Celebrating the new anime adaptation of Obey Me!

April Fool’s Day is turning out to be a good time for otome game fans; on more than one occasion, we’ve had something teased, only for it to end up being real. This was certainly the case with popular mobile otome title Obey Me!, which teased an anime adaptation and then quickly confirmed that it was the real deal to ease the disbelief from fans.

So here I am, finding another great excuse to talk about Obey Me! once again — because I’ve unexpectedly (Sure – Ed.) fallen far too deep into this rabbit hole and I do not wish to leave it anytime soon. I happen to now adore Obey Me! on a much more obsessive level than the last time we discussed it here on Rice Digital, so let us take the time to celebrate the new heights the product has managed to soar to with its anime adaptation.

Obey Me! anime

All aboard the hype train

Obey Me! transports the player into Devildome, a modernised society where demons use mobile phones known as D.D.D. They use a well-known social app called Devilgram while attending the demon academy, Royal Academy of Diavolo (or RAD for short).

Players are tasked with making a pact with the seven brothers they end up living with, and from thereon, each character’s deeper secrets will be revealed — including our very own player character’s origins as they traverse through school life in Hell.

Obey Me! released back in 2019 and immediately picked up traction, being one of the most played and best received otome titles on mobile platforms.

Obey Me! anime

With competition including the immensely popular Mystic Messenger, Obey Me! quickly established itself as much more user friendly option thanks to its unmissable calls function — no lost sleep or messed up body clocks while playing this one. It also shares elements in common with Mr Love: Queen’s Choice thanks to its “hybrid” gameplay that spices up the basic visual novel formula. Obey Me! has become a frequent otome recommendation on mobile platforms ever since its release.

And now that it has received an anime adaptation, it seems the game will only go from strength to strength — even as it passes the 4 million downloads milestone. The game’s popularity resulted in a collaboration between NTT Solmare, Sotsu Co., Toei Advertising and Bouncy Co. to create the “Obey Me! Project”, with the anime studio Colored Pencil Animation Japan brought on board to bring the new show to life.

And let me make this abundantly clear from the get-go: the simple fact that Beelzebub is finally animated makes Obey Me! well worth its adaptation already.

Obey Me! anime

Fan-servicing to the max

Obey Me! is, like Gothic Murder, an example of a video game marketed as an “otome”, but which perhaps feels more appropriate to be labelled under the wider umbrella term of “joseimuke”. Otome titles typically have something of a focus on romance and have discrete routes for different characters, while joseimuke simply refers to media aimed at a female audience.

Obey Me! features no routes for any characters, instead providing a main story, side stories, and card events tied to its central gacha mechanics. Even I fell victim to making assumptions about Obey Me! being a “true” otome game when I first started playing — and while its real nature may be a deal breaker for some, its premise and characters have always implied at least the potential for some sort of reverse harem situation. And would you look at that, it has now proved as much with its anime adaptation.

Before I finally move on to talking about the first episode of the anime, I must show my appreciation to the game’s community for only ever adding to the overall enjoyment of the product. The Obey Me! community is a stellar one to be a part of, thanks in part to the welcoming, encouraging open arms of the player base towards new members — you can see this in the comments of the anime’s first episode on YouTube.

The most fun part of the community can be found on Reddit, where the cosy and friendly vibe is enlarged ten-fold by everyone joining in with the humorous and witty meme creations.

You never disappoint, Reddit. If you know, you know.

On a related note, the Obey Me! fandom is currently thriving, and this means that there is no better time than now to jump in on the fun.

Alongside the anime, we have been treated to The Boys in the House, where the characters’ voice actors get together for some fun hijinks and conversations that exude the same energy as the devilish boys they bring to life in the game and anime. On top of this, there’s the official podcast, again uploaded onto YouTube; this stars Leviathan and features his brothers as his guests with each new episode.

With each and every passing opportunity for something new from the IP, NTT Solmare is capitalising on two different audiences — the established fans, who get to experience new material, and potential newcomers, who get to see how well supported Obey Me! is. And we are all for it.

Obey Me! anime

The anime

Long-time fans of Obey Me! will eat up the new conversations and events exclusive to the anime while enjoying the delightful sight of their favourite demon boys being fully animated. Each of the characters has their own unique characterisations and individual quirks fully captures; the animation really conveys how they would move, interact and respond in reality. If nothing else, it’s a fine opportunity to see Satan’s awful fashion sense in all of its glory.

NTT Solmare is effectively hitting two birds with one stone with the fact that the anime runs for only 5 minutes at a time, making for easy and quick viewing. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who may not yet be familiar with Obey Me! to get a glimpse into what the game has to offer outside of its gacha functions.

The anime is ultimately a marketing strategy to draw a bigger audience, while being a delightful treat for established fans, and it truly hits the mark in both departments.

At the time of writing, only the first episode has aired, but what a bundle of laughs it proved to be. The group dynamic of the boys — an element akin to one of the best parts of Code: Realize — was taken full advantage of here, and rightfully so.

While it’s likely longstanding fans will get the most out of watching the anime, since it explores the daily lives of its characters and their pre-established relationships, the anime plays out as a solid fantastical, slice-of-life show that can potentially appeal to anyone — its humour and characters will be enough to bring in plenty of new fans who find the premise appealing.

And for anyone who joins the fandom from the anime, it only gets better from there on as soon as you start playing the game.

Obey Me!

The bottom line

NTT Solmare are not without their fair share of issues as a mobile company. We’ve previously explored their problematic marketing habits such as the complete removal of titles that players spent their well earned money on, and their ignoring of fans’ feedback on highly requested changes and improvements their games should be getting. Ultimately, Obey Me! can understandably be seen as being milked for all its worth without a care in the world by its developers.

With that in mind, Obey Me! may not be for everyone — particularly those who take issue with how NTT Solmare does things. But taken in isolation as a game, it still manages to get plenty of other elements right. It is one of the few joseimuke games that stars an inclusive, non-gendered MC — our player character is instead represented as a sheep, and is yet to make an appearance in the anime. In fact, there are plenty of lovable side characters who we may be able to see get the anime treatment while the show is airing.

Additionally, the game’s cast of hot demon lads may initially appear as nothing more than mere archetypes and clichés, and I doubt the anime will expand on this any further, since it is not following the game’s main story.

However, the anime does afford us the opportunity to witness different sides of the characters otherwise unseen in the original material. While we may not be seeing the character development and individual story arcs as depicted in the game, the first episode of the anime has already provided us with a general idea of what new and joyous fun is to be had when seeing the brothers interact with one another in setups with plenty of potential — and there are even some worthwhile payoffs during the short runtime.

Obey Me! anime

In conclusion, the anime adaptation of Obey Me! has been a very pleasant surprise. The anime is watchable for free on YouTube, but it’s also available on Funimation, and subscribers to the game’s VIP function get early access to new episodes.

With gorgeous visuals, memorable music — we all knew its ending song would be yet another banger — and stellar performances from some very underappreciated Japanese VA talents, Obey Me!’s anime adaptation has been my go-to watch for this season’s anime – most likely to no one’s surprise.

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Lilia Hellal
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