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RPG Real Estate: Whole-series Review and Reflection

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” –Bryant H. McGill

Kotone settles into her work as a real estate agent and helps Rufuria, Rakira and Fa to close deals: between Fa’s ability to communicate with all beings, and Kotone’s willingness to listen to clients, RPG Real Estate continues to find success in matching clients with suitable properties, from Toto and her Pegasus, to a bard with a lethal singing voice. All the while, news of a dragon terrifying nearby villages continues to raise tensions in Dali, forcing Satona and the armed forces to investigate. Through the course of their time together, Kotone becomes especially close to Fa and begins to worry when Fa seems to appear and disappear in a manner coinciding with the dragon attacks. Kotone’s fears come to pass when Fa vanishes, and even when RPG Real Estate closes enough deals to reach their quota, Fa’s the only thing on her mind. Despite her efforts to push doubts out of her mind, the armed forces take Fa in after one of their clients, an elf with a desire to purchase a long-lasting home, puts two and two together. While it turns out Fa isn’t the dragon that’d been attacking nearby villages, she’s revealed to be the Dark Lord’s daughter: Satona had taken her in with the hope of raising Fa to be a gentle and kind individual. However, although Fa attempts to stop the dragon with Kotone’s help, a mysterious individual chants an incantation that allows her to take control of the dragons. In this state, Fa kills Kotone, but upon seeing this, immediately reverts to her usual form. In the aftermath, Fa, Rufuria and Rakira are hailed as heroes for stopping a dragon attack, but Kotone’s seemingly passed on. On the eve of a celebration in their honour, the necromancer appears and reveals Kotone’s spirit had endured. She restores Kotone’s spirit back to her body, and the four are given a new assignment – keeping an eye on the dragon on a remote tropical island. Kotone is especially thrilled, since this assignment allows everyone to be together, per a wish she’d made. With this, RPG Real Estate draws to a close, bringing the first of this season’s Manga Time Kirara series to a close (Machikado Mazoku 2-Chōme‘s finale was originally scheduled to air this week, but production delays meant the finale will air next week instead); RPG Real Estate is a bit of a surprise, departing from the Manga Time Kirara tradition of joyful, saccharine worlds to explore new directions, but at the same time, without deviating too greatly from the approach that has come to characterise Manga Time Kirara series.

Despite the emphasis on dragons and lingering grudges from the Dark Lord’s faction that result in conflicts not seen in RPG Real Estate since their war ended a decade-and-a-half earlier, RPG Real Estate manages to stay true to its central message: that listening is the first step towards addressing conflict. This becomes especially apparent with Fa’s ability to understand all languages, an asset that comes in handy whenever Kotone, Rufuria and Rakira find themselves dealing with non-human clients. During an evacuation, a reptilian and a man get into a disagreement, but Fa is able to interpret what’s going on and helps the two to strike up a friendship. When visiting a hot springs, Fa similarly is able to give Kotone enough information to help their owners, bipedal cats, to rebrand and rethink their concept, turning it into a success. Fa’s unusual background notwithstanding, her ability to bridge the communications gap between species, coupled with Kotone’s talent for hearing people out, brings success to RPG Real Estate, and it is this belief in Fa that ultimately leads Kotone to support Fa as she attempts to reason things out with the dragon. Even this ends up being a misunderstanding, as the dragon had been merely seeking out a place to settle down and give birth to her child. Much as how Kotone and the others listen to their clients, once Fa hears out the dragon, she does her utmost to sort things out peacefully. Such a message, while seemingly rudimentary, remains one that is necessary; although listening to others and empathising with people appears to be common sense, it is shocking as to how often this is forgotten as people talk past one another and flat-out refuse to hear others out if others possess a perspective differing from one’s own. It is this sort of enmity and stubbornness that gives rise to conflict, conflict that could’ve very well been avoided had one simply taken a step back and listened. Manga Time Kirara series excel in presenting and reminding viewers of things that are seemingly obvious but often forgotten in practise; sometimes, it does take such a direct and blunt portrayal to indicate to viewers that common sense isn’t always so common, and even the best of us need the occasional nudge to recall these lessons.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • A perk of a job that entails visiting properties in all sorts of places, and in RPG Real Estate, this means that Kotone and the others enjoy a day at the beach whilst hunting down a property. RPG Real Estate‘s biggest charm is the fact that viewers do get to go check out a plethora of fantasy homes, and the premise of trying to match clients with properties in a game-like world, at least on paper, meant that RPG Real Estate was venturing into turf that the average fantasy (or isekai) series does not cover; conventional series tend to drop the protagonist amidst a major conflict.

  • The reason for doing this is quite plain; it creates the most exciting storytelling and forces protagonists to mature in ways that peacetime cannot. However, when a majority of series does this, things can become quite derivative quite quickly. As such, series like RPG Real Estate take things in a different direction – the setting remains that of a class-based high-fantasy role-playing game, but because the great war is past, the world’s inhabitants are given a chance to live ordinary lives. Without the threat of war present, this allows for authors to write out what nuances such worlds may possess. In this way, I contend that RPG Real Estate is nowhere near “generic” as some detractors might suggest, and if anything, the twist that begins developing actually ends up being more conventional than the idea of selling or renting properties to a fantasy clientele.

  • With this in mind, were someone to suggest that RPG Real Estate was “generic”, I could be persuaded to listen provided that things were sufficiently presented. For instance, if one says that 1) RPG Real Estate is generic 2) because it is similar to other shows that they’ve seen, as 3) said series have previously attempted to mix-and-match grim elements in with the slice-of-life, then this is an argument worth considering. Saying 1) alone is a statement without evidence. Adding 2) gives the argument a bit more weight, and in turn, I gain a modicum of insight into the opinion holder (e.g. what sort of shows they’ve seen and perhaps prefer).

