7th Time Loop is My Personal Bias
7 mins read

7th Time Loop is My Personal Bias


Season aired: Winter 2024

Number of episodes: 12

Watched on: Crunchyroll

Translated by: ?

Genres: Romance, Fantasy, Drama

Thoughts: 7th Time Loop is not a perfect anime and does not have perfect execution, yet it is undeniably the anime I enjoyed the most out of everything from Winter 2024. Despite its flaws, its story, characters, and tropes are my personal favorites. In many ways, the anime feels like it was made to fit my personal bias.

Rishe, a noble lady engaged to the heir prince of her kingdom, is stuck in a time loop. Ever since the fateful night her fiancé publicly broke off their engagement, Rishe has found herself living many lives. In her first lifetime, she was a merchant. Second, she was a doctor. Third, she was an alchemist, and so forth. However, she always dies at 20 years old as a casualty in a war started by the enigmatic and terrifying Emperor Arnold, ruler of the Galkein Empire. Her life always begins again on the fateful night her engagement ended, and she tries every time to live her life to the fullest and live past the age of twenty. After dying a sixth time from being murdered by Arnold himself, Rishe finds herself reliving her life a seventh time. Only this time, she meets Arnold before he becomes emperor, and to her surprise, he proposes to her the very night they meet. Just maybe in this seventh loop, she can stop Arnold from becoming the warmongering villain and live past 20.

In many ways, Rishe fits the isekai protagonist stereotypes.. She is determined, blessed with multiple skills, accidentally catches her love interest’s eyes just by being herself, and generally is able to overcome any obstacle due to her intelligence and power. Yet, she’s also different because it’s so rare to see female characters in that role. We’re used to seeing good girls reincarnated as villainesses but rarely is the main female lead simply overpowered like the isekai male protagonist. However, one marked difference between her and her male isekai counterparts is that her greatest obstacle is her love interest.

An incredibly powerful female protagonist

Arnold’s feelings for her are genuine, and the anime does a good job of making you believe him early on, but he is both metaphorically and literally her greatest enemy. His swordsmanship, military prowess, and political power as the empire’s heir prince makes many of Rishe and other characters’ abilities moot – if he doesn’t get what he wants, he could easily use force to make it happen anyway. Despite Rishe’s various connections and knowledge accumulated from her past lives, Arnold’s life remains a mystery, forcing her to start from square one through each loop. The story becomes more about Rishe unraveling the mystery of what led Arnold, who’s kind and affectionate even if distant, to kill his own father, take the throne, and start a world war that kills thousands of innocents.

There’s an underlying tension within Rishe regarding her relationship with Arnold. She is now directly involved with a man who is responsible for all six of her deaths, and she is rightfully wary. However, she also knows that understanding his person is the best way to prevent herself from dying a seventh time. It’s this tension that makes the romance between Rishe and Arnold so electrifying.

Great sexual tension

Strangely enough, for all of Arnold’s enigmatic ways, Arnold finds Rishe to be the most enigmatic of all. The two are constantly trying to predict how the other will react, and in the process of doing so, find themselves entangled in an emotional game where they slowly peel each other’s walls away with each passing episode. Despite Rishe’s confidence, bravado, and charisma, she too holds a lot of insecurities and fear — wondering when her loops could end her life permanently, still being traumatized by the way her parents treated her like a product to be sold, and constantly pushing herself to do more so as not to “waste” an opportunity that no one else has. This game of emotional guessing and befuddlement allows for genuine love and interest to bloom between them, and it’s their romance that holds the story together so well.

This is also thanks to the natural chemistry between their respective voice actors. Ikumi Hasegawa has made a name for herself these last few years, killing main roles like Lena from 86 EIGHTY-SIX and Kita from Bocchi the Rock. However, she manages to surprise me again by showcasing her lower voice range. Rishe likes to use disguises, and at one point, disguises herself as a guy to enter a training regiment to get her body back in shape. The boyish voice Rishe uses sounds so convincing that I thought they hired another voice actor to specifically sell the disguise, only to learn that it was still Hasegawa.

And whether she uses Rishe’s normal tone, lower-register to blend in, or her purposefully cute wife act, Hasegawa always manages to mesh well with Nobunaga Shimazaki’s deadpan but subtly emotional delivery of Arnold. As the prince rarely shows any sort of emotional inflection, Shimazaki’s job is to insert the undertones through Arnold’s more emotional moments without losing the consistent, blank pitch. One of my favorite scenes is from Rishe shamelessly caressing Arnold’s scar on his neck, eliciting a simple “Hey,” from the prince. Although Shimazaki doesn’t change Arnold’s usual pitch or tempo, you could instantly hear that the frustration at how she was driving him a little crazy.

Would like some better lighting in the anime

Where the anime loses steam is in the technical aspects. The animation isn’t bad, but it isn’t enough to support the story. During the most important moments, the animation manages to be dynamic and fun. Arnold and Rishe’s first ballroom dance is one of the most exciting scenes of the series, as is when Rishe rescues herself from a hostage situation. Outside of those important moments, the quality falters. It becomes obvious when you screencap certain scenes and notice how dark it looks, allowing for lesser quality moments to pass under the shadows.

Yet, despite that, I still wish for a second season. Out of the many Winter 2024 anime, several have already had a second season announced — most with worse production and story qualities than 7th Time Loop. It feels unfair to have lesser anime get the gift of continuation while those with genuinely fun characters, relationships, and premises stop right when the story truly starts. I am left wondering if the only reason those other isekai anime get a season 2 while 7th Time Loop is left to hang is because the protagonist is a girl instead of a guy.

Rating

Plot: 7 (Multiplier 3)

Characters: 8 (Multiplier 3)

Art/Animation: 7 (Multiplier 2)

Voice acting: 8

Soundtrack: 8

FINAL SCORE: 75





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