Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Series Review: The Experiment Has Ended

I’d never read the source material before watching an anime before so Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody was something of an experiment to see if knowing what was going to happen would change my enjoyment of it. I can’t say that it did but that’s more because this anime probably would have bored me to tears either way. What did you think of it?

Review:

There’s very little for me to really say about this anime, which is kind of odd given I watched it through to the end and it wasn’t as though it was toxically terrible. That’s actually probably the worst thing about this show. It isn’t good or bad. It just kind of is. It is your typical game developer/designer/whatever wakes up inside game world kind of story and then just to make sure we aren’t worried about his safety he is transformed into a teenage version of himself with super stats. Of course he gains a harem of girls but being a gentlemen won’t do a thing with any of them, but he will slip off to a tavern if he gets the chance, and will definitely comment on the breast size of older women.

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However, that was the same as the source material and why it wasn’t great, it was enjoyable enough to read with some interesting descriptions of places and people. The anime on the other hand doesn’t get the benefit of the interesting descriptions and really just kind of drags the viewer along after Satou as he explores the new world. He also seems to gain levels and skills super fast, which again was the experience in the book but it didn’t feel as much like he was cheating his way through a story in the book for some reason even though the progress was much the same.

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The visuals aren’t great and a lot of the images end up being from Satou’s point of view with game menus dominating a large part of the screen and a weird filter over some shots. However, even when that isn’t the case, nothing is overly distinct visually. The town, the food, the scenery are all just kind of pseudo-medieval and while that was the case in the book, when you could imagine it yourself it looked a lot more interesting than this.

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The girls Satou rescues and befriends over the course of the series all have their good points and moments. The issue of course is the sheer number of them and they end up with overlapping personalities and roles within the group meaning they all become relatively inconsequential and interchangeable. You’d be forgiven for not being able to name any of them outside of Tama, Pochi and Arisa given the rest keep getting sidelined.

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As I said, not much to say about this. It wasn’t terrible. But it was probably the least interesting thing I watched this season. I really wanted more from it, but when you decide to follow events in a story as they are written rather than thinking about how to make them interesting to view on screen, this is more or less what you are going to end up with.

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 12: Friendship Trumps All

This one has finally drawn to a close and I’m not in the least sorry to see it end. While it isn’t unwatchable by any means, given I clearly watched it and it isn’t a disaster of a narrative, it really does just kind of meander its way through the events in the novels. Interestingly, the final episode probably has the biggest deviation from the events in the book and really that was probably just so they could wrap up this arc without needing another episode.

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Still, the anime has never once broken free of its generic trappings or of being a less impressive version of a story type we’ve seen before (but better) with characters we’ve met before (but more interesting versions). Being generic isn’t exactly a crime, and some generic anime manage to be quite entertaining, but this one felt like it was just passing time and the final episode does nothing to change that impression.

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I’ll write a full review soon but essentially this is Satou travelling about doing what he feels he would like to do and gathering a collection of girls into his travelling party who each increasingly serve less purpose as they start overlapping in their characteristics.

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 11: The Great Potion Bottle Conspiracy

The biggest problem with this anime is it lacks any sense of urgency. Ever. This episode begins with Satou taking a leisurely meal, drink, and whatever else is on offer at a pub before he continues travelling along and playing around with skills and practising different magic effects. While this ultimately leads him to the witch’s forest and triggers the next ‘event’ where he has to help the apprentice get enough of the potion gathered and delivered, there’s really no sense that there is any real threat here that the audience should take seriously.

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It was after this arc in the books where I paused in reading this series because I was having much the same problem reading about this dilemma. The main character has no personal stake in it. We only just met the witch and her apprentice so we have no attachment to them, and Satou does not need to get involved. He mostly just decides he wants to because… Okay, I don’t know that we know enough about him as a character to know what his motive is other than ‘nice MC archetype’.

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Though, so this doesn’t seem too negative (though how you could be too negative about something this dull I do have to wonder), I will point out the positive which is the very pretty magic display we get mid-episode.

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Onto the final episode then and to be honest I’m going to be pretty happy to say goodbye to this show from my watch list.

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 10: We’ll Eat, And Play, And Muse, and Eat Some More

Princess saved and the camper-van is on the road as the girls frolic in gentle rolling fields only occasionally stopping to ruthlessly cut down the perfectly innocent deer that might otherwise have live long and fruitful lives. Why did they keep this in when they adapted this to an anime?