  • With 3), any doubt is removed because hard evidence is provided, and the opinion now satisfactorily explains why a show didn’t work. While I may not necessarily agree, I have learnt something about that individual; one’s opinions do speak about their background and experiences, and learning of these helps with things like compassion and empathy, two virtues that are invaluable as a part of conflict resolution. Unfortunately, people will, more often than not, simply present 1) and then expect that is sufficient in lieu of 2) and 3). This is why I do not pay attention to Twitter-length statements dismissing an anime. Clarity matters more than conciseness, and generally speaking, 240 characters is a unique aspect to Twitter. When other avenues of communication offer one with significantly more than 240 characters, there is space to properly express oneself – listening only works if there is something to listen to.

  • As such, my stance regarding some of the criticisms levelled against RPG Real Estate has not changed since I last wrote about it on the grounds that they make no attempt to elaborate; I’ve not seen satisfactory reasoning to convince me that the concept of real estate in a fantasy world is “generic”. At Tango-Victor-Tango, one “WarriorsGate” has argued that I’m supposedly “divorced from reality”. Such an insubstantial argument has no value; if WarriorsGate had wanted to disprove me, sharing their own journey to buying a home and outlining how RPG Real Estate failed to portray the process would have sufficed. The absence of effort is why arguments here are generally not worth considering, and this is why I would say to RedSavant that I have no intention of registering for an account at Tango-Victor-Tango.

  • RedSavant suggests we’ve previously clashed on Sora no Woto, but I have no recollection of this (my disagreements are with a blogger who argued that Sora no Woto‘s central theme is existentialism when it is not). If either RedSavant or WarriorsGate would like to have a legitimate discussion, I welcome them to do so here, note that if WarriorsGate chooses not to say anything here in my comments section, it would show me they’re the ones with no meaningful argument, and return the conversation to RPG Real Estate: while Kotone looks over some floor plans for houses, I’ll note that she’s seen a fair number of successes since joining the company because she’s observant and willing to listen. This stands in stark contrast with Rufuria, who had simply tried to offload properties onto clients to fill a quota and earn a promotion. This aspect of RPG Real Estate is its strong suit and the main reason behind why I returned to watch the series weekly.

  • Besides food and clothing, shelter is counted as a basic necessity, and throughout the world, one can gain insight into a culture and its people based on how these needs are met. A series about housing set in a fictional world, then, provides an opportunity to world-build in ways that series with a larger story cannot; here Rufuria, Fa, Rakira and Kotone check out a large house whose previous tenants were thieves and therefore modified the building so that they could confound pursuers while at the same time, allowing them to beat a hasty exit. Curiously enough, all of the doors in this house do actually lead somewhere, standing in stark contrast with Rick and Morty‘s Real Fake Doors™, which don’t go anywhere.

  • Although Kotone is quite devoted to her job and becomes visibly saddened when struggling to find a client for a home, or a home for a client, she’s not above having fun on the job, either. A mix between GochiUsa‘s Cocoa and Chiya, Kotone typically has a cheerful disposition, but can become depressed and scatter-minded when something weighs on her mind. As RPG Real Estate progresses, news of dragon attacks begin ravaging the area, and when Kotone notices Fa disappearing or acting unusual on several occasions, she wonders if Fa could be the dragon. Early on, it is easy to ignore these misgivings – whereas RPG Real Estate‘s dragons are powerful beings capable of great destruction, Fa is gentle and kind.

  • It is Kotone’s friendship with Fa that allows Fa’s talents to be utilised. Rufuria had typically been short with Fa, seeing her as a liability more than an asset. Kotone, on the other hand, finds Fa adorable and is more patient with her. When she spots how Fa can effortlessly communicate with all beings, including the family gryphon here, Kotone realises that Fa is an indispensable part of the team, and is able to therefore use Fa’s translations to help broker a deal. Things at RPG Real Estate thus proceed smoothly, allowing Kotone to return home for a vacation. She ends up bringing Fa with her.

  • On the topic of vacations, we’re now three days into the summer, and I’ve got one vacation day next week, set just ahead of Canada Day. I’ve still got all of my vacation days, plus a handful carrying over from last year. I’m still debating what to do with that time (a trip to Japan is still off the table for the present), but I do know that taking a longer long weekend would be great for checking out restaurants around town. I’ve long been a fan of trying out different foods, and earlier this week, to mark the start of the summer, I ended up spending a lunch break with the team at a food truck. This time around, I tried a Taco Platter from the Happy Fish. Consisting of their signature fish taco, a shredded-beef Bulgogi taco and tempura prawn taco, every individual taco brought with it a different flavour profile. The fish taco was especially tasty, with the rich beer batter and flaky fish complementing the tangy mango salsa and coleslaw quite nicely.

  • Kotone’s younger sisters initially take a disliking to Fa, feeling she’s taking Kotone away from them, and shortly after, tasks Fa with finding a moonlight flower to win them over. While Fa is a naïveté and sets off to actually find the flower, the pair grow guilty and take off after her. Fa ends up finding the flower and even helps to create an understanding between the two sisters and a minotaur, which had otherwise been creating conflict with the human residents nearby. Unsurprisingly, the minotaurs do wish to get along with people, and once the misunderstanding is cleared, the adventurers stop hunting them, creating peace amongst the species.

  • Rejuvenated from her time off, Kotone returns to work fully-charged and ready to roll. As RPG Real Estate nears their target of deals closed, Rufuria becomes increasingly flustered and does her best to quickly move properties. However, this proves trickier than expected; one client is looking for a very isolated home, and it turns out she’s a well-known idol who yearns for some peace and quiet away from her adoring fans. Having not disclosed this earlier, Kotone and the others do have a trickier time, but once they learn of her fame and wealth, they find the perfect property for her.

  • Another interesting client that appears is a fortune teller whose craft appears legitimate; after giving everyone their fortunes, she requests a very run down place because she’d foreseen that good things may happen there. She ends up meeting the love of her life and later returns to RPG Real Estate to inform the staff of their marriage. While this is par the course for a Manga Time Kirara series, but when she also gives Kotone a good luck charm and says she’ll need it later, the sense of unease Kotone experiences returns. Some folks were very quick to speculate that Fa is the dragon, but I’ve never given speculation of this sort too much weight.

