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Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「スライドライド」(Slide Ride) by Run Girls, Run!


“The Catastrophe That Started with a Death March”


「デスマーチからはじまる天変地異」(Desu machi kara hajimaru tenpenchii)

The Banality of Daily Life

 
Welcome to the corporate world, a mechanical instrument of production fuelled by the anguished souls of its slaves. Enter Suzuki Ichirou (Horie Shun), a programmer who spends sleepless nights tirelessly working on two concurrent online games. Feel his despair, as colleagues push various problems onto him, expecting him to fix them all. A brief reprieve comes in the form of a little girl, crying for her mother, who Suzuki hopes to help. But even that interaction is fraught with potential misunderstandings where he might have seemed like a pedophile. Now, where is the truck destined to take our protagonist away from such a horrible life? Well, the answer may be rather unexpected…
 

Escape to a Magical World

 
I’m not sure if Satou died in his sleep, or whether his consciousness seeped into the video game. But either ways, he wakes up in a different world. Perhaps they met with an unfortunate accident, who knows. But there is no standard god to greet him either, or grant cheat powers. I repeat, you heard correctly. Not that he needed it anyway, after summoning a meteor shower wiping out half the valley, instantaneously boosting him to Level 310. And that’s what Death March is establishing. We’re already being reassured that this won’t be a story of significant stakes, where characters will fight life and death battles, because our main character’s strength is quite literally off the charts. Hundreds of arrows bounced off a dragon’s scales, but Satou pretty much made it flee by casually throwing a pebble and puncturing its wings. Seriously?!? At least without having to worry about survival, we can focus on enjoying his journey through an unknown fantasy world.
 

Concluding Thoughts

 
I maintain that most anime of an other-world nature (isekai) do not properly make use of graphical user interfaces borrowed from video games. A big part of the fun is seeing equipment, inventory, stats, skills, abilities, etc. Death March should theoretically satisfy this itch of mine, considering its detailed menu system. Unfortunately, most of the interface isn’t getting translated! I think it’s absolutely inexcusable and am really sad that we ended up missing out on so many interesting things. Crunchyroll, pleez.
 
Moving onto another criticism, as people could probably tell from the OP/ED, Satou will most certainly amass a harem. This episode, it’s already started. He even manages to save a damsel in distress! I wouldn’t blame people for walking out at this point, because in all honesty, Death March’s approach to female characters is extremely lousy. However, there are things worth sticking around for, which would mainly be the world that the series succeeds in building up – which you will slowly find out about as you continue watching.
 
Isekai is a genre profoundly rooted in escapism, and I won’t even deny its the biggest pull for me. Many people are attracted to the romanticised ideal of restarting from a clean slate, because who hasn’t done stuff they regret, and would like to change if they had the chance? Satou’s life doesn’t seem like it’s worth living, and I suspect if most people found themselves in that position, they would want away. In fact, most adults could probably relate with it. Seeing a corporate worker being run into the ground is remarkably different from your regular schtick involving school, which comes across as petulant whining in contrast. As such, I would say the anime has done a fantastic job of instilling the sensation of a ‘death march’ – this notion of a torturous and empty journey that only ends with the final breath. But past this final breath exists another world free of old sorrows. What will Satou choose to do in the face of this new reality?
 
ED Sequence

ED: 「スキノスキル」(Suki no Skill) by Wake Up, Girls!

January 13, 2018 at 11:26 pm
65 comments »
  • January 13, 2018 at 11:54 pmMelia

    I honestly felt like i was watching a remake of Isekai Smartphone from summer season, it’s like producers : okay we did route A where guy used phone for everything, lets use route B now where his phone doesn’t work, everyone : ALRIGHT LETS DO THIS

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:07 amZaiden

      That’s a fair enough assumption – the MC is basically Jesus reincarnated. If you really dislike overpowered protagonists, I suggest you turn away. However, as someone who has watched Isekai Smartphone, and having read parts of Death March’s light novel, I can guarantee that the world building in Death March is rather sophisticated, running far deeper than your average LN. Depending on the person watching, it can be enough of a redeeming quality to overcome its various shortcomings.

      tl;dr – For those sceptical, expect a style similar to Spice and Wolf in terms of traversing across the world, minus the awesome interactions between Lawrence and Holo.

      • January 14, 2018 at 12:42 amMelia

        I was one of those people who had hopes for Smartphone Isekai, until pretty much episode 8, but it ended up being such a disappointment, something very similar to it so soon afterwards is just making me lower my expectations, everything so far is so similar i can’t stress it enough, ED with protag on a carriage with bunch of young looking girls being all excited, it’s just 1-to-1 in my eyes.

