It’s spring, and that means there’s supposed to be love in the air. Flowers are making love everywhere, including in our nostrils, and college kids are busy making 18-year-old investments all over the country. So it makes sense that seasonal Anime shows are loaded with romance and shojo (Manga and Anime aimed at teenage girls), right? Well it is. From the crazy idea of Rita and the Red Ranger connecting to Love After World Domination to the cool version of the “why is she with him” trope in Shikimori is not just a cutie, it’s a good time to be into this stuff. However, buried in the heap of trashy romance is a potential gem. A crystal of unspeakable power. A series titled, Trapped in a dating simulator: The world of Otome games is tough on crowds.
What the hell are you talking about-sekai?
Trapped in a dating simulator is the story of a guy who dies after grinding an Otome game (game aimed at women that usually has strong romantic backstories and aims) for his sister. How? Well, it’s hilarious and you should watch the 1st episode just for that. Either way, he walks straight into the game world which causes his demise. Our protagonist, Leon, decides he’s going to try and live the best life as a Mob (non-playable character or background character in a game) that he can.
However, this world is a matriarchy, all day valuing city education over rural roots. It means Leon needs something big to change his fate. Enter his knowledge of the game, dungeon raiding, and an advanced AI system named Luxion. Leon secures his way under his evil stepmother and receives a barony. However, he will have to marry a girl from the Academy to keep him.
Do you have all that? It looks like a stereotypical Fantasy Rom-Com or Isekai, but it has more in common with Escaflowne’s Vision than he does Re: Zero.
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So what is crochet?
You mean besides that awesome intro? Well, you’ve seen all those mechanical actions and magical uses, haven’t you? Also, what if, and this is only a guess, there were also other people from Leon’s home world here? The series begins to take a strange turn during the second episode when in-game events begin to unfold differently. Leon notices that the original game’s protagonist is no longer in his path and someone else has filled that role. Plus, they tease something about his sister by reminding us of how they hide her face in the first episode. Plus, the inclusion of Luxion and the AI’s mention of “Old Humans” really bring out the mystery.
It’s not all good in that still possibly digital hood, though. The animation is hated by fans of the source material, and even I can admit that the second episode’s dungeon fight scenes aren’t great. However, Anime tends to spread its budget, and we might see some really cool stuff when the bots get involved.
The series is definitely worth the three episode rule.