|Strong main character, excellent OP/ED, good use of flashbacks, mix of emotional drama and comedy
|Couple episodes moved a bit fast, time travel not explained
It’s just satisfying to have a series arrive in a season and surprise you in a positive way. And it only took one episode of (here we go) Tearmoon Teikoku Monogatari: Dantoudai kara Hajimaru, Hime no Tensei Gyakuten Story, for me to feel that. Nothing quite like light novel titles. They get the point across, but they tend to be long! The story here was one that I found easy to get into and I was rooting for the protagonist to avoid a grizzly fate…again. I think this show nailed how you should pull people into this kind of story. Show the bad ending right away and that creates an easy connection to the protagonist. The Fall 2023 anime gave me more than I expected going in.
I think the setting and story is what made this show so engaging. There’s no avoiding the nods given towards the French Revolution from this fictional world. The main character getting killed by a guillotine and having said something like “if they don’t have bread let them eat meat” is drawing inspiration from the French Revolution and to a lesser degree Marie Antoinette. But what makes it more than just a tragic road towards the main character’s death is the mystical element that makes everything work.
The main character Mia does get killed in the first episode! But that begins the journey thanks to her being sent back in time to her younger body. Whether we’re talking about some magic in her diary or just divine intervention I’m still not sure. But this isn’t an isekai or anything like that. Much more like Re:Zero just…with the main character not dying nearly so much! And her blood-soaked diary is a powerful force for Mia in trying to avoid her fate. We’re talking about an almost magical artifact that will update her progress and let her know what she’s changed and how her future is looking. It’s basically a useful means of avoiding the Re:Zero effect in full. She doesn’t have to get executed and live from her early teens to 20s repeatedly.
Honestly the struggle helped keep me engaged. The show (especially early on) has enough flashbacks to make clear how Mia’s life up to her execution…was hell. Character suffering is hard to compare. Once you get to it characters like Guts, Furude Rika, Subaru Natsuki, etc, are all suffering beyond belief. I don’t know how awful it would be to be a royal during a violent revolution that’s been thrown into a disgusting cell for 3 years! I presume it would be awful. They can’t spend forever showing how awful it was, but I think it was enough to make the viewer care about what Mia is trying to avoid going through a second time!
It isn’t all awful though. The show does manage to balance that tragic side with a lot of comedy. Mia’s current life is going much better. Even if she is constantly trying to avoid a bad ending that she knows will happen if she doesn’t do enough. The fun comes from how much goes her way. The hard work and future knowledge she has just is enough to get people to truly believe in her. And once that belief is set they do a lot of work in helping change Mia’s future and improve the kingdom. The main goal for Mia is to save herself, but through her the lives of many people are improved for the better. It’s a true win/win scenario for basically everyone.
There is no one to star with besides the main character, Mia Luna Tearmoon. This girl is the star of the show and carries it. At her core Mia is someone that started out as a spoiled Princess. Her father coddled her and she was allowed to live selfishly. It took a good way into her life before she was even challenged enough to question how much her royal meals cost. She wasn’t a terrible person. This isn’t one of those “reincarnated as a villainess” situations. She was selfish, could throw tantrums, and some servants probably lost their jobs over it. But she wasn’t a cruel person or committing the kind of atrocities that would warrant a revolution. Mia was naïve and by the time she realized how serious the situation around her was…it was too late. She couldn’t even get away before being caught and thrown into jail.
This makes the “new Mia” an interesting one to watch. She is at her core still selfish. But she’s channeled that towards saving her life. She’s hit hard by the contrast of eating prison “food” for 3 years and going back to even eating meals she used to dislike as a royal. The big thing though is that Mia is a good person at her core. She sees people that are hurting, and she’ll follow her gut. One moment that shines for Mia is when she has the chance to repay one of the few people that supported her in the original timeline. She does all she can to make that person’s life better and repay the debt she feels towards them. That is Mia. She’s dumb and goofy, but she cares and will work desperately for her goal.
