I sampled the first episode of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero when it was a simulcast back in 2012. However, I hadn’t gone beyond the first episode until recently, when I started a project to try and watch in their entirety as many of the series I had only sampled an episode or two of previously as I possibly can. Right now, I’m working my way through series that FUNimation has the North American rights to.
I remember not being too terribly impressed with the one episode of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero that I had seen a few years earlier, but I tried going into this with an open mind. Unfortunately, the first half of the series relies very heavily on fanservice, especially when it comes to Miu’s large breasts and Akatsuki taking off girls’ bras and underwear without them noticing until he holds the garments out in front of him. That was Akatsuki’s trope for a little while, and it was always done to serve as humor. I didn’t find it funny the first time, and it was a gag that quickly became overused in the first half. Akatsuki’s pervy attitude made it hard for me to care about him, especially since this really came across as a form of sexual harassment. It’s hard for me to care about a protagonist who comes across as a real jerk. The real kicker, though, is when Akatsuki almost rapes Miu in his sleep, and the tone made it feel as if the writer thought this was a joke. That scene, to me, was by far the worst when it came to Akatsuki.
After having a first half that’s rather light-hearted and focusing on fanservice, the tone of the series suddenly changes and becomes much more serious in nature. While there’s still the occasional bit of fanservice in the last few episodes, it’s nowhere near as prominent as it was earlier on. While Akatsuki ultimately is the hero by the end of the series, his heroic actions don’t entirely redeem him for his actions and attitude earlier in the series. During the second half, I kind of liked the story of the series and the points it was trying to make, but I felt like the earlier part of the series weakens the second half. Perhaps if the fanservice had been scaled back a little and more emphasis was placed on the story earlier on, maybe I would have liked this series better than I ultimately did. While I don’t have a problem with the occasional bit of fanservice, I thought Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero focused too much on it in the earlier episodes at the expense of the overall story.
Unfortunately, Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero is a series that has a “non-ending.” As I saw a couple of scenes in the last episode that hinted that there was more to the story, I had a sneaking suspicion that there would be a non-ending for the series. And it turned out I was right. For me, that ended up being a disappointing finish to a series that I was already feeling lukewarm toward. I suspect the “non-ending” was due to the light novel series not being finished, and that the anime wanted to leave the door open for a future season after the light novel had a chance to progress some more. It’s been a few years since the Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero anime aired on Japanese television, and there’s been no sign of another season forthcoming. However, if for some reason a second season for the series were to ever be produced, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to watch it.