There are two things I noticed that are problematic with this show: 1.) it shoots its pacing and it ignores good storytelling methods to try to hurry up its narrative to the part it wants to tell and comes off as scared the calibre of its writing is not enough to keep its audience interested so it must rush as hard as it can to immediately show its gimmick; 2.) It’s trying to have its tanuki loli slave cake and eat it too. We’ll naturally go over that over the course of the review.
I want to tackle first its main potential, how it wastes it, and what it offers instead in lieu of said wasted potential.
Isekai, at its core, is a fish-out-of-water story taken to the extreme. You have an ordinary person from a decidedly un-magical locale and/or lead drab lives before they are whisked away to a fantastical new world where they live out interesting lives full of adventure and magic.
Most videogame-isekai authors, however, seem more interested in tailoring this brave new world in such a way that it’s the one world where their otaku excels at with his given skillset. They’re not dragging the fish out of water, so to speak. They’re dragging the fish into the water.
Now, to the show's credit, there’s a limitation attached to the main character: he can’t attack effectively. It forces him to pair up with someone who actually can. Then his situation becomes untenable when he’s falsely accused of rape and any chance of him getting a decent companion is out the window. In the end, he has to buy a slave. This is a genuinely nice setup. They now have to learn to work together and grow together if they are to survive, with an added dilemma: this is just some slave he bought. Who knows if she’ll even cooperate with him? And even if she does, is she competent enough when his life is on the line? And then there’s her side. For all she knows, her ownership just simply changed. The guy is nothing to her and he has to earn her trust little by little, as she has to earn his. It has the potential for a character story of both party slowly building the bridge between them brick by brick, replete with setbacks and drawbacks along the way. It’s a setup so rife with possibilities; except that story immediately nukes half of that equation of them having to meet halfway by making the girl basically fall for him. It rids itself of one-half of its character building potential. For what? So it could hurry its shipping along?
Alright, it can still work with just the main character half. Slightly less effective sure, but it’s doable. There’s still a character-building potential of the main character half: where he attempts to find it in him to trust again after the initial betrayal. Except that we have no proper measure of him as a character before the rape accusation so we don’t really know how much of him had changed after that beyond the basic demeanor; by ridding us of the ability to make a more in-depth comparison of the before and after of the main character, it lessens its already reduced impact even more. If we had that, we’d have a better idea of what was lost in him that day and can empathize and sympathize with him.
All we have now is a world dedicated on shitting on the main character and we’re supposed to root for him with full justice boner on just because he’s the main character. And there’s so much bullshit we have to put up with with the contrived way he is being put down. Yes, while I did praise the setup the show arrived at, the way they set that up is contrived. The series as a whole feels contrived.
Thanks to the light novel and web novel readers, I’ve been spoiled to hell and back on the major plot points of how the rape accusation ends and why the main character was singled out (seriously, if you don’t like spoilers, stay away from the episode discussions because a lot of readers there seem incapable of using the BB code for the spoiler tag). And all I can say is that the characters who are not the MC did the absolute stupidest things they can do just to make this plot-point happen. Expect a lot of idiot balls handed to the casts to simply move the story along the lines the author wants it to move without necessarily making logical sense. In fact, the anime seems more intent on telling us what things are and how they work even when things explicitly running counter to what was said runs in the background.
Again, it rushes its narrative to get to what it thinks is the good part: the shipping of the main character and the raccoon girl.
[Insert Street Fighter 1994 M. Bison soundbyte here: “OF COURSE!”]
Sure, why not. Let’s get to the meat of the show then. It’s about a cute raccoon slave loli falling in love with the first guy to ever show her kindness in quite a while. Two words come to mind: Stockholm syndrome. It’s not exactly accurate but you get the idea of how imbalanced the power dynamics in the relationship is. He buys her from an abusive slave owner. He’s kind to her. Boom! Love.
The story even takes care to make sure that there’s no male character that can outshine the male protagonist because then it might be hard to justify her settling for him when there are better options. Other male characters of significant note to the story tend to be written in such a way that they’re usually evil, incompetent, obnoxious, or old enough that the otaku cannot see them viably as a threat. Because when all the otaku has to offer is kindness, a decent respectable male is kinda a step up. Can’t have them buzzing around M’lady.
Oh, and they un-lolify the loli. Not really sure if she is mentally an adult or a child, but you know, she’s not physically loli anymore. Yay~! She's legal. /s
It’s a change I’m guessing was hand-waved in to avoid controversy of having a child-looking humanoid who, we would be given to assume, has underdeveloped mental faculties to make correct decisions fall for her slave owner for the trivial reason that he’s kind to her and no one showed her kindness in a long time (or if ever at all).
If you’re here for the adorable raccoon girl, have at it. If you’re here expecting something better, sorry man. But hey, it has a RACCOON GIRL. And she’s cute. I think. I mean, they keep talking about her in episode discussions.