekai comedies showcased in the anime realm, it’s been awhile since one came around with such strong chemistry and cleverness. Dare I say, it could help to influence future isekai series when it comes to character development!

The adventures Jinguji and Tachibana go on are filled with weird monsters, interesting humans, and plenty of awkward discussions. Since their time on this new Earth, the duo (mostly Jinguji) have killed deities, inadvertently conquered villages, got themselves arrested/kidnapped, and have had hundreds of men propose to Tachibana. (Don’t worry, a special guy appears just for Jinguji, much to his irksomeness.) All of it is showcased with solid jokes, many of which do a great job laughing with Tachibana’s predicament rather than laugh at it.

One of the better gags of Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout involves the characters’ strengths. Despite being a newbie in this magical world, Jinguji winds up packing a wallop of a fight when the time calls for it. Meanwhile, Tachibana is…pretty damn weak, although their beauty aids in getting plenty of things for very little money, time, or work. However, as the show goes on, Tachibana aims to work on being stronger, in ways that won’t have them be a burden in Jinguji’s life.

But most of the show is about the laughs, and the chemistry between seiyuu M.A.O & Hino helps make Tachibana & Jinguji a truly memorable duo. The way they trade insults, ideas, and observations is some of the show’s biggest highlights. It’s when someone like Ishikawa’s Schwartz or Fujii’s Telolilo is added to the mix when the comedy reaches greater heights, as their perceptions of the world around them are the polar opposites of our two main heroes. The outsiders see the beauty and wonderment of the world; Tachibana and Jinguji only see one nuisance after another.

Visually, Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout can sometimes look good. When it comes time for comedic faces and reactions, OLM Team Yoshioka (ODDTAXI) deliver one laugh-inducing gag after another. Sadly, it’s when the more action-based elements of the series are shown when the animation can get choppy. Thankfully, viewers will be treated to more laughs than fights, so the bad animation is less seen than the good aspects.

Composer Takeshi Watanabe (The Duke of Death and His Maid) crafts some fun melodies for the show’s score, although one can’t quite say that they’re memorable. For the standout songs, the opening & ending themes are where they’re at. JAM Project’s Yoshiki Fukuyama delivers a powerfully funny opener with “Akatsuki no Salaryman”. Meanwhile, Luce Twinkle Wink☆’s ending theme “FA’NTASY to” is a cute silly song that fits well with the goofy nature of the series.

Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout is a mouthful of a title, but it’s one of this season’s funniest contributions to anime. The characters are great, the comedy is stellar, and the way the duo of Tachibana and Jinguji evolve throughout it is both endearing and entertaining. It may have a couple of problematic wrinkles here and there, but Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout nevertheless delivers plenty of comedic gold to forgive some its more eyebrow-raising aspects.

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Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout can be viewed on Crunchyroll and VRV. It has been licensed by Crunchyroll. Episodes 1-10 were observed for review. Promotional consideration provided by Ellation.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)