The Fall 2022 season does not officially get underway until Friday 9/30, but one title has debuted a week early on Crunchyroll. So let’s take an early first look.
Streams: Crunchyroll on Saturdays, beginning 10/1
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
Isekai titles where the heroine reincarnates as the antagonist of an otome game – a character who is destined for a Bad Ending – have practically become their own subgenre in the last couple of years. This new light novel adaptation so wholeheartedly falls into that classification that it almost seems to be poking fun at it. Normally, I don’t care much for these branch of isekai, but this one’s debut proved surprisingly involving.
A lot of that has to do with heroine Aileen Lauren Dautriche, the daughter of a duke who finds herself remembering a past life where she plays an otome game which seems oddly similar to her current circumstances – namely, getting rejected by the prince in favor of the game’s heroine/insert character. She knows she’s destined to die at the claws of the Demon Lord (who happens to be the prince’s banished brother), so she quickly pivots and sets her efforts to making sure the DL has no impetus to into Dragon Mode. Her upbeat, take-charge attitude as she determinedly pursues the dashingly handsome Demon Lord makes her easy to root for, and pushing the pace was also absolutely the right call; it matches nicely with her spirit. The story also simply and effectively establishes Aileen’s background and where she might have gone wrong enough to end up in the villainess role. Even so, the episode wouldn’t work anywhere near as well if it did not also embody a somewhat flippant storytelling attitude. Aileen knows how ridiculous all of this is and just runs with it, and Claude’s reflexive magical reactions to what she does express his personality in an amusing way that his face doesn’t.
The first episode looks pretty good, too, especially in Claude’s character design, and delivers on just the right musical accompaniment. Overall, the first episode her has enough going for it that I may actually check out more of the series.