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Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte
Episode 5

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte ?
Community score: 4.2

© Suzu Enoshina, Eihi, KADOKAWA/'Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte' Production Committee 2023
Thank goodness we got some Endo and Kobayashi back in this week's Endo and Kobayashi! It's not just that it's refreshing to have our two favorite game grumps back to chatter over things as Love Me Magically delivers its most absurd in-universe plot swerves yet, though that does help. But this episode also circles back to Endo and Kobayashi's real-life engagement with each other apart from the Let's Play schtick, which I might actually be more invested in than the fantasy-world video game bit. As a bonus, the second half of this episode also ends up tying into the broader game-verse meta-magic storyline. So the show feels like itself again, or at least as much like itself as I could come to expect after only four previous establishing episodes.

On the Love Me Magically side, it's time for a roller coaster of revelations after last week's episode, which was more about exploring and expanding Fiene and Liese's relationship during some downtime. And it immediately course-corrects from that previous outing, having Endo and Kobayashi react at the same time as the in-game characters to things like Fiene's long-lost mom showing up. It doesn't have to be a lot, and particularly when wordier exposition is being provided to us, we probably don't want an extra commentary track cluttering up the proceedings. But it's nice to be reminded that there's an extra-dimensional audience also in attendance for all this, or having Kobayashi come in with a quip about how she was indeed already aware of the twist about Fiene and Liese actually being cousins.

It speaks to an awareness of the storytelling, articulated in things like Fiene's mom Elizabeth thinking about the big picture of the plot with regards to hiding her daughter away. It also allows Love Me Magically to be just a little outrageous when it wants to, as a way to set itself aside from the real-life mundanity of Endo and Kobayashi's plane. Thus we get bits like Elizabeth robbing her family before running off, or young Fiene beating a couple of would-be kidnappers to a bloody pulp with her bare hands. You go, girls. All that's alongside things like Liese and Fiene's just-revealed familial connection meaning that the continuously teased yuri route for them would result in a multi-layered Sailor Uranus/Neptune situation. Between that and all the offscreen bloody violence, this game truly can be medieval when it wants to.

But then, Love Me Magically wouldn't be an otome game if things didn't get at least a little weird and screwed up along the way. Sure, those among us who always hoped for a way to save FF7's Aerith can root for Endo and Kobayashi's elation at seemingly having Liese on the path to a unilaterally happy end. But what if the overall effects of pulling that off were more complex in their genesis and execution than anybody could have predicted? There's also the deal with that idol guy we'd seen in the margins, which was one of the driving curiosities of this series, even as my attention waned over the past couple episodes. We don't get our answer this week, but the show is at least asking the same questions, formally introducing Kirise Kuon to our couch co-op couple and making him come off even weirder than his previous confusing cameos had hinted at.

It's also cool to see the way Kuon's introduction ramps up the intertwining game/reality stories and lets resident Love Me Magically expert Kobayashi flex the depths of her nerd knowledge. Hearing about the in-universe Magikoi-fandom iceberg is fun, and it makes sense that Kobayashi would want to acclimate Endo to all this more gradually before just dropping him into the deep end. It's the weirder, wilder stuff powering the concept of this show that I enjoy, prompting contemplation of the kind of plot that might kick off if you stumbled across Undertale's W.D. Gaster in real life. Endo and Kobayashi has this baked-in framework to make it instantly distinguishable from other otome game fantasy shows, so it's best when it's exploiting that for all it's worth.

It's also nice because the outing where they stumble across that potential Game God happens to be Endo and Kobayashi going on a date, and if I didn't make it clear already, I love these kids. I swear Kobayashi is under the impression that they're already formally dating and Endo simply hasn't caught onto it yet, but it's still fun to see him gush over his girl the same way the duo does for Lieselotte when they're playing together. Beyond the blushy crushy high-school romance blossoming, there's just a nice undercurrent of mutually friendly courtship connection happening here, and it blends well with the romance game background powering it.

That said, it seems like Endo and Kobayashi Live still can't perfect its balancing act. Poor Sieg was supposed to be the meta-viewpoint character linking our pair of power players with the game world. But he's hardly had anything to do the past couple episodes, save for reminding us of how effectively those kids have transformed him into a Wife Guy. But Liese's reaction to Fiene's plight sells how loveable she is to watch being a haughty schemer, for noble purposes in this case. The number of levels at play with her now between her character and interpretation by the duo mean she still works as the effectively saleable center of this show. The series just needs to focus on things like that, or Endo and Kobayashi's connection, which is when it's at its best.


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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