The easy-going entries in Endo and Kobayashi Live seem quaint as we transition into this second half of the season. That’s not out-of-line with typical visual novel pacing, but it’s still enjoyable to see things on both sides of the show’s setting ramping up. The tone of all these developments also feels effectively interconnected, which is a little surprising when you’re watching the show posit that rallying royal allies to break a deadly curse is worth the same amount of audience emotional investment as commenting on a high school basketball game.
Even within the series, Endo and Kobayashi are taking their deity duties seriously, but not too seriously, which keeps the tone at an entertaining level. Yes, it makes sense for them to call a conference to strategize how they will pull off their Lieselotte-saving run in Love Me Magically. But there’s also an air of inherent silliness to setting up such a thing for an otome dating sim, rounded out by the pair realizing their elevated abilities in communicating with the game let them consider solutions that might be otherwise ‘outside’ the purview of its mechanics. It also lets me see one-on-one chemistry between my favorite couch co-op couple, which will always be a win.
Though that’s honestly just the warm-up of this episode in terms of that sweet shippable content for Endo and Kobayashi, the characters. The personal element of their commentary component has slowly nudged them forward. We get a payoff when they are tapped to comment on their school’s ball games, and it drives home for Endo that this might be the way he’s wanted to engage with his beloved sports despite his injury driving him out of directly participating. The resultant big broadcast works as a setpiece because the voice actors doing the commentary sell the energy and chemistry. It manages to prop up an inter-class basketball game which is clearly not the priority for this show’s already spread-thin animation production, which really says something.
Driving Endo and Kobayashi’s development in this way interestingly lets this anime ring closer to an “old” style isekai series— one of those where characters were transported to a different world with the understanding that they would find their way back home eventually. They would generally undergo character development via the fantastical, related to some issues they were experiencing at home. Of course, Endo and Kobayashi haven’t been teleported into the world of Love Me Magically, so the fantasy fix-up element is more of a parallel influence, but the spirit of the old ways is still present. It’s also an earnest proposition that any art, including otome dating-sim video games, can have value and positive effects on people, helping them through whatever difficult times they might be going through.
That comes through as we get deeper into the internal story of Love Me Magically in this episode. The idea was already visited last week, as we learned that Liese fixating on her fairy-tale stories and the “Happily Ever After” she was so desperate to attain with Sieg formed the backbone of her relationship goals with him. And this episode sees her father reflect on the (unintentional) effects his contributions had on her upbringing. But even though she’s still struggling with her nightmares against a plot-imposed deadline and her inability to hear the voices of the two “gods” striving to save her, Liese continues to be an active force in her story. She’s the one whose matronly manners convince Fabian to join the growing alliance, after all, allaying the fears brought on by his (briefly mentioned but oddly traumatic) backstory.
The idea of agency in one’s story is a growing, recurring theme. It’s odd for a series predicated on characters as outside influences. But given how experience with the game characters has been shown to inspire Endo and Kobayashi in parts of their lives where they still have to take their first steps forward, it’s fair to analyze it as working both ways. That’s coming through strongly as Fiene has stepped up more and more into her official primary character role, as in the scene in this episode where she shuts down Bal and her newly adoptive father for trying to have exclusive dictation over her marriage path. Sure, that bit is some relatively basic advancement in fantasy romance writing, but then the series gets to push things further in more novel ways.
That idea of agency also comes through in Fiene’s strength since she didn’t attain it due to setting a goal or simply wanting to better herself, but rather out of necessity due to her struggles to survive. It puts an interesting spin on Fiene being frustrated by her strength and codes Bal’s desires to level up and be able to protect her in a more earnestly layered way than base fantasy chivalry. It’s another case in this anime where we’re asked to ponder whether this was the read in the originally-written Love Me Magically, or if it’s borne out of Endo and Kobayashi’s headcanons. That’s another one of the things that makes this series so compelling to follow, especially in stronger episodes like this.
Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte is currently streaming on
Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.
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