About King’s Raid: Heirs of the Will
King’s Raid: Heirs of the Will is a fantasy anime that follows the journey of Kasel, who happens to be the son of the prolific King Kyle of Orvelia, who defeated the Demon Lord known as Ang Mundo in the Battle of Galluah 100 years ago. However, Kasel’s parents predicted Ang Mundo’s revival and thus, Kasel’s pregnant mother, Arlette, was put into suspended animation to give birth to King Kyle’s heir a century later. With increased sightings of demons by Orvelian citizens, the fated return of the Demon Lord is imminent! The series is set to run for 26 episodes; however, at the series’ halfway point, we’ve seen a lot of what we can come to expect from King’s Raid, so let’s get into what we thought about this fantasy series!
– Spoilers Ahead –
Kasel is a lowly knight-apprentice who grew up in an orphanage. With below-par skill with a sword and a strange appetite for things people would rather run away from, Kasel is your run-of-the-mill fantasy protagonist with a fantastic origin story. When it is revealed in episode 1 that he is the son of the great King Kyle and the only possible heir of the Holy Sword Aea, Kasel’s profile fits that of many fantasy protagonists before him.
While the story has set up Kasel’s profile in this way, his parentage is one of the most confusing parts of the story. Kasel’s mother died in his childhood while protecting him from demons that attacked their village, which is how he ended up living at an orphanage and meeting his best friends, Clause and Frey. King Kyle defeats Ang Mundo 100 years prior to the events of King’s Raid, and they explain that Kasel’s mother, Arlette, was expecting Kasel 100 years ago and was put into suspended animation for several decades in order to give birth to him in the future. The aim was to have the true heir of the Holy Sword Aea live to protect the Kingdom of Orvelia from the next rise of Ang Mundo. This part of the story is unnecessarily complex, especially given the fact that the entire universe and its lore is set to be explored over 26 episodes, a very short space for what they are trying to do.
King’s Raid: Heirs of the Will has the various features of a standard “Dungeons and Dragons”-esque fantasy, like elves, dark elves, holy swords, goddesses, magic, demons, and fantastic beasts! Even the way in which the main characters band together to support Kasel on his mission is like the parties that players of fantasy RPGs form when doing quests. In Kasel’s party as of the 13th episode, there is a priestess, a sorceress, a thief/assassin, as well as a paladin – Kasel himself.
The world is also populated with orcs, witches, dark mages, necromancy, and other forms of powerful magic! When Kasel and his friends arrive in the Forest of Elidora, they even encounter treants, a race like the Ents of Middle-Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings story. The King’s Raid story even made space for an in-universe Gandalf-esque character with the inclusion of the Great Sage, Dominix, who serves as the primary guide of Kasel and his friends given his great age and his experience as the direct advisor to King Kyle himself.
This makes the initial experience feel like a great fantasy; however, the various races are so underdeveloped despite Kasel’s journey being largely an attempt to combine the abilities of all the races in the Kingdom of Orvelia. It feels like a fantasy for the sake of being one but is not very imaginative nor is the nature of the world revealed to us in ways that are more than just exposition. As a result, King’s Raid characters come from different places and have vastly different abilities, but the exploration of those characters is barely even a driving force for the story. The antagonists are only really revealed in the eleventh episode, when the Sorcerer Malduk makes his first appearance, alongside the recurring witch, Maria.
The Kingdom of Orvelia is expansive and free only because of the sacrifices of King Kyle and his party; however, due to the way humans have conducted their relations with other races, the kingdom is fragmented. Dark elves are oppressed due to the apparently blasphemous acts of King Kyle’s elder half-sister, the dark elf Illya. Illya had been trying to support King Kyle in his quest to defeat the Demon Lord Ang Mundo; however, she was not much of a fighter. She put her intelligence to work and found out a way to create a clone of the Holy Sword Aea, but this act was deemed blasphemous to the goddess, Lua. Upon completing the false holy sword, Illya meant to deliver it to King Kyle, but lost her life on the way – the day the Demon Lord was resurrected.
With Illya dead, the Kingdom of Orvelia punished the entire race of dark elves for the blasphemy committed by Illya, which explains why the dark elves of the Black Edge mercenary group hired by the noble, Count Moriham, are initially treated with disdain. In fact, after the verdict that exiled the dark elves, they were hunted down and killed in various parts of the kingdom.
The leader of Black Edge, Riheet, is the survivor of one such attack, with his comrades all having suffered similar lifelong trauma at the hands of human beings. After the Black Edge is established as a reliable deterrent for the Demon Lord’s forces, they are regarded as heroes. While the oppression has sustained over 100 years, King’s Raid does this weird thing where some members of the Black Edge find themselves forgetting the anger and grief they experienced and the attempted genocide of their people. Tamm’s crush on Sheila as it develops around episode 9 and 10 is a strange attempt by King’s Raid to delve further into the “humanity” of the dark elves of Black Edge. This is to show that they have differing opinions on many things, even their core mission: to take down the Kingdom of Orvelia. Perhaps it would have more impact if we had been given more time to get to know the various characters in each camp.
It Looks… OK
King’s Raid: Heirs of the Will is not particularly striking in art or animation; however, the scenes depicting King Kyle in combat against the Demon Lord are very engaging, beautiful sequences. Overall, King’s Raid is not the kind of visual experience that a fantasy anime quite needs to make an impact. Character designs are fairly standard for a fantasy anime, however, King’s Raid definitely would have been better off with a more stylized approach to its characters. That being said; however, the design of the orc race in King’s Raid is one of the most interesting takes on orcs and associated fantasy species, indicating an attempt at the aforementioned stylization.
King’s Raid: Heirs of the Will is watchable, yes, but it is also a series of missed opportunities. Some parts of the story feel especially shallow given the breakneck pacing of both events in the storyline and the presentation of the world. King’s Raid feels very familiar in a genre with brilliant fantasy titles, such as Record of Lodoss War and more recently, GATE and Re:Zero, but King’s Raid lacks a certain focus that these titles possess. Visually, it is quite the standard anime experience but that is not quite enough to satisfy anime fans both new and seasoned.
Are you watching King's Raid? What do you think about it? Tell us in the comments!