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Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte
Episode 10

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte ?
Community score: 4.1

©Suzu Enoshina, Eihi, KADOKAWA/'Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte' Production Committee 2023
I've been regularly critical of Endo and Kobayashi Live's rather relaxed approach to running up to its foretold climax. It hasn't been a colossal issue, since the show is generally good at getting by on the slice-of-life and relationship-building aspects (important parts of the dating-sim visual-novel experience such as those are), but reaching the confrontation with the Witch of Yore was definitely starting to feel like an Achilles and the tortoise sort of deal. So fair play when the show does, at last, arrive at the proverbial fireworks factory this episode.

The funniest part is that the climactic escalation happened almost the second I snarked to myself about the anime's insistent delays in getting there. It turns out to be a good way to keep the audience on their toes, getting them used to the pacing that had come before, with even the characters on both sides of the video game story self-awarely remarking about how the big finish is coming soon, eventually, any day now. And it also makes sense, in the revelatory moment, that Endo and Kobayashi's rearrangement of the story and ships within Love Me Magically might have an adverse effect on when the Witch of Yore event actually kicked in. There is also the air of the magical antagonistic elements directly coming for the duo's yet-unexplained direct line to their faves, but we'll have to wait and see how the full story on that shakes out.

The sudden escalation also hits hard because Endo and Kobayashi Live does so well dangling the sweet shipping stuff in front of us for the first half of this episode. Yes, the ball has arrived, and we at last get to see Liese and Sieg make their entrance in their sharply coordinated military dress uniforms. That's great, and it's not even the only part the show knows to successfully show off. There's the interaction between Fiene and Bal on the subject of dancing that probably would have been its own full extra subplot in the original version of this story. Its inclusion this way thus makes it feel like an Easter Egg of an allusion to an earlier adaptation of Love Me Magically which doesn't actually exist. It's like a fun nod to the very meta concept of fandom. Similarly, it took this episode for me to properly clock that Fabian getting together with Cecilie represents its own fanon rearrangement: That of pairing up the token too-young romantic interest in a dating sim without someone perhaps more appropriate for his age. Turns out Kobayashi's absolutely one of those fans who would mod the Ken route out of Persona 3 Portable.

It's all there to drive up the attachment level between characters and audience, so when that Witch attack does hit more abruptly than expected, the stakes are properly dialed in. Like we've all stressed out seeing our favorite characters in a game or show face danger, but now as far as Endo and Kobayashi are concerned, these dating sim dorks are all "real" people whom they've been tasked with safeguarding. It is character attachment taken to a new level that would be downright unhealthy if there wasn't a tangible magical excuse manifesting it. And the writing's sure to keep layers of other issues affecting it, in the way this episode just barely brings up the subject of Endo and Kobayashi angsting about how finishing the game might mean they no longer have an excuse to hang out with each other. Like I said, dorks, all of them.

So with all that laid out, the eventual escalation of the Witch of Yore finally manifesting is exciting and cathartic in a technical sense. I can be generous with the overall occurrence here, since I'd always had trepidations about how Endo and Kobayashi Live would handle a big battle scene like this. It did pretty good at showing off the beauteous ballroom outfits and the like a bit earlier, but we all know it's otherwise never been a looker. Thus the production wisely constrains its combative ambitions to some key shots; It very well understands the value of suggesting the idea of some cool action bits. They're sure to include Endo and Kobayashi themselves participating by shouting pro strategies at the fighters, even as I'm not entirely certain what the combat mechanics in this game really even are. And something like Liese getting to fight with a polearm could have been a much more impressive flourish. But there's no real distracting shortcomings.

Some details feel a little scrunched up as we hit this point. Leon's one scene with Fiene's mom helped contextualize him a little bit, but I don't know that he's otherwise ingratiated himself to us by mostly glowering at the other characters going about their plots. It means it doesn't feel as satisfying to see him leap into the fray to help at the last minute, almost like this is another instance of theoretical meta-fanservice for the Kobayashis in the audience. And even with some earlier setup like the all-important symbolism of Liese's Lirene Flower, and knowing the appropriate levels of drama something like Love Me Magically plays in, it still feels a bit cheap to see all the efforts still wind up with the tsundere princess taken over by the Witch anyway. But that might very well resolve more interestingly next week. And Endo and Kobayashi Live hasn't really let me down yet, even as I feel my enjoyment of it has largely been of a more low-key variety. I certainly can't complain now that things have really kicked into gear here at the end.


Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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