In what was a very loaded season, one that surprised me was Otome Game Sekai wa Mob ni Kibishii Sekai desu, also known as MobuSeka or Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs. My expectations going in was that it was going to be a middle-of-the-road type of isekai. Nothing spectacular, but okay. In the end, I got what I expected, but came out feeling like I got more.
Unlike a certain series from the previous season, MobuSeka ended up being greater than the sum of its parts. I feel like it demonstrates how, despite following common plot and character tropes, you can still have a good anime if you execute it well.
The plot is pretty much what you’d expect from the title. A guy is reincarnated into the world of an otome game (basically, a dating sim geared towards girls), and is just a no-name character. He proceeds to use his game knowledge to try and make his life as easy as possible while trying not to mess up the game’s plot, though that goes about as well as you’d expect. While there’s more to it than that, I think that’s a good summation without spoiling things.
So, what gives? This sounds like the same plot used time and again. That’s what I thought too. And, frankly, you’d be right. The world has some features that technically sets it apart, but the plot itself really is pretty generic.
I will say, “generic” in this case isn’t a bad thing. Honestly, I almost equate it in this instance to comfort food. People usually have very unassuming things as their comfort food. It’s just something comfortable, something you seek out BECAUSE it’s what you expect. Weirdly enough, that’s the feeling I got while watching MobuSeka. It was exactly what I expected, and thoroughly enjoyed it because of it.
Here, we have yet another fairly generic element. Most of the characters are pretty basic. The princes each reflect their character archetype, the female leads represent their tropes well, etc. The main character and antagonist are the only ones that seems different. But again, there’s more to it than that.
I’ll start with Leon, the male lead. Initially, I wasn’t a fan of him. He was crass, vulgar, and just overall kind of an asshole. As the series continued, and you saw more of his true thoughts in his discussions with Luxion (his robot companion/reluctant minion), you saw that he was actually a good person. A lot of his attitude was either spite carrying over from his time struggling through the game or to lead people’s opinions. And, honestly, seeing him stand up for Angelica was super gratifying.
Marie, the main antagonist (if you want to call her that), was pretty much what you’d expect from an antagonist. On the outside, she played the part of being cute and innocent. Deep down, however, she was harsh, apathetic to others’ problems, and greedy. The duality of these two characters was pretty stark, and really puts you on Leon’s side throughout. I will say, despite her terrible personality, I do kind of pity her for the shit she went through in life.
Now, the rest of the cast. Olivia, the game’s female lead, and (especially) Angelica, the game’s antagonist, are great characters. While they’re fairly rooted in their respective tropes as initial characters, they grow and develop as the series progresses, largely due to Leon’s influence. Plus, their relationship actually forms a cornerstone for the series’ character progression. Time and again, I was reminded how much I loved these two characters. I’m really hoping for happy endings for both of them.
As for the five princes, the capture targets in the game, we do end up seeing they’re more than the tropes they represent. We see them grow as characters, though I swear they’ve got the intelligence of a sack of potatoes. Collectively. Intelligence aside, they do come to show more of their individual characters, once again spurred on by interactions with Leon.
I’d be remiss if I left out Luxion. While seeming more like a plot device than a character, his quips with Leon added a lot to the comedy of the series. All in all, he and the rest of the cast followed much the same path: initially paper thin but growing to be fleshed out characters in their own right.
This section should be short, because frankly I don’t have much to say. I almost rolled it into the conclusion, but decided against it.
The production quality of MobuSeka was… consistent? Like, the animation quality didn’t blow me away. I liked the character designs though. The hair and clothing was pretty diverse.
The voice acting and soundtrack was good as usual. Really not much to say here. I guess I could add the first half of the opening was my jam, but the refrain (or is it the chorus? Whatever, I don’t specialize in song structure, but feel free to educate me) kind of lost me a bit. I’d still call it a good song, as I listen to the opening on repeat…
The comedy and romance of the series were okay overall. There were a few jokes I actually cracked up over. The romance is there, but not sure if the action or romance takes the center stage here. They kind of share the spotlight, which is arguably good. And the romance isn’t left unstated either, which is good.
Told you that section would be quick. So, what did I think of MobuSeka? As I stated at the start, it was exactly what I expected, and that’s not a bad thing.
This anime doesn’t change the game at all. Instead, you’re treated to a well-executed, textbook example of the genre. The characters are well designed, both artistically and how they’re written. The world is interesting with it’s unique quirks. And, perhaps most importantly, you’re pulled into the story more and more with each episode.
As a side note, watching this anime led me to check out the manga. The adaptation is pretty good, covering the first 36 or so chapters (the final scene plucks a few bits from chapter 37/38, but omits a lot). Most of the scenes are represented, minus a couple minor parts. The battles are actually better in the anime, though that’s largely due to the difficulty of representing large battles in a few panels versus animated frames.
My final thoughts on MobuSeka would probably be that it is what it is, doesn’t try to be anything else, and does it well. If you like this genre, this is worth checking out. Unfortunately, I doubt it’ll be a standout series this year, but I’m glad I got to enjoy this series. Almost certainly to go down as one of the underrated anime this season. I know I’ll be continuing the manga (which already has some major events happening after the end of the anime!) as I hold on to hope that it gets a second season. Okay, rant over. See you in the next one.