Strickly speaking, so far, Revenger has had the strongest premiere of the season (as of January 7). Not to say it is the best series per se, but to downplay on how solidly entertaining those 23min were would be a crime.
This all is presented as a straightforward story, opening with the tale of Kurima Raizo, retainer to the Daimyo of Satsuna, hiding after taking the job of killing his own soon-to-be father in law, fooled into believing he’s a criminal involved with opium trade. He crosses paths with Usui Yuen, leader of an operational Odd Jobs service, in search of a suspicious samurai accused of wrecking avock around the area. Usui doesn’t need much to do the math here, and eventually, Kurima opens up about his circumstances, deciding to part ways back to Satsuna. On his way back, he is suddenly attacked by Matsumine’s man, who he thought were there to escort him back – and by fates play, is saved from death when Nio, whom we later find out is a member of Usui’s group, reaches out a thread to help him escape alive.
Wounded and incapacitated, he is aided by both Nio and Usui, who later reveal to him the truth behind Matsumine’s true intentions. Turns out it wasn’t Hirata Genshin the culprit behind the opium trade – it was in fact Matsumine all along, and Kurima’s loyalty as a samurai was used against him in a strike to eliminate Hirata, resulting in covering his crimes and destroying Kurima and his fiancée’s lives. Shortly, it becomes clear what the Odd Jobs is really about, as the group prepares to take revenge over Hirata’s death by striking Matsumine’s dome, a plan they very much succeed in execution.
At this point, it’s easy to see where this is going. With help from Kurima, the group strikes the dome and take down Matsumine’s men, but it is ultimately the samurai who “steals their prey,” having willingly hidden info on a secret passage so he could kill Matsumine himself, taking his revenge. But in the end, it seems all has been rendered helpless once he finds his fiancée’s body, Yui, lying dead in a pool of blood.
I do appreciate the straightforward way the story is presented. There’s a lack of heavy exposition here, the production values are quite good and if more focused on strengthening its character designs in favor of a more fluid animation. The premise seems good and the show is looking promising. Revenger would be a locker anytime, but in a season as weak as this, it’s good to have one promising original anime.