Let me start by saying this anime is seriously underrated due to the fact it attracts the wrong kind of viewers (or rather people who expect different things then what is being offered here)
To avoid spoilers but also to get the correct viewers attention; to save time for people who want this quickly summarized and don't care to read much:
Do not watch if:
- You're expecting fanservice all around and a lot of supernatural battles
- You want something similar to Bleach/Naruto/One Piece
- You want to see the classic good vs evil battle with some romance and ecchi
- You want anime to be educational and not limited to obvious plots
- You do not care much for bare skin and short skirts (there is some here though)
- You enjoy anime that shows changes and influence on large groups of people (countries/worlds) like Lelouch of the Rebellion or Death Note
- You find racial/political/religious debates interesting
- You would like a view on the history of crusades and life in the dark ages
The world is divided between the Demon and Human realms. The setting is medieval with magic being present. The human hero runs head-first into the demon lord castle to stop the war (by killing the "evil"), only to find that the demon lord is actually a woman, and a smart on at that. Not only so but she also has a crush on the hero, and would like nothing more than to be with him forever. Her wish is to end the fighting and war between the realms, but it will not be that simple...
Some backgrounds are being drawn without detail, but the animation itself if perfect. Not the 3D-view we've been experiencing so much lately (and learned to despise), but colorfully drawn characters that do not stand out too much due to ridiculous features (aka "my hair could hide a horse and carriage"). Overall a pleasure to watch.
Very interesting. Most reviews criticize this part a lot, but this is my take:
The Hero is just what you would expect in that reality, a warrior. He is not well educated, he was fighting not going to a school for rich boys, so he lacks highborn manners and often wants to act on instinct. He is a ridiculously strong fighter, but the setting does not pit him against stronger opponents so that he can grow, he IS the strongest around and he knows it. However he feels powerless given the fact the struggle cannot be resolved by strenght alone and is often troubled by wanting to do more to help.
The demon lord is very smart, educated, but lacks any real magic power (explained later in the series, wouldn't want to give any more spoilers than necessary). She is also head over heels for the hero, but mostly for her dream, which is to see the world like it has never been before.
The side characters are also very well done. We have the second female for those who enjoy this kind of stuff (does not get out of hand, lucky for us who don't enjoy this kind of thing, the rest of you can go watch White Album), a female knight who matures well throught the series.
A variety of minor characters play important roles later on, which is somewhat unexpected from the perspective of the average viewer ("If his hair doesn't stand out he will die soon or won't be important" - this mechanic does not work here).
A very enjoyable comedy character of a perverted old man, whose remarks often made me laugh out loud, wish he got more screen time.
Great premise, enjoyable experience.
I have found myself going for the next and next episode, even though there were no obvious cliffhangers for me to lean on, I just wanted to see what will happen to this world and how it will be influenced by this unusual pairing. I can sincerely say that you can judge this anime by the first two episodes. If you find yourself wanting to see the next one right after that it means you will enjoy it very much, just like I did. If you do not find this enjoyable after the first 2 episodes I'd suggest you skip it, it's not your type.
I once tried to write a review about Spice and Wolf (S&W) but soon gave up since there was absolutely nothing to write about it. Seriously, it was just aimless slice of life with some hints of economy and trade. But now that they made Demon and Hero, (D&H) its spiritual successor, I had more than enough material to finally write my thoughts about it. So in a way consider this a double review.
- Both the animation studios behind these shows are very minor in the field, and most of their works are hentai. At the same time, these two titles are their best works to date.
- The writers of the shows are different in each one but follow a similar theme in the story.
- The director is the same in both titles and despite having done several other anime, these are his only average and above works. The rest are hentai or heavy on erotic context.
In both titles we have a mortal male siding with a super hot sexy supernatural woman and going around doing stand alone missions that have to do with economy and trade. Surely, it isn’t much since they are mostly shows about fluff than plot. At least D&H has a bit more variety for having a fantasy war in the background. Other than that, it is still nothing much in terms of plot. And let it be noted that D&H is to the most part a parody of fantasy stereotypes; so it feels funnier and sillier to S&W, which was “serious” as far as slice of life goes.
Let it be noted that the source material has a lot of plot which the anime skips entirely in order to save budget in fights and stick to silly gag and boob jokes before it ends openly. So all the interesting themes are both underplayed and left incomplete for the sake of fan service. If you are wathing this for the plot, prepare to be disappointed.
S&W’s two main characters had a huge antithesis and made a very interesting couple. Aside from having different genders, the male was a typical mortal merchant, and the female was a goddess of nature. Their common goal existed in how humanity needed to find a balanced way of life so it won’t further damage the environment in which it lives. The protagonists were trying to achieve that with proper trading of goods and by spreading their ideals.