      • January 14, 2018 at 3:42 amWorldwidedepp

        i am a bit with him.. Perhaps i have now seen to much of “Guy wake up in an MMO World and is Overpower”.. in SAO he started like the others, just he had more wisdom to use it for “power Leveling” as an Beta Player

      • January 14, 2018 at 3:45 amWorldwidedepp

        also seems like he use his High Level to create an Harem around him.. i would collect friends not only Girls.. of course the Friends are capable of what they are doing.. big mouths small fry i do not like, but also only “ecchi” dolls.. i need an partner that are capable to hold is own in this MMO World, gender is not important

        And from the picture is see, i assume this is like he wrote.. just the Mobile is broken and Harem is more important then story

    • January 14, 2018 at 1:11 amzztop

      @Melia IMO you could try Knights and Magic for a more unusual isekai, given its elements of mecha-creation – Gundam-style heavy drama + MC’s mad scientist zeal.

      • January 14, 2018 at 1:13 amZaiden

        As the person who covered K&M, I second that motion. This chap needs to have their faith restored in the isekai genre!

      • January 14, 2018 at 3:50 amWorldwidedepp

        I second that. Yes there the “Hero from an other World wake up in an MMO” is more grounded.. even if he is an Mecha Otaku, but his actions are good

      • January 14, 2018 at 3:51 amWorldwidedepp

        or with an other anime in comparing

        he is an Mecha Otaku, but he also knows how the world works like “Rachnea” from Monster Musume

    • January 14, 2018 at 1:28 amSK

      The thing is, the smartphone was basically irrelevant since the MC in that one could learn every spell. He used it as a map, targeting enemies, a search engine, and to speak with God. One of the issues I had with isekai smartphone was that one spell category was so vague that basically everything could be classified as magic (up to and including programming/AI), when I thought the point was that the smartphone was supposed to be the supertool. Since it was so vague already, might as well just turn all the smartphone uses into spells, and get rid of the phone altogether. Rather than being creative with the spells he already had or the smartphone in the title, he just kept getting new spells that conveniently happen to be useful right away. I think it would have been a lot more interesting if he only had the absurdly OP “Slip” at his disposal.

      The MC here already has a lot of skill points stockpiled, so it’s possible he pulls the same convenient new skill BS out of his ass. However, the world does seem to be based on a game (or 2?), and even things like “understanding the language” require skills. I hope he won’t just have free access to literally every skill (were all those notifications on his journey him unlocking skills? achievements?), or there will be situations that would never have affected players, and thus relevant skills were never programmed in the first place.

      If the worldbuilding is as good as Zaiden suggests, then I’ll give it a shot.

      • January 14, 2018 at 1:44 amzztop

        @SK The notifications are him unlocking skills/gaining achievements when he does something notable for the 1st time, IIRC. Ex. if he successfully pickpockets someone, he gets a notification saying he’s acquired the “Pickpocket” skill.

      • January 14, 2018 at 10:00 amKarutaku

        From what I can read, most of the notifications are of successful use of skills. But there was the Title “Savior” unlocked notification when he plucked Zena out from the sky :D

      • January 14, 2018 at 5:50 pmeSPiYa

        Regarding the world:
        Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:11 amzztop

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:14 amzztop

      @zztop Given the count, I assume the anime will not have time to cover Show Spoiler ▼

      • January 14, 2018 at 12:16 amZaiden

        Aw shucks, zztop. It’s not often that I wish for an adaptation to rush through segments of the source material. But in Death March’s case, I think it would really benefit from such a production decision. If they choose not to, I’d understand, but would feel pretty disappointed.

      • January 14, 2018 at 12:23 amricz

        Aw so he won’t see them Show Spoiler ▼

        LOL

      • January 14, 2018 at 6:44 amAex

        I was conflicted when I realized this, and yes we’ll only get the smallest fraction of the story, but this also means that they probably won’t have to cut much of anything that is involved to make room. Given how divided people are over this series, I’m actually okay with this production choice for once.

        Of course, all of that assumes more good pacing… *Cautiously Optimistic Mode, On*

      • January 15, 2018 at 2:06 pmEmptybox

        I’m totally just guessing, but they might at least reach him getting that certain item to finally use actual magic. I’m hoping that’s probly the episode 12 finale.

    • January 14, 2018 at 6:52 amJeremyTMH

      Means Vol 3 of LN. Barely even scratch the story or even the main set of characters lol…

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:20 amsouma

    ahh satou the food god, the one who always searching for milf but always end up with loli instead.

