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The Winter 2022 Preview Guide
She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man

How would you rate episode 1 of
She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man ?
Community score: 2.5



What is this?

Kagami Sakamori was one of the top players in the VRMMO Ark Earth Online as Danblf, a veteran summoner with the gravitas to match his elite status. When he falls asleep playing one day, he's transported to a world where the game is reality—but instead of his all-powerful avatar, he's stuck in the body of a cute young girl. He can't let anyone know that this little cutie is really Danblf, so he takes the name “Mira” and claims to be Danblf's disciple. If this gets out, he'll never live it down.

She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man is based on Hirotsugu Ryusen's light novel series and streams on Funimation on Tuesdays. The first episode premiered early on YouTube.


How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis
Rating:

Man, what a waste of a first episode. Most of it is spent on establishing a status quo—which it then overturns by the end of the episode. Worse still, the same effect could have been achieved in a tenth of the time with nothing more than some extra narration.

The setting isn't exactly complex. It basically takes place in a fantasy version of EVE Online (i.e., an MMORPG where much of the content and the direction of the world comes from player interaction rather than from the developers), except that it also places a focus on role-playing. Our hero, Dunbalf, and his friends have founded their own kingdom and are ridiculously overpowered. After wasting a ton of time showing Dunbalf utterly curb-stomping an army of 10,000 goblins, we get to the expected twist. Not only is Dunbalf pulled into the game world, he is turned into a beautiful young girl in the process—or at least that's what I think happened.

See, the last act of the episode is completely free of dialogue and sound effects so we're forced to make a certain amount of interpretation. While this attempt at pure visual storytelling could be interesting, it instead just highlights how cliché the story is. You don't need audio to know what's going on, but that's not because of the artful way the animation is directed; rather, it's because you've seen this exact series of events in a billion isekai anime before. If there is a particular uniqueness to our heroes situation, it didn't come across.

In the end, all this series does is set up a boring world with an equally cliché plot. If any series needed to be started en media res, it's this one. Seeing a bit further into how things turn out for Dunbalf could give this series the hook it so desperately needs. But as it stands now, nothing in this episode shows off anything particularly new, exciting, or interesting. In other words, there's no reason to tune in next week.


Nicholas Dupree
Rating:

It's a day that ends in “Y” which means there's yet another isekai light novel adaptation here to darken our collective anime doorstep. Honestly, the narou isekai wave has become so ubiquitous and interchangeable that I'm even tired of complaining about how tired I am of it. At this point, these kinds of shows are like mosquitos, or rush hour traffic – too common to even be worth mentioning unless they're particularly egregious. And sadly(?) She Professed Herself… does very little to stand out from any other in its subgenre from the past years.

Well, okay, it does differentiate slightly in that we only get to the isekai portion of the premiere in its final minutes. Before that, this episode is mostly establishing the previous status quo, as our hero Danblf goes about role-playing his super cool wizard character being a super big deal in the Ark Earth Online meta. and there are a few nuggets of characterization here that are kind of charming. Danblf himself is a big nerd who insists on staying in-character whenever he's logged on, even when talking with his real-life friend. Moments like him pouring a modern-looking fruit drink into a golden goblet to better match the ambiance is genuinely endearing. I honestly would have liked to see more of that – getting an idea for what kind of people are at the keyboards behind these big, flashy MMO characters, the way shows like Log Horizon or BOFURI did.

Alas, a big chunk of this episode is instead taken up by a jank-looking battle between Danblf and an army of generic CG goblins. Again, there are flashes of character here when Danblf decides his favorite anime insert song is the perfect soundtrack and starts blasting it as he mows down hordes of monsters. But as an actual fight it's a total failure – it looks bad, it's boring to follow, and it does nothing to advance the story or flesh out the characters. It's a total waste of time and leaves this premiere with a scant few minutes to drop us into the actual premise: Danblf's player is mysteriously dropped into this world as a flesh-and-blood girl. Though I do rather like how that sequence plays out without any dialogue as we just follow Danblf's journey from waking in a field to arriving in the royal city before finally catching a glimpse of their new form. It's a curious choice, but a welcome one that breaks up an otherwise pretty generic premiere.

That's really the word for this whole episode: generic. Despite some scraps of personality, She Professed Herself… feels like a jumble of ideas that have all been thoroughly beaten into the ground already, and combined with a thoroughly lackluster production it just does not leave any strong impression. So it feels destined to join the countless other forgettable seasonal isekai in the memory hole.


Rebecca Silverman
Rating:

Are you ready for the second VRMMO isekai of the season? It's actually fairly different from In the Land of Leadale in some ways. For one, based on the dueling halves of this episode, the game may actually still be a game for many of the players – we distinctly see King Solomon, whom we know to be a player character, looking at a game window after Danblf mysteriously vanished and presumably reincarnated as the cute nameless girl of the second half. And that the world is not a game for her is made very obvious in what's easily the best part of the episode: Once the seemingly interminable narration goes away, the girl is shown waking up naked in a field and, solely through facial expressions and movements, we start realizing alongside her that she's now a fully functional human being in what she recognizes as the game. It's a neat bit of storytelling; the careful sniff of a flower reveals scent, a bite of a (gross) leaf reveals taste, and just in case you were wondering, she also has to go to the bathroom, observed by a bobbing dandelion. (Which was weird, but I guess it's there to add interest to an otherwise awkward moment.) It's a great change from the way these scenes typically play out and it feels like it gives the episode a bit of an edge.

Less great is the first half. This is completely devoted to explaining the game world, some of its mechanics, and the one clearly relevant fact that after a player named Solomon made himself king and founded an in-game country, nine great (player) mages flocked to his banner. There are apparently nine forms of magic in the game's world, and each of the Wisemen is a master of one of them. Danblf is a summoner, and he's really devoted to the roleplaying aspect of the game. So is Solomon, for that matter, and they appear to be friends in the real world, something that feels like it'll be important later on. The two of them delight in playing out scenes as if they really were wizard and king, which is kind of fun, but the episode doesn't spend much time focusing on that, instead preferring to show us the other eight Wisemen a few times and then giving Danblf a chance to fight some truly regrettable CG monsters. It not only doesn't look good (the goblins look like they're from an entirely different show), but it's not an interesting fight, either, since Danblf mostly just stands there and summons knights and Valkyries and one little cat guy before proclaiming victory. Granted, that's what summoners do, but it's hardly a thrill to watch.

Long story short, when She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man is doing things a little bit differently, it's pretty good. The stilted language of the NPCs, the awakening of the girl, and seeing what a devoted roleplayer Danblf is are fun. The over-narration and explanation are decidedly less so. This deserves a second episode to see if it manages to balance itself out.


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