In D&H the antithesis is not so bold, as both main characters are very powerful in combat and magic. The male is an epic level human warrior and the female a demon lord with great knowledge in most sciences and arts. Their species are in war for many years and team up in order to find a way to stop that and promote coexistence. The method they have in mind is through trading; one side covering the needs of the other through exchange of goods.
It seems more colorful to have different species, spells, and civilizations blending like that, but at the same time it lacks the spiritual and philosophical feel of S&W. It has to do with pluralism and equality instead of ecology and balance. And if you see deeper than that, you realize the differences between humans and demons are only superficial. They barely look different besides some horns and tails and otherwise behave and live in the exact same way.
Aesthetic aside, there are other things which make the couple of D&H worse to that of S&W. When you have two overpowered main characters who can pretty much defeat anyone, it is hard to feel they will have big obstacles in their mission. They can just kick the crap out of anyone who disagrees and enforce their beliefs through fear instead of convincing the population of their philosophy. Of course they keep saying the whole point is to bring coexistence without reliance on raw power but there is still that option as a last resort.
Another issue is the way the main two characters are presented to the audience. The male hero was so powerful that everybody was afraid of him. He felt like committing suicide out of depression, until he was offered this mission and found a new meaning in his life. That makes him look like an asshole, since he is scorned by everybody for doing his job right and intends to change everybody’s lives even if they disagree. It’s like he is in a lose-lose situation.
The far more Average Joe in S&W, as simplistic as he was, he accepted the task exactly because it was already his profession and because he realized the crisis the world was facing and wanted to help everyone by doing what he already was good at. It was a selfless act; not an act of boredom or depression. Plus he looked like a mature adult while the super warrior looks like a stereotypical immature shonen protagonist inside a harem.
Even the female demon lord feels so much less interesting to the one in S&W. She is far more sexualized and her boobs bounce a lot. The goddess in S&W was naked because the animals in nature are naked; an excused feature that could not be seen as erotic. When she was dressed, she was modest and fine to look at. On the other hand, how am I supposed to show respect for this big tits? She doesn’t even look like a demon and dresses like a typical human noble with a bare cleavage. Even her horns are there as decoration; she is otherwise just another hentai bitch.
Plus, because the male is as powerful as she, it makes her feel like nothing more than his female counterpart. And sure, at first you are meant to believe she is NOT that good in battle as she is at politics or planning but then they throw a devilish dark side she has which makes her god-level for awhile and thus she is as strong as she likes to be. So she ends up being needless fan service instead of a vital character with a different role to that of harem girl number 1. Why did I say harem? Well…
The final nail to the coffin is how there are many other secondary girls who are all after the hero. Yup, harem in the making, further detracting focus and context from the main goal. Take out economy and war, and throw in done-to-death erotic comedy. Lots of boob jokes and the hero constantly called virgin and a useless piece of meat, as he breezes through missions full of hot animal chicks ho are after his shortsword, if you know what I mean. Unlike S&W, this show is pandering to otakus way too much, a thing I find cheap and lame as it trashes its worth as a memorable series.
It must be noted though that many things in the show are supposed to be there as a parody of jrpg stereotypes. So all the goofy and overused stereotypes are meant to be an excuse to make jokes out of them. No sir, it is not fan service to have breasts bigger than a house; it is a parody! And no sir, they are not named after their classes; it is there to make it easier to remember who is who. Why bother to name your characters Bill, Jeanne, and Maria, when you can simply call them Hero, Demon, and Warrior? And thus we go back to what I said about this one being light and silly, while the other was serious about its themes.
Both shows look nice to keep staring at, with S&W being very calming thanks to its rural areas and old style cities, while D&H heads for fantasy appeal by having knights, wizards, monsters, and spells. The later has some pretty interesting backgrounds, by adding filters and gradient special effects to the mix in order to create a much better fairy-tale feel. So it wins in being more colorful and detailed, although the bouncing boobs in the foreground can be very distracting.
As far as music goes, voice acting is ok and I am not fond of any of the songs. It’s just that the S&W OST is calm and elegiac, while the D&H OST is just generic jpop nobody would care to remember.
