Kobayashi (girl) dragoons Endo (guy) into doing a Let’s Play of her favorite otome game for their school broadcasting club. The game has the standard setup: commoner Fiene attends the aristocratic magical academy and meets various cute guys. And then there’s Lieselotte, a rival character (“villainess”) who’s actually just a tsundere who is tragically incapable of expressing herself. Meanwhile, the rest of the broadcasting club is trying to play wingman for Endo and Kobayashi, while hinting that something bad happened to Endo in the past. We learn about Fiene’s five potential love interests, in particular Siegwald the prince, fiancé of Liese. But then things get WEIRD. Suddenly, Sieg can hear the voices of Endo and Kobayashi, whom he mistakes for gods! What’s more, he can respond to them! And so begins the mission: Endo and Kobayashi will seek to use this anomalous form of input to drive the game off the rails and save Liese from certain doom. In our world, Kobayashi invites Endo over to her house so that they can keep playing the game over summer break, while somewhere else, an actor (?) makes ominous comments about the game.
This is an adaptation of a charming pair of light novels, and it’s the sort of story that derives great benefits from being adapted. Seeing Liese’s cuteness, watching Endo’s overreactions, and hearing the comical sense of shock and confusion in various characters’ voices are all things an anime can do to enhance the story that a book can’t. The story plays with the reincarnated-as-the-villainess isekai subgenre in interesting ways, with parallel love stories in different worlds, the two worlds interacting through voice-overs, and the characters in our world and that of the game collaborating to save the misunderstood “villainess.” I thoroughly enjoyed the light novels, and this strong opening episode leaves me with high hopes for the anime.
Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte is streaming on HiDIve.