Radiant – Season 1

Radiant – Season 1

Nemesis, monstrous creatures possessing terrifying power, inexplicably fall from the sky causing mayhem and chaos to all of humanity. Legends tell of the Radiant, supposedly the origins of the Nemesis. The few humans that have survived the Nemesis’ attacks are called Sorcerers, having been infected with magical powers and abilities from the Nemesis. With these powers, several Sorcerers have become Nemesis Hunters as they fight back against the monsters. While being the only ones capable of fighting back against the Nemesis, the Sorcerers are nonetheless ostracised and persecuted by the rest of humanity.

Seth, the protagonist of Radiant, is a teenage Sorcerer that survived a Nemesis attack ten years earlier. Seth dreams of defeating all of the Nemesis and bringing peace between Sorcerers and the rest of humanity. As soon as he can, Seth sets out on a quest to find the Nemesis’ origins, the Radiant.

At first glance, Radiant does fall into the category of ‘standard shounen fare’. It’s a clean-cut fighting-and-monsters story where a young boy and his lofty ideals go on a quest to approach a Big Bad and take it down with the help of a group of people that join together with him along the way.

What you see during the first couple of episodes is what makes you stay for the story: diverse characters, consistently good animation and artwork, toe-tapping music (04 Limited Sazabys’ ‘Utopia’ is one of my favourite opening songs of this season and the melodic ‘Radiant’ by Polkadot Stingray sticks in my head after watching) and likeable characters (although not entirely original).

My favourite characters in Radiant have been, by far, the main female ones: Alma and Mélie. Alma is fantastic, and one of the reasons why I knew I would be sticking with Radiant this season. She’s Seth’s grizzled, hard-as-nails mentor who has seen it all and done it all. She’s been both teaching and raising Seth from a young age, and that’s probably why she’s always so grumpy when we see her. Despite this, she obviously cares deeply for Seth but despairs of his relentless energy that he couples with genuine thoughtlessness – a dangerous thing when you have magic that ordinary people are fearful of – and in turn, Seth is terrified of her, but is generally respectful.

When Seth meets up with Mélie She’s a fun-loving young woman who just wants to make friends with everyone – but being a magic-user usually gets in the way of things. Also, her curse from Nemesis means that she has a bit of a split personality: her scary side usually comes out when she’s under pressure or becomes irritated, causing her to develop a delinquent-like way of speaking and becoming more aggressive. She’s tough, entertaining and sometimes just as clueless as Seth himself, much to the despair of Doc, the pair’s fellow traveller.

Woven in between the mix of colourful protagonists and antagonists are the themes of human potential and prejudice, and that sorcerers are generally feared by the human population because their power can be used for both good and evil, so I want to see just how Radiant decides to approach, or avoid, the philosophical implications of these in their story. I’m hoping for a bit more development in Seth’s character in-line with this, seeing him grow into something more than just his basic shounen-protagonist ideals of “I’m going to rid the world of all Nemesis to prove to everyone that sorcerers aren’t actually bad”. Suffice to say, bonus points are available here if they manage to pull this one off well.

I do enjoy a fantasy adventure, and Radiant appears to be a promising one to get stuck into. If that’s your jam, this one’s a safe bet. I wouldn’t be looking for anything dark or gritty here so if that’s what you’re looking for this season, I’d suggest Goblin Slayer.