Note: My apologies for getting nothing posted last week! I had fully intended to continue rotating through various series airing in the Fall ’22 season, so to make up for that, I am combining the intended topic for last week with this week’s to create a compare/contrast perspective on two currently-airing fantasy series: I’ve Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills (hereafter just Farm-Related) and Beast Tamer.
Farm-Related and Beast Tamer are intrinsically linked in that they are both non-isekai fantasy series which debuted on the same day, and thus have both aired eight episodes as of this writing. Both originated on the user-generated publishing site Shosetsuka ni Naro and are based on light novels (albeit from different publishers) which have manga adaptations. The one distinct difference here is that the novel run for Farm-Related is finished, while the one for Beast Tamer is ongoing.
Though neither series is isekai (or at least has not been revealed as such as of yet!), both have a very isekai-like feel, down even to Farm-Related using game-like menus and stat/skill systems. Both feature male protagonists who, by the scales of normal conventions in their respective worlds, are very OP, and the implication in both cases is that their heritages have at least something to do with it; Farm-Related‘s Al has an intimidatingly-powerful mother, while Beast Tamer‘s Rein comes from a village where what he considers normal for a Beast Tamer is considered outrageously beyond the capabilities of typical Beast Tamers in the rest of the world. (This is implied to be a situation similar to Lloyd in Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, but it has not been elaborated upon much yet in the anime.) Both series also at least dangle the vague possibility that their respective protagonists have some bloodline connection to a past Hero, though neither has actively pursued that angle.
In both cases, the protagonist is a mild-mannered good guy who either wittingly or unwittingly tries to distance himself from romantic entanglements with the girls who gather around him. And indeed, in both cases a bevy of special girls flock around the protagonist, forming veritable harems. By the end of episode 8, Al has three around him: a princess, the direct descendant of the Hero, and a Guild Girl who possesses the essence of an ultra-powerful dragon. All have been won over by being helped mightily by Al in sticky situations. Rein is up to four, though two came as a pair: a melee-oriented cat girl, a dragonoid strong in magic or melee, and magic-oriented identical twin fairies, with a fifth promised by the opener but yet to debut. Each of them is a member of an Ultimate Species whom Rein has formed a taming contract with, though under different circumstances in each case: the twins were rescued from a sticky situation and had to leave their village anyway, the dragonoid was defeated in a duel, and the cat girl was a case of two solo adventurers who cooperate against a monster befriending each other.
Despite the bevy of beauties gathered around each one, both series have generally been quite tame on the fan service front; Farm-Related has had very little which could count as true, prurient fan service, while the censored bathing scene in episode 8 of Beast Tamer was the exception rather than the rule. Both also feature regular action scenes, though neither depend entirely on them; cast member interactions are also important, as are the regular, very generic aspects of adventuring life. Both have featured the protagonist interacting with the current Hero or a Hero Candidate, but neither has shown much for an overarching plot so far. A Demon Lord is in the picture to be dealt with, but confronting it is not on either protagonist’s long-range radar; shorter objectives have been the standard so far.
The two series also have a more negative commonality: very mediocre artistic and technical merits. With Beast Tamer, it begins with Rein’s character design, which has felt oddly-proportioned since I first saw it, while Al is about as generic-looking a male protagonist as one can find. With the possible exception of Beast Tamer‘s Tania (the dragonoid), none of the female character designs in either series stand out much; they are pretty/cute enough but not to a memorable degree. Both series suffer heavily from lackluster and sometimes very limited animation and both have had quality control issues on at least a semi-regular basis. Neither one does much that’s interesting with their setting, critter, or race designs, either, except possibly for the (all-CG) dragon that the Guild Girl is connected to in Farm-Related. Oh, and the two series also share some voice actresses in major roles, with two of them (Minami Tanaka and Rumi Okubo) having a role among each harem.
For all of the two series’ similarities, they do differ in at least some ways. Beast Tamer looks more closely at the procedures involved in the Hero’s party and the mechanics of being a Beast Tamer, while Farm-Related traffics much more in absurdity involving its farm theme; this is the series where a thrown carrot is used to kill a dragon and a daikon radish is used to thwart a sword strike. While both have their mixes of light-hearted and serious elements, Farm-Related swings much more between extremes than the more even-tempered Beast Tamer does. It can be every bit as heavy as it is painfully silly. And Beast Tamer thankfully does not have the obnoxiously overbearing mother character who plagues Al in Farm-Related, or really anything close to her. Overall, Farm-Related tends to be the funnier one, while Beast Tamer tends to be the more charming one.
Neither series entirely lacks for entertainment value, but neither has anything compelling about them, either. Even within the fantasy genre, both are thoroughly mediocre diversions which mostly won’t be remembered at all a couple of seasons from now. (Except for that carrot killing the dragon thing. That will last forever.)
Rating – Farm-Related: C
Rating – Beast Tamer: C
3 thoughts on “Dual Review: Farming vs. Taming”
I watched up until the point of Rein getting his revenge on the hero party. Though with some skipping when the show felt particularly preachy about how good Rein was. Show was so simple in its writing that it just offended my sensibilities with its hamfisted attempts at emotion manipulation. But even that offence didn’t keep my interest past that. I was hoping that with his revenge out of the way it could start being about something else and hopefully do something to interest me. But with the immediate plot about Rein being the only person great enough to retrieve the holy hero artefacts it was just too boring.
Alchemist Trainee kept me more interested by at least concocting interesting scenario’s for her over powered alchemy magic. Seems you can over come simple character writing (A bit) with good character energy and scenario writing.
Novice Alchemist is one that I’ll probably bring up before the end of the season, since I’m making it a point to cover titles that didn’t get weekly reviews on ANN. However, it’s one that I’m only barely holding onto. Probably will do it once I can articulate what exactly it is which annoys me about that one when I’m tolerating these other two.
I dropped the farming one and I was thinking about dropping Beast Tamer as well since I found it a bit dull. But then Tania showed up and I liked her design and personality enough that I decided to stick with it. I have a weakness for Dragon Girls. It’s still one of the less interesting shows I’m watching this season though.