If you love anything about this fantasy series that takes a hero and a demon pairing up for the benefit of both sides of a war, love the fact that it introduced me to the term “jiggle physics”.
「｢この我のものとなれ、勇者よ｣｢断る！｣」 ｢Kono Ware Nomonotonare, Yuusha yo｣｢Kotowaru!｣
“Hero, Be Mine!” “I Refuse!”
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha sets us in a fantasy world where humans and a race of demons are at war with each other, and have been for quite some time. A band of four brave warriors within the human ranks rise up above the rest, becoming the most skilled and successful warriors within the human army. One of the warriors, simply known as The Hero, is fed up with the war and takes it upon himself to defeat the leader of the enemies, simply known as The Demon King. The hero rushes into The Demon King’s castle and prepares for an epic showdown that he might not come out of alive. Complications arise when The Hero discovers that The Demon King is actually a very beautiful and buxom woman who happens to be in love with him. After some initial hesitations, The Hero finds his resolve and tries to kill The Demon King, only to be told that the war is good for both humans and demons. The war requires that food and supplies be made for soldiers, meaning that there’s lots of paid work for the poor farming villages. Without the war going on, those villages would dive right back into poverty. There’s also the fact that, on both sides, the races have never been more unified than when they’re threatened by an entirely different race.
And then, The Demon King confesses that she wants to marry The Hero and is madly in love with him. It turns out she’s been preparing for his arrival for quite some time, she’s even practiced making out with a makeshift body pillow. Oh joy. The Demon King persuades The Hero into joining her on a journey to…erm…I don’t know. The show is very cryptic about this part. And reading around on a couple of different blogs and communities, it appears I’m not the only one at a loss as to why The Hero and The Demon King are teaming up together.
That confusing nugget aside, which is essentially the premise of the show, I quite enjoyed this episode! It’s an odd show to judge, but I quite like it so far. It’s got plenty of fan service, but it’s also trying to be a bit of an intellectual show. It seems that the animation studio has a penchant for making shows about economics and…hey, this is all about the economics of war. That idea that humans actually benefit from the war is interesting on its own, and is by no means a novel idea. Go back all throughout human history and you’ll see people benefiting from war. It’s even been around in literature for probably just as long. It’s just one of those subjects that isn’t touched upon very often these days.
Economics of war aside, I love that this show takes your generic fantasy hero and places him into a world rich with depth. And man, The Hero is definitely generic. He’s your typical good guy who blushes when a woman shows way too much cleavage in his face. I sort of like him though. He’s generic as all get out at the moment, but you can see that he’s going to evolve. The Hero is essentially a blank white knight slate at the moment, but as the series pushes onward, we’re going to see his reactions to everything going on in the world. He wasn’t even sure how to deal with the idea that both demons and humans benefit from the war. I really like this angle of taking a bland archetype and thrusting him into this world where things aren’t as black and white as one might believe based on the premise alone.
It’s only just hit me as I’ve been writing this but, not a whole lot happened in this episode. The entirety of the first episode is a conversation between the two characters, and I didn’t even realize that. This show has an amazing scriptwriter for being able to bring such vibrant dialogue out of these two characters. I’d normally be bored with something like this in animation, but I didn’t even realize that there was next to no action in the first episode. The characters are a joy to listen to and their conversations feel fluid, smart, and funny. The Demon King plays off the hero’s naivety in such natural fashion, and The Hero himself finds it difficult to take that same advantage of her when something incredibly embarrassing for her comes up. I love this clash of personalities here. It doesn’t feel like moeblob pandering, it’s like they’re two people actually having a conversation and, I’ll be damned, that conversation was so engaging that I didn’t realize the first episode was entirely a conversation.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is off to a good start thus far. It’s got beautiful animation, a great cast lead up by Jun Fukuyama and Ami Koshizumi, both stars being reunited from their lead roles in Code Geass. We’re immediately thrown into a genre being tossed on its head, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a deconstruction. It’s definitely playing a different angle than you would normally see. I had pretty high expectations for the first episode, I’m not quite sure why. The moment I read about this series, I just thought that it had the potential to be something pretty great and thus far, it’s quite enjoyable. Though we still need to figure out just what the heck The Demon King’s plan is because…um, it’s kind of vital.