Here’s a review of one of the latest Isekai/mech anime to hit the scene. This is one of those anime whose title is a mouthful so I’ll just shorten it to Trapped in a Dating Sim.
Trapped in a Dating Sim is an anime brought to us by a studio called ENGI. The same studio that brought us “Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!”. This was honestly a big surprise to me since this anime looked and was animated nothing like Uzaki-chan.
Trapped in a Dating Sim (sub) aired from April 3 to June 19, 2022, and has 12 episodes. The dub is still being released (it’s at episode 10 as of the time of writing this article).
Now that you know the basic info, let’s get into the actual review part:
Plot and Delivery: Good, could be better
Plot: You know the drill, guy dies, gets sent to a fantasy world. This time, the poor sap’s name is Leon. Leon was blackmailed by his sister into finishing a weird dating sim game with RPG elements mixed in. The game apparently had some balance issues which caused him to play it for days on end before fully mastering and completing it.
And then he dies by falling on a set of stairs. As a gamer, I salute o7.
Leon gets transported to the world in the game, a world where women are superior and men have to try their best just to live a common life and hopefully get married one day. He uses his thorough knowledge of the game to his advantage to turn himself into a successful adventurer before going to the game’s academy to study and find a future partner.
Soon though, Leon notices events happening that aren’t supposed to, like a new character that wasn’t in the game appearing and taking over the lead role…
Review: It feels like dozens of Isekai appear every month so it’s really hard to keep things fresh and creative. On paper, the plot for this anime appears very meh, but they actually pull it off well in my opinion.
Admittedly it does have some stereotypes like the protagonist being an overpowered character who knows the game in and out, random unexplained magic powers, stuff like that. But it’s still a serviceable anime.
Another criticism I have is that they didn’t make the best use of the plot points. Like women being superior to men, that point was severely underused and by the half-point of the show, it felt like it didn’t even matter or have any effects at all.
Characters: Way too over-melodramatic but generally fine
Some of the side characters just got upset and depressed over really shallow things. I mean, I get it, they’re young and emotional. But it just felt like they kept getting upset over something, recovering and growing from it, then getting tripped over by the exact same issue over again. It just felt way too forced and just happens to push the plot forward in a lazy way,
At the start, some of the antagonists/rivals felt really bland and cliché but I’m glad that as the series went on, they got fleshed out more until they actually felt somewhat like normal people by the end of the series.
Leon himself was great though. A snarky and spiteful character who had a heart of gold deep down, I like the way they did him.
Art and Animation: Great and terrible respectively
The art design was great, I wouldn’t say it’s exceptional but it’s plenty good. The characters looked good, the settings were well-drawn, and I thought the mech designs were pretty cool.
The animation on the other hand… whoof. I said at the start that I couldn’t believe this was from the people who animated Uzaki-chan because the animation in this one was just awful. The whole show was basically a PowerPoint presentation.
There was only one fight scene for me that looked even remotely good which is unfortunate for a mech anime.
Heck, I could tell right from the opening song that the animation wasn’t going to be good. Anime usually show off their best animation in the opening song, so when I saw the opening was practically 90% stills, I really started worrying.
Despite my gripes with Trapped in a Dating Sim, I still do think it’s a good show and worth a watch at least. If you’re a fan of Isekai anime in general, give this one a shot. Or if you already have, then what did you think of it?
The show hasn’t announced a season 2 yet, but I hope it gets one as I really do see potential here if they can just get better ways to advance the plot and make the characters move like they’re actually in an animation.
Overall Rating: 6/10
The release date for Chainsaw Man Part 2 has just been revealed! Read all about it here.