Check-out Station: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha ep12 (Knowledge versus Tradition)
So here I’ve come to the end of another season of anime, with another series I hardly expected to finish. And a wonderful, and increasingly rare chance for me to tell someone whether I’m more enriched for the experience, or embittered by it. And despite the sometimes vexing experience of trying to write about characters named so literally that it made me feel lazy for typing them onto a page, I think I’ve seen this series in a mostly positive light. And no, for any that have followed me as I followed this show. There will not be a single Light Spirit joke. They weren’t funny in my head, so I know they’ll never be funny in yours. Now, let’s put this series to rest, at least until they green light the second season.
Considering that most people who have seen eleven episodes of a series aren’t gonna drop it with one more to go, I found it a little unecessary that the show end on a cliffhanger, albeit a weak one. But episode twelve does not bore us by dropping a bombshell at the start. The mage (or one of the mages, I don’t really follow) has returned from helping Hero in the Demon Realm to relay the message Demon King left her. Mage does a terrible job of this too, basically vomiting the information quickly and in a monotone voice. She tells the Winter Kingdom leadership (Winter King, Knight, Old Man/Rogue, and so on) that she has a vaccine (of sorts) for the most dreaded disease of the age, small pox. She also blurts out that the Demon King is a demon. Or more appropriately that her alter ego, Crimson Scholar, is a demon. Some other important realization is made, but there’s a lot to cover. So the economic part with have to wait until later. In another part of the story we have people actually on the verge of death! So let’s go!
Back in another part of the town where the Winter army is held up, the one-eyed general/noble who escaped in the previous episode has happened upon the maid sisters, and is very much wanting a piece of them… on his sword! For a hateful, militarily incompetent racist lout, he’s a pretty good swordsman, as he’s killed quite a number of people not just to survive, but in order to get to the printing press where the maid sisters are toiling. Damn that evil printing press and it’s demon words (obvious sarcasm)!
On a slight tangent, I find characters like the one-eyed general/noble to be very annoying. I know they’re intentionally written that way, but the scene where he’s telling her to get on her knees and respect a god that he believes hates her very existence BEFORE HE KILLS HER rubs me the wrong way. I can’t stand that righteous, judgmental attitude. It’s near the ugliest a human being can be, in my opinion. …moving on.
Back in the Demon Realm, in the Demon King’s castle, in the keep where the old demon kings are laid to rest (I know, I know you get it); Hero and Demon King are facing off in what some may consider an ironic situation. Hero and Demon King facing off in an exchange eerily similar, but very different from their initial encounter. It’s also one of my favorite scenes in the series. Demon King gets the upper hand on Hero, and propositions Hero with the same offer that she did in episode one. Except this time it’s not done jokingly or as a test. Her offer of owning half the world is a useless one that we all know Hero would never take. Despite the immense, unmatched power he possesses; he’s never lusted for an ounce of it.
Hero turns the table on her and puts on the charm, telling her possessed form that Demon King’s body belonged to him (all the ladies watching I imagined were flustered and sent heart aflutter into the clouds). He reminds the Demon King of their bond through his words and embrace, and it eventually gets through to her. We then get to see the spirits of the past demon kings leave her, apparently in the form of some nasty worm-like disease… ew.
The story then whisks us away to the previous crisis, as the maid sister are saved by…. ugh, Soldier.
I HATE THESE NAMES!!!
We’re left with a cliffhanger, but it’s no surprise that he survives while his opponent does not. Nice moment.
The situation then switches to the Central army as its grunt camp around a fire eating lifeless food in the cold. The mercenaries are riled up into action by the talk of how the nobles are wasting their time arguing over the spoils of war, even before the war has actually started. Coupled that with the fact that there were rumours of a food shortage and the all the horse were getting sick, and it was only a matter of time before someone lost their patience. The mercenaries decide to break off and stage their own flanking attack. Which is swiftly and efficiently dealt with by Knight. The end of the skirmish was marked by the onset of snowfall, and hopefully the onset of a long winter. Giving the Winter Kingdom the advantage in a siege, and hopefully a reprieve from combat until spring.
The show then teases us with a telling scene from the very upper echelon of the Central Nation leadership. Merchants, bishops, nobility and even demons were conversing over their next course of action. It’s all very dirty. And there appears to be one person they all answer to. Of course the show doesn’t show them, let alone reveal their identity. Then we get a confusing conversation between the Mage(s) before being sent back to the Demon Realm to see the triumphant Demon King address her subjects. I found it interesting to here the Maid tell Hero about how she’s not even that beloved compared to all the other war-like kings that came before her. And how only a near nuclear bomb-like explosion from Hero dressed as the Black Knight would entertain them sufficiently. It’s all a telling glimpse into what a second season of this show would need to address. The human world has its fair share of problems, and isn’t even done yet. But the demons pose their own set of unique issues. It may be Hero, not Demon King who is best suited to address this world.
The final scene with dialogue is between Knight and Demon King as they awkwardly address their issues, hopes and their shared love for Hero. I know this is a love triangle that I’ve already perceived as solved, but the show takes the harem way out by stating how Hero may prefer a human companion, but that’s complete bullsh*t in my eyes. Knight is very attractive, especially for the tomboy type. But unless Demon King goes around murdering people, Knight doesn’t have a chance.
The credits then roll, and at the end we get to see Demon King with the Maid reflect on all the progress she’s made with Hero over the series. She was proud, and deservedly so. And I’m somewhat proud of this series, too. While I was afraid it’d squander some of its better assets, Hero’s abilities for instance, it seemed to use them to fuller effect by the end. And some perceived “minor” characters got some major screen time.
Even a character that I initially thought may be a villain, Merchant, turned out to be as important and competent a character as Demon King and Hero. And the show in its limited time did a competent job addressing the issues that would need to be tackled to change the world they live in. Though, at times I did wonder if a fevered dream, or a drunk college night gave birth to the concept of this show. It’s pretty high minded, but clumsy. And it does just love to throw in elements and revelations as if it’s a PC world simulation. I’ve heard several defenses of Demon King to the effect of she’s that world’s Da Vinci or Einstein. And that very much makes sense considering she spent so much her time in flashback in a book repository/library. I just don’t like the idea of her being the only person in this whole world with solutions to everything. She’s more of plot device than the AGE system in Gundam AGE. And that was LITERALLY a plot device! Still a very minor gripe.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha turned out to be a pretty entertaining show for something born of what many would consider a not very exciting concept for an anime. Still, I found it to at most be an average series, with plenty of potential to be above average. The highlights were great, the older sister maids torture and speech in front of a crowd, Hero and Demon King’s budding romance, and even some of the brutality and combat once the series started to pick up. But often it was not a terribly engaging show. I don’t mind series that can be dialogue heavy and wordy. Katanagatari and .hack//SIGN are favorites of mine, but I found their dialogue to be more engaging overall. And Katanagatari had that wonder combat to go along with it. And there were actually parts that did bore where they were doing word building or explaining the mechanics of different systems in the world. That’s generally just unacceptable for story telling. So while I personally enjoyed the show and had no problem getting through it bast those first 4 or 5 episodes, I wouldn’t recommend this series to many people. And it’s a definite no-no for getting people into anime.
It’s been a quick, but entertaining pleasure watching this show. I hope to see (eventually) Demon King and Hero change the world just the way they wish. And maybe they’ll get a nice wedding on top of hill over looking both the Demon and Human realms. It’s only the most appropriate thing that could happen. Also, I hope everyone gets real names. It’s the longest of long shots, but I never want to see another series name their characters this way again!