Tag Archives: Isekai

The Observation Deck: In the Land of Leadale

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

“Hey guys, did you hear about the new anime that just got announced ‘I Woke Up in Another World as a Rake in Autumn?!'”

For as stupid as the landscape of light novel to anime production has become over the past few years, it is not as if it is all bad. After all, with every dime, a dozen video game fantasy stories comes a genuinely great piece of art. If waiting through five seasons of In Another World With My Smartphone means we also get a Violet Evergarden or a Spice and Wolf, I am more than happy to wait.

Still, despite its fairly common-looking presentation, I had at least some hope for In the Land of Leadale. Its focus on a character who was stuck in the hospital and only had video games as an escape, while not particularly original, did at least set itself up for some more introspective moments. However, while Cayna is certainly wide awake in this new version of Leadale, ready to discover its mysteries, the series itself is, unfortunately, sound asleep.

Advertisements

Video Game Fantasy World, Yay…

At this point, my gold standard for isekai-like fantasy worlds is No Game No Life. Maybe that is a little unfair because their stories are not trying to accomplish the same things, but I am making it anyway. The reason being: regardless of your feelings on its story and characters, No Game No Life‘s aesthetic contributes to building an identity that is fundamentally its own. Disboard is not just a setting, but a core aspect of the series.

This is not me asking every series to reinvent aspects of the genre or anything. However, there are a lot of elements of Leadale’s world that just feel boring. The towns are fantasy towns, the weapons are fantasy weapons. With the exception of the towers belonging to the various missing players, there is not much that separates Leadale in this regard.

Ok, but Good Story?

Leadale‘s story is definitely one of its better qualities, though I would probably stop short of calling it good. Cayna, now imbued with the powers of her avatar, begins exploring the world to figure out what exactly has happened. Along the way, she meets her in-game children she apparently forgot about, along with a crew of mercenaries and various figures from the magical academy in Felskeilo.

Much of Cayna’s adventure in this regard is fine, albeit a little dull. She goes to the guild, gets a quest, completes the quest, rinse and repeat. As she completes these quests, however, she finds more and more towers belonging to the missing players, getting special rings from the guardians of these towers. It is not well-explained what will happen when she manages to collect all of them, but it does at least give the series a through-line which keeps it somewhat engaging.

I think the best compliment I can give Leadale‘s narrative overall is that it feels a lot like watching someone play an MMORPG. Which, in the right context, can actually be a lot of fun. However, the series does little to clarify its overall plot, which means that context for enjoyment is absent.

That, and the fact that the series had one of the most powerful moments I have seen in a while. After adopting a young girl named Luka on one of her last quests and building a house in the countryside, Cayna sits on her back porch watching her and Lytt play in the flowers. At that moment, she reflects on the journey she has had thus far, contrasting it with the life she lived in the hospital and all of the things she has been able to do since coming to Leadale. It is a scene that serves as a reminder of how much potential In the Land of Leadale had that sadly got thrown away.

The Non-Ending

“Read the Manga” Endings, or in this case “Read the Light Novel,” have been fairly common in anime since the genre became popular. This is because anime is often used as a promotion for its source material counterparts. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this from an art perspective, it hurts even more since it feels as though the anime was only just picking up steam.

Before I get preempted in the comments, I will say this. I know it is hard for studios to commit to longer-running series because it often doubles their production costs. Not to mention, longer series often mean more crunch time for already overworked and underpaid animators and staff. Regardless, the show definitely could have benefited from an additional 12 episodes, given how much source material there already is.

Advertisements

Conclusion

I honestly feel a bit bad picking on the series like I have. Lord knows there are plenty of other isekai tail riders that deserve it a lot more, but while I did not expect much from them, to begin with, In the Land of Leadale seemed like it might be different. Sadly, aside from a few good moments, this was not the case. It is a fine series, but I cannot recommend it as something people need to watch.

58/100


How did you all feel about In the Land of Leadale? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

As always, thanks especially to our Patron Jenn for being absolutely amazing.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Advertisements

One of the Important Conditions for a Good Isekai

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


With the amount of Isekai anime coming out every season, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid it as a genre. Shows like “Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody” and “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” for however questionable their quality, will always be on people’s radar because, well, its the new Isekai, so maybe it will be good. Still, despite its current oversaturation in anime, the Isekai genre still has one advantage over others: Its potential.

Now, before any of what I am about to say gets lost in language, I am not saying that other anime do not have potential. I do think, however, that the general premise that comes along with what defines an Isekai is one that can be taken in a lot of different ways. It also seems to me that the Isekai anime that most people would agree are bad fail to take advantage of the world that they have set up, either because the story doesn’t engage with these elements in an interesting way or they rely on previous tropes that have become tired.

One good example of this is “In Another World with my Smartphone.” Sure, in the beginning, the setup has a bit of novelty. A kid enters another world that he knows nothing about, with the catch being that he can bring his smartphone and have it work, as well as allowing him to use magic. However, unlike a comedy show like “Konosuba,” none of this is played for laughs, and the main character mainly comes across as overpowered and uninteresting. In this case, the story has failed to engage with the world and its mechanics in an interesting way and has therefore failed to realize its potential.

An example of a good Isekai would be something like Log Horizon. In it, the main character Shiro suddenly appears in a world that is eerily similar to an MMORPG he plays called Elder Tale. He assumes this because the world itself is structured much like the game and because he now has all the abilities of his in-game character, as do all of the other 30,000 players that are trapped in the game-esk world. From there, much of focus of the plot is on figuring out how the world itself works, as well as building up the world’s infrastructure enough to where adventurers can live happily in the hopes of one day escaping back to the real world. Shiro, being a famous player of Elder Tale, becomes a sort of de-facto leader, and starts to build up the political alliances and government infrastructure that makes the world function. In this way, Log Horizon does engage with its world in an interesting way, and actively tries to understand utilize its mechanics, fully realizing its potential.

However, this is not the only condition on which to judge whether or not an Isekai anime is necessarily good. If this were my sole condition on which to judge that, then I would have to admit that Sword Art Online is good, and I am not sure I am quite ready to do that.

It is helpful to think about it in some philosophical terms. In Epistemology, there is a concept known as Necessary and Sufficient Conditions. A Necessary Condition is one that is required for something to be true or for a definition to be met and a Sufficient Condition is one that satisfies a truth or definition completely. In this case, I would argue that engaging with the fantasy world that has been set up in an Isekai story is a Necessary, but not Sufficient Condition for calling that Isekai good.


What do you guys think are the elements of a good Isekai? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi or using one of my affiliate links below:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!