Demon Lord, Schmemon Lorde

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Okay.

I was fine with most demon lord themed anime. Part-time Demon Lord (Hataraku Maou-sama) and Backseat Demon Lord (Ichiban no Ushirou Daimaou) were shows I enjoyed, the former being several orders of magnitude better. What helped a lot were charismatic MCs that had a backbone, or at least the ones doing the straight-man role. Both shows had introductions that sat very well with me. Shinmai Maou no Testament has only a sliver of redemption right now. A lackluster, by the books MC, armed with a canned script is what I got for an entire 16 minutes. Only after that point, did it turn around and show something interesting and just compelling enough to warrant a second episode viewing.

So that’s my first warning of this Winter 2015 season. Shinmai Maou no Testament may not be bad, but it now has the hardest job of proving that it can be different. It’s really the best position to be in, if it wanted my morale support. Look bad, but swing it around a couple of episodes later. I’m always happy when a series can do that.

But.. oh boy. I was so ready to close the window and move on. It’s that goddamn clichéd line shitbag protagonists say in anime, good or bad. Every time I hear any variation of the line “You’re mistaken!” or “This is a misunderstanding!”, I cringe. Normally, I am able to take it, when considering the contex. It dilutes the effect. Numbs the pain a little. Shinmai Maou no Testament failed here, and my mouse was hovering around the ‘Terminate Window’ button immediately, ready to close if the show pulled any more hi-jinks like that.

I managed to calm down and finish the episode. Will watch next episode still. Not exactly looking forward to it though. Seems a little too predictable.

This show has a demon loli retainer serving a demon princess, for god’s sake! That’s my thing, my konomi! 好み! Even that wouldn’t be enough if this show proves to be a slog.

Demon Lord, Schmemon Lorde

My order is ready, Demon Lord Sadao.

okay

Could I have the Season Two Combo? With DVD extras, commentary, and live seiyuu specials?

Seriously. This show was insanely fun to watch. I don’t know why I get such a kick out of watching a Demon Lord live a normal human life, commuting to work and being an upstanding citizen. White Fox muscled its way into being a worthwhile studio to watch for when they produced Katanagatari, Jormungand, and Steins;Gate. But with Hataraku Maou-sama, I believe they gracefully slide into the top tiers.

Yeah, I know that relying on a studio’s reputation isn’t a method one should go about deciding which anime to watch. I see it as a simplified way to appreciate the work done by all the staff. I maintain that it’s similar to musicians. You’ve got the rock bands with names stamped on them, jazz musicians that go by name, and collaborators that produce under a group name, even if it’s a person’s name. Is it a bad thing to be a part of something called The Tony Williams Lifetime? I think not.

What was truly bad (in a good way), was the ending. Good lord, my nutbladder went critical. They saved the absolute last few seconds to be dedicated to Emi. I absolutely think that endings that wrap around back to reiterate on an intro scene are great. The umbrella. THE UMBRELLAS.

This is more of a knee-jerk reaction post, since I had just finished watching the episode. Most likely riding that ending high which may or may not be affecting my bias. Doesn’t bother me too much, since that means there wasn’t any major flaws or irritants during my viewing. Anyone that manages to nitpick at something is pretty much.. well, I’d like to say you’re over thinking it. Of course, it’s just what you do and you’re free to do so. But maybe, you should also lighten up.

Hataraku Maou-sama is a highly enjoyable show, and one of the heaviest hitters of 2013 along with Attack on Titan. Will other shows this year come along and usurp this throne from the Demon Lord? I think not.

Yusa Emi, that subtle blush and umbrella twirl is illegal. Someone could die, you know?

My order is ready, Demon Lord Sadao.

素晴らしい魔王様

mr_fabulous
Hey there Mr. Fabulous.

It’s true. This show is absolutely fabulous. Sadao manages to score a dandy pose during a crucial moment in another combat heavy episode. It’s probably just me, but I completely don’t mind this kind of humor within a serious scene. It’s over the top action with equal parts silly. It’s hard to believe that a Demon Lord is willing to do so much just so that he can keep his job and protect a fellow employee.

Everyone got a great scene. I greatly enjoy those behind-the-scene and sly type characters like Urushihara. Tricking Olba, a Church agent, into creating panic for Sadao? That’s rich. He’s been miles more useful for Sadao than Ashiya. Which makes me a bit curious about who’s a greater demon, Urushihara Hanzou or Ashiya Shirou? They’ve both been a demon general responsible for spreading their control over four continents in Ente Isla.