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:35 amZaiden

      Of course, souma. It just wouldn’t be the same without these lolicon misunderstandings.

      • January 14, 2018 at 12:37 amzztop

        Satou just has to punch a portal into our reality and confront the Death March author, Re Creators style, to demand a proper milf companion.

      • January 15, 2018 at 2:40 amJeremyTMH

        Oh not really an issue, he eventually meets the love of his life much later and decides it has to be her as main wife and on the side his continuing trip is for him to find a way for them to marry (not that she doesn’t like him mind you).

        I also like her btw, she’s sick cute for a billion over year old baba. :3

        Unfortunately Anime viewers won’t see her until Vol 8 or 9 of the LN which the Anime won’t reach this season… or the next if there is any.

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:56 amAngelus

      Searching for a milf but always ending up with a loli, you say? Now that makes me wonder about the lost child and her mom near the start. Much as I dislike it as a dramatic device, I’m now going to invoke Chekhov’s gun and speculate that the mom is actually the god of the world Satou has ended up in.

      • January 14, 2018 at 1:00 amZaiden

        Oooooh, now that’s a brave guess! Let’s see how that pans out :)

      • January 14, 2018 at 1:06 amzztop

        WN readers say the world’s mysteries and Satou’s appearing there are an ongoing, but unimportant, plotline in the story. The main focus was always on the worldbuilding, travelling, and SOL eating.

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:27 amzztop

    Due to significant rewrites and original additions to the LN version of Death March, the source WN has been rebranded as the ‘web version”.

    Its author justified the LN changes by saying they focused on making:

    1) “A book that can satisfy readers of the web version”.
     Thanks to the existence of my (many) web readers (and their encouraging reviews), I was able to (gain the favour of publisher Fujimi Shobo and) publish this book. After they buy the book, it would be tragic for it to merely sit on their bookshelf.
    I didn’t just edit the manuscript, but also added some scenes that can be better enjoyed after reading the web version. Of course, there’s no point to just adding inside jokes, so they are things first-time readers can treat as regular foreshadowing.

    2) “A book that’s enjoyable to new readers even if they only read the physical copy”.
     …(A) series that assumes knowledge of the web version in the first volume is too tough. So I added expositions that people who don’t know “Novelist” memes can understand, and cut down on excessive explanations and dull scenes that dragged on.

    3) “A book that people will want to read again”.

    I edited parts that weren’t well-received in the web version and added to sections that were well-liked… seventy percent of the content ended up being new material, and the remaining thirty has also been polished, so I think it would be hard to find any section that is still exactly like the web version.

    I originally planned to work on this book during the off-season of my day job, but due to the delay of a project, the result is a hellish situation where it completely overlapped with work on the book. I am already used to overtime hell at my day job, but as to whether in this completely new hell, I would be summoned to another world, that shall remain a secret.

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:40 amZaiden

      Thanks for the info, zztop! Haven’t seen this info anywhere else, so it’s super helpful to know. Also wanted to ask, if you’ve read both, do you reckon the LN significantly improves on the WN?

      • January 14, 2018 at 1:03 amzztop

        Full afterwords of Vol 1 here:
        http://kyoptionslibrary.blogspot.my/2016/08/death-march-chapter-7-afterword.html

        I’ve only read the fantranslation of the 1st 2 novels and the WN parts which form the early arc for the series.
        They’re roughly about the same, although I feel the LN flows a bit better and integrates the SOL-travel parts more fluidly, as opposed to the WN parts which feel like they were made on the fly sometimes.

        Funny thing is, the WN’s always been one of the top 10 most read Narou titles, recently climbing to 5th from 7th place. I suppose the author’s weekly updates help keep its popularity fresh with its internet fanbase.

      • January 14, 2018 at 4:48 pmAex

        Less death in the LN too. The WN was very kill-happy with mob characters, probably just a bit too dark for the LN version, though I won’t complain. Especially about 6 specific characters getting written back in :D

      • January 15, 2018 at 2:48 amJeremyTMH

        The WN feels like something being written as the author goes with the flow. To be fair author does seem to keep notes and there is some level of consistency. However it does feel to be getting a little ‘ridiculous’ by the current 2nd half of the story.

        The LN flows smoother and long winded stuff and hard to get references were removed. The pace also slowed down a little and there are NEW stories as well added upon the story as well as alternate ways to world building. The manga is following the LN pretty closely so you can use that as a reference. The WN is fan translated up to the latest chapter as well.

