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Anime NYC 2021
In The Land of Leadale Premiere

by MrAJCosplay/The Cartoon Cipher,

Crunchyroll's premiere of In the Land of Leadale was pretty straightforward. Not a lot of talk about the show in question either before or after the screening of the first episode. Despite the premiere taking place relatively late in the evening of a very frantic first day for the convention, the premiere hall was mostly full with murmurs from fans anticipating just what exactly this show is about. I can't speak for everybody but funnily enough, I think I walked away from the one episode premiere asking myself that same question rather than walking away with a new answer.

In the Land of Leadale seems to be presenting itself as another run-of-the-mill isekai/trapped in a video game hybrid. The first episode seems to relish in its simplicity and is very comfortable taking its time. Cayna waking up in this world is actually rather simple although it does also lead to implications darker than my original impressions lead me to believe. Specifics are never overly explained within these 23 minutes, but it's implied that Cayna was immobile in a hospital and on life-support. She was hooked up to some kind of virtual game to maybe keep her brain active but a power outage cut her off from life-support and her body ended up dying while her mind seemed to somehow transfer into her digital avatar in the game. Most of the episode is framed as a mystery from the main character's perspective. There seems to be less of a focus on how or why she reincarnated into this video game world and more so on why the world itself seems to be different from how she originally remembers playing it.

There are a lot of lore implications regarding how this kingdom was versus how it is now and the line between the fantasy world and game mechanics can be a bit confusing. Cayna seems to use a game interface to activate her abilities and there are villagers who seem to treat that as normal. But concepts like NPCs are met with confusion. There aren't any player characters here but the rumors they spread still seem to exist. Hard to say if these are oversights or deliberate breadcrumbs that are building towards a revelation as there is only so much you can cram in an episode but I like the confidence in this approach.

Animation is relatively simple and clean with music that carries a simple whimsy to it. There are no major moments of animated sakuga and things are played up in a much more comedic manner that got some nice reactions from the fans present. Honestly I wish there was a bit more as the amount of content on display felt a bit lacking (I mean the episode just ends without even an ending sequence). However, maybe we need more anime like this that don't always show their full hand at jump? We're just going to have to wait and see come January.

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