A facet that I had a hunch about seemed true in episode 11. Sadao and Urushihara seemed to be capable of dealing with Suzuno’s cooking. A scene during one of Sadao’s spiels has Urushihara grabbing food to eat, while commenting that it reeks of sacred power. During this exact spiel, Sadao reveals that he pretty much knew who Suzuno was ever since their initial contact way back in episode 7. Talk about being a Demon Lord. Yeah, it’s probably a bit of plot armor, but who can help and appreciate a competent Demon Lord? A small detail I forgot to mention when episode 7 was released: During Suzuno’s introduction scene, instead of production slowing down her voice via software manipulation, it seems they simply told Kanae Itou to resort to dragging out vowels and speaking slower. The sound direction in Hataraku Maou-sama is ungodly amazing. Pun.

The one last thing I simply can’t forget to mention is a blushing Suzuno while Sadao removes his work uniform to only his undergarments. Suzuno is too freaking adorable. I guess it’s a little awkward for Suzuno to realize that the Demon Lord that had been terrorizing her homeland is now in his skivvies while in human form.

素晴らしい魔王様

Hang in there, Alciel-san!

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Man, this show keeps delivering those faces. Some of them feel kinda Gag Manga Biyori, with those dead hexagon eyes. It’s creepy and hilarious at the same time.

Even the typified haunted house reaction from Emi, Suzuno, and Chiho was interesting. I almost always skip these kinds of scenes because there’s nothing new you can really do. But it felt different to me because there were three girls with varying degrees of shock-tactic-scare resistances. Even with Suzuno setup to be the one to stomach all of it, even she gets a little jostled. Even better was Emi’s post-reaction. I love that it was more of an angry “who the hell comes up with this stuff?” line.

On an unrelated note, I’ve been reading a lot of Hang in there, Kogasa! (site is NSFW. the comic itself is safe.). It’s a wonderful 4koma with Kogasa-san (an umbrella youkai from the Touhou-verse) as an author-insert for Mizuki Hitoshi, with stories based on the author’s real life about eating good food, and meeting deadlines that manga artists always seem to have trouble with. There’s videos of him visiting Anime Boston. Seems like a swell guy. Go read the 4koma. Knowing the Touhou characters that are utilized within the 4koma helps, but isn’t necessary. Most of the gags are non-Touhou. Some gags were character specific, but how it’s used is the punch line.

Don’t forget to read the commentary below each strip. The author has snippets of info along with the strip which is translated by the hard working Danbooru faeries. Sometimes the comment threads from the readership add to the experience. There’s even a point where one Danboorian made it into the strip. Twice even. And he comments there, too. Hell, Mizuki Hitoshi himself made a comment or two. It’s all one big family over there.

I’d also like to fantasize now that Maou Sadao has one giant, heart-warming family, right here in the human world. With Alciel Suzuno as the waifu, Emi as the lover, and Chiho as the mistress. Along with Kisaki Tenchou as the token Onee-sama.

alciel’s face wwwww. being an alciel is suffering.

Also, do you people care about screenshots? Less text, more images?

Hang in there, Alciel-san!

Demon Lord vs Potato Girl (not really.)

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Suzuno: “Oh no, I think you’ve tripped my flag, Sadao-dono!”
Demon Lord: “…”

Suzuno is adorable. Additionally, she’s voiced by Itou Kanae. After taking a look at the roles she’s had.. good gravy, I’ve nearly watched every show she’s been in. They’ve all been quite interesting characters as well. From the ditzy Elsie of The World God Only Knows, to the ditzy Kashiwazaki Sena of Haganai, Itou-san has had characters that run the gamut of expression. Many of her characters have perverted tendencies, which I find hilarious. Her voice is suited to a calmer type of girl such as Suzuno. But roles like Sanae (Shinryaku! Ika-musume) indicate she’s also good at sounding absolutely crazy.

In this latest episode, I found an amazing piece of detail that I would have missed if I was paying all of my attention to the voice acting. Suzuno and Emi go to a Moonbucks Coffee to continue a conversation. During the dialogue, the camera pans down to show Emi removing the lid off her drink, opening a milk carton while spilling some of it, and wiping up the mess with a paper towel. Suzuno was attentive enough to the process to replicate down to the spilling of the milk. She fist pumps at her success. I found it cute. What’s more, is that even Emi became apprehensive about Suzuno imitating every little thing. All of this while we get a minor info-dump for plot reasons. Streamlined and wicked scene direction. Makes me wonder if all of that was in the light novel.

It’s been a while since a minor detail like that made me laugh.

And that screencap I have above is enough for me to fantasize about Suzuno. What a sudden change in expression, compared to what we’ve seen until now. Man, this show is hilarious in a hundred ways. No wonder I’m enjoying it so much and pressing F5 repeatedly on Thursdays.

The flow of the show is impeccable as usual. For every arc of conflict or event, however minor it is, it has allowed the ends to taper off and smoothly transition to another point of interest within the story — without disruption. I’m almost disappointed this show has been adapted so quickly; it is slated for only 12 episodes according to the usual sources. Please tell me this show is getting a 2nd cour.

Demon Lord vs Potato Girl (not really.)