Although I was never a fan of such shows, S&W was amongst the best warm and fuzzy feeling anime of all times. D&H is a far more typical show, aiming to appeal to otakus with bouncing boobs, harem, and videogame fantasy worlds. It looks more colorful and variable but it has a lot less development with a lot more elements, and thus loses. It will fail to be anything significant in the longrun but for awhile it will be appealing for many, because the season it aired in was boring as hell, plus all the fans of S&W will be biased towards liking it for having the same feel, voice actors, and director.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (nice fantasy world)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (interesting textures in backgrounds)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (silly but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (bad)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (ends openly)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 0/2 (generic erotic archetypes)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 0/2 (none; the show ends incomplete)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 2/4 (nice visuals and concept but very light to bother remembering)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Art 1/1 (looks nice)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good concept but very light presentation)
Characters 0/4 (they are just generic and erotic archetypes)
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this show. The only thing that really bothered me, although there was nothing wrong with it, was the ending in that I found it rather abrupt. I also would have prefered the relationship between Demon King and Hero to have developed more, however that is just my opinion, it could be that if the relationship developed any more in the mere 12 epsiodes released the romance could have seemed forced.
The political nature of the show is very interesting, and not so complex that it is hard to follow. I found that this was the best part of the anime, I couldnt wait to watch another episode to see how the Demon King's discoveries effected the world. It never felt boring to me, unlike politics in real life.
Overall I would say that you should give this show a chance, I was pleasentely suprised by it!
Bonjour à tous, une nouvelle review pour les francophones!
Dans un premier temps, je tiens à dire que mon avis sur cet anime est très mitigé car malgré de nombreuses choses qui ne vont pas, il demeure agréable et divertissants.
Cependant, il est à noté, comme souligné dans les reviews anglophones, que cet anime possède de nombreux défauts :
Des personnages surfaits sombrant souvant dans des archétypes bien définits (le paladin dévôt, le héro niais et tout puissant, les servantes impeccables, les méchants très méchants, les commercants sans états d'âmes...) enfin on fait le tour de ce ype de personnages préfaits ce qui place immédiatement une distance entre les personnages et le spectateur.
Une histoire interessante mais totalement parachutée. Il est bon de souligner qu'une guerre n'aboutie pas sur la paix et le bonheur si un camp l'emporte, mais tenter le match nul au profit d'un système ou l'argent fait la loi, ca s'appelle de l'endoctrinement pour le capitalisme. Il y a une limite à ne pas franchire dans le fait de proner la toute puissance de l'argent et là on marche en plein rêve. D'autant plus que notre petite héroine ferait pâlir notre cher Léonard de Vinci avec son QI monumental car elle va réinventer toute la science de notre monde dans ce petit monde fantastique (les culture cyclique avec la jachère, les moulins à eau, l'imprimerie, le fusil...) Mais où s'arrèterons nous ?!? Certains des plus grand génies se retournerons dans leur tombe, mais ce n'est pas tout. Maintenant que la guerre, la science y sont passé, interessons nous à la religion, inquisition, chasse au sorcières, croisades, on vous fait le package "tout en un" et on aborde ca avec le moins de subtilité possible afin qu'un enfant puisse encaisser.
Tous les sujets polémiques de notre monde se retrouve parachutés en 10 épisodes qu'ils soient scientifiques, sociaux, culturels, religieux ou militaire. On entrapercoit même des tranchés dans ce petit monde féodal. De quoi révulser les plus grands amateurs de fantasy.
Bon essayons de positiver en parlant des dessins... Nan même par ici ca semble limite, les personnages sont plutôt bien réussi mais les paysages et les textures de l'environnement sont nullisimes et réutilisées de manières redondantes voire ennuyeuses.
La musique ne vous choquera pas ou presque, ca dépend si vous apprécié le son des voix synthétisées, mais personnellement, j'ai eu un peu de mal à entendre ca dans un animé de ce type.
Voila pour cette review, je suis pas un grand fan de descendre un animé en fleche mais il semblerais qu'il y ai eu un peu d'abus sur celuici. Cependant, si vous le regardez en mangant votre bol de céréales le matin, d'une oreille distraite, il est pas si mal, disons le divertissant. Et puis cela illustre tout à fait ce qu'on ne veux pas voir dans une histoire de fantasy.
Merci de votre attention et à la prochaine !
If you found this show like me, and are expecting Spice & Wolf 3, you're in for a few disappointments. This show is cute, fun, informative, and entertaining; but is nowhere near as clever or compelling as Spice & Wolf. The two are comparable in both a figurative and literal sense to Micro and Macroeconomics. One focuses on two central characters and their goal to gain their own wealth, while the other is about the world and consequences of actions made on a national and worldly scale. Maoyuu stands on its own for being charming (if not a bit silly), and concise (if not a bit cliché). It's worth watching once, but don't expect it to leave an impact.
