By most reasonable subjective measures, the eroge adaptation Walkure Romanze is not a very good series. It’s so derivative that it could also be considered Infinite Stratos with horses and armor in place of personalized mecha suits. The harem lead in this piece, Takahiro, is just as overpowered as Ichika is in that series and just as oblivious to the emotions of others, but still has all the girls after him for pulling off moments of brilliance. That’s not what I’m here to talk about in this post, though. Instead, there is an incredible (by the standards of harem anime) attention to detail in the show’s universe that is undermined by the quality of everything else.
The series itself is set in a village called Helen’s Hill. It’s a place where German is the primary language, though the name would indicate it should be English, but that’s never really explained. The German influence goes further in the sport of jousting which is central to the plot in the series. Takahiro is needed by the girls in the series to serve as their begleiter, which is the German term for an attendant or second in dueling terms. The main jousting venue is simply called Stadion. That one is originally a Greek term that’s used for the name of many stadia in Germany as well.
Now I’m sure these details are boring you to death, so let me get to this week’s eighth episode which inspired this post. It’s an onsen episode in that all of the girls competing in the jousting tournament bar student council president Celia are at a training camp at Bertille’s hot springs residence. That includes everything from all of the girls washing each others backs in a line to wearing yukata to having pillow fights because that’s apparently what you do in Japan. There’s even a completely out of place Singaporean lion fountain that is acknowledged by the characters in a curious manner. It’s like a little wink to the audience that this is not Japan and that foreigners confuse other cultures easily. And yes, there’s also the classic onsen trope of having the harem lead get caught in the bath when all of the women begin appearing and he has to make an escape.
The omake portions of the episode are also well worth considering because they are trying so very hard to make sense of the universe the show is portraying. The early episodes go into the rules of jousting within the context of the show. Things like scoring and the equipment are covered there despite the fact that the match between Mio and Bertille is the only formal joust to have taken place in the series. The most recent one was devoted to the question of why there are so many Japanese characters in a show set not in Japan. It tries so very hard by explaining there is some sort of friendship between the two nations by having so many cherry blossoms planted around the city. That’s why you have Akane, Mio and Takahiro as main characters plus Ayako, Reina and Shinonome as minor characters.
Ultimately, they are just trying so hard to justify something that doesn’t really need to be justified. Normally, it would just be one of those things where they are marketing to a Japanese audience, so of course there would be more Japanese characters by default. By raising it as an issue, there’s an acknowledgement of the fact that there is that kind of bias in foreign settings. Unfortunately, Walkure Romanze is entirely the wrong kind of show to do anything beyond raising it as a point of conversation.