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While I’m positive that Satou’s title of doll-maker or puppeteer or whatever it was, will somehow be crucially important to the plot at some point (eye roll), the simple fact of the matter is that nothing that happened this episode needed to be shown at all. Even the ratmen giving Satou the bell could have happened in a different place.

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And while yes we did get Satou’s playing around with storage, magic, and trips into what might either be his past, a past life, or some game delusion that he had after far too much Red Bull and an all night session with his computer, none of it really seems worth sitting through all those stills of smiling girls eating happily on picnic blankets.

Possibly there’s an audience out there thinking this is exactly what they’ve always wanted to watch, but somehow I kind of thought when they adapted this subject matter they’d make some hard cuts.

 

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 9: Destroy The Minions, Kill the Bad Guy, Rescue The Princess – Check

Review:

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody as an anime just hasn’t managed to really do much other than walk us through a check list of events that each could be interesting given sufficient time and attention and yet neither seems to be something this show wishes to give anything other than Satou’s reaction to food. This episode basically walks us through a by-the-numbers hero’s path as he cuts his way through the minions (not killing them of course) before a one-on-one confrontation that ends with him rescuing the Princess before engaging in a daring escape. And yet, none of it is interesting.

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You might argue that maybe I’m just hard to please but really is it too much to ask for some sense of danger or risk to the protagonist or even a villain that isn’t really just a talking skull that other than abducting the elf-girl does absolutely nothing villainous. And while we’re on it, why did he kidnap the elf-girl? His motivation here seems pretty weak to say the least.

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Not to worry though, because everything will be just fine and Satou will reunite with his growing gang of groupies and they’ll embark on a road trip. I kind of thought this arc would be the end of the season but we’ve still got three episodes to go so now I’m kind of wondering where this show intends to leave us at the end of the season. Probably in the middle of nowhere.

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 8: Shortcut Through A Dungeon

Review:

I mentioned in the second light novel review that the dungeon exploring elements in this story seem more obligatory than actually apart of the story with the protagonist going out of his way to get through it as fast as possible. When reading that seems like an odd choice but the focus is on living in another world and not so much on defeating dungeons (though why include the dungeon at all then). When watching this play out it isn’t just odd, it is boring. And that is the single worst thing I could say about a show.

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Any way, Mia is kidnapped by the Undead King and Satou follows ending up in a dungeon of 200 floors which he essentially uses short cuts to get through. While I don’t actually want to see him grind 200 floors, it would be nice if this sequence at least presented some kind of challenge or even built up some sense of anticipation. However, the story tone just reeks of obligation. This is a based on a game isekai so here’s your dungeon sequence, slap

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The end result is an understandably less than satisfying viewing experience. And even the set up for the next episode isn’t doing all that much for me. Even if I hadn’t read how it would resolve it just doesn’t seem likely that there’s going to be much excitement from the confrontation they’ve just set up so for a cliff-hanger it really kind of failed to generate any enthusiasm for what comes next.

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 7: Still Images and Exposition – Fun?

Review:

Well my fingers were crossed for something interesting and all I got for my effort was cramped fingers and an episode that was determined to take the one interesting plot point it might have offered and delivered it in the single dullest way possible. No joke, they had a serious point to explain about how the elf had been kidnapped and escaped from wizards before being found by the rat guy in the red helmet and friends and how they helped her get to the city, and all of this was told to the audience in an emotionless voice over by the main character while we had still shots of the events being described. Are they kidding us?

There are even any words at this point in time. Sure, they may have given this sequence as basic exposition in the light novel but that’s the thing about adaptations. They need to be adapted to suit the medium. And this didn’t even try. Same with the camping sequence, also shown through a series of still images.

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If we add in Arisa’s BL fascination earlier in the episode lacking any real context or reason to exist, you could definitely claim that this show has really kind of failed at producing an engaging adaptation. Faithful, maybe, given all the events so far have in fact been in the source, but I’m not one to care whether we’re trudging page after page through the source material if the result is duller than watching my laundry dry.

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I am seriously only finishing this at this point because I want to see out this experiment of watching something I’d already read the source material of. That said, even if I hadn’t read the source material, I’d be annoyed by how tedious this show has become as it just squanders every opportunity to be interesting.

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Karandi James

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Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.