(All episodes watched):
I quickly got the feeling that I had seen the general premise of this show before: the I-am-doomed-to-play-the-part-of-the-villain-from-an-MMORPG bit had come from Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta... It seemed that this show had borrowed the bits and pieces of its premise from others and only the fine details were new. The plot seemed rather bare bones; characters have simple personalities and change their minds easily without much finesse in explaining why. And animation is noticeably modest. All we know about the protagonist is that he/she was once a bedridden hospital patient in the real world. Fanciful animals--like a talking crow or a 'fafnir' play a part. I think this story would have worked better if it had been taken seriously rather than used partly as a joke. The humor was average at best and what would really have intrigued me would be if, having been thrust against her wishes (and having done nothing to deserve it) into a ominous scenario, Aileen's life was really on the line unless she manages to change the course of history (supposedly that is the case, but it doesn't really feel like it). As things were, I got the impression that this is not a terrible show (I felt a momentary thrill when Aileen is taken for a mystical carriage ride) but not a really noteworthy one either.
Since the number of new anime this season seemed significantly smaller than usual, I continued watching. The premise of a person needing to break out of a more-or-less predestined series of events leading to a bad outcome was intriguing, but again I felt that it wasn't completely clear whether it was being treated as a joke or taken seriously here. You would almost think that some inexorable force is determined to crush Aileen no matter what she does. She refuses to carry out a nefarious plot which her character did in the video game--and someone else does it instead. But this show doesn't delve all that deeply into such questions, instead it is somewhere between children's and adult level anime. The scene where Aileen foils an attempt to provoke Claude into going full Demon made my eyes roll. The tricks she employed were silly and not thrilling at all. They were of the sort which, when Aileen and her allies were planning for this confrontation and looking for ideas, these might have been suggested but surely would have quickly been shot down as impractical. I was surprised in episode four when we have apparently already reached the end of the scenario in the video game and it seems that Aileen's goal has been accomplished. I had assumed that this wouldn't happen until the final episode. What is there left to do? Will things reset and the scenario begin again, hopefully to find a different way to 'win'? Or will time keep moving, and everything that happens from now on be unknown and unpredictable? Though it is lightweight, this show remained fairly interesting--sometimes being lightweight is an advantage.
A new arc takes off in episode five as Claude is sent to an unstable province to restore order, and, against his orders, Aileen secretly comes as well. She poses as a male student at a prestigious academy. This is a problem from a sequel videogame that Aileen has a good deal less experience playing, and apparently she must avoid another bad outcome (she would die). But this new twist didn't excite me; it sort of seems that the main problem is already fixed and I was confused by this new situation--something about 'demon incense'. One problem with so-so shows is that they don't seem worth the effort to remember just what happened in the last episode. Things come down to a swordfighting contest which was apparently being played for laughs but didn't seem all that funny or exciting to me. If there had not been a distinct shortage of fun anime in this Fall 2022 season I might have already dropped this series altogether.
The second arc was not much fun, but there were signs that the third one might be better. Aileen makes a radical discovery--a certain character is, like her, aware that this world is all based on a video game and takes a somewhat different approach to dealing with it. This is the sort of development that I have been hoping for in countless isekai series (especially Overlord), and at last it finally happens. This made me sit up and take notice, and wonder why the plot didn't go in this direction long ago. Why waste time and effort on the lukewarm second arc when an idea like this had occured to the writer? It drives me crazy that what ought to have been the central theme of the series as a whole will instead be a subplot. But beggars can't be choosers and I must be grateful for what I have gotten. As I might have expected, the writers were very timid with this potential opportunity. Rather than a psychological battle over the morality of fiction turned into fact, we get a weak and unlikely plot to spoil Aileen's romance with Claude. This person is screwing around somehow, but it is all rather underwhelming. I wonder if it would have made any difference if the person hadn't revealed a knowledge of the video game origins of the situation at all. I guess it is a little tragic that Claude is suffering from a sort of amnesia (not doubt brought on by some sort of magic) that has caused him to forget that he was engaged with Aileen. I sort of feel it, but it could definitely have been more powerful. The next-to-last episode seemed rather dull and I wondered if things were really reaching a crisis. Let's see; if Claude loses it and goes into full-demon mode, Aileen will be killed, right? Needless to say, no attempt whatsoever has been made to explain how an alternate world based on a video game has come to exist, nor has any character given much thought to that matter. Even in the final episode I couldn't help wondering if there was actually an episode 13, because things didn't seem to be reaching a climax. But they eventually do before the episode is over. I wonder if this show was any better than the aforementioned Otome Game- anime, which I declined to watch when it first came out. But I did watch this show, and while it was not thrilling it was modestly amusing and you get to like Aileen and wish that things work out OK for her.
Last updated Tuesday, December 27 2022. Created Sunday, October 02 2022.