If that is to imply that I don’t like this show, you’d be sort of correct in saying that. Of all the shows that I watched for this season, this is the one I had set my hopes on. The first episode was acted out like it was in a play, with some consideration towards positioning and movement that is uncommon to see in most anime. It even names its characters after their roles, such as Hero, Demon King, Knight, Head Maid, and others such. It’s an interesting naming convention because it relegates each character to a particular role. Its role in the story is to pigeonhole each character to said role and the stereotypes that go along with it. Normally this would be blasphemous in a character-driven setting, but the way the first episode implied its progression made me believe that each character was simply a cog in a system that needed these kinds of people. Merchants had to behave like merchants. Heroes need to behave like heroes. Demon kings need to behave, uh, like busty girls who bear economic knowledge from the future. Wait a minute.
There aren’t a lot of factors in this show that add up the way I expected them to. As much as I like character development, it has a minor role in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha because of the story it is trying to tell. It tells the story of a demon king trying to end war through providing better alternatives to her enemies. It tells the story of a hero doing what he can with his abilities before his role becomes irrelevant in the world the Demon King is trying to create. It also tells the story of the maids, the Knight, the White Prince, the merchants, etc., etc., etc.. My point is that there’s an obvious angle that the overarching story is supposed to take, but the telling of said story is being handled peculiarly.What do I mean by this? Well, consider how the episodes up ’till now have played out. There are parts of the anime that are rather conspicuously cut out to save time, such as the periods of time skipped between each episode. As much as there is meaning in what is shown, there is also meaning in what’s not shown. The timeskipping in this particular case is supposed to convey that given a certain amount of time and effort, the Demon King’s goals can be achieved to this extent. Sort of like how a cooking show would put something in the oven and then bring out the finished product that was already prepared beforehand. It’s there to save time, and is understandable. I would hate to be stuck learning how to live daily life in the rural areas when there’s a grander story to tell.
What I can’t appreciate, however, is that the story that Maoyuu is telling right now makes me wonder if the parts that it skips entirely are really that boring to watch instead. Amidst the turmoil of war and political intrigue, episode 4 devotes an inordinate amount of time towards the Demon King fretting over her breasts and what outfit to wear for her meeting with the merchant. Several episodes choose to focus on the relationship between the Hero and the Demon King rather than their respective duties they must fulfill in order to make their plan come to fruition. I say it’s peculiar because it’s unclear whether or not these types of scenes are worth omitting the rest of the story. Does Yuusha’s worries about being by the Demon King’s side really matter all that much? Does the Demon King’s loneliness without the Hero really matter all that much, too? The anime hasn’t really given me a straight answer about that yet other than giving me more Hero/Demon King romance fodder. I won’t comment on whether or not such romance is good or not, just that it feels out of place considering the other plot points it opened.The Demon King’s actual story is quite simple: Improve the human world’s quality of life so that they do not need to rely on war. How does she go about doing this? By feeding them (both literally and figuratively) the necessary information needed in order for them to cultivate and progress without having to visit the Demon World for a nice afternoon invasion after teatime. Basically, the old “teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry” adage is what she’s trying to get at. Ultimately, she wants the human world to become self-sufficient on the crops she’s trying to introduce to the human world and find their profits in there. In particular, corn is introduced to them as an effort to redirect the human world’s expansion northward, into places that are not the demon world. It’s not overtly claimed or revealed that this is actually her intent, but it’s subtle enough to understand what she’s trying to do with both the corn and the potato so far. The compasses, too, allow navigators to explore to much farther distances out into the sea. It would make traveling to distant lands a lot easier, in hopes of finding a place where resources are plenty.
Now, when the anime chooses to focus on these kinds of developments, the anime gains my interest. You don’t call a merchant “Merchant” because he has a distinct personality, you name him that because he serves a role. The Demon King definitely seems condescending when it comes to telling the convent and the merchant’s alliance how to do their jobs, but when you think about it she kind of needs to use this kind of language. She’s using them for her own gain, and appealing to what they do best is a way to get them to agree to whatever you’re trying to do. Of course, the Knight (initially) and the Merchant really don’t have much of an idea of what the Demon King is trying to get out of this because they’re merely playing their roles in their respective establishments, but the important thing is that she’s making all these contracts with people so that she can eventually achieve her dream of ending war not out of exhaustion but of disinterest.
