OP: 「乙女のルートはひとつじゃない！」 (Otome no Route wa Hitotsu janai!) by angela
「前世の記憶を思い出してしまった…」 (Zense no kioku o omoidashite shimatta…)
“I Recalled the Memories of My Past Life…”
Every season has its constants. Sci-fi; fantasy; slice-of-life; isekai (of late); and the always plentiful romance. Because obviously cutesy cootie-giving kisses never get old. Seriously. Rest assured though that Otome Game isn’t your usual romcom paint by numbers. This one may have everything you’re used to, but it definitely doesn’t stick close to the garden path.
The first thing to note about Otome Game is that yes, it’s technically an isekai. Our main heroine Katarina Claes (Uchida Maaya) happens to be an otaku who thanks to circumstances unseen (and one convenient crash to earth) finds herself in an alternate world. A romcom alternate world. Beyond outward trappings however there’s little in the way of actual isekai plot; no saving the world or building that ironclad harem of cookie cutter inserts here. All little Katarina knows is that she’s been reincarnated as the villainess in her favourite otome game, and that barring some imaginative twists of fate she’s set for death or exile in the not too distant future. And you know exactly how such ends wind up playing out.
The fun of Otome Game of course is in how Katarina approaches and deals with her situation, and this opener wastes little time in revealing what is to come. First on the chopping block is lead love interest (at least for the actual heroine) Geordo (Aoi Shouta) who thanks to a little prompting via the best ways possible possible lands Katarina in marriage and solidifies the arrangement. Yes, farming is indeed that wholesome, particularly in these trying times. Is the guy as conceited and evil as our main girl says? Only time will tell, but I will say never doubt what the Council says (seriously, just look at those eyes. Look at them! Evil I tell you). Then comes the adopted brother Keith (Kakihara Tetsuya) who again thanks to Bakarina shenanigans winds up doing the exact thing you want to avoid to circumvent the doom end. Sure, Katarina may be playing up the sister act for everything it’s worth right now, but you know damn well eventually something is going to trip her efforts up. After all, you cannot go full Shining every time little brother locks himself away after accidentally smashing your face in.
While still early days in revealing how things will be overall (we have a time skip ahead of us if you notice the promotional art), it’s very good to know Otome Game is playing out exactly how I expected it to. There may be hiccups later on or the usual sprints of rushed and chopped material, but if the show can keep up the comedy and parodically play those otome dating sim mechanics for all they’re worth, this show will definitely be one of the highlights from this spring season.