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A new take on the subgenre of isekai anime in which a character finds themself playing the part of a doomed character in an otome game. And, I would wager, the best one yet. At first I thought this was going to be just another of an interminable number of magical academy shows, but then Kobayashi and Endo come along and it became clear that this show had three dimensions. The bizarre premise is genuinely intriguing and left me eager for more. The fact that Endo secretly likes Kobayashi suggests that the romance between Siegwald and Lieselotte won't be the only one in this series. About the only hints about how in the world this situation has come about are that somehow the game cannot be taken out of autoplay mode and some of the lines in the text are unreadable. Only Siegwald can hear them, and they tell him that only he can save Lieselotte from doom; they'll help him. Some real-world idol named Kirise Kuon will play a part, apparently; the plot seems fairly complex and sophisticated. It would be disturbing to actually find that video game characters had genuine minds of their own, but the silly-funny tone of this show is such that we don't worry about that. I took extensive notes about what had happened so far, but as for my own opinion about all I can say is this: I like it a lot.
I must not be the only person who likes this show, because I noticed it had accumulated no less than 62 views before episode two was reviewed. Most anime don't get that many until they are commercially released here in the US. This second episode didn't excite me as much as the first one did, however. Kobayashi and Endo's plan to alter the outcome of the game seems to be going as planned with no major problems, which isn't all that intriguing. The only possible problem may be that Fiene, the lower class girl who is supposed to come out on top, has somehow acquired inexplicable fighting skills and strength. Surely we are due for some sort of a surprise, aren't we?
In episode three we learn about Endo's past, namely how his dream of being a professional baseball player collapsed and how he came to be in the broadcasting club. Lieselotte is in constant danger of being tempted or possessed by the 'Witch of Yore' and Endo and Kobayashi must be on guard. For some reason the game system will not allow 'saves', so they will only get one chance to engineer an agreeable future for Lieselotte. They don't wonder how in the world a game character could be able to hear them or what this suggests, but again this show has a pretty silly tone so that's not critical. At the very end of the episode we get a hint that they may not be the only ones who have noticed that something funny is going on within this game. I wish the pace would quicken a little, but I'm still enjoying Tsunlise. Episode four didn't shock me all that much either. It is basically about what the characters do during summer break from the magical academy, but I can't think of any radical revelation about the link between the real world and the virtual one or the way the game is likely to play out. Filler, basically.
In episode five we get a surprise revelation when Fiene's mother turns up. Whatever conflict once existed between Fiene and Lieselotte has been skillfully defused and I could only wonder where things would go next. We get a cryptic introduction to Kuon, the stranger who had seemingly also known about this world within a video game. Naturally, this guy is a star. I wish the pace of this show would pick up a bit. But not exactly the way it does in episode six, in which the Witch makes her move, and it quickly is both a complete success and an utter failure. Lieselotte seems to blow with the wind and believe whatever she is told. Fiene has gained the ability to 'hear' Kobayashi and Endo just like Siegwald does. The Witch hasn't been beaten once and for all, however, and Kobayashi and Endo attempt to engineer a situation in which the characters who are able to beat her in various game outcomes will hopefully do so here as well. Still, the story has a sort of a silly tone to it when I think it ought to be more serious. Tsunlise hasn't turned out to be quite as engaging and intriguing as I had originally hoped. There is a little progress in the romance between Kobayashi and Endo in episode seven; I had noticed that this was getting little attention compared to the situation within the game even though this real-world romance had seemed just as interesting (if not more so) to me. Maybe that's one reason I feel a bit disappointed by Tsunlise.
In episode eight I found my interest seriously flagging. Liese supposedly loves Sieg fervently, but acts in a totally opposite manner, which is hard to reconcile. Sometimes she's passionate, sometimes she's aloof and distant. All we know about the Witch of Yore is that it is some malevolent entitly that just wants to do harm. I couldn't help becoming bored with this confusing and seemingly never ending struggle for Liese's mind. And it occurred to me that there has been little humor coming out of this strange premise, which initially seemed tailor made for it. There seems to be a trend among shows this season: if they looked really good in episode one, they won't be nearly as good later on.
A good deal of episode nine takes place in the real world as the broadcasting club must give a presentation--a 'dramatic reading'--for the school festival. The expected showdown with the Witch of Yore is looming and everyone gets ready. Will things go more-or-less as they did in the game? I guess the basic premise of this series is that Kobayashi and Endo are trying to turn a character who the game wants to be the villain into the heroine. Things kind of wander, so it would be easy to forget that. Will the game system tolerate such a radical rewrite of the plot? Of course, such a change shouldn't even be possible, just like characters hearing and responding to the players.
The witch makes her move in episode ten and a furious but not terribly exciting battle ensues. One thing that annoys me is how easy it is for the witch to possess Liese if she gets her fingers on her; it's hard to get a grip on a battle of sheer willpower, which seems to be Liese's only defence. In episode 11 we get a surprising explanation of who exactly the Witch really is and her link to the real-world idol, Kuon. I had figured that there probably wouldn't be any explanation at all. Whereas Kobayashi and Endo had routinely helped Liese in the past, they need her help in episode twelve. It was sort of cathartic; everything had gotten so strange so fast that I couldn't be certain what to think. But there's a resolution for Kobayashi and Endo's romance as well as Liese and Sieg's one, which I appreciate. Maybe the basic problem with Tsunlise is that even the deities that are worshipped in a fictional world that should only exist within a video game have minds and wills of their own, but nobody asks why. We never get an explanation, and there's not enough humor for that to satisfy us by itself, so something seems missing (at least for me).
Last updated Sunday, May 07 2023. Created Sunday, January 15 2023.