What starts out as a fairly typical transported to a video game world power fantasy quickly devolves into a story of one creep with a harem of underaged slave girls. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody is the worst show I have seen all season.
Content warning: This review contains mentions of slavery and sexual assault.
The Power Fantasy
There’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned power fantasy from time to time. Part of the appeal of superhero stories is the power fantasy element. But the market has become so saturated with this particular brand of power fantasy that it hardly seems worth talking about. A turbo-nerd gets transported into a world with video game leveling systems, and swiftly power-levels his way to godhood.
This isn’t a particularly exciting premise, and I wish light novel authors would stop using it. More importantly, I wish the people who make anime based on those light novels would stop picking these. For every Konosuba and I’m a Spider, So What? we seem to get a dozen Trapped In an Alternate World Power Fantasy With a Harem of Cute Girls Who Inexplicably Want to Be My Girlfriend Despite My Utter Lack of Personality and/or Morals.
This particular version of it is particularly annoying.
Suzuki “Satou” Ichirou is a game designer who works overtime fixing bugs in MMOs before they launch. After a particularly grueling debugging session, he decides to just sleep at the office instead of going home. He wakes up in a strange world and is quickly attacked by a mob of high-level monsters. Thanks to a cheat spell he happens to have, he is able to wipe the monsters out and reaches level 310 within minutes of arriving in this parallel world.
Before he realizes that he’s basically a god, he has a sword fight with one of the few monsters that survived his initial apocalypse spell. I actually like the way it sets him up to be a pragmatic fighter in this scene. He even goes so far as to throw sand in the monster’s eyes to create an opening. It’s a shame that this neat character detail is completely undercut by how absurdly overpowered he is.
Satou the Unstoppable Übermensch
With all of the monsters he killed, Satou has maxed out stats which basically grants him superpowers. He can effortlessly leap tall buildings in a single bound and is functionally invincible. He’s Superman if Superman decided to become a magical slave owner instead of a journalist/crime-fighter.
But that’s not all. He has also amassed more skill points than he could ever spend. Whenever he needs to do literally anything, Satou can just pump up the relevant skills to max level and auto-win every encounter. Within minutes of his first encounter with humans in this world, Satou instantly maxed out his lying and speech abilities. This allows him to basically smooth-talk his way through any problems he might have.
He also amassed an absurd amount of wealth and powerful items from all those monsters he killed. Meaning he can pull literally any “fuck you, I win” item out of his pockets at any time. He’s also one of the richest people on the planet, and can just buy whatever he wants whenever he wants it.
Satou has one other major advantage over the rest of the world. Satou can check the map. While it wasn’t outright stated that nobody else can use the map, it doesn’t look like they can either. The map feature makes Satou functionally omnipotent. At a glance, Satou can tell how many people are in a given area, what their levels and races are, as well as their affiliations. He can also scan any person within eyeshot and can instantly tell their level, titles, and abilities.
But enough about Satou’s abilities
As a person, Satou is the bog-standard milquetoast blank-slate protagonist. His defining features seem to be “not a loli-con,” which I might buy if not for the harem of underage slave girls (one of whom is eleven years old), and the uncomfortable amount of time he spent focusing on the thirteen-year-old waitress’s breasts.
His other defining trait is that he doesn’t seem to want to work too hard on that whole “saving the world from the demon lord thing” He’s more than content to conceal his power-level, and live out a comfortable life sight-seeing with his slave harem.
The only remotely admirable trait he seems to have is that he wants to use his experiences in this other world to become a better game designer. I can respect that. The other arguably admirable trait he has is that he treats his slaves like human beings. Not that that stops him from issuing orders they physically cannot disobey, or you know, owning them as slaves.
As for the Plot
I have to be honest; I dropped this show like a hot potato in episode five after the eleven-year-old tried to use mind control magic to rape Satou.
As far as I can tell, the plot seems to be fairly generic. Satou is the chosen hero, or whatever. He’s picked up a stable of popular waifu archetypes and is planning on going around the country to sight-see. He’ll probably go on to fight demons and kill the demon lord with his harem of battle-trained slave children.
The animation is passable. There isn’t anything that wows me about it. The food is pretty nicely drawn, but even that isn’t especially impressive looking.
The action scenes aren’t very well choreographed and feel sluggish. None of the action has any sort of impact to it. Take the climactic battle of what I believe to be the first arc, where Satou fights a literal demon. It idly swings its claws and claw marks appear on the screen, but it doesn’t even look like Satou is no-selling it. It looks like there’s an attack shaped filter overlaid on the screen. Fights in RPG Maker look better than this.
The voice acting doesn’t help. Satou’s voice actor never seems to go beyond “mildly annoyed”. I guess that comes with the territory when the main character is functionally invincible and can’t feel pain.
Satou’s super jumps look especially bad. It looks less like he’s jumping and more like he’s floating away. Observe, Satou mid-jump into the flight path of a wyvern:
Even the OP is exceedingly dull and generic. The song they chose has very little energy to it, and the generic anime opening chilchés are out in full force. It’s a slow waifu roll call that doesn’t manage to show off any of their personalities beyond “cute and flustered” or “cute and cheerful” or “snake-lady”. This is followed by a lazy action sequence where Satou shoots a boulder to death and flies away with two of the girls. It’s all so uninspired like it was four o’clock on a Friday and the person who was in charge of animating the OP had mentally checked out hours ago.
I doubt I’m going to pick this show back up again. I have better things to do, and so do you. If you have to watch a show about someone being brought to an alternate universe that functions like a video game, I mentioned two very good options up above. The Konosuba and I’m a Spider, So What? light novels are both being officially translated into English. You can also watch the excellent Konosuba anime, which sadly doesn’t seem to be getting a third season.