  • The reason for this is becuase Manga Time Kirara series tend to present events that are consistent with the messages. Here in RPG Real Estate, the themes speak to the importance of listening, and as such, were Fa to be the dragon, it would render the main messages null and void by suggesting that despite her gentle disposition, Fa would be violent at heart or similar. As it was, this certainly isn’t the case, and while there is considerable foreshadowing to show that Fa isn’t merely a adorable, small character for Kotone to look after, said foreshadowing does not indicate that Fa was anything resembling a destructive being.

  • During one festival, where wishes are sent into the skies, Kotone and the others encounter a lost little girl. Despite having some troubles initially, the four manage to reunite the little girl with her mother, only to learn that the gods do exist, and moreover, as thanks for having found her daughter, the four are granted all of their wishes, leading Rufuria to regret not wishing for something bigger. The question of wishes is something that authors enjoy writing about, since there’s a great deal of room for discussing how one’s wishes mirror their character, and Bill Watterson was especially fond of this, having Hobbes wishing for simple things that were attainable to show how happiness is a matter of perspective, and of counting one’s blessings.

  • As the signs of Fa being connected to the dragon attacks in some way become increasingly visible, RPG Real Estate begins shifting from its initial premise of fantasy realty to a story that is more conventional in nature. Strictly speaking, this wasn’t entirely necessary; even in Dali, there’d been plenty of properties that could be presented without the need to introduce an additional element into the story’s progression. Having said this, the rationale for why RPG Real Estate might’ve gone this route was to emphasise the idea that listening is the first step towards defusing a problem.

  • While Kotone is adamant that Fa isn’t the dragon Satona and the army are trying to hunt down, Rufuria is becoming worried about how Fa’s unusual behaviours might suggest her role in things. A conflict of sorts does end up brewing between the two: whereas Kotone shares Rufuria’s concerns, she’s banking on Fa’s personality as being the main reason why Fa can’t have been behind the attacks, but she’s unable to convince Rufuria otherwise. This ends up making their landmark deal a bit more muted, everyone had been looking forwards to this, but Fa’s apparent connection with the dragon attacks dampens the mood.

  • Had RPG Real Estate dispensed with this outright, the series would still be able to convey its themes. The dragon element thus ends up being a bit of a detour towards the series’ end – it leaves more elements that must be resolved, and the resulting conflict does stand in contrast to the aesthetic that Manga Time Kirara series are known for. Here, the elf that Kotone and the others had found a home for ends up working out that Fa’s characteristics means she’s a person of interest, and she consents to be taken into custody if it would mean preventing additional devastation from occurring. The confrontation also shows the gap between the magical abilities of government officials and ordinary citizens, showing viewers that one must have uncommon talent and skill if they are to land a high-ranking position, and that Rufuria is probably still a ways out yet.

  • While Fa is being transported, the real dragon appears and disrupts the transfer. Fa’s talents have come in handy up to this point, and she tries to talk the dragon out of things. These initial efforts are successful; the dragon explains to Fa that she’d been looking for a home to give birth and had travelled extensively for this reason. Fa’s ability to communicate with even the dragon would accentuate the fact that if certain barriers were bypassed, then there wouldn’t be a need for conflict. Generally speaking, conflict occur whenever there is a difference in individual aims or values, and at the heart of all conflict resolution is communication.

  • For the dragon, being attacked simply because she was trying to find a home would certainly come across as unreasonable, whereas for the people, the presence of a dragon and their association with the past Dark Lord is worrisome because it is connected to strife and warfare. However, the dragon isn’t interested in causing destruction for kicks, and Satona’s forces definitely don’t having a particular appetite for warfare, either. Instead, RPG Real Estate shows that the dragon appears to be under some sort of spell from an individual who appears to be associated with a faction that intends on bringing the Dark Lord’s ways back into the world.

  • This aspect of RPG Real Estate is the weakest link in a series that was otherwise solid in its portrayal of communications: had RPG Real Estate done away with this faction and had the confrontation with the dragon at its climax, to be resolved by Fa and Kotone attempting their preferred manner of conflict resolution, the anime would have remained very successful in its delivery. Instead, introducing another character with a chip on her shoulder and yet-to-be-defined motives adds unneeded obfuscation to the story. This is in violation of Chekov’s Gun; since we have a character introduced, it stands to reason that said character must play a nontrivial role of some sort.

  • Because of how RPG Real Estate had proceeded up until now, I was half-expecting Kotone to notice this individual and try and talk her down from using dragons as weapons of mass destruction. Instead, this unknown individual proceeds to utilise the same spell against Fa, causing her to go rogue, as well. In the end, there is no opportunity for Kotone and Fa to utilise the sum of their shared experiences in addressing a problem unlike anything they’d faced earlier. The outcome in RPG Real Estate ends up being quite unconventional for a Manga Time Kirara series.

  • It turns out that Fa is named after Fafnir, the Norse dwarf with a great love for treasure. This love of treasure corrupted him and, coupled with a curse, would transform him into a dragon. Fafnir is what inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Smaug, as well as Thorin’s madness, in The Hobbit. In RPG Real Estate, however, Fa does not possess any of the attributes of her namesake, and even in dragon form, retains clarity: before she comes under the spell’s influence, she tries to talk the other dragon out of its rampage, using just enough force to keep the other dragon’s attacks from hitting the massed soldiers below.

  • While Fa shows that the dragons can indeed be reasoned with, the unknown faction has perfected spells that reduce dragons, which otherwise would be clever and wise entities, into rampaging monsters. This aspect of RPG Real Estate absolutely demands exploration, and the fact that it was introduced so late into the series leaves a gaping hole in things: even though the outcomes are uplifting, one cannot help but feel that after fifteen years of peace, conflict may be brewing again. This could be resolved by giving RPG Real Estate another season, allowing the story to explore these elements in greater detail, but the problem here would be that a second season would depend almost entirely on how well RPG Real Estate performs in terms of sales.

