5 Point Discussions – Radiant 1: “The Young Sorcerer -Seth-“

by Sage Ashford

Seth is a young sorcerer with one dream–to rid the world of all the Nemesis monsters destroying humanity! But how can he succeed when he can’t even beat a single Nemesis? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. Welcome to the world of Radiant–another of the series I’m covering this fall, in my quest to watch and commentate on every Shonen series of the modern era. Set in a world where there’s a unique source of energy known as Fantasia, but the people in this world are forced to deal with horrible monsters known as Nemesis.  Nemesis are immensely powerful, and kill any human they touch….but if they survive the touch of the Nemesis, a human can gain power matching, or even surpassing that of the Nemesis. In doing so, they become sorcerers, the only thing capable of defeating the Nemesis and saving the human race. This is the story of Seth, a young Sorcerer who’s pledged to put an end to the Nemesis threat once and for all.
All in all this is a pretty basic set up, but most action series start with really simplistic introductions to get people in easy. The goal is to get you invested in the characters, then go back over and introduce details to set the world apart from everyone else’s, and hopefully start to tackle the issues the manga’s actually about. Radiant’s themes are supposedly largely about racism, which we’ll see in a bit.

2. One thing this Western manga has down is having an idiot for a protagonist in a main series.  Seth’s not exactly the best spell in the spellbook. This episode opens with him going to hang out with his young buddy (), promising to show him some cool new spells. Unfortunately he’s still kind of a rookie at this, and he’s reading spells out of his teacher’s forbidden books.
Since he’s failed to do his research, the spells don’t even work–which is actually the best possible outcome here.  It feels like casting powerful spells unsupervised around a young child is…incredibly dumb. Seth does have one useful ability: a powerful punch that sends a giant boulder flying several feet in the air!  But neither him or his friend think about where that spell will land, so it winds up breaking the fence of a nearby ranch, and causing a stampede of angry elephant cows through the village.

3. Now this might be hard to believe after my last point, but in this world people don’t really like sorcerers. Seth’s teacher is in town while he’s screwing up, and she’s trying to buy some simple supplies–except she can’t, because the shop owner refuses her patronage, claiming she’ll just use the supplies to sacrifice children.
…Now while that’s quite the hyperbole, you can almost understand where this negative opinion comes from. For one, sorcerers only come from humans who have survived the touch of a Nemesis. Couldn’t they easily be letting certain humans survive for other, more nefarious reasons? And then, at least for this town, there’s a young Sorcerer who keeps wrecking shit in the town trying to show off how strong he is.  So if nothing else, they cause extra work and cost extra money.
Still, Radiant’s obviously making the statement that most sorcerers are NOT like Seth. The opening of the episode says they usually fight Nemesis, and Seth’s teacher is a quiet person who just wants to live her life. She does get roped into her student’s crap by association, though–the town turns on both of them, and only calm down when she agrees to fix all the damages herself, taking the blame for her bungling idiot of a protégé.

4. Of course, once a Nemesis actually lands on the town’s island, they all suddenly find a use for their friendly neighborhood Sorcerer. Seth and his buddy notice the egg before everyone else, but unfortunately his teacher is out of town, so it’s down to the boy who knows exactly one spell to figure it out. To his credit, after putting up so much talk and glimpsing his dark backstory of losing his home town to a Nemesis, he leaps right into action.
In shows like this, it’s generally a safe assumption the first episode villain would be something of a cakewalk, especially when it comes out of the egg and looks like a generic Hollow from the earliest Bleach arcs. But between trying to protect the villagers who were too stupefied to evacuate, and Seth having never gotten in a fight before, he gets smacked down pretty easily. Fortunately for him, he gets a last second save from what looks like Uncle Sam with a gold tooth. Well, you can’t say they aren’t getting creative with the character designs, at least.

5. Next Episode: So the people who saved Seth are known as the Bravery Quartet. They look like a total bunch of scrubs aside from the lead, and they’re not in the promotional material I’ve seen, so maybe they get wiped out in this fight?  If Seth only gets a momentary breather while these goofs get smacked around, it’d be an entertaining twist on one’s expectations.  Or, more likely, they just help out and leave, I guess.

Radiant is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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