Isekai, or another world, is a genre of anime/manga that has become ever more popular in recent years, following the explosive popularity of some recent anime in the genre, including Re:Zero, No Game No Life and KonoSuba to name only a small handful of well known, yet admittedly excellent, examples. However, as is the case with most things, with every shining star often comes a slew of underwhelming copycats that saturate the medium and end up acting as a deterrent for potential fans or people who are new to the genre.
Now, in case it wasn’t already obvious, for the first of our Manga Morsels – a new segment where I will be reviewing the first volume of a manga series (new or old), giving a relatively spoiler-free review and then, after all that will give my thoughts on whether I think it is worth pursuing or not – I will be looking at Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter, a new isekai manga from Seven Seas Entertainment. Now, this manga is pretty standard isekai fare, but with a twist – our main protagonist, upon her untimely demise, is transported into her favourite otome game (dating sim). Now this all sounds fairly normal for an isekai, but in this instance, our heroine does not step into the shoes of the game’s protagonist, but rather the antagonist, Iris, and from there sets out to avoid the “bad ending” of her story. While doing this, she abandons romance, and in its stead, she seeks to use her status as the noble daughter of a Duke to build and improve the region over which she presides, and in turn, the lives of the citizens who live there.
As this manga is an almost hybrid isekai/ shoujo manga, thanks in no small part to its otome game setting, it is unsurprising for beautiful characters to appear at the drop of a hat. A personal favourite character of mine (so far at least) would have to be the protagonist’s adoring maid Tanya, who, after an event in her past left her close to death, was saved by our protagonist and brought back to full health and has since devoted herself entirely to her mistress. Providing stories and insight into the past of the supporting cast is something that Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter does not shy away from – thus fleshing out most of the cast and making them far more interesting and relatable to the reader as a result. The characters are interesting and likeable, even if they do fall into your general shoujo tropes such as the “knight in shining armour”, “intelligent friend”, the “actually good bad-boy” etc. etc.. I will say, though, while the characters are somewhat stereotypical right now, I can’t wait to learn more about them and watch them grow and develop through the events of future volumes.
It must be pointed out that the first volume in this series acts merely to “set the scene” for what’s to come in future, introducing the protagonist and her small rag-tag group of friends who are sure to play a vital role in the plans of our main protagonist. The events that take place in this volume are not particularly action or romance oriented, focusing instead on heavy exposition and world-building to provide a solid foundation on which the remainder of the series can (hopefully) build. If action, violence and gore, or sparkles, romance and blushing maidens are what you’re in the market for, then I cannot in good conscience point you towards this title. However, if an isekai experience is what you seek, with a focus on friendship, the economy and using one’s political position and status to do what’s right, with a good dose of subtle foreshadowing and romantic undercurrents thrown in for good measure, then this manga may be one to watch out for as more volumes are released.
As I have already said, the first volume might be a little dry of a read for some, but personally, I am looking forward to picking up the next volume and seeing how the actions of protagonist Iris will shape this new world, and in turn, how this new world will shape her.
All things considered, I would say that this Manga Morsel is a tasty one, and is definitely worth a read, particularly for fans of the genre. As far as this manga goes, it shows promise, and if future volumes continue to build on the relatively solid foundations laid in this first volume, may be a true standout series, but only time will tell.
Well, this marks our first foray into Manga Morsels. I hope you enjoyed this new segment and look forward to the next one. If this review has made you want to check out this manga, I really hope you enjoy and please let me know in the comments what you think! Once again, thank you for joining me on this mini-foray down the otaku rabbit hole and, until next time, keep it weeby!