The plus of this show: very wholesome and clean, no blood, gore, swearing, sex, or fan service foolishness.
The minus of this show: everything else. It was awful. The plot is lacking, the hero’s triumphs are always contrived with another deus ex machina, the premise is cliche, the action is dull, the characters are flat and one-dimensional to the point of being cringey, the harem is predictable and boring, the animation is standard and the CGI is atrocious, the music is forgettable, and everything about it really is very, very stupid. There isn’t even a good nickname for it, with its excessively long title.
I’ve Somehow Gotten Stronger When I Improved My Farm-Related Skills – which I shall hereafter refer to either as “this show” or Stronger Farmer – mercifully spares us the isekai trope, but it has the overpowered protagonist and the harem. Just how overpowered is he? It starts out by having him one-shot a flying dragon to smithereens by throwing a vegetable at it. Just a vegetable. Not something special, not enhanced with magic, just a vegetable, used to utterly destroy a dragon. I know pencils can be driven through concrete by the wind of a tornado, but one vegetable is not going to utterly destroy a flying tank, no matter how forcibly it is propelled.
As for why a vegetable, well, the protagonist, Al Wayne, is a farmer by trade, and he absolutely loves it. Which I would have less of a problem with if they showed how much time and work goes into farming, every single day without exception, but once they snag Al to work part-time as an adventurer, saving the kingdom from destruction, the farming thing is more like his otaku passion instead of his real work. He’s able to go off and do whatever for any length of time and when he comes back, everything is perfectly fine. That is vastly unrealistic, and kind of insulting, really.
I recall watching one episode of another anime I forget the title of, and it features a lead male hero who is conscripted to save the world when all he wants is to go to school. Every day, he sets out and almost gets there, before everyone else comes to snatch him away (because for some reason he is more pivotal than all the rest of them put together), dragging him kicking and screaming about how he wants to go to class. This show reminded of that one, with a lead who is all, “I just want to farm!” But just has to get dragged out of his way to save the world a few times. Oh, so terrible for him.
You know the thing about heroes? They’ve got to want it. On some level, in some way, to achieve some end, they’ve got to want it, and choose it for themselves, or else they just look a bit pathetic, albeit sometimes in humorous ways. Being so powerful, and yet being dragged into being a hero, doesn’t make the hero very relatable.
And yet, for being so overpowered, he comes up against more than one enemy that is even stronger because they are some ancient evil being and whatnot. What happens when he can’t win easily? A good ancient deity shows up, empowers him even more for the moment, and boom, the job is done.
Mysteries and intrigue are shoddy works in this show as well. What is the secret behind the evil dragon terrorizing the land? It’s possessing a girl (who Al saves and she joins his harem). What is the secret if this mysterious threat which nobody but the heroes have heard about? It’s a lie and an illusion, a trap, obviously. What is the secret behind the prince of a foreign country being able to drive back the demons who attack? He’s the one commanding them by holding a demon lord’s girlfriend hostage, and he intends to take over the world. What is the secret of a girl who brings Al to a village to combat a case of mass possession? She’s being blackmailed to bring him as a sacrifice to the demon doing the possessing. Duh. Oh, and who is the one threatening the entire world? Well, apparently Al woke up an evil god, who is using a girl supposedly brought back from the dead – but probably just an illusion – to wreak havoc.
Then there’s the harem, which forms around Al despite how he is so obtuse as he focuses on farming that he doesn’t realize these girls are pursuing and fighting over him. The local princess, the receptionist who has dragon powers after being possessed, the so-called “hero” girl warrior, they all meet him, have some basic interaction with him, are saved by him, and so go after him. Heck, even the random girl who was being blackmailed wants him after he saves her village, the distinction being that she makes her intentions clearly known and even kisses him on the cheek. And, of course, there’s the childhood friend who is now a villainess. She loved him as a child because – guess what! – he saved her. How original.
A particular shoutout to the cringe of Al’s parents. His mother, especially, is obsessed with him to the point of wanting to sleep in the same bed as him whenever he visits, and she really does not like the idea of some girl taking her baby boy away from her, despite the fact that he is fully grown and living on his own. Seriously, the woman is crazy. And since she is quite strong and the leader of some group of ninjas or something like that, she is impossible to entirely get away from.
As for Al’s father… well, he’s a regular guy who manages to survive his wife, except for how he is instantly jealous of any man who gets any attention from her at all, including his son. Yeah, it’s weird.
And as I sit here writing out this litany of flaws and failings, it occurs to me that, really, I can find similar flaws in many other anime which I have actually enjoyed. A contrived plot with a contrived harem with a super-strong protagonist and so on and so forth, all things I’ve seen before, in spades, right down to crazy, cringe-worthy parents. But the one thing above all, I would say, which makes Stronger Farmer so impossible to enjoy and like is… how incredibly dull it is. It reminds me of Arifureta, though this one is even less interesting, if that is possible, simply because somewhere in the execution of its ideas, it ends up being just… bland.
I have noticed that we can forgive our stories of a great many flaws, but being bland, failing to keep us interested, is the one we can’t overlook.
Rating: 2 stars out of 10.
Grade: absolute F-Minus.