  • There is no guarantee that this is going to happen, and so, RPG Real Estate would leave viewers with more questions than answers in some regards. After taking a claw to the face, Kotone dies, leaving Rufuria, Rakira and Fa devastated. Fa’s emotional response is strong enough for her to overcome the unknown spellcaster’s incantation, and she departs. This marks the first time I’ve seen blood in a Manga Time Kirara series, and while some folks have informed me that not all Manga Time Kirara series are going to be happy-go-lucky, easygoing series, I hold that what makes Manga Time Kirara series distinct from others is the fact that the themes will always be more optimistic than pessimistic.

  • I’ve been watching Manga Time Kirara works for upwards of a decade, and having seen a nontrivial number of their works, I have enough of a precedence to say that leaving Kotone dead would undermine the sorts of themes in what RPG Real Estate was attempting to go for. As Fa, Rufuria and Rakira attend Kotone’s funeral, a small, adorable doll suddenly bursts into the room and frantically gestures at Kotone’s body. It turns out that Lily had encountered a spirit hovering in front of RPG Real Estate’s main office and imagined it to be Kotone’s. After encasing it in a doll, she’s brought the spirit here and in mere moments, manages to restore Kotone’s spirit to her body.

  • In almost any other anime, viewers would probably cry foul over how Kotone was resurrected, but because RPG Real Estate introduced Lily early on, this isn’t a problem – in fantasy worlds, resurrection spells are not uncommon, and this mechanic is ultimately utilised to ensure RPG Real Estate does not subvert its message. Kotone remarks that this is the first time she’s been brought back to life, and this leads to the question of whether or not some souls are irrecoverable if they are separated from the individual’s body. Regardless of how precisely things in RPG Real Estate work, what matters is that Kotone returns to Fa and the others.

  • In recognition of their actions in stopping the dragon from decimating the area, the king himself thanks Kotone, Fa, Rufuria and Rakira for their actions. After consulting with Satona, he decides the best course of action is to have the four accompany the dragon to her new home, allowing everyone to stay together. Rufuria is devastated, since this puts her career plans on hold, but Satona reassures her that once they have sort out what happens with Fa, everyone will be allowed to return. It turns out that Fa is the Dark Lord’s daughter, and Satona had found her after the hero had defeated the Dark Lord. Raised under a loving environment, Fa became gentle and kind. After a large celebration that evening, Kotone, Fa, Rufuria and Rakira prepare to set off for their next destination.

  • RPG Real Estate will be immediately relatable to anyone who’s moved house recently, capturing the entire spectrum of emotions, from excitement, to not wanting to go, in a succinct manner. Shortly after arrival, the dragon thanks everyone for having helped her, and everyone heads off for their new home. Here, Kotone remarks that her wish of living together with everyone has been realised: it is spacious and beautifully appointed, even possessing its own office space to allow everyone to continue their work. It is a satisfactory ending to a series that had, save the mysterious individual, been very consistent in its messaging. Before I wrap this post up, I will remark that RPG Real Estate Services is an actual company in Toronto that deals with realty services in the Greater Toronto Area, and I feel the slightest bit of pathos for them, since anyone looking for their services will now come across content related to RPG Real Estate the anime.

  • Overall, RPG Real Estate earns a B grade: it represents a fun romp into the world of realty without overburdening viewers with specifics like home inspection, mortgages and insurance policies while at the same time, presenting a chance to see how vivid fantasy worlds can be. While the warring factions and their ability to control dragons was completely unaddressed, knowing the themes in RPG Real Estate means that there definitely is a possibility that even this can be solved peacefully in the future. With the first of this season’s Manga Time Kirara work in the books, I have a handful of posts planned out for this month, including a talk in Battlefield 2042‘s Zero Hour Update and a discussion of Machikado Mazoku 2-Chōme‘s finale once it becomes available.

While RPG Real Estate is largely a self-contained exploration of realty in a fantasy, of matching clients to properties in a world where the possibilities are more varied and colourful than they are in reality, the anime also hints at the fact that discord is always just around the corner. This aspect stands in juxtaposition to the cheerful, happy-go-lucky tone that otherwise dominates RPG Real Estate, and leaving the unknown individual who’d attempted to enchant dragons to carry her bidding leaves the floor open to additional conflict in the future. It is plain that while the Dark Lord’s faction was defeated fifteen years earlier, danger still lurks in this world. Prima facie, this seems out of place: it seems unusual to create suspense and terror in what is otherwise a gentle slice-of-life series, and doubly so when the source of the conflict is introduced so late into the game. This unresolved aspect in RPG Real Estate leaves open the possibility that additional strife could appear in the future, and that the otherwise peaceful world that Kotone, Fa, Rufuria and Rakira know is always under threat of disruption. However, upon closer inspection, RPG Real Estate provides all of the information viewers need to draw a conclusion. While a confrontation with this mysterious sorcerer is likely inevitable, given that Kotona and the others have always drawn upon their ability to listen and talk things out to resolve conflicts, it is likely the case that the learnings Kotone, Fa, Rufuria and Rakira draw from their experiences will be an asset. As such, while RPG Real Estate concludes a little too abruptly and introduced elements that are definitely unrelated to real estate, the anime appears to convey the idea that listening is a vital skill, and that one’s learnings can find applicability in situations outside of their occupation. The manner in how RPG Real Estate concludes is a definitive one, although it is quite clear that, assuming sales for this series turn out to be reasonable, any sort of continuation would have a wealth of directions to potentially explore.

