I mean it’d probably be easiest for me to put some kind of Avengers joke here for the intro, but I’m pretty sure that’s been done to death by this point, so I’ll just go onto the meat of the review.
Alright, so let’s give the main cast of Konosuba, Overlord, Youjo Senki, and Re:Zero a random button that just magically appears on their respective doorsteps in order to Isekai them again into a world where now they’re forced to participate in high school activities and shenanigans. What fantasy! What merriment! I bet the rights holders were high-fiving each other when they came up with this idea.
The story for Isekai Quartet can be roughly summed up by asking the question: “How would these characters react to both the setting and the other characters if they were all put in the same place?” Each episode heavily spotlights one or two major interactions amongst some or a few members of the four respective casts, cycling through almost every conceivable permutation possible in the high school setting featuring but not limited to activities such as: the Test of Courage, Sports festivals, School chores, Beach episode, and various Afterschool activities.
As such, Isekai Quartet doesn’t really present much of anything beyond the comedic factor that comes with smashing together so many casts together. It’s comedy for the sake of comedy and fanservice for the sake of giving fans of these respective shows (and the isekai genre) a bit more extra material to watch even though it doesn’t really impact anything in the long run. Honestly, referential material makes up the bulk of the show, so much so that I’m pretty sure not knowing anything makes this show infinitely harder to watch.
In shorts comedies like Isekai Quartet, the essence of these characters are simply boiled down to their base components/memes that most people remember them for. Aqua’s still useless, Shalltear and Albedo continuously poke each other for each other’s shortcomings and how they’ll never get Ainz, Ram still spits the word equivalent of fire over Subaru, and Tanya still has her…episodes.
This unfortunate byproduct of the shorts medium makes it so that really, there’s not much to be said about the characters on their own due to comedy for entertainment’s sake. The main draw of their existences now only comes from the speculation of: “What would happen if Aqua met Albedo?” and numerous other interactions as each episode features roughly two major interactions between a group of ‘unlikely characters’ and see how they would react to each other. While not inherently bad, it leaves a lot to be desired because their interactions feel very surface level without much going on aside from laughing at the primary shortcoming of a particular character or talking about seemingly mutual interests and then never interacting ever again. The best of these interactions seems to exist only in occasional scenes where the main protagonists ask other protagonists questions and comparing their answers to their own realities, but even those threads don’t really go anywhere past the one twelve minute block they’re featured in.
Made by Studio Studio PuYUKAI, a studio whose entire repertoire is basically just these kinds of chibi minisodes, the appearance of Isekai Quartet is very cheap. It’s like they’re in Flash Animation or a cheap mobile game since the characters don’t really animate all that much and feel very stiff when they move. This is in part due to the style the show’s presented in, as the chibi/rubber-stamp versions of these characters while crisp and clear, doesn’t really make much of an effort to be beyond being ‘casual’ and ‘serviceable’ for the audience.
There’re a few occasional moments where the series makes an effort to be visually impressive, such as the one time they used Megumin’s explosion and the time Tanya loses it, but aside from select points like that, the appearance of the show really isn’t all that impressive. Hell, characters mostly just slide around if they’re getting from place to place since animating walking in this style is basically the same thing for the most part.
As far as the OST goes…personally I’m not a fan. “Isekai Quartet” sung by the VAs of the four series protagonists is this super poppy and catchy song that, since the series is comedy-based, fits with the general tone of the show. Similarly, the ED of “Isekai Girls♡Talk” has the main heroines (and Tanya…again) do the exact same thing, but changing up the formula by having a more electronic beat that isn’t as joyful as its OP counterpart.
While these songs are ultimately just pure fanservice, my issue arises how half of each ‘song’ is just the characters making chide comments about themselves and their series, talking extremely fast while the track of the song is still playing in the background. To me, this breaks up the flow of the song and it doesn’t even really feel like a proper song because of it.
I’m positive this show just isn’t for me, and I’m confident I’ve made that abundantly clear in the review thus far… I’m not big on the Isekai genre in the first place, and even less of a fan when the industry decides to spit out one of these ‘shorts’ series for the sake of a quick cash grab by throwing in every joke, meme, and reference they can in order to suck in the fans of these series’ to be like “Hey, we got something for this show you like, but not really”.
Like really, did this need to be in a school setting? Why a school setting? Why does everything need to be in a school setting? What benefit do we get from having them in a school setting? It’s such a boring and overdone idea for a series crossover that part of me genuinely is surprised how much positive attention this is getting despite how lazily made the show looks on top of how shallow they’re presenting these characters. The one thing I’m most sad about however is how they never thought to put make Megumin and Emilia interact with each other once. Japan freaking loves seiyuu jokes; I’m surprised they didn’t do one this time.
If you’re a fan of any of the featured series’, you will most likely find something interesting about Isekai Quartet to watch. If not, then in my opinion, it’s not worth the trouble. The show is really just fanservice for the sake of fanservice, and since practically 90% of the show is dedicated to either making fun of the show’s conglomerate of a cast or referencing any of the four plots, not watching at least one (or the only) season of each of these shows will reduce enjoyment by at least 25%.