        On top of that its also less ‘dark’ compared to the WN. Without spoiling stuff, lets just say some characters who were supposed to have perished for whatever reason or another in the end don’t in the LN/Manga. Also certain characters who were just a passing mention eventually also have entire arcs in the story added for them, heck 2 of them got an entire volume for them while in the WN they were only mentioned in passing and Satou didn’t directly and deeply involve himself with them.

        As far as I see it though, certain 6 characters not dying made me happy, I felt the reasons for their deaths weak in the WN, am glad they live in the LN/Manga and now we even have a cute side story of them in the LN vols lol…

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:36 amAllnighter

    I’m just watching for Tama and Pochi.

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:41 amZaiden

      Fuzzy patrol on full alert

    • January 14, 2018 at 6:37 amAex

      I’m more of a Liza and Nana man, myself. They make for some great deadpan comedy.

      Pochi and Tama are adorable, though.

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:37 pmeSPiYa

      Remember:”YES – Lolita. No – Touch.

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:54 amzztop

    http://randomc.net/image/Death%20March%20kara%20Hajimaru%20Isekai%20Kyousoukyoku/Death%20March%20kara%20Hajimaru%20Isekai%20Kyousoukyoku%20-%2001%20-%2024.jpg

    RPG-style menus and stats are quite prevalent in the current crop of isekai stories in Shousetsuka ni Narou.
    Some reasons are due to:
    1) High interconnection of gamer culture. Their writers grew up playing epic RPG games set in Western-inspired fantasy worlds with emphasis on stats and leveling (ex. Final Fantasy series). As such, they’d write their stories drawing from their knowledge of JRPG conventions and cliches. Famous overt examples include Kawahara Reki (SAO) & Mamare Touno (Log Horizon), to more subtle ones like Jumonji Ao (Grimgar).

    2)Easy way out for worldbuilding. Instead of having to think up unique world systems which entail a lot of research, JRPG world + stats provide a worldbuilding shortcut easily understood/accepted by Narou readers and easy way to quantify the growing skills of the MC. Any unique takes can be built on those preexisting foundations.

    3)Popularity, everyone wants to hop on the bandwagon. Some longtime WN readers say Western fantasy settings are the in thing for isekai stories from Japan (which dashes my personal hopes for a isekai in a 1920s Great Gatsby-style world).

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:35 pmZaiden

      I think it’s a lazy and ingenuous shortcut. Due to being an avid player of JRPGs, I already feel half-familiar with these kinds of worlds, and I suspect many other people would be in the same boat. Maybe it’s getting overused, but for the time being, it’s proving better than most things other creators try to invent.

  • January 14, 2018 at 3:04 amhax

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:38 pmZaiden

      Flashbacks to the Final Fantasy spell. Also, instead of wiping out dinosaurs, lizardmen and other residents of ‘Dragon Valley’ are made extinct.

  • January 14, 2018 at 4:14 ammac65

    I’m “in” for a fun, fantasy filled adventure with this on.

    It (on the surface) has the same appeal to me as many other
    over-powered protagonist / plot device series – No Game No Life
    comes to mind. “Blank” could never lose (except to each other),
    the fun was watching how they won (I was recently re-watching it
    so it’s fresh in my mind). And the world building and supporting
    characters fit pretty well with their story line. So I’m hoping for
    something similar – we see Satou is apparently crazy over-powered
    in this new world, hopefully there will be some antagonist-thingy
    in this world which will keep it interesting for the viewers.

    Otherwise it’ll just be another harem / comedy / hijinks series.

    Here’s hoping!

    • January 14, 2018 at 3:22 pmThe Story You Don’t Know

      This isn’t even comparable to NGNL as this one’s arguably way worse in terms of plot and characters unless you’re really into Lolis and such. The characters are as generic as it comes and the plot has zero sense of urgency (if there’s even one). But hey, it’s only my opinion so you might find it good.

      • January 14, 2018 at 5:43 pmZaiden

        When you describe Death March as being generic and lacking any sense of urgency, well…. that’s actually completely non-generic in an isekai. Most of them have close cut life and death battles, as opposed to a relaxed journey through a new world. But I can see why a lack of action wouldn’t appeal to lots of people.

