Dating Sim’s Leon Bartfort cares about his friends, but he also annoys everyone and has a bad attitude to match. He’s a rare isekai tsundere.
Trapped in a Dating Sim is a new isekai anime of the Spring 2022 season, telling the tale of the antihero Leon Bartfort and his adventures in an otome game world. He’s developed a serious reputation for being an uncouth troublemaker along the way, a thirdborn son who didn’t know his place in the world or respect his superiors.
Leon established himself as an unconventional isekai hero in a variety of ways throughout Season 1, from lacking a demon king opponent to having no harem, and his personality is a bit unusual too. He has established himself as a tsundere, a prickly but well-meaning person who is reluctant to express how he really feels about others. Not many isekai heroes are like that, but Leon makes it look stylish.
The original Leon Bartfort was a bit of a loner in his original life on Earth, preferring to stay home in his apartment and play games — including a sci-fi otome game his sister insisted he complete for her. He was a bit moody and standoffish even then, and is much the same now in this new otome life. He’s not a total bully or a villain, but Leon is perfectly willing to annoy, insult or mock others, especially if they strike the first verbal blow. Not once does he turn the other cheek or dismiss his enemies — instead he takes them head-on, and not even his good friends Angelica and Olivia can rein him in. Leon is a total wild card who, on the outside, is an ill-mannered delinquent with a short temper and a great fondness for combat.
Leon is a bit more nuanced than that, including a genuine desire to happily settle down with a wife. But even so, his bad attitude and standoffish ways in Trapped in a Dating Sim help establish him as an isekai tsundere, with his abrasive side being balanced by a well-hidden affection for others. As per tradition, this tsundere hero tends to guard his heart and is reluctant to express his kinder side or act sentimental, but it comes out once in a while. Leon generously opened up to Olivia and comforted her after their battle against the Principality of Fanoss fleet, for example, and let his actions do the talking when he stood up for Angelica Redgrave against Marie and Julius.
Leon has his noble side under that uncouth exterior, and he would be embarrassed but not insulted if someone else explained this to his classmates. Thus, Leon has become an isekai hero with a dual nature, a thrilling “bull in a china shop” who always pulls through and supports his friends when they truly need him. Leon can be a cool punk and a generous friend in one slick package, neatly switching between these two modes as necessary. Being the unwanted thirdborn son of a minor baron means Leon has everything to prove to a world that rejects him, hence his prickly side; but he also empathizes with the underdog Olivia and the rejected Angelica, hence the kinder side of the tsundere archetype.
There are few hard and fast rules about isekai anime, especially since it’s an unofficial subgenre of anime with general conventions but few absolutes. Even so, it can be generally said that most isekai heroes are defined by a singular personality — usually positive — and these protagonists are straightforward and static while changing the world around them. Isekai is a good setting for such characters, after all, being more about the new world and its conflicts than the hero’s personal arc. Examples vary greatly, from the cheerful deredere Katarina Claes to the humble, earnest Natsuki Subaru to the benevolent witch Azusa Aizawa — but then there’s Leon Bartfort, a reluctant tsundere hero who has a lot on his plate.
Leon has two factors to juggle in Trapped in a Dating Sim. His storyline is a contradiction, since he wishes to fade into the background as a mob character with a lovely wife but can’t resist taking center stage as a powerful hero who saves the day. Then he is an uncouth punk and troublemaker most of the time, but also a good-hearted and selfless hero to the people he cares most about, mainly Angelica and Olivia.
Overall, Leon can be described as a dual nature isekai hero both in his personality and his role as a reluctant hero, which makes him more nuanced than typical isekai leads. It’s not easy having all this to juggle but Leon pulls it off, and has established himself as the Spring 2022 season’s most compelling isekai lead, tsundere and all.
Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he’s a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor’s in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He’s always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read.