Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore January 12, 20182 Comments
A young man appears to be flying with creatures resembling pterodactyls

What it’s about? Death march: the stage of a programming project where the developers are forced to work insane hours, frantically trying to complete a project that may be doomed to fail. Twenty-nine-year-old Ichiro Suzuki is an MMO developer who lives for the intensity of the death march. While working on debugging two games at once, he falls asleep under his desk and wakes up in a new world with the face of his fifteen-year-old self. After his first battle, he’s at Level 310 with a ridiculous amount of money, unused skill points, items, and an inventory full of everything he could possibly need.

All right y’all, I’m sleep-deprived and writing the review for this incredibly boring show is all that stands between me and a good night’s rest, so pardon if I very clearly don’t give a shit.

The first few minutes of the episode frankly weren’t too terrible. Suzuki’s work life is awful, and seeing the progression from being able to take the time out to get a bento and eat in the park to cramming rice balls in his mouth while his coworkers sleep under their desks is at least somewhat interesting.

Sure, when he explicitly states that he’s not a lolicon when meeting a lost child in the park and then ogles her hot mom to underline that he’s definitely only into adult women with breasts and periods and the ability to legally consent, it’s kind of weird. But I didn’t think too much of it.

But then he wakes up in another world, his haggard almost-30-year-old features replaced with those of a fresh-faced teenager. After a brief couple minutes of tension as he’s almost overwhelmed in battle, he becomes Level 310. He starts going by Satoo (rhymes with “poo”), his online alter-ego, and has access to a full MMO user interface and all menu options, except for the ability to log out.

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody is supposedly a harem series, but for most of the episode, the only character on screen is Satoo. Satoo, scrolling through menus. Satoo, checking the map to see who is nearby and what their levels are. Satoo, narrating every single flick of his finger and menu selection. About half the episode is Satoo talking to himself, if not more. He is not witty. He is not clever. He does not have an interesting or fresh perspective. He is a boring, small man who has wasted his time working instead of going out and doing… something! Anything!

The whole thing was so horrifically monotonous, I was hoping he’d stumble onto one of the harem girls from the opening just to spice things up. He could even literally stumble upon her and accidentally grab her boobs in a stupid cliched cheesecake anime move. Shove a pair of tits in our faces! I don’t care! Just don’t make me listen to him talk anymore!

The recent trend in isekai series seems to be increasingly to make the protagonist incredibly strong right off the bat, probably as a wish fulfillment move. However, if you don’t actively wish you could be swept away into a fantastical universe and be surrounded by girls horny for you and only you, it is desperately dull.

There is no tension whatsoever. Satoo has everything he could ever need, and his wealth of skill points have solved every possible issue so far. Can’t understand what people are saying? Put ten skill points into language and instantly become fluent in every tongue. Big wyvern knocked you off a cliff? You’re indestructible even in falls of thousands of feet because you’re just THAT STRONG. I would have been infuriated by it if I hadn’t already gone numb from boredom.

Death March makes me nostalgic for Re:ZERO, a series I am on the record as not caring for. Subaru may have been a jackass and Rem a bland wish-fulfillment figure, but at least he struggled and overcame obstacles and arguably grew as a person. Satoo is too strong, too perfect, too boring. Plus I’ve come across some mild spoilers that show some shockingly reprehensible attitudes toward women (hint: it involves slaves).

Don’t watch this stupid, bad show. I’m going to bed.

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