The premiere episode of Management of a Novice Alchemist (Shinmai Renkin) has aired and it was a great setup for the overall theme of the anime – cute girls doing cute things. Since this in fact a moe anime based on the visuals and trailers, it’s a given that the show will be taking a “slow-life” approach. Surprisingly enough, the pilot episode was jam-packed and filled with the dark and sad past of the main heroine Sarasa, which was then followed by her redemption arc to fulfill her dreams. Needless to say, the episode mostly touched on her journey toward becoming an alchemist and shopkeeper.
Sarasa’s Tragic Past
Shinmai Renkin follows the story of Sarasa, a young alchemist trying to run a shop out in the countryside. Before that happens, we are first shown her tragic past and how sadly the system in her world works. To be honest, I’m not really sold on the dark past with her parents dying, becoming an orphan, and how everyone just took advantage of a helpless child. Her past was lacking more substance and was overall a lost opportunity to invest some emotions in the main character.
Her becoming an alchemist though is a different story. Quick pacing issues aside, her redemption arc and how she became a certified alchemist were executed fantastically and you barely feel any remorse for what happened to her earlier. This is why it was difficult to feel sympathy for Sarasa’s tragic past, although, to put it on paper, it was really depressing. On the other hand, we can see how this tragedy affected her personality because of how she worked hard during her stay in the academy. From studying overnight to working various part-time jobs in order to support herself, we can see the character inside her.
Master and Apprentice Relationship
Along the way, Sarasa met Ophelia, a great alchemist who taught her what she needed to know in order to excel. While Ophelia is supportive and caring of her young apprentice, she can also be quite cunning. Knowing how talented Sarasa is in alchemy, Ophelia is very fond of the kid. However, when she finds out that Sarasa wants to be independent and won’t work with her after she graduates, she sends Sarasa into a distant countryside. How will this benefit Ophelia? If her apprentice doesn’t like the taste of independence, Sarasa could always come back to her master. If she manages to adapt, then that’s one less competitor in the area. Ophelia knows Sarasa’s capabilities, and whether she is worried about her apprentice being better than her or not is something we will see soon.
A Whole Season Packed to One Episode of Shinmai Renkin
Again, a whole lot happened in the premiere episode of Shinmai Renkin, which is a strange to occurrence in a moe show. It almost feels like one whole season’s worth of story was packed measly into a single episode. Sarasa’s past, meeting her master Ophelia, her training arc, and acquiring a shop were all fitted into one episode. She even had her hair cut in this episode, which is often like the peak symbol of character development.
With all the success earned by Sarasa, is there any room left to grow? Yes, she still has tons of room for growth. She dedicated herself to honing alchemy skills for years, which means she barely had social interactions with other people her age. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how she will make connections this time since she’s all alone in a province away from her master and the town she grew up in.
After finishing the episode, I feel like I already know where this is going, but maybe that’s just me for watching a plethora of cute girls doing cute things. However, the premiere of Shinmai Renkin was above average from what I expected among all the similar titles. The ending was also a fine attempt to keep us engaged and come back the next week to continue the story of the young alchemist who achieved her dreams.
Management of Novice Alchemist (Shinmai Renkin) episode 2 is scheduled to release on Monday, October 10 on HIDIVE. If you enjoyed the premiere of Shinmai Renkin, you can vote for it in our weekly polls!
© 2022 Mizuho Itsuki / Fumi / KADOKAWA /”Shinmai Renkinjutsushi no Tenpo Keiei” Production Committee