Kanojo ga Koushaku-tei ni Itta Riyuu (Why Raeliana Ended up at the Duke's Mansion) cover art

Should I Watch Kanojo ga Koushaku-tei ni Itta Riyuu?

Japanese title: 彼女が公爵邸に行った理由

English title: Why Raeliana Ended up at the Duke's Mansion

No. of episodes: 12

Season: 🌸 Spring 2023 🌸

My personal score: 7/10

So you're probably asking whether Kanojo ga Koushaku-tei ni Itta Riyuu is good, or if it's worth watching.

(Synopsis)
When, after her sudden death, Rinko Hanasaki is reborn as Raeliana McMillan, she is not sure whether to curse her luck. Raeliana was a minor character in a novel Rinko read, and as the eldest daughter of a nouveau-riche baron, she led a carefree life until her unfortunate demise at the hands of her fiancé, Lord Francis Brooks. To avoid her destined fate, Raeliana is determined to end her engagement with Francis.

However, when Francis refuses to break things off, Raeliana decides to seek help from someone of higher standing and approaches Duke Noah Wynknight—the novel's male protagonist. Using her knowledge of the plot, Raeliana captures the duke's interest by proposing a deal: she will not expose his secrets if Noah agrees to act as her fiancé. Little does she know that getting involved with a duke who only shows his true colors around her may lead to more than she bargained for.

[Source: MAL Rewrite]
(Synopsis ends)

Ah, the expansive world of Japanese Isekai tales—a place of wonders and sighs. A few stand out in the sea of averageness, such as Mushoku Tensei and Re:Zero. What if I told you that, despite the fact that most of them are equally unimpressive as their Japanese counterparts, there are a wealth of Isekai stories to be found outside of Japan's borders?

One such treasure comes from the manhwa tradition of South Korea. We now have Kanojo ga Koushaku-tei ni Itta Riyuu, also known as The Reason Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke's Mansion, a story created by Milcha and WHALE and illustrated by Kakao Webtoon.

The anticipation for cross-cultural storytelling was apparent in the aftermath of the Crunchyroll and Naver Webtoons partnership, which produced adaptations like Tower of God, The God of High School, and Noblesse. Unfortunately, the project failed, with the exception of Tower of God's comeback.

But among the ruins, a fascinating story started to unfold. The trip of Raeliana offers an interesting departure from the norm.

Previously known as Rinko Hanasaki, Raeliana McMillan suffered an unexpected death and then awoke to a new existence. She navigated the choppy waters of existence as a pawn of destiny, constrained by an engagement and a predetermined demise. She forms a pact with the mysterious Noah Volstaire Wynknight out of desperation for freedom.

But under the terms of this agreement, she must act as his fiancée for six months. The stage is set for an enthralling dance of fate as Raeliana and Noah's paths cross, revealing mysterious aspects of their personalities.

In the midst of tired archetypes, I looked to Korean Webtoons for a breath of fresh air. I was drawn into Raeliana's story, and it led me outside the boundaries of typical comics.

Although Korean and Japanese novels share certain common themes, manhwa's vividness adds a fascinating layer. Raeliana is a vivacious "villainess," not afraid to confront the existing quo, but her spirit sets her apart. Her resiliency in the face of difficulty gives her depth, and Noah's unwavering support is a reflection of this quality.

Their relationship exudes genuineness and is not just a collection of fleeting feelings. Their interactions are peppered with playful comments that give their relationship life. The supporting cast, which includes Vivian Shamal, the complex antagonist, and Noah's ally Adam Taylor, adds to the rich narrative tapestry. Every character serves a role, allowing for unexpected plot turns that draw the reader even farther into the narrative.

Except for a few exceptional cases like Sengoku Night Blood, Typhoon Graphics' track record hasn't really stood out. The new studio project was given life by Junichi Yamamoto's directing, which mirrored the style of the manhwa. Although unsettling at times, the animation's stillness matches the original. The anime's greatest asset is its music, with MindaRyn's SURVIVE evoking an exciting shift from reality to fiction. The audience is serenaded by SERRA's Always and Forever while it plays in the ending.

The anime industry must hear the call of works outside of its borders in this period as the sun sets on conventional boundaries. The story of Raeliana serves as a reminder of the unrealized promise of international narratives. It is a ray of hope, even though it is not without flaws.

Ladies and gentlemen of the anime world, when you set out on your next viewing expedition, take into account the unexplored territories that Korean manhwa might reveal. Even though The Reason Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke's Mansion isn't a perfect work of art, it contains the beginning of something bigger. It invites us to accept tales from uncharted regions of the world by telling a story of second chances, resiliency, and surprising alliances. The voyage itself isn't the most captivating aspect of any story, after all.

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