RPG Real Estate: Review and Reflections After Three

“A realtor is not a salesperson; they’re a matchmaker. They introduce people to homes, until they fall in love with one. Then, they’re a wedding planner.” –Lydia

After completing her studies and becoming a mage, Kotone Kazairo travels to the capital city of Dali to meet her employers. On her first day in town, she chances upon a realty company, RPG Real Estate, and unaware that this is the company she’s to work for, she asks them for assistance in finding a suitable place to rent out while she’s in Dali. Here, she meets Fa, Rufuria and Rakira, RPG Real Estate’s three staff. They attempt to find a suitable home for her but come up short, until Fa suggests that Kotone lodges with her. Although Fa’s place of residence is intended for non-humans, Fa is especially skilled in communicating with other species, and realising this, Kotone agrees to live here. When a well-known sage, Luna Didrane, calls to make an inquiry, Rufuria is overjoyed, hoping that taking on a larger client will help her to move up in the ranks. Although Rufuria struggles with selling Luna on a property, after spotting Luna’s interest in a flower, Kotone suggests a quite rural property surrounded by flower fields. Luna is overjoyed and explains she’d been looking for a quiet place to settle down after a lifetime of adventure, and luxurious accommodations felt a bit much. As Kotone settles into her work, RPG Real Estate receives several listings that look difficult to sell, including a large cave near the former Dark Lord’s lair and a mansion belonging to an elderly lady who feels lonely but doesn’t otherwise wish to part ways with her home yet. While thinking about what a suitable course of action is, Kotone overhears Fa speaking with a family of mouse-like beings and immediately feels that they might be able to move to the cave. Kotone is subsequently able to find new residents for the remaining caves, all of whom are immensely satisfied with their new homes. To celebrate Kotone’s joining RPG Real Estate, Rufuria, Rakira and Fa put on a party for her. While recalling a conversation between Rufuria and Rakira, Kotone has a stroke of inspiration, and she suggests to the elderly lady that her mansion can be turned into a rental complex, which turns out to be successful. While news of a rampaging dragon reaches the capital city, Kotone struggles with a client who’s been finding a large number of properties unsuitable, and focuses on RPG Real Estate’s next assignment: a haunted house. Despite being frightened out of their wits, it turns out that a particularly challenging client has taken a keen interest in the site: she’s a necromancer and finds the haunted house’s resident spirits to be quite friendly. When Dali begins to construct a warp gate, the citizens are asked provide taxes to support its construction. The government apparently miscalculates the number of people needed by two orders of magnitude, but Fa is able to single-handedly make up for the shortfall. The staff overseeing the project are grateful and gift to Fa some sweets in return. Besides Machikado Mazoku 2-Chōme, viewers this season are fortunate to have not one, but two wonderful series from Manga Time Kirara.

RPG Real Estate (RPG Fudōsan) marks the first time I’ve watched a moé series dealing with realty, and while it is early in the season, each of the episodes have placed an emphasis on a recurring theme: every time RPG Real Estate is presented with a property that seems undesirable, one that prima facie appears difficult to rent out or sell, Kotone manages to come up with a solution based on what she sees in her everyday life. Kotone is remarkably astute in this regard. She’s the first to notice that Luna has a love of flowers and wonders if a country cottage surrounded by flowers might be to her liking, recalls that rodents might be at home in a large cave and feels that a fire spirit would enjoy a reasonably fire-proof stone room. On all counts, Kotone is able to help RPG Real Estate match clients to a suitable property, and the reason why she is successful is because she listens. Being a good listener, being attuned to a customer’s needs and objectives, and empathising with a customer is an essential skill in almost all occupations: in this regard, being a successful software developer is not too dissimilar from being a realtor in that in both cases, one must listen to a client’s requirements and then deliver something up to expectations. A good realtor must therefore be able to determine the sort of individual a client is and suggest properties that a client is happy purchasing. This brings to mind my own home-purchasing experience. When my house-hunt had begun, I was looking on a casual basis, and I had booked an appointment for a property that appeared interesting. As fate would have it, the realtor who took on my inquiry happened to be the same one who had sold my parents their downsized home. We walked through the property, which had been on the market for almost a full year, and had sustained water damage. I wasn’t terribly sold on this listing; there hadn’t been much space for a home office (one of my requirements), and the fact that a leak from upstairs dealt the water damage had dampened my interest. Far from being discouraged, the realtor had asked us to be patient, and he’d been working on a new listing that would likely perk my interest. Three weeks later, I received an invitation to tour this property, and was immediately impressed. In my mind’s eye, I immediately had an inkling of where I’d stick the dining table, couches, television and home office. After careful consideration, it was determined this was the place to buy, and the process really began. RPG Real Estate abstracts out things like the property inspection, finding a broker to handle the mortgage application process and securing a lawyer to handle the transactions, but it does deal with that critical first step of matching clients up with a property that suits their requirements. Three episodes in, it is clear to viewers that with Kotone on board, RPG Real Estate will experience many adventures as Kotone contributes to helping the company out, and their successes may even help Rufuria to become one step closer to her own dreams.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Out of the gates, RPG Real Estate evokes memories of when I’d started GochiUsa: Dali might be the capital of a nation in a fantasy world, but from an architectural perspective, resembles the half-framed timber town Cocoa moves to at GochiUsa‘s beginning. Kotone fulfil’s Cocoa’s role. While looks more like a cross between New Game!‘s Aoba Suzukaze and Chiya Ujimatsu, in terms of personality, Kotone is friendly and easy-going, but also somewhat sensitive and prone to tears. She’s a good singer, as well. Unlike Cocoa, she isn’t prone to getting lost.

  • Upon arriving at RPG Real Estate (Rent, Plan, Guide Real Estate; in my discussions, I’ll italicise the text when referring to the series, and leave the company name un-italicised), Kotone finds a lively scene unfolding in front of her: it turns out that Fa, a half-human, is not fond of clothing since they catch her tail, and Rufuria is trying to get her dressed for the day’s work. The scuffle creates a sufficiently loud commotion such that Kotone initially wonders if RPG Real Estate is even a viable business, if that’s the sort of negotiations they must have with their customers, but fortunately, no such thing is occurring. When Kotone arrives in Dali, her first thought is to try and find accommodations: unlike Cocoa, whose lodgings at Rabbit House were already arranged, Kotone’s moving to Dali full time so she can begin her career.