This was going to be my TL;DR, but to encourage new viewers and to make things simple, I'm putting this at the top. On to the review!
I went into this anime expecting a "spiritual successor" to the Spice & Wolf anime. If you have heard this, wipe it from your mind. This is comparing apples to oranges. That said, this review will not be about how it is different, but how it stands on its own merits.
Despite being disappointed early with what the show was presenting, there were a number of traits that kept me watching; the first being the setting. Indeed, it is set in a fantasy world with design ideas from the 1600's; so I was pleased given my expectations. However, it was the way they handled the characters that charmed me.
When I first discovered that the names of the characters were actually Hero, Demon King, Knight, Winter King, MAID, OLDER SISTER MAID, ETC. I was, for lack of a better word, skeptical of this show's presentation. That said, I came to accept and enjoy it over time. It created an atmosphere that carries the show well. This show, from what I was able to absorb, is not about deeply personal connections, individual plots, or inner conflict (apart from one...); albeit, these elements exist to sculpt the characters into...well, characters (and not tropes). It is about a world at war for reasons that are just as fundamental as the characters fighting them (eg. Food, Money, Racism, Religion), and the characters dealing with it. This is NOT an anime about economics.
If all of these things seem fine to you, then enjoy. I should mention that the first few episodes air on the side of... well, idiocy. Like many shows (including an aforementioned anime), these early episodes are designed to hook watchers at the most base interest (eg. Moe moe *boobs*~<3). While this attitude stays present far more than I would have initially liked, it dies down quite a bit as the series goes on. Of course, if you're into that sort of thing more than me, then you will enjoy it and I didn't mean to insult your tastes. Compared to the rest of the show, the intial episodes are simply unintelligent.
Why I don't hate it:
I stopped thinking it was going to be serious, and stopped taking it seriously. There are things to be learned, and this is one trait that is comparible to Spice & Wolf. However, very few of these conversations (read: information dumps), have any feedback in the show. A mechanic is taught, almost immediately accepted, and the show moves on. The information taught to me as the veiwer was entertaining; but I was desperately seeking some banter.
Ultimately, I enjoy it for the setting and for its simplicity. Not once did the anime, make me think or feel anything of great importance (apart from one scene, and that was primarly because of an excellent delievery from the voice talent). I laughed, and that's why I don't hate it.
Why it's bad (incredibly subjective and SPOILERS!!):
There is a lot that I really didn't like about Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. The first thing I immediately disliked was the music; and this isn't really Maoyuu's fault. During the early exposition dumps the music was unremarkable, and stayed that way at best. This was one of the unmet expectations as a fan of Spice & Wolf. I love Spice & Wolf's music. I frequently put on any laid back episode and fall asleep to the voices and music. Maoyuu however, has nothing that helps craft the world or the scenes. Even my favorite scene in the show (Episode 9) has a very poor music choice. To compare, the music from the first episode of Pokemon during Ash's big speech to Pikachu was more moving.
So, I was intitially expecting an equal intellect love affair between the two characters. That was completely shattered. Not only is Yuusha (read: Hero) a dunce in his partner's shadow, but for a good portion of the show (and a ONE YEAR time skip) they aren't even together. Yuusha does play his role well (as a just, noble, and rash meathead); but there's a reason I feel the show is more about the world than the two cover characters.
I understand that the people in Maou's village are uneducated; but I find it hard to believe, especially as the show goes on, that in this world of rampant racism no one questions if she is truely human or not. As an aside, the fact that her horns are a farce really irks me too; especially when all the other demons have them.
The second half of the show wakes up, looks terrible, and falls out of bed. The pace rapidly excells to hype of the final battle; only to end on a cliffhanger and with more questions than answers. This was the second most frustrating thing about this show...
[Incoming broken Caps Lock]
The MAIN THING that really pissed me off was MAGE! She is seen in the opening RIGHT NEXT TO KNIGHT AND WAS ONLY FEATURED FOR LIKE FIVE MINUTES! I immediately liked her more than any other character on an individual level. She's a narcoleptic bipolar lord of arcana for crying out loud! As soon as she was featured I promptly asked two things about the show:
Yuusha's magic is shoddy, overpowered plot advancement that always made me question why this wasn't being applied more often. Mage's magic, albeit still seemingly overpowered, seemed more acceptable. She clearly had a grasp on what she was doing, and made magic seem clever and intelligent...for about twenty seconds. I have a huge love of magic in a fantasy sense, and have yet to find a good anime about magic. Everything she did was a delight for me, but she was barely featured... Why? SOMEBODY MAKE THIS HAPPEN!