Fans of the overpowered protagonists (or just OP MCs for short) have a new anime premiere to add to their watch list, and it’s Ragna Crimson. The anime premiered its first episode today and, as a fan of this specific type of anime myself, I enjoyed the 45-minute long first episode. HIDIVE is streaming the anime, and you can read their official synopsis below:
Ragna teams up with the enigmatic Crimson to stand against the dragons menacing the world. Although Crimson’s motivations are mysterious, his goal and Ragna’s perfectly align, and together they’ll vanquish the dragons once and for all.
Ragna Crimson Premiere
The anime begins with an old man with long hair easily destroying dragons before cutting to a young Ragna, the main character. The hair color and eyes instantly made me think they were related, even that the first man was Ragna after some timeskip or in the future. As he gets caught in thoughts, a young girl saves him from a dragon. She’s revealed to be Leonica, the cute waifu of the show who is also a prodigy Dragon Slayer.
Ragna is revealed to be a mediocre Dragon Slayer himself, getting mocked (and protected by Leonica) by others. However, he’s determined to be useful to Leo, fully aware that he will die at some point. There are quests to hunt dragons in their world, and there are 2 ways to do so – silverine weapons and sunlight. Ragna is the kind of person who trains hard, and during one of his training sessions, the man from the beginning of the episode appears before him. He tells Ragna he won’t manage to be useful to Leo before he dies, before he sees tragic scenes of Leo’s demise.
This is where I thought okay, this is Ragna from the future and he’s here to somehow prepare himself from the past to become even stronger than he was. However, I also thought the story was heading towards a cliché direction of him just ending on his path of revenge anyway. The dream is shown several times through the episode, and each time I thought it kind of spoiled the upcoming ‘shocking’ death that was unavoidable. Leo raised so many death flags as we the episode moved on, and I was fully prepared to see how Ragna would advise himself to do. His backstory was also pretty expected. Tragically lost parents to dragons, taken under care of other relatives who were also shortly after lost to dragons, as well as the next rich person who bought him. There is obviously a reason for why he attracts dragons yet doesn’t die, and I am actually interested in learning more about it.
The Voice Acting
One thing that I found really fitting was the voice cast. Ranga is voiced by Chiaki Kobayashi, who we’ve been hearing a lot lately (Yuichi Katagiri in Tomodachi Game, Gabimaru in Hell’s Paradise, Mash in MASHLE: MAGIC AND MUSCLES), while Leonica is voiced by Inori Minase (Rem in Re:ZERO, Itsuki Nakano in The Quintessential Quintuplets). I thought both were good picks for the characters, and Grumwert, the superior dragon that originally killed Leo, was voiced by the iconic Takehito Koyasu (Dio in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Toji Fushiguro in JUJUTSU KAISEN). He did a perfect job, representing a hatred towards humans that his voice is used to conveying. Some more interesting names are listed in the credits, such as Ayumu Murase, Junichi Suwabe, Reina Ueda, Rina Hidaka, etc. so I look forward to hearing their performances.
The dragons eventually invade, and Leo of course runs off saying she won’t die. Ragna quickly finds the dragon that kills Leo in his dreams, and gets knocked away into the river to get his power-up. It comes after the main interaction he has with his future self, which is the most powerful scene between the two. As the future Ragna laments the lack of power of his past self, the present Ragna is desperate to save Leo. The voice acting made the scene hit harder, and I liked the fact the anime broke the cliché structure here. It shortly summarized the life of a revenge-focused protagonist, and it became obvious we were heading to a different future now. After present Ragna asks the future one to give his power, the future version states that was already the plan and we get our OP MC in full power. I have to admit, I was kind of confused about why future Ragna seemed to have a panic attack if all was going according to plan. That part felt a bit unnecessary, although I guess it can be attributed to trying to motivate his past self.
While the animation is nothing spectacular, I found it enjoyable and will definitely be happy if it maintains this quality. If it continues to come up with interesting ideas story-wise, I think it will get a consistently good reception. The most important moment is definitely the new Ragna power reveal, and I thought that scene was done well. I particularly liked the way they showed Grumwert felt fear when he sensed the approaching threat.
Ragna now has the power of a version of himself that already lived an entire tragic lifetime solely focused on getting stronger, and I can’t wait to see him show it off some more in future episodes. However, I wonder what the price he has to pay will be considering the future version of Ragna already died. We saw that Crimson, the character whose name is the other half of the anime show’s title, was a part of the plan. However, he didn’t appear this episode. I hope he appears and reveals more about the plan and consequences soon!
The dragons and their hierarchy is also interesting. We know about the existence of a Dragon God who decided to destroy the kingdom after its favorite cake shop was robbed (this sounds like a little broken girl trope character to me). There are Dragon Monarchs who are compared to the future Ragna, and superior dragons like Grumwert. We briefly got a chance to see some other powerful dragons who took down the other six cities, and there were some of the common powers there. For example, one of them made humans explode, one could control their minds and pit them against each other, one could keep them floating in the air as he slashed them, and so on.
The Cute Waifu of Ragna Crimson
All in all, I think Ragna Crimson made a strong premiere. The animation is decent, the voice acting is good, and the story has me interested in what Ragna will do now that he acquired the immense power. If you enjoy the episode, don’t forget to vote for it in the first weekly poll of Fall 2023.
All images via HIDIVE
©︎ Daiki Kobayashi / SQUARE ENIX, Ragna Crimson Project