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First Glance: Physician Elise: The Royal Girl with the Lamp

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Alternative title(s): Gekai Elise
Manga by Maho Film
Streaming on Crunchyroll


In this life, Aoi Takamoto is a world-class surgeon with near-supernatural abilities to save lives, selflessly transforming the world of those around her in need of medical care. In a past life, she was an eeevil woman named Elise who caused only suffering, leading to her eventual execution by the very man she loved. After a fatal plane crash, Aoi/Elise once again finds herself in that world and in her former body but with all her memories intact, making her determined to make up for past mistakes and avoid catastrophe.

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Artemis’ verdict: Shockingly Fine (and Strangely Dark)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Doctor Elise is how much of an impression its premiere makes for what sounds, at least on paper, like your run-of-the-mill villainess redemption isekai. Was that impression wholly good? Probably not, unless you assume that the show is sometimes intentionally comedic, but I very much doubt that’s the case. It’s the second half of Elise, however, where things get interesting. A twist of events (that somehow did not get this debut delayed by a couple of weeks given recent events in Japan) brings the anime to a strangely dark place like it’s a late episode of Angel Beats, only then to end up exactly where viewers would have assumed from the OP – a pseudo-European, pseudo-historical setting where our protagonist will need to make up for past wrongs and save both herself and the lives of others.

Will this end up a bog-standard isekai story with a hackneyed backdrop, cliché characters, and lashings of terrible melodrama? It seems likely. Then again, parts of this episode were so unexpected (and frankly pretty ballsy) that I’m tempted to give the second episode a go next week anyway – just in case.

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Jel’s verdict: Surprise! It’s another Villainess show!

I know I should judge these shows on their own merits, but watching this immediately after 7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life Married to Her Worst Enemy! did not help my opinion. That show also had a dark, intense intro, so pulling a similar stunt here did not have as much of an effect on me. More importantly, I fully expect the rest of the series is going to be standard villainess isekai content and there is plenty of that going around these days. I mean, we haven’t even gotten around to covering Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I’m Not the Demon Lord, that’s three villainess shows this season alone. So please don’t blame us for being tired of them.

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