OP Sequence

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.

21 Comments

  1. Here comes the densest of black holes, all hail Bakarina.

    Been looking forward to this since reading the source materials, hope they can deliver the comedy and wholesomeness that Bakarina is known for.

    Flappy
  2. This is the first major anime adaptation of an otome/shoujo isekai light novel, aimed at female audiences. The genre itself is booming among the fanbase, but most adaptations of said stories have largely been limited to manga (while the shounen/seinen titles aimed at male readers have kept getting anime).

    Something to note is that the otome isekai genre is not really an accurate representation of an actual otome game story – rather it’s a hybrid mix of otome game mechanics + the love rival villianess of an old-school shoujo manga/romance drama.

    zztop
    1. It’s quite ironic that the first major anime adaptation of the Otome Isekai subgenre is a work that parodies it, right? It’s as if the first Isekai ever adapted was Konosuba XD

      As for the depiction of otome games, I think it’s because these particular isekais are heavily based on the Angelique series, the ancestor of all otome games, plus its copycats. The same luxurious aristocratic setting, the same school for elites and, indeed, the Rival was a feature.

      It’s like how most shonen Isekais seem based on Dragon Quest and similar games, with the same guilds, quests and monsters, despite the fact that modern RPGs had advanced a lot from those early days. Nostalgia factor, I suppose.

      Mistic
  3. Is the guy as conceited and evil as our main girl says?
    In the light novel, the they have chapters dedicated to narrating the parts of events that happened in the main story from the other characters’ point of view, which explains what drives the development of their character, their thoughts and opinions of Bakarina and her actions.

    I wonder if that will get cut out of the anime.

    Kimberly
  4. Certainly a fun episode. That ending, lol.

    Never really thought about when I read the manga, but do ottome game villains really end up like that? Death seemed rather extreme, when I think about it. From the eroges I’ve played, a single attempt at the players life rarely end up that way.

    theirs
  5. They sadly didn’t quite get across that the reason Mama Claes said she’d divorce Papa Claes and take Catarina was because she though Catarina almost killed (with her butt) Papa Claes’s “precious lovechild” with the woman she thought he really loved, only for Papa Claes to get confused, explain that Keith is not his son at all, and the only woman he really loves is and only ever has been her, thus the lovey-dovey between them, but oh well.

    heiro
  6. Bakarina!

    I honestly hope this show does well because the “Otome Game Villainess” genre in isekai, while it has tropes of its own, is a breath of fresh air compared to the shounen video game light novels/manga/anime.

    I’d love to see them animate my favorite one of this genre in isekai: “The Villainess Will Crush Her Destruction End Through Modern Firepower”.

    Not all “Otome Game Villainess” light novels/manga/anime are isekai, with many of them just using the setting and often involving a villainess who meets a bad end going back in time with foreknowledge and a chance to change things (either by being good or by reading up on the “Evil Overlord” list and being a better villainess).

  7. Enjoyable start to the anime. Should be a good compliment to Bookworm. I liked that Caterina made some positive progress at the end of the episode, but also that she’s had to work at her challenges.

    DP

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