  • Rufuria immediately sets about trying to find something fitting Kotone’s requirements, and with Fa, they tour a few candidate properties. Kotone’s ideal property is located somewhere close to the heart of town, but with a quieter ambience, and above all, has a rent not exceeding three hundred gold. For the viewer’s benefit, RPG Real Estate indicates that one gold is 120 Yen, so Kotone is looking for a place with a maximum rent of 36000 Yen (about 356 CAD) per month. This is, strictly speaking, unrealistic: rent usually starts at 800 CAD in my neck of the woods, so these parameters already give Rufuria a tougher time.

  • Although nothing seems like it’d be suitable for Kotone, in the end, after visiting the apartment that Fa lives at, and in the knowledge that Fa is able to communicate with the other residents, Kotone decides that she’s found her home. With this sorted out, Kotone surprises the others by explaining she was the new member of their staff. It is typical that anime employ this as a comedic device; when Kotone first shows up, Rufuria and Fa are engaged in a tussle of sorts, leading them to forget that RPG Real Estate was to be picking up a new team member.

  • As it turns out, Rakira is a fantastic cook, and one of the changes she’s made to RPG Real Estate was the addition of a brick oven right by the front desk. The result of this is that Kotone, Fa and Rufuria get to enjoy things like freshly-baked apple pie to start their day off. Rakira resembles GochiUsa‘s Rize Tedeza in manner and appearance; she’s a warrior and, befitting of her class, possesses above average strength along with a love of weaponry. On top of this, Rakira also wishes to be seen as being more feminine and has a penchant for adorable things, much as Rize does.

  • The dynamic between Rufuria and Rakira is similar to New Game!‘s Kō Yagami and Rin Tōyama, two senior staff on Eagle Jump. Here, Kō is the more easygoing of the two, while Rin is more organised and focused, but occasionally prone to her own flights of fancy. Like Rin, Rufuria has the appearance of someone well-put-together; she’s the de facto leader at RPG Real Estate and leads sales, as well as walkthroughs. However, her original wish had been to become an advisor with the king, and sees her work as a stepping stone for more ambitious goals.

  • After Kotone receives a phone call from a well-known sage, Luna, Rufuria is all smiles and believes that, if she can succeed here, word will get out and potentially accelerate her career. As such, when she meets Luna in person, Rufuria does her utmost to sell the most impressive-looking properties possible. At this point in time, discussions surrounding RPG Real Estate are limited, being constrained to simple reactions in response to what’s happening in the show. A quick gander at the conversation at AnimeSuki finds that most community members are focused on individual moments: the closest it got was one individual has compared the housing market of RPG Real Estate to Final Fantasy‘s in-game economy. Having said this, the Final Fantasy economy doesn’t even come close to reality, so I don’t count it as being a suitable analog (it’s the equivalent of saying one plays ice hockey when their experience is purely limited to NHL 2007).

  • That conversations have not ventured towards discussing personal experiences with realtors and house-hunting speaks volumes about those who spend an inordinate amount of time on forums or social media. For me, when an anime deals with a topic people have personal experience with, it drives all sorts of anecdotes and creates conversation where one has the chance to compare an experience with how an anime had portrayed it. In my case, I can recount how my realtor ended up having a much easier time of selling me on my current place of residence compared to what Rufuria is going through. I’d actually been familiar with the building the first unit was in, and while it was mostly up to specifications, the main challenge was that there was very little space for a proper home office setup.

  • On the second property, it did feel as though all of the stars had lined up: the place was spacious and exceedingly well-lit (to the point where I actually don’t need to turn any lights on during the day), and having now moved in, there’s still enough space left over for me to play with my Oculus Quest. The decision to purchase was made within twenty minutes of conversation, speaking to how quickly one’s mind can be made up after seeing the right place. When Kotone notices that Luna’s particularly keen on a flower she’d put in a vase, she goes on a limb and wonders if one of their listings might fit the bill.

  • It turns out that this tranquil cottage, set in a field of flowers, is precisely what Luna was looking for. This is Kotone’s first win with RPG Real Estate, and with this, the series found itself on a strong footing. While realty seems far removed from my usual scope of interests, my recent experiences meant that I was curious to check out this series and see how it portrayed that first step towards buying a house. The lack of stories out there suggests to me that RPG Real Estate is not a series viewers can easily relate to. Indeed, I’ve heard from readers that at Tango-Victor-Tango, well-known names have decried the series for being unremarkable: claims abound about how the character designs are “unlikeable”, the series is “painfully generic” and that the world-building is “underbaked”, ad nauseum.

  • Whereas most people would be content to quietly stop watching RPG Real Estate and move onto other works, such an adverse reaction is indicative of the fact that the topic matter of home ownership can be a sensitive one for the folks at Tango-Victor-Tango. Granted, the housing market out there is presently unfavourable: incomes haven’t kept up with increases in housing prices in the past decade, making it difficult to get one’s foot in the door (in Canada, it takes an 14 years to save enough for a 20 percent down payment). Housing and real estate are not topics to be discussed lightly, and articles out there about dropping the daily Starbucks or avocado toast are unlikely to be helpful because the process varies person to person. Having said this, one isn’t likely to become any closer to home ownership if they’ve spent their past decade on Tango-Victor-Tango’s forums, acting as though being critical about every slice-of-life anime is a skill, and announcing the shows they’re dropping with pride, either. It is clear that a subset of Tango-Victor-Tango’s forum members are those who’ve plainly have not seen the world beyond the walls of their basements.

  • It is unfair to dismiss an anime on flimsy grounds: a couple of short sentences devoid of explanation should not be treated as being authoritative. I would ask these individuals how precisely are the character designs unlikeable, and what makes RPG Real Estate “generic”, when in reality, other anime have not yet explored the implications of running a realty in a fantasy world. RPG Real Estate has shown the occupation as being a colourful one, a chance to meet people and gain a glimpse of what housing in fantasy worlds are like. This is hardly generic, and in fact, RPG Real Estate is stepping into a realm few series have explored. If anything, the world-building here is more than adequate, and problems unique to a fantasy universe are presented alongside more conventional issues (such has handling dissatisfied clients), which leaves Rakira exhausted despite her efforts.

