Black Summoner is an exciting isekai fantasy adventure packed with memorable characters.
Black Summoner made its debut in the Summer 2022 anime season as one of several isekai anime titles, alongside Overlord's fourth season and the debut of My Isekai Life. Black Summoner is a light-hearted, fun-loving action/adventure series that makes sure to not take itself too seriously, but it does make a serious effort to create some lovable characters for the isekai adventure.
Any anime fan can appreciate the novelty of the isekai subgenre's power fantasies and escapism, but it's only a worthwhile journey if the characters are worthwhile companions on that otherworldly quest. By now, Black Summoner has set up a sizable cast of likable, powerful characters to make this isekai adventure come to life, and some of them refresh or twist the isekai formula in fascinating ways.
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The young man known only as Kelvin is the titular black summoner himself — a powerful wizard in black robes who can summon mighty creatures and minions to fight for him in battle. However, despite his immense magical talent, Kelvin keeps a low profile as a summoner, unwilling to become a pawn or tool for the machinations of this world's feuding nations. So, Kelvin aims to live a relatively humble, peaceful life as an independent wanderer, similar to many isekai protagonists, and he's ready to make — or summon — all kinds of friends.
Kelvin is a mixed bag. On one hand, he treats his friends well and can get along with nearly anyone, including fellow isekai otherworlders such as Queen Tsubaki and Toya's adventurer party. On the other hand, Kelvin can be sadistic and self-centered, such as when he posed as a villain to force Toya's group to fight him and thus get some bonus training done. Worst of all, Kelvin actually supported the local slave trade when he bought an elf girl named Efil from a merchant — a twisted isekai trend that Kelvin clearly has no problem with.
By now, Kelvin has gathered a small handful of summoned friends, and these colorful, lovable characters are really what make the adventure of Black Summoner worthwhile. First came Clotho the slime, a blue critter that is deceptively powerful and skilled by this point, including in its oversized form that towers over every human it meets. Then Kelvin fought, befriended and summoned the undead knight Gerard, who seeks to get revenge for his fallen kingdom someday.
After that, Black Summoner introduced the demon king's lively daughter Sera, a playful redhead who restrains her demonic power with a hair accessory and packs a mean punch as demonic royalty. Meanwhile, Kelvin also summoned, and bought, the blonde elf girl named Efil to give her a better life. Kelvin certainly did turn around Efil's life by recruiting her, though it's still questionable how he patronized the local slave trade to do so. Efil is not, however, one of Kelvin's official summons, but rather a conventional party member.
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Every isekai protagonist needs a certain someone or something that brought them to the new world, and in Kelvin's case, it's Melfina, the charming goddess of reincarnation. At first, she was only a disembodied voice that followed Kelvin around, but she promised to get a physical body soon, and in recent episodes, she did just that. Melfina now stands by Kelvin's side as a beautiful, wise and talented goddess, and best of all, she recently shared her reincarnation powers with Kelvin. With Melfina's powers on hand, Kelvin can follow her example and summon or reincarnate people from Japan, meaning he has come full circle as an isekai guest thanks to Melfina's aid.
Kelvin has good company as an isekai guest in this fantasy world. During his journey to the Japanese-influenced nation of Toraj, he met a noble swordsman named Toya who, along with his three party members, got themselves summoned to this world one day from their Japanese high school. Now they are wholesome, hardworking and relatable heroes who may be even more compelling than Kelvin in their own right, though they don't always appear in the Black Summoner anime.
Meanwhile, the queen of Toraj, Tsubaki, is also an isekai guest who used her Japanese heritage to reshape Toraj's culture in her own image, including Japanese cuisine. Finally, in recent episodes, Kelvin reincarnated a young girl from Earth named Rio Saeki, who is now Kelvin's foster sister of sorts and an eager adventurer. Rio's young life had come to an early end in the hospital, so she is immensely grateful for this opportunity to live a full life for the first time. She may be Black Summoner's most sympathetic, lovable protagonist yet, with ample room to grow and learn as a starry-eyed young hero.
Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he’s a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor’s in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He’s always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read.
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