Ishura Season 1 Review – A Hidden Gem of Winter Season

Something Bit Different from the Norm

Now and then you get these Anime shows per season that nobody talks about, whatever because there is something else that has garnered hype or it’s in some obscure streaming service where people don’t generally watch anime – which is the case with Ishura since it’s on Disney+ a home to western animation mostly, but recently has acquired a lot of good shows like Go! Go! Loser Ranger! and The Fable for instance. Ishura aired back in the Winter season and somehow I missed it completely since I don’t really pay attention to the anime lineup at Disney+ on further thinking maybe I should.

So let’s break down a bit of the premise of this anime before we start with the actual review here (Minor spoilers ahead)

The demon king is dead. However, the host of “Shuras”, demi-god-like people capable of felling him, remain and are now effectively free to do whatever they want, with some becoming conquerors while others wander, indifferent to the world around them. Thus, with the identity of the one who slew the demon king being a mystery, these champions now spark conflicts among themselves, all to determine who is the mightiest and attain the title of “True Hero”.

Ishura initially started out as a Light novel back in 2019 and later was transformed into a manga in 2021 which both are still ongoing. From the premise above it sounds very generic – because any idea of “Demon King” has been overused to death really and it’s frankly non-interesting given how Japanese people often have a poor understanding of Abrahamic theology and hence create pretty boring demon concepts usually (Not always the case, when they use actual Japanese folklore).

While the premise is very generic I do want to emphasize that this story revolves around the “Shuras” who are these very powerful individuals who have legendary status in the world in terms of reputation. It is really about building these characters up and a bit of their backstories before throwing them against each other in well-detailed fights. Ishura is not a battle royale nor it’s like Record of Ragnarok or Basilisk – but there are obvious similarities the thing that makes it different is that there is a regional conflict going on in the background that has political figures behind the scenes trying to make moves whilst these shura’s are duking it out.

Usually, this style of format eventually leads to a bunch of people dying until there is only one person left – I’ve been highly critical of this format because it narrows writing too much towards the end and makes things predictable, but in this case, there are clear survivors and not all major Shura’s die.

Ishura has a fair share of gore

Now when it comes to the animation side of things and art style, I think this is a quite clean look, and it’s not filled with massive anime tropes or facial expressions that you are more used to seeing in Shonen Jump, also there are bloody scenes of things getting cut in half or decapitated.

At times it dives into the shock factor with its gore and savage scenes – so yeah it may not be a series for the faint-hearted out there. That being said this series is not just about people dying all the time, there are some good backstories with some characters and some have none. I think there is a decent balance here however not every single character is left dead (so far at least) and we spend time exploring a bit of the world(s) and political affairs.

Audio-wise there are tracks that really remind me of Dune… I mean this series basically takes place in some desert region after all so there is a bit of that. I Can’t go on record saying that the OST is a masterpiece or anything I would probably rate really average at best.

Who are really the Main characters?

Ishura has multiple characters and from the pilot episode, you get the idea that this Soujirou dude is the main character, but ultimately he doesn’t have that much screen time. Neither does Yuno who is also another supposed main character, A lot of time is also spent with Kia and Elea – who can be categorized as major elements in the story too. The idea of a main character is very much of a Human construct – I’m not a believer that you always need one, sometimes the focus is on an Ethos or perhaps a setting.

  • Some of the characters that died during season 1 actually did get background stories explored, but then there were people who didn’t get any backstory like in the case of Soujirou. So I presume we are going to learn more about some of the cast much more in Season 2 which has been already confirmed.

Given that this series was only 12 episodes there wasn’t a great deal of time to explore all Shura’s backstories and give them meaningful character arc, because there were simply too many characters introduced. This kinda falls into that Game Of Thrones style writing where u really don’t get to explore a character, because they are killed so early and this in my opinion is poor writing.

Overall the setting, the worldbuilding, designs, and premise of Ishura are good – like it could have been a bit more about the war in the story and less about killing half of the cast. I Will be watching Season 2 when it comes out (probably next year) and will see if the next arc, which presumingly is a tournament one will actually improve or decrease the quality of the plot.