  • January 14, 2018 at 5:14 amWorldwidedepp

    I have an solution for his Instand “from lvl 1 to lvl 310″ action

    Mostly “old fashion” MMO’s have this kind of earing of experience.

    if someone before him wear this enemys down and left them with 1% HP and only one last attack is needed, then our “Hero” get the experiance from an lvl 3xx Monster and this “Game” do not have an experiance level cap build in (to prevent this kind of Power leveling)

    in my past i played “Breath of Fire” RPGs. it have an 3 men party, where to Highlevel members would just train an “lvl 1 to lvl 310″ partymember. Of course you need 1 Damage dealer (at best an 1 Hit attack) and an healer or Resurrection, that rezz the lvl 1 when the Mob is about to die to earn the points

    This was my way to powerlevel my party in this ancient day.. Today there are these experience level caps build in…

    This can work here for his Lvl 310 jump.. but he gone there and kill it while they where still 100% HP

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:45 pmZaiden

      Pokemon has this thing where you gain more experience for being lower level. You could level from 1 to 100 instantly by defeating a single Level 100 Blissey, whereas if you were trying to level up from 99 to 100, it would take many more Blisseys. I don’t see any EXP boosting accessory, so my guess would be on a similar mechanic to the one I described.

  • January 14, 2018 at 6:32 amAex

    Not translating the whole log is one thing, but leaving out the Skills and Titles is just lazy and shows someone didn’t do their homework. Both are important to the story and a good source of humor. Hell, half the time Satou has something to say about them, so if this keeps going a lot of people are going to be left wondering wtf he’s talking about a lot of the time.

    They even freeze the screen when he gains a Title. That’s a pretty big indicator they’re worth noting, CR. Sigh…

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:47 pmZaiden

      If this continues, I’d resort to the high seas, if a suitable candidate were to put in the extra effort.

  • January 14, 2018 at 6:43 amTooLazyToMakeAccount

    wao it’s kirito but with a gun

    • January 14, 2018 at 6:49 amAex

      More Godmode, less full-of-himself, and the gun isn’t that important.

  • January 14, 2018 at 6:46 amShahir

    I’d recommend “The King’s Avatar”. At least that series actually has the best concept of an MMORPG game

    • January 14, 2018 at 8:37 amxhitmanx

      The king’s avatar is truly amazing, and the 2nd season is confirmed.

    • January 14, 2018 at 12:06 pmRathje

      I think it really is a shame no one here as RC picked up King’s Avatar last season. It really deserved a lot more exposure than it got.

    • January 14, 2018 at 3:23 pmThe Story You Don’t Know

      You should read the web novels (not yet fully translated). The anime doesn’t even hold a candle to it as adaptations usually do.

  • January 14, 2018 at 8:46 amkiryuu

    First thing that popped into my mind on the meteor rain business.. ahh when quick programming fixes backfire horribly :D

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:49 pmZaiden

      My housemates at university often talked about how frustrating it was, when programming fixes led to even more errors than before. Coding doesn’t sound easy at all, and it’s a wonder how many complicated structures exist out there with minimal bugs.

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:05 pmRathje

    I watch and read “isekai” for the same reason my dad used to watch cheesy, badly acted Chuck Norris films.

    Sometimes you just want to turn your brain off and watch something that demands nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) from you.

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:53 pmZaiden

      I usually find that it’s an oversimplification to say that’s all isekai has going for it, since slice of life would easily qualify for that criteria as well. When there are existing isekai shows that demand your attention, I think that your comment vastly undersells the genre, even if many of its show would match the description you’ve provided.

      • January 14, 2018 at 9:50 pmRathje

        Look, Log Horizon is one of my favorite shows out there, and I wouldn’t exactly call it brainless. Same for Re: Zero or even Konosuba in its own silly way.

        But let’s face it, isekai is kind of the tired overused fad right now. And there are literally a bazillion formulaic stories like Death March and Smart Phone floating around out there in the manga universe. Maybe not so much the anime universe, but the manga world is pretty much infested with the blasted things.

        The good stuff is kind of the exception at the moment rather than the rule.

  • January 14, 2018 at 3:20 pmAizen

    The parts before he fell asleep/dead were the best. The rest was funny but kind of felt very cliche.

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:57 pmZaiden

      If memory serves me correct, I might be wrong to say that dying from overwork is a fresh take. Considering what I’ve read in the past, it must have been the second most popular cause of death pre-isekai transportation. That said, I think Death March deserves credit for how much the approach grounds us in Satou’s perspective, leading up to him getting isekai’d.

  • January 14, 2018 at 4:47 pmordnance11

    Well, it’s no Konosuba, but watched.

    • January 14, 2018 at 5:54 pmZaiden

      Konosuba S3 when?

  • January 15, 2018 at 12:37 pmArsene

    I enjoy my share of Isekai novels, Death March included, but they definitely are NOT escapist fantasies. They’re empowerment fantasies. They’re not about starting over, but about being granted *superior* abilities to everyone else in the world without having to expend any effort.

    They’re basically appealing to our laziness. Our desire to be strong without physical training; our desire to be intelligent without studying; our desire to be charismatic without developing our personalities.

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