Rule of Three: Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs - Moving Pictures
The Rule of Three is when you watch three episodes of a TV show and make a judgement based on that whether you’ll continue watching. If a show isn’t sufficiently entertaining after about an hour (not counting ad breaks), then it’s probably not going to be at all. The latest season of anime is in full swing, and since Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs has had three dubbed episodes I gave it a watch.
While I’m aware that the “taken to another world that’s like my favourite videogame” genre has got more than a few entries, I’ve not really watched any of them. So I entered Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs (hereafter Trapped in a Dating Sim) with an open mind.
Trapped in a Dating Sim begins with our nameless protagonist trying his best to get 100% completion on a brand new, popular otome (AKA dating simulator) at his sister’s request. Well, more of a threatening demand, lest she tell on him to their parents about something she knows but we’re not privy to. It’s called AltoLiebe, though that never comes up.
After three full days of playing to completion, the still-nameless protagonist dies and is reincarnated as a child in another world. He quickly recovers his memories and realises that he’s now inside the otome, but as some random NPC also known as a mob. This is where we finally get his name: Leon Fou Bartfort. He’s the third son of a minor family, which means he’s very low on the totem pole — and worse for him the world is a matriarchy, where women rule.
In an attempt to stop himself from being married off to an older woman, and get to join the prestigious academy from the game, Leon manages to locate a premium ship that he’d bought during his playthrough to make things easier. He names the ship Luxion and returns to his parents with tons of money, having cleared a dungeon on his way home. Oh, and he found an unpopulated island which winds up getting him a barony. Sadly, he wanted to just be a baronet — a lesser nobility — because it meant not having to try quite so hard to get a wife.
That’s where Trapped in a Dating Sim starts its second episode, and the rest of it and the third episode explore the other characters and setting of the academy. Leon soon discovers that not everything is occurring as it should and that he might have to leave his comfortable lifestyle of being just a background mob. Especially since no women seem interested in him, apart from the protagonist of the otome Olivia — except it appears is no longer actually the protagonist…
While I’m not sure what I expected out of Trapped in a Dating Sim, I will admit that I had a lot of fun watching it. The characters are interesting, the voice acting is phenomenal, and I’m invested in where things will go from the promise of a mech fight at the end of the third episode.
Leon makes it clear from the outset that he’s unhappy playing the otome, then how angry he is with the world he’s reincarnated in. He spent the decade since his reincarnation writing down everything he remembered from the game, so while I’d like him to refer to his notes once in a while, at least I get why he knows so much.
We get some flashes of worldbuilding, but Leon usually underscores it with some complaint about how badly conceived it all is, based as it is on a trashy otome. One example is how his ship AI Luxion was created by a race of humans that were at war with magic-using “new humans”. It’s upset to discover that the magic users won, though its sensors detect that Leon is somehow both old human as well as new human. Leon responds, “That’s just the otome game’s setting. There’s nothing strange or interesting about it.”
Sure, he could mean that there’s nothing strange about him being part old and part new, but I choose to believe that he’s just taking one of his frequent shots at the developer of AltoLiebe. The game sucked, is what he’s getting at. He only gets into a situation because he hates a girl called Angelica less than he hates some other characters!
The only disappointment I found was in the quality of animation. A lot of times the characters are very static. I know that most anime based on light novels and manga will try to copy the posing of panels, but they’re still supposed to move. It’s incredible that it was animated by ENGI, the studio behind 2021’s The Detective Is Already Dead which I thought was animated really well! The opening titles and ending credits have decent songs, though the opening does highlight how static some of the animation can look.
Honestly, I really enjoyed the first three episodes of Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Big thumbs up from me. Leon (voiced by Jordan Dash Cruz) and Luxion (Jim Foronda AKA Claptrap from Borderlands 3) are both terrific and have great chemistry. The female leads Olivia (Jad Saxton) and Angelica (Kristen McGuire) also had some decent moments and I want to see them after being fleshed out a bit more. Oh, on that note, there was no fanservice in these episodes, despite the opportunity definitely being there.
Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.