There are other characters of course. Two of Mia’s greatest supporters are Anne Littstein and Ludwig Hewitt. These two believe in Mia as much as anyone else in the show does. And Ludwig especially will work off the assumption that Mia is a genius and will thus try to interpret what she wants from him! That allows him to make miracles happen that Mia could never have thought to ask for! Ludwig is a good guy. He did make a bad first impression on other Mia since he was pretty pissed about the state of Tearmoon by that point in its history. But this version gets to see Mia as a genius who shares his desire to save the kingdom and turn things around. The man is an MVP throughout the show.
But Mia’s greatest ally is Anne. This girl is someone Mia can really lean on. She knows as little about Mia’s time travelling as everyone else. But Mia is actively trying to do nice things for her and it leaves Anne as one of the best treated maids in that world (I’d presume). Anne isn’t a genius, but she is a good person who also acts based on what she thinks Mia would want. Now she may think that Mia is an even better person than she is, but the girl isn’t far off either. Anne’s good nature helps steer the future in a direction that Mia needs.
One character that surprised me a lot is Mia’s love interest, Abel Remno. The second prince of a different country than Tearmoon. Mia’s initial interest in him is understandably practical. But it does blossom into a cute little romance. Both are thrown off by what the other person does and sometimes they have mutual moments of just being embarrassed by what they are trying to do. The big thing with Abel is that he’s a bit different from Anne and Ludwig. Both were people that Mia knew were reliable because they rose to the occasion in the previous timeline. But Abel is someone Mia doesn’t know very well. And her presence elevates his character. Some characters are polished a bit by interacting with Mia, while some have the potential to become almost different people thanks to her.
Two other major characters that impact the story are two of the people that contributed to Mia’s death. Sion Sol Sunkland and Tiona Rudolvon. Sion is the prince of a different nation, but this one was far more proactive during the Tearmoon revolution. Some countries are the type to side with “just revolutionaries” and his is one of them. Mia also had some mixed interactions with him when they attended the same school for nobility together. So, it’s no surprise that for much of the show…Mia would love to interact with him as little as possible. She’s not the type to want vengeance as much as she’s the type to want to avoid a similar fate. Sion’s arc is solid though as the show goes along.
Tiona is an important figure. A lesser nobility of the Tearmoon Empire and someone that grew up to be a major figure in the revolution. She’s a good representative of the issues that plagued Tearmoon and how it all lead to a revolution. She’s still someone that Mia really would rather avoid, but someone she somewhat can’t avoid. It’s also a great contrast since these characters don’t have memories from the previous timeline. People that would have despised Mia in one timeline are far bigger fans this time around. And that’s tricky for Mia herself to manage.
I think this is a solid show visually. Silver Link isn’t the premiere studio in the world. But they do good work. And that’s clear with this show. Mia is extremely cute when it’s appropriate and honestly the show is full of great expressions on the faces of the cast. The world is a good looking one while managing to capture a somber mood when looking at the alternate timeline. Even for the OP/ED the visuals are nice. This isn’t one of those shows where they just grabbed a few scenes from actual episodes and threw a theme song over it.
The songs are good and that especially goes for the OP/ED. Mia’s voice actress Sumire Uesaka absolutely goes for it with the OP. It’s a fun and cheerful song that represents Mia’s positive energy and the way she wants to live her life. The ED is a more emotional song. It nicely captures the tragic side of Mia’s life up to her 20s and how important going back in time to change things is for her. The voice cast is excellent, and I’ve got no complaints there. Sumire is excellent as Mia and fits the character so well. Even the narrator is nicely voiced.
If I was going to get anything reviewed from this season while most shows are on break it was this one! I know this show slipped under the radar for many. It was a truly amazing season with shows like Sousou no Frieren justifiably getting the attention they deserve. But I do think this show was one of the better ones of the year. It was fun, emotional, and I enjoyed seeing Mia struggle to avoid her tragic end. She knows how things will go if she does nothing and tries everything, she can to avoid it. Some of her attempts are straight up silly, but no one can deny her will to survive.
I think characters like Mia just resonate well with me. It’s one thing for a character to “know” they have a bad future because they’ve reincarnated into a game or something. But it’s another to truly know it by having lived the life that went downhill. They make good use of those flashbacks to be clear about how things got out of control. Mia isn’t perfect. But she’s a good person that didn’t deserve what she got. So, getting to watch her try to overcome was satisfying.
It was a tough one to grade, but I’d say this was a A- show for me.
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