LasDan is a Surprisingly Fun Take on the Power Fantasy Genre

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, now streaming on Funimation.

In true light novel fashion, LasDan or Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town reveals its whole story in the title. The story centers on Lloyd, a kid from a village right next to the last dungeon in a fantasy world moving to the big city in hopes of becoming a soldier. The only thing special about Lloyd is that his village is populated by descendants of the legendary saviors of the world, and because he is the weakest in his village, he has no idea how strong he is in the outside world. Essentially, this series is a comedic power fantasy with an oblivious protagonist.

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Power fantasy stories are quite popular in anime nowadays. The Winter 2021 season also contains Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2, Log Horizon Season 3, and Jobless Reincarnation, all about very powerful protagonists who are transported into isekai settings. LasDan is not an isekai reincarnation story, with its protagonist already living in a fantasy world. The fact he's completely unaware that he's over-powered is where most of the show's drama and comedy comes from.

The purpose of the power fantasy genre is for viewers to live vicarious through an over-powered protagonist who can basically do anything. Usually, characters who are oblivious to the protagonist’s true power are shocked when they discover the truth. In LasDan, the situation is reversed: everyone around Lloyd is well aware of his powers except himself. Everyone else’s reactions to Lloyd’s strength are the most interesting part of the first episode. The funny, over-the-top animation in these scenes is reminiscent of KonoSuba (incidentally, the show shares voice actors with that isekai comedy hit).

Where other power fantasy protagonists can be arrogant, Lloyd is very earnest and even naïve about the world. He believes powerful monsters like giant locusts and fire-breathing dragons are just animals that he can toss away like nothing. He also casually uses the ancient magic language of runes, capable of destroying the world, for trivial things like cleaning. The interactions between Lloyd and everyone from the outside world become a series of misunderstandings about how the real world works. Lloyd thinks people are just being nice by complimenting him and his powers, while everyone is in awe or is even afraid of Lloyd.

Power fantasy stories can get very old very quickly because there's almost no dramatic tension or suspense with an over-powered protagonist. Successful power fantasy stories have given protagonists bigger goals or obstacles to overcome so that their over-powered-ness does not automatically give them an edge over everything they do. Examples of such goals/obstacles include nation-building in Reincarnated as a Slime and Overlord or trying to escape the game in Log Horizon. Things that even the most powerful characters would have a hard time accomplishing.

LasDan more or less follows the same formula as other power fantasy stories, but with a clever twist. Lloyd has a clear goal of becoming a soldier, and though it seems easily achievable for him, he doesn’t know this. Episode 1 ends with Lloyd finding out that he has failed the entrance test into the military. This development subverts audience expectations for a traditional over-powered protagonist to be successful at any power-based tasks. It also reinforces Lloyd’s belief that he is weak and inadequate, setting up more interesting future conflicts for this unique power fantasy story.

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