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She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man

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She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man is a forgettable show, so much so that I found myself struggling to recall what happened in the earlier episodes by the time I reached the end. But to its credit, it’s rarely actually irritating in its badness, nor does it treat its genderbending main character with flagrant disrespect (mostly). It is honestly a perfectly reasonable show to watch if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted fantasy that doesn’t demand too much of your attention.

The story… Well, you’ve seen it before. An overpowered VRMMORPG player finds himself sucked into the game world for real and continues to curbstomp in this new setting. The twist, if it can be described as one, is that instead of playing a wise old man character, he is now in the body of a young girl.

One would think that with a premise like that, a hefty narrative focus would be on genderbending shenanigans. But that aspect is honestly pretty subdued. There are a couple of obligatory jokes about people not taking a little girl seriously, and Mira expresses bemusement from time to time about dressing up in cute clothes, but gender identity is never touched upon at all in the dialogue. Perhaps it’s because both “Danblf” (the wise old man) and “Mira” (the so-called pupil of the wise man) are fundamentally just roleplay characters as far as the gamer protagonist is concerned. Within this context, Mira is comfortable being referred to as a girl by the other characters, so in this review I will be using female pronouns for Mira and male pronouns for Danblf.

The series establishes very quickly that despite the surface change in appearance, Mira has all the same powers and capabilities as her Danblf persona. Thirty years have passed in the game world when she wakes up in it as her new reality, but this has a negligible impact on the powerscaling. As a result, there is absolutely no tension in this story, whether it’s internal in the form of Mira’s sense of identity, or external in the form of physical threats to the realm. Solomon, a fellow top player who serves as the king of Arkite, talks of the need to reassemble all the other elite “wise men” characters from the game, but Mira embarks on this quest in an unhurried way. Even by the end, she’s only made contact with a handful of old friends, so there’s a sense that the story barely progresses at all.

So if this anime is lacking in conflict or shenanigans, what does it even have to offer at all? Now that I’m posing the question to myself this bluntly, I’m struggling to answer it, which is probably the most damning response. I like the anime’s sense of color and aesthetic, but the animation is middling, and the CG creatures are aggressively ugly to look at. Still, even when they stick to a formula, the individual episodes aren’t so bad. The appeal is watching Mira team up with various guest party members and go on low-stakes adventures. Even though the game trappings are all too obvious, there’s still a sense of whimsy about the world that makes the little discoveries fun.

As for content warnings, the show is occasionally a little bit fetishistic. This isn’t in the form of nudity, surprisingly. Although there is an episode called “I am naked” that does feature an extended sequence of what it says on the tin, the camera is neutral in its framing of Mira’s body, and the other characters in the scene don’t draw attention to it either. No, the weird thing about the show is its occasional fixation on peeing jokes. It was admittedly somewhat amusing the first time to watch this wise sage character deal with the very prosaic urge to pee, but when this joke kept coming back exclusively at Mira’s expense, it was not only unfunny, but also started to come across as vaguely suspect. Mercifully, the other jokes in this anime are innocuous.

Before I finish this review, I want to give a shoutout to the English dub, and especially to Felecia Angelle for her performance of Mira. Where Nichika Omori expresses Mira as more of a stereotypical “lolibaba” character in the cadence of her voice and the use of standard verbal quirks, Angelle used a deeper voice to channel the loftiness and dignity of Danblf’s character. Both performances are valid, but I did find myself leaning a little more towards the English dub because it made Mira’s character easier to accept as an extension of Danblf. Ultimately, this isn’t a show I would recommend generally, but it does have little things to appreciate here and there.

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