  • As it is, I am finding RPG Real Estate to be an anime that portrays the ins and outs of realty, albeit in a very simplified and gentle manner, and as such, whenever things look tricky, a solution arises from Kotone’s creative thinking. When a family of rodent-like people speak to Fa, Kotone puts two and two together: two of the children are reprimanded for digging, and Kotone recalls that they’d just looked over a property that would allow for the children to be themselves. These rodent-like people were absolutely adorable, and in a manner reminiscent to The Hunt for Red OctoberRPG Real Estate seamlessly translates their language into Japanese for the viewer’s benefit.

  • In this way, Kotone is able to also sort out several rooms that didn’t initially appear to be likely to draw any interest. A semi-aquatic individaul loves the well in one of the rooms, and a spirit of fire relishes a space where they can flame out without worrying about burning down the surroundings. RPG Real Estate shows that the key to doing a good job is to listen and be open-minded, a recurring theme in Manga Time Kirara series. While these elements may prima facie appear to be common knowledge, it is actually surprising as to how often people forget to take a step back and listen.

  • This appears to be Rufuria’s problem: although she’s running a large part of the show at RPG Real Estate, she tends to pick properties for clients based on her impressions of what they’d like. This stands in contrast with Kotone, who has a knack for picking up subtle cues from clients and doing things accordingly. Given that RPG Real Estate is a Manga Time Kirara series, it is likely that Kotone’s presence at this realty will help Rufuria to improve, and perhaps leave the latter one step closer to the posting of her choice. For now, Rufuria must contend with Fa’s antics, and while Fa can be a bit of a loose cannon at times, it appears that Fa’s nice enough: here, an elderly lady stops by with a posting and enjoys Fa’s company.

  • With work having picked up, Rufuria, Fa and Rakira have forgotten to formally welcome Kotone to RPG Real Estate. They decide to host a small dinner party at Rufuria and Rakira’s place: it’s a small, but cozy and well-appointed space. Ever since I’ve moved, I’ve begun to appreciate good use of spaces. This is why I’ve never been a fan of the so-called otaku room, with their shelves upon shelves of manga, games and anime merchandise. Excessive clutter makes a space hard to live in, and can turn even the chicest of digs into an overwhelming assault on the senses.

  • While Fa is resistant to clothing in general, Kotone does appear to be able to persuade her where Rufuria fails. By this point in time in RPG Real Estate, it is clear that the similarities to GochiUsa are superficial. For one, the premise differs dramatically, and the voice actresses are completely different. Honoka Inoue voices Kotone, and I know Inoue as Slow Loop‘s Aiko Ninomiya. Hina Kino plays Fa, and while she’s had central roles in a few series, they’re not series I’ve seen. Rufuria is voiced by Natsumi Kawaida, whom I know best as Houkago Teibou Nisshi‘s Natsumi Hodaka, and finally, Manaka Iwami is Rakira. Iwami has previously voiced Maquia of Maquia, New Game!‘s Hotaru Hoshikawa, Ryōko Mochizuki of Rifle is Beautiful and Magia Record‘s very own Ui Tamaki.

  • Prior to the party, Rufuria invites Kotone to change into something more suited for the party, which gives her some trouble. The fact that Kotone’s got a large bust has been the topic of no small discussion: in Manga Time Kirara works, lead characters usually have a more modest figure, and people are wondering if this is going to negatively impact RPG Real Estate. While perhaps used for some familiar jokes here, Manga Time Kirara series have never crossed the line previously. GochiUsa, surprisingly, had done this in its first season during a pair of pool episodes, but as the series wore on, such elements disappeared in favour of more meaningful, heartfelt moments.

  • As the evening wears on, everyone enjoys Rakira’s wonderful cooking. I’ve always been fond of the portrayal of meals and mealtimes in anime; food is lovingly rendered, and even mundane moments can be transformed through food. While there’s a certain joy about enjoying home cooking, I’ve found that the occasional treat doesn’t hurt, either: because I’d had a bit of a busier day yesterday, I went out to pick up a simple lunch: chicken tenders and potato wedges. It suddenly hits me that I’ve not had potato wedges in years, and in fact, the last time I picked up a ready-to-eat meal from the local supermarket, I was actually back in secondary school.

  • In the RPG Real Estate universe, it appears that the age of majority is sixteen, allowing Kotone to participate in some alcohol along with Rufuria and Rakira. Although Rufuria gets smashed, Rakira is a little more resilient to alcohol and ends up feigning drunkenness in an attempt to be cute. RPG Real Estate reiterates that Rufuria and Rakira are close. From a narrative standpoint, this simply means the pair can support one another and do their best to help their juniors out. I’ve long felt that people tend overread these sorts of things; while it is appropriate to look at yuri more closely in series where this is a part of the theme (e.g. in Wataten!), such discussions also have a tendency to devolve into what are colloquially referred to as “shipping wars”, which are counterproductive.

  • After Kotone’s welcoming party ends, and Fa suggests that it might be nice of all of them could share a space, Kotone realises that the elderly lady might be able to convert her mansion into a shared home. By renting out rooms to tenants, she’d be able to make the place livelier without having to move away from a home that she’s clearly grown attached to. Being set in a fantasy setting, RPG Real Estate has an edge when it comes to solving problems; in many ways, it appears to be an idealised portrayal of the realty industry as a whole. There are doubtlessly laws and regulations even in Dali, but because those aren’t explictly defined, it gives the writers flexibility to tell their stories without being limited by real-world constraints.

  • A future where Kotone, Fa, Rakira and Rufuria would be able to share a home together seems to be quite far off, but with Kotone settling into her position, this leaves RPG Real Estate to really begin exploring the world. So far, Dali is shown to be a town resembling Colmar, France, with a central difference being that there’s no Rabbit House, Fleur Lapin or Ama Usa An around. A few locations around town have already been shown, and because housing is a necessity, one can imagine that throughout the course of this series, more places will be shown as Kotone and the others bring their clients to properties of interest.

