First Impression: Tearmoon Empire

Revolution has come to the Empire of Tearmoon and Mia, its First Princess, is experiencing her worst nightmare. Stripped of her rank, jailed in a dark cell, and force-fed rotten food, she is then left without any distraction, except for the diary she dutifully writes. Three years on, she finally sees daylight again, only to be taken to the guillotine. A multitude is watching and cheering. Her old classmates are there, stone-faced. Unexpectedly, though, her execution is followed by her waking up. She is twelve again, and her palace is still intact. It would be easy to disregard all that has happened as an illusion, and she tries to do so. But an incident with Anne, a clumsy red-haired servant, reminds Mia of the devotion she was shown and never got the chance to repay. Consequently, she returns to the fateful diary that lies on her bed, narrating the financial crisis that engulfed the Empire and led to famine, civil war, foreign intervention and, ultimately, her death. She decides she won’t allow it to happen again. And she has a plan.

At last! Tearmoon Empire has long been the subject of discussion in our Light Novel Club. As a lover of the series, of geopolitical fantasy plots, and of the history of the Ancien Régime which inspires its setting, I am extremely happy. The adaptation hits all the right notes, and I think there is room for it to become the superior version of the story. I would have gone with a more classical-sounding opening for the OP, but the music is superb, the pace is good, and the episode does a good job of rearranging the material to maintain the tension throughout. The visuals are very, very cool: I’m especially impressed by the beautiful symbolic ED, in which the two versions of Mia find each other in a boat shaped like the moon. And while I miss the ironic narrator, always happy to show us the mental process of Mia (even if I freely acknowledge that he was too deprecating from time to time), and some of the worldbuilding, what they expressed is conveyed in various interesting ways instead. If this show keeps up the good work, it could be one of my favorites this season. Long life Mia Luna Tearmoon!

Tearmoon Empire can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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