It’s hard not to keep reviewing fantasy series. Afterall isekai seems to make up over half of each season in recent years. But after looking at all the ones coming out this season, In the Land of Leadale felt worth checking out because it felt relatively unknown and more like a traditional fantasy than the archetypically named The Strongest Sage With the Weakest Crest (which I’ll probably check out later).
But rather than drone on about it, let’s get right into our review of In the Land of Leadale; our first review for a series released this year.
In the Land of Leadale
Studios: Maho Film
Director: Yuuji Yanase
Premiere: January 5, 2022
The series follows a young woman (whose real name we’re not shown early on) who’s bedridden in a hospital and likely has been for some time. After a power outage sweeps through the city and cuts off her life support, she’s reborn as Cayna in the world of “Leadale” which was an MMO in her original world.
Our mystery woman was (as these things tend to be) a high level player who achieved the title of “Skill Master No. 3”, a high-level player who was able to bestow skills unto other players. Such was the desire for this reward, she had fled to the frontier which is where she wakes up.
However this isn’t a clean transfer as most isekai would have you expect. Instead, 200 years have passed in Leadale from the events of the game; throwing Cayna’s common sense on its head.
Overpowered protagonist? Check. Item box and cliche magical buffs? Check. Obvious big bad evil guy to defeat? Not check. In the Land of Leadale follows story beats more similar to the slow-life kind of isekai series. Ones where characters use their overpoweredness to live peacefully like in Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear.
Which there’s still no getting around the typical isekai tropes of an overpowered and well-meaning protagonist. But if you prefer comfy slice of life to shounen power scaling, this sort of isekai is for you.
One of the first things I want to touch on (and arguably one of the most important) is the translation quality of this series. This series is released in English by Crunchyroll, which is no stranger to controversy in its translations.
The most egregious change is that Crunchyroll remains convinced that viewers won’t be able to understand the concept of sentence ending sounds. This isn’t to sound elitist, but most entry level anime fans should be familiar with the concept of catgirls ending sentences in “-nya”. But of course Crunchyroll decides to build such a character’s entire personality into making cat puns. I bet that sounds purrety annoying right?
There’s also at least on anachronistic use of the word “glomp” in a sentence. Which as far as I’m aware hasn’t been a weeb staple since Gaia Online circa 2008. There is some room for benefit of the doubt, like in Don’t Toy with me Miss Nagatoro! the use of “sus” ended up being appropriate despite the assumed reference to Among Us.
The animation is overall a little below average. Stiff lines, plain backgrounds, and over the top movement for jokes define the series. But to be honest that’s ok, since In the Land of Leadale relies on not pretending to be anything more than it is: wholesome isekai fun.
I will take a moment to complain about the 3DCG used for horses and carriages with almost reckless abandon. I swear the 3D horses look like they just scanned some horse model from a toddler’s farm playset.
Now calling the series “isekai fun” isn’t to say the it is bereft of plot, there is a mystery in the background about the fate of the real world and the true nature of Leadale. For instance has 200 years truly passed? Cayna has to come to terms with the fact that seemingly everyone she knew from the game is dead (or at least their Leadale counterparts are). But what are the true circumstances for this timeskip?
Ultimately In the Land of Leadale is the vapid sort of isekai that the genres detractors might point to as an example of how unoriginal the genre is. But I think that the series has potential and avoids the issue of unoriginality by not taking itself too seriously.
In the Land of Leadale is fun but does absolutely nothing groundbreaking; but it expresses familiar tropes in a way to at least appeal to fans of the genre. If you already like isekai, this one might be worth sticking with so long as the plot picks up the pace. Meanwhile if you dislike isekai, you should probably pass it entirely.
If you want a good balance of comfy isekai and “overpowered adventurer” isekai, I’d recommend By the Grace of the Gods instead.