Heroic Age is an anime I didn’t actually watch until years after its debut. Like many such anime I discovered this hidden gem by chance one day while scrolling through Netflix. Let’s be fair lots of stuff on Netflix is rubbish (anime included) but every once in a while something great just comes through. We just get lucky in life really and catch the right show at the right time.
This anime is a Sci-Fi retelling of the classic Greek legend of the 12 labors of Hercules. It actually accomplishes this feat in such a way that is unique to the anime genre with giant mechs and kaiju monsters. Though I’d say the Heroic tribe is sort of a combination of both.
Now my ex used to accuse me of only watching dark and serious shows. For the most part she was right. She wasn’t a big anime fan and I didn’t make her watch the more lighthearted stuff I did watch, mainly anime. This show is basically about light, hope and the inspiration a classic Greek champion can inspire.
It’s kind of predictable plot wise, but I didn’t care. Humans are basically in a space war against an overwhelming alien foe. I enjoyed every episode of this show despite this deceptively simple plot. I loved the haunting musicals and fantastic reimaginings of Greek heroes and legendary creatures. From that first inspirational intro I challenge you not to be moved and root for humanity.
So Age is basically Hercules in this tale and humanity’s champion. Honestly he is actually the most uninteresting as a character. This is probably due to the static nature of Greek heroes in classic tales. He doesn’t actually change all that much throughout the story. Age is a good person with a kind heart. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
That being said, like any bland hero, it is not the hero himself who makes or breaks the story it’s the situations and how others respond to them. Age is basically a feral child when they find him. Sure he knows rudimentary language and cognitive skills, but he lacks formal education and socialization of normal humans. This leaves him childlike and pure like a Goku figure in space. It’s not that original I’ll give you that.
What is interesting is that he is chosen to be the savior of humanity. It was foretold by some half translated prophesy that he himself is only somewhat aware of. He can’t even count when they meet him and he is expected to perform all 12 labors. Still based on the teaching of the Golden Tribe left to him he somehow instinctually guides them all to their various destinies with half-truths and hidden messages.
Honestly it was a treat for me to see the reimagined heroes of legend. They fly through the vast sea of stars aboard the Argonaut. Our hero battles the beasts of legend to protect humanity’s future. Though I would have preferred the Nemean Lion, but Karkinos and the Hydra will have to do. The battles are pretty epic and they cause the kind of destruction supernatural beings should on the heavens.
We cannot leave her out, so much like in the original legend Princess Dhianeila plays a big role in the anime. She acts as the ship’s beacon and navigator on the psychic field. It’s not explained fully but honestly it doesn’t need to. Later on she represents the light for all mankind. It’s tough not to feel for someone who was born into wealth and power but uses it for the good of all rather than selfish gain. She also happens to have one of the best arcs in the series despite initially appearing to be a rather one dimensional character, though I’d argue that Yuty La has a better one.
If you’ve never seen it, this show is definitely worth a watch. The art and animation alone is gorgeous. The music and score is awesome. It appeals to fans of sci-fi, Greek classics, mecha and kaiju. If you need an uplifting show that looks translate a classic tale look no further. You find yourself rooting for those scrappy humans in the pockets of space, albeit not all of them but most.
So if you need a little light and hope in your world put on an episode or two of heroic age. It will thrill you. It will uplift you. It will even make you cry. I seriously did after Mehitak woke up I’m not even going to lie. I still tear up on rewatching it.