Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion started as a web novel written by Milcha which was later serialized as a webtoon in 2017 with illustrations by Gorae. This season, it’s got an anime adaptation by studio Typhoon Graphics and it is getting under the radar since a bunch of other big names take up the center stage. It might be a bit harder to get into due to its slow start, but soon it grabs your attention with its suspenseful plot. All in all, it feels like a stage drama with Victorian aesthetics and character dialogues. It’s a story about a girl who knows she’s about to be killed.
A modern-day girl named Eunha Park awaits the admission entrance exam result as it’s her last chance to get into one on top of a roof. Suddenly a mysterious figure shows up when she receives the result that she passed, she gets pushed off the roof. The next thing she wakes up, she finds herself inside a story from a book she once read as a side character who is later get killed. Raeliana McMillan is her new identity and she is engaged to a nobleman who is supposed to be her killer. Now she must do everything she can with the knowledge she has about the story to survive. Later she manages to meet the male protagonist of the story who is the Duke of the kingdom. She manages to strike a deal with him since he’s the only one with the power to give her protection. But things always don’t go her way because she changed the story and bigger trouble finds its way to her.
The first thing noticeable that grabbed my attention is the visual. Everything looks vibrant, colorful, and full of details. Although the animation is mediocre and feels lifeless. The beginning is handled interestingly with some smooth transition from modern-day to fantasy day while Raeliana explains what happened. Some parts are handled greatly, including the Opening & Ending. But things start feeling sluggish from time to time.
The plot is however pretty interesting. Her altering the story did save her from imminent death but brought more trouble that she has no prior knowledge of. Who to trust, whom to befriend, and no time to relax, all the suspense leaves her restless. One mistake could cost her life. That is the strongest point of the story. She constantly has to play mind games with the Duke to keep him at her side. And the surprises that happen unexpectedly can keep you engaged with the story.
The Pros & Cons
As I mentioned, the animation often feels sluggish. Characters take too long to say something and character animation isn’t very expressive. There are little things I like here and there though. The episodes are titled just like the anime, “Why Raeliana Made a Deal”, “Why Raeliana Was Taken Away”, etc. I like when she’s monologing, her old self, the modern-day face shows up. But they don’t always keep that consistent which I wished they did. I like the chess piece metaphors used in some places. I’m watching the English dub version which nails the accent pretty well.
It’s not like other shows we know of like Death Note that have big brain plays or anything too crazy. Despite some flaws, I am enjoying the anime this season. It’s a different take on the isekai aspect by the Korean writer. And the continuously gets better and better. The manhwa has an 8.08 average score in MyAnimeList. 5 episodes are out and it’s never too late to start. Hopefully, the anime doesn’t disappoint. Watch this anime if you are looking for something suspenseful and dramatic this season.