The Executioner and Her Way of Life tells the story of a priestess tasked with killing humans who are summoned to a supernatural world. This is thrown into jeopardy by Akari, a Japanese girl, whom she escorts and attempts to murder.
The Executioner and Her Way of Life is an adventure, isekai, and yuri anime series directed by Yoshiki Kawasaki. The series is based on a yuri light novel series illustrated by Nilitsu and written by Mato Sato.
As a warning, this recommendation discusses spoilers for seven episodes of The Executioner and Her Way of Life, including some disturbing scenes with themes of suicide, blood, injury, and wanton violence.
The series begins with a Japanese boy named Mutou Mitsuki (voiced by Yuma Uchida), an offworlder, summoned to a kingdom. He realizes that they also summoned another Japanese girl.
He soon meets Menou who explains to him this world is Japanese-influenced and split into various classes, either as commoners, nobility, Noblesse, Faust, and the Church, with her as a priestess.
In the process, she works with her aide, Momo (voiced by Hisako Kanemoto), to lure Mutou inside an abandoned church. As he begins to use his power which allows him to destroy any object, Menou stabs him, killing him before he causes any damage.
This beginning mirrors the first episode of The Legend of Vox Machina, when the so-called “heroes” die within the show’s first five minutes. Menou is a priestess, tasked with killing and hunting down any humans summoned to the world, known as “Lost Ones”, even though she knows most have done nothing wrong and are innocent.
This is all thrown into question when she meets Akari (voiced by Moe Kahara), who has, like some humans, forcibly brought to the world the pure concept power of time, allowing her to turn back time and revive herself if someone tries to kill her. This contrasts with her airheaded and clumsy nature. Even so, she is trusting and kind.
The series pulls you in, making you sympathize with Menou (voiced by Iori Saeki). After learning that it appears impossible to assassinate Akari, Archbishop Orwell (voiced by Tamie Kubota) tasks Menou with bringing Akari to a church in Garm, so she can be executed. In a lie which may haunt her in the future, she claims to Menou that they are going there so that she can go “back home” to Japan.
There are interesting dynamics between Momo and Menou. The series implies that they have long been confidentes, almost equivalent to the relations between Sakura and Tomoyo in Cardcaptor Sakura.
In fact, Momo worries that Menou is spending too much time with Akari, who she calls “booblicious”. She secretly travels with her to the capital city, and fighting off a warrior princess named Ashuna (voiced by M・A・O). The series also implies that she has a crush on Menou and is jealous her spending time with another woman.
Like Eve’s strange motivation with golf in Birdie Wing: A Golf Girls Story, Menou becomes an executioner after following her mentor, Flare (voiced by Yūko Kaida), who has amazing magic skills. She does this even after Flare warns her that she will become a villain.
The characters are intriguing and the story keeps you engaged. This is especially the case with the growing romantic feelings between Menou and Akari. Menou even offers to strip in Menou’s place to fulfill the demands of a terrorist, goes on sightseeing date with Akari, and has, from time to time, protected Akari from threats.
There is more than that. In the fifth episode, it appears that Menou will say goodbye, forever, to Akari, but she discovers a horrible truth. Her boss, Orwell, has been summoning women in an attempt to extract their youth and reverse her aging. She plans to erase the mind of Akari, to use her powers to make her immortal and stop her aging.
Hence, the church is not some beacon of goodness and prosperity like in Maria Watches Over Us, a Class s yuri anime. Rather, it is a place of corruption and malevolence. Orwell engages in human experimentation that is only outmatched by the devilish schemes by the villains in the first season of Sailor Moon. The latter attempt to extract the crystals they need to revive their queen.
The sixth episode reveals a further truth: Orwell destroyed the home village of Menou when she messed with the powers of a “lost one.” This infuriates Menou. Akari’s feelings for Menou cause her to break down a barrier in her mind, resulting in her use of her powers, before she shoots herself in the head. Before this happens, she is able to weaken the hair ribbons of Momo. This causes her to lose her mind, destroy the palace, and attack the cathedral, resulting in Akari and Menou brought back together.
What this further shows is that Akari is aware of everything. She knows that Menou is trying to kill her, how to cause Momo to lose her mind, and has the implication that she has been there before! There is also continued visions that she has of their future, with Akari causing Menou’s death, while seeing Flare coming to kill her.
Luckily for this fictional world, Orwell gets what she deserves: Menou uses Akari’s powers to de-age Orwell so much that she dies. Unfortunately, in the aftermath, the Church predictably covers up the reality, with the public told a cover story.
All the while, the warrior princess plays a major part, fighting alongside Momo. Both may appear in future episodes. It is in these episodes that this series also shows how mature it is, with lots of blood spilled and brutality shown on screen. It is almost as blood-filled as an episode of Helluva Boss, where demons contract them to assassinate humans.
There is also the disturbing implication that Menou, according to Orwell, came from nothing, from blank white material. There is the further possibility she came from the human world, where Menou and Akari met in the past, and was later re-formed,
The show’s amazing animation is by J.C. Staff. It is a Japanese animation studio which has produced series such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, Azumanga Daioh, R.O.D -The TV-, Sweet Blue Flowers, The Demon Girl Next Door, and Eden’s Zero, pull you into the show’s world.
The story remains intriguing, as much as the currently airing Spy X Family or Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. Even so, it continues to be unique in its own way, unlike any other series I’ve seen.
In the most recent episode, Menou worries that she has failed to kill Akari, who rewound time a few months, and is why she was friendly to her at first. She commits herself to killing Menou once and for all this time. All the while, Menou wants to make sure this happens so that the the “right” person (Menou) kills her, rather than someone else, like Flare.
As they go off on their journey, a reported pilgrimage to a sanctuary, while Menou gets a new scripture from the acting archbishop. In the process, the viewers also see into Menou’s backstory. We learn more about she became an executioner.
As the series goes forward, there will be more scenes of Menou and Akari together, along with scenes of Menou and Momo. Menou will continue to pulled between the duty to kill Akari and her hesitation to stay with her, falling deeper in love with her. She even puts her inside the Pandemonium, an inescapable fog, in an attempt to kill her. This doesn’t stop Akari, who is aware of everything now, using her powers to go back with Menou, shocking her beyond belief.
Menou continues to be rightly worried that Akari is not far from her power getting out of control. At the same time, there is the wild card: the head of a fringe group. This teenage girl gladly kills someone in a bloody manner in the show’s seventh episode and declares that she wants to kill Menou in a pre-emptive attack before she causes “trouble”.
All in all, The Executioner and Her Way of Life is must-see for those interested in yuri, adventure, and isekai stories, especially those which go against commonly used tropes. The series is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
The next episode, entitled “Monstrine”, airs on May 20, the same day that an English dub of the series will begin airing on the platform.
Author: Burkely Hermann
Burkely is an indexer of declassified documents by day and a fan fic writer by night. He recently earned a MLIS with a concentration in Digital Curation from the University of Maryland. He currently voraciously watches animated series and reads too many webcomics to count on Webtoon. He loves swimming, hiking, and searching his family roots in his spare time.
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