Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs is a series of isekai light novels, written by Yomu Mishima and illustrated by Monda. It follows Leon Beaufort as he struggles to navigate a world in which men are treated as second class citizens, and how he uses his recently remembered past life to make himself rich and powerful.
The first volume of the manga adaptation has recently been released on BookWalker, which follows his death in his previous life through to the early days at the requisite Special Magic Academy. This includes him using his knowledge of the universe to get a cheat item that lets him make himself extremely wealthy to spite the woman his father is married to, a lot of really questionable depictions of how a world run by women would look exactly like a Generic Fantasy Patriarchy but for a slight tweak to the aesthetic, and a character who is clearly also reincarnated from a time in which this world was some sort of prophetic video game.
Before I get into the meat of my review of volume 1, I want to make clear that I did actually enjoy parts of it. Not because they were good, or because I found the story thus far particularly interesting, but because it was, in fact, spectacularly bad. It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. There is one funny moment, where Leon calls his robot sidekick a tsundere, and they make a comment about how they “can’t return [Leon’s] feelings” because they have no concept of gender, but it wasn’t funny because it was a good joke, so much as because it was just very familiar. As someone with no concept of gender myself, I have run into these jokes many times. They’re never funny, but the predictability is comforting.
That being said.
TiaDS is one of those lovely settings where someone tries to imagine a female power fantasy, but doesn’t seem to know enough about women to know what that might be. The result is that we have a world in which every female character comes off as a stereotype, and not in the cute, relatable way of, say, My Next Life as A Villainess. The male/female power reversal actually has a lot of potential, but it’s a potential that requires at least a few seconds of thought to be utilized effectively.
TiaDS does not utilize its ideas effectively. So we get a lot of cruel, manipulative women indulging in a childish idea of misandry, whose portrayal of all their characters is so steeped in a misogynistic misunderstanding of the world that it drowns out any potential the setting might have had.
So, I dunno, 5/10? Honestly, just watch Pacific Rim (2013). God knows it’s what I plan to do.
And if you can afford to throw us 5$ a month on Patreon, I can even facilitate your viewing of Pacific Rim, which at time of writing is locked behind a premiere paywall on Hulu and Amazon. Because capitalism is bad, and wants us all to be miserable all the time. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a fantastic day!