Which leads to an interesting standpoint. The Demon King herself is privy to a plethora of knowledge and futuristic technology in her scrolls and such, but there’s very little to imply that the demon race as a whole also shares this knowledge or technological advancement. It’s clear from the first episode that the Demon King actually has very little power over her subjects, which is to imply that they also do not share their knowledge or their intelligence with her. To that end, we really do have to wonder what exactly the Demon King is in relation to the rest of the Maoyuu universe. That’s certainly a question that keeps me watching, even if it means slogging through shots of her cleavage and the Head Maid telling her that her useless meat is useless and her CRIPPLING RONERINESS without the Hero around.While there is purpose with every cut that is made in a scene, sometimes Maoyuu takes that principle to an extreme where I can’t appreciate what’s left to show. Take the Hero’s exploits in the Demon Realm for example. Aside from what the Head Maid says, we have no idea what he actually does there. Even in this most recent episode, all we ever see of him is brooding over a demon/human town and wondering aloud about what to do with them. We know from hearsay that he’s been putting down rebellions and uprisings and the like, and we know that he’s powerful from that one shot in episode 2 where he slays a giant fucking boar to feed the townspeople, but the anime doesn’t bother to put those two things together. I like how the anime doesn’t feel the need to do that, however, because it honestly isn’t necessary to advance the story, but I’d rather have that than listen to the Hero or the Head Maid tell us by ear about what he’s been doing. I suppose it has its point, though, because it helps us understand the Demon King’s loneliness and such. We’re given his circumstances from the mansion’s point of view and not his, which means we are being given the same information as the Head Maid/Demon King. If it frustrates you personally that you don’t get to see him actually do those things, and when it frustrates the Demon King for similar reasons, then the anime is actually has a point.
The thing is, however, is that I don’t particularly care about how lonely the Demon King is. I want to know about the extent of the Hero’s powers, what he’s done to help the Demon King in her goals, but the anime merely tells us that “X happened thanks to the Hero and here’s how the Demon King reacts to such news” and that’s frustrating as fuck when your real interest is in seeing exactly what the Hero did. I mean come on, you see him kicking ass in that black suit of armor in the OP and you want to see that baaaaaaad, but the anime isn’t doing that. The problem right now is that what Maoyuu is showing to us pales in comparison to what it’s not showing to us.On the flipside, there are omissions of events where I’m kind of glad that they didn’t go over them. Because if it did go through these kinds of events in full detail it would be reason enough for me to drop this series. See, Maoyuu is being not-too subtle about how much of a playboy the Hero is. Yes, we see that girls flock towards him and that otherworldly species want to have interracial sex trophies with his compassionate hot bod, but the anime spares us the torture by omitting the details. The picture above is the perfect example of this. Earlier, that demon girl was rescued by the Hero from a bunch of thugs and what does he do afterwards? They go together to a nondescript living space and… just talk? Given that we know his history with women, it’s obvious what this scene really implies (SEX). Which would be frickin awesome as a suave James Bond-esque move if he weren’t a virgin like the Head Maid already says he is. Most likely they just talked in that room, but one can only dream. I supposed I imagined this because I wanted the Hero to have some sort of flaw other than “I’M TOO GOOD AT THIS HERO THING WAAAAAAAAH”. But again, the same problem arises: why should I care that the Hero is a notorious playboy? Why should I care that he’s doing all these things for the Demon King, anyway? His immediate compliance to her contract terms was dubious from the start, so the anime needed to give additional reasons why he would agree to such an outrageous deal. Maybe this will be revealed later in the anime, but as of now my patience is wearing thin with him, with the Demon King, with basically all the characters at this point. It’s nice and all that the writers want this anime to be character-driven, but there’s very little point to character development when there’s a grander story that’s dying to be told.
- Oh sweet jesus that’s a lot more words than I intended to write.
- I’m still stuck watching this anime because of the points already mentioned and the OP. Probably the best OP of the season in terms of song choice.
- Still in the process of writing Escapades updates for previous weeks. Yes, I’m still doing those.