  • Fantasy anime (and isekai series) usually are set during a great war of sorts: the protagonists are usually cast into the hero’s position and must overcome a dark lord of sorts, and the threat of both warfare and subjugation means there’s no shortage of adventure. RPG Real Estate differentiates itself from others within this genre by having Kotone come of age in a world where peace has already been reached. This alone makes RPG Real Estate unique in that it’s the first time slice-of-life aspects are combined into fantasy, showing a side of the genre that is otherwise overlooked. Here, Kotone walks RPG Real Estate’s latest client through some properties. This client is a necromancer who finds conventional properties to be missing something, so Kotone agrees to keep working on something for her.

  • Elsewhere, a landlord is having trouble moving his very haunted mansion. Haunted houses have long been a challenge for realtors, and different cultures handle things differently. Here in Canada, realtors have no obligation to disclose whether or not a property is stigmatised (e.g. if a death or murder happened there), although a seller may choose to include this information if they wish. By comparison, in Hong Kong, if anything particularly negative happened in a property, listings are legally required to make this clear. This has created a curious phenomenon where some properties can go for up to a third less than similar units. Although pragmatic individuals not impacted by flights of fancy may jump at these deals, folk beliefs remain strong in Hong Kong, and such units can remain on the market for long periods as a result.

  • After being scared off by the ghosts, upon learning that the client they’ve got is a necromancer, RPG Real Estate bring her in to check the haunted mansion out, and within seconds, she finds it perfect. There’s a steady population of spirits here that she can use to channel her experiments, and the spirits themselves seem to get along with her fine: they go from being a nuisance to being a benevolent and comforting presence. This sort of thing is par the course for Manga Time Kirara series, and I hold that what is shown in most Manga Time Kirara series is a very optimistic and warm way of looking at the world.

  • This sort of optimism is precisely why I’m a fan of Manga Time Kirara series: reality is a place littered with failure and disappointment, and I’ve long found that having anime that is suited for unwinding to helps me to regroup, allowing me to approach the problems I face with a fresh set of eyes and newfound determination. When I was a second-year university student, I had been on the verge of failing out of the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme, and it was my happenstance coming upon K-On! that saw me gain that second wind, enough to stay in satisfactory standing (because I’d been in an Honours programme, I needed to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 to stay in good standing).

  • Since then, easygoing series have been my go-to anime of choice, and similarly, I’m fond of writing about such series here with the goal of sharing what about these seemingly unremarkable and mundane stories can tell viewers. Although I am aware this may not be a fair assumption, I have noticed that the folks who dislike slice-of-life series generally are not the most pleasant people to converse with. It is above my pay grade to speculate on why this is the case, but my experiences have found that those who are more open-mined about slice-of-life series tend to be more polite and respectful in discussions.

  • With the latest of their listings sold to a happy necromancer, Kotone and the others prepare to pay a magical power tax to help with a city project to build a warp gate of sorts. Two of the government officials discuss a gaffe that’s occurred: the number of people required to provide enough magic was miscalculated, and the “two digits” error equates to being off by two orders of magnitude. One of the officials panic, fearing it’s her head on the line, and the other tries to assuage her fears. Missing something by two entire orders of magnitude (a 100x difference) is nontrivial, and typically, errors of this sort are easily caught before they make it to production, so one wonders what kinds of processes exist (or don’t exist) here in RPG Real Estate.

  • When Kotone and company head off to drop off their magic, Rakira ends up registering zero, while Fa is able to single-handedly make up for the deficiet and somehow has magic left to spare. This moment may seem trivial, but it does hint at her origins; together with mention that the dragons might be returning, it is reasonable to conjecture that Fa might have a bit of dragon in her. Time will tell whether or not this holds true, and in the meantime, I will note that the return of dragons might signify the end of a peaceful era; in The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo mentions that dragons have not been spotted in the Shire for over a millennia, and dragons were more common in the First and Second age.

  • As such, RPG Real Estate leaves open the possibility that the peace might not last. Whether or not this is the case, however, doesn’t seem to be too large of a concern; if their world stays tranquil, then Kotone and the others can simply continue matching clients with properties. If war breaks out, Kotone and her friends may be pressed into service, but bring their unique skills to help others both on and off the battlefield. Despite the opening sequence suggesting otherwise, the latter is actually quite unlikely, since Manga Time Kirara series are characterised by their cheerful and adorable aesthetic. Consequently, expectations are that this series stays light and fluffy; I’m quite curious to see how this one turns out. It’s a wonderful complement to Machikado Mazoku 2-Chōme and showcases a side of isekai-style anime that are typically unexplored.

Speaking to the sheer variety of topics anime can cover, I’d never expected to be watching an anime that deals with realty, much less in a fantasy world. However, shows like RPG Real Estate demonstrate how almost any topic can be covered in an amusing and enjoyable way. I’m certain that realtors would look at RPG Real Estate and indicate that the anime is merely a simplification of the process, much as how I found the software development workflow in New Game! to be a very stripped out representation of what actually happens. For one, there’s no peer review or QA: in reality, Tsubame’s changes wouldn’t have even made it onto the development branch, much less be put on the branch to production. However, as a work of fiction, RPG Real Estate has proven successful so far: this is an anime meant to highlight how a successful realtor must, among other things, be creative, use lateral thinking and make an honest effort to understand their client’s needs. Doing so in a real-world setting could become unimaginably dull, so applying things to a fantasy world also provides the author with a space where different aspects of the career can be explored without the constraints of reality, as well as the creative freedom to accentuate specific messages that would otherwise be tricky to convey in the real world. Altogether, it does appear that Kotone is settling into her work with RPG Real Estate, and while her days will be filled with matching clients with properties, it is plain that the fantasy world also provides a considerable opportunity for exploration. Traditionally, fantasy setting such as these are set during the course of a great war, with the protagonist being a hero destined to strike down a dark lord of sorts. However, since RPG Real Estate is set a decade and a half after the war ends, in a peaceful era, this series is therefore able to depict how life in such worlds might work, compare and contrast fantasy worlds to our own, and potentially, even show how during times of peace, unexpected events may nonetheless occur and propel ordinary folks into having extraordinary experiences.