How Not to Summon a Demon Lord – Anime Review

At long last I can talk about this damn anime. This summer I’ve limited myself to only 2 anime, Cells at Work and How not to Summon a Demon Lord. I wanted to do a First Verdict post on this anime, but I joined it about 5 episodes in and decided to wait for the final episode for an overall review of the show. So what to say about this show? Well… I kinda love it. This show is a delightfully fun fantasy show that delves into serious themes, but other than that is a pretty wholesome show (minus the ‘PLOT’).

Story (Spoilers)


This show has a premise very similar to the likes of SAO and Overlord, but doesn’t take itself as seriously in my opinion. A shut in loner is playing Cross Riveire, an online MMO where he’s the number 1 player. But when he’s summoned to a world exactly like Cross Riveire, he finds himself accidentally enslaving 2 girls who called him forth. From that point the show consists of small quests and adventures while an evil presence lurks ever nearer. Just so you know, that is the dumbest reason for being transported into the plot, but it doesn’t really matter because the plot is pretty good. The story is mostly quaint and calm with a ‘villain of the day’ format to the show. It introduces new characters who stay around for a maximum of 2 episodes with the exception of a few characters like Alicia. It is clearly basing its pacing on that of an RPG, like Danmachi and other fantasy RPG style anime, with the characters moving from quest to quest to move the larger plot along. In all actuality, nothing of impact really happens until the final stretch of the show, with most plotlines either being resolved or abandoned as their episode finishes. The story is mainly meant to showcase the personalities and characters and how they all bounce off of one another, and it does this very well. There aren’t really many gripes I have with this story, but if there was any it would be that the tone shift REALLY fast in the final 2 episodes. By this point, the Demon Lord Krebskulm has arrived and has joined the party, I was hoping we’d get to see more of her with the party before the final stretch. However, the show does a complete 180 with its tone and goes full Berserk on us  (ok not that bad but still pretty bad), and while it does get resolved, it just seemed to shift gears a bit too fast. I may like this story a bit more than others since I’m a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons, so this type of storytelling with quests and one-off characters is one I’m used to and enjoy. Other than that, the show has some nice pacing, the episodes have good storylines and move along at a decent pace. Add to this a lot of really cool stand-out moments and a very nice setting, you get a show with a pretty nice story and plot.

img_0164.jpghttps://thenerdbook.com/2018/07/08/how-not-to-summon-a-demon-lord-episode-one-review/

Characters


This is what many people really do like about the show, the characters. I have to agree with the, these characters are all delightful to watch in their own unique way.

  • Diablo: I love this dude, he may be the Demon Lord from Another World, but I just wanna give him a hug. At first I was a bit on the bench with him, having this facade of being a tough guy, but as time went on you can feel his human personality bleed into his demon self. Diablo is a wonderfully awkward character, but it doesn’t get in the way and his persona helps him overcome that awkwardness. He slowly grows to accept and care for his girls, and the interactions he has with them are both earnest and downright adorable. He has a lot of development in the show and it’s great to see him adapt to his situation using his video game knowledge. Diablo is cool, powerful and lovable, a great protagonist.

  • Sherra: I usually don’t get involved in ‘best girl’ arguments, but this time I really must. SHERRA IS BEST GIRL AND NO ONE CAN CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT THAT! *huff* Ok now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about why I love Sherra l Greenwood. It’s because she isn’t a complete damsel, they could have very easily made her a girl for Diablo to save all the time, but instead they make her independent while still relying on her friends in a supporting manner. Her heritage as a princess is a little bit cliché, but it only factors into like 2 episodes so it isn’t too big a deal. Her refusal to serve her duties as a princess and to live her own life is a great character trait that adds to her appeal greatly, Her relationship with Diablo is such a darling thing to watch, the way she opens herself up to him and is willing to go to any lengths for him as he would for her. I love her accepting nature, her fiery determination and caring attitude,I wish we saw her do more of her own thing in the series, but she was still a joy to watch and I would definitely watch a second series if it meant more Sherra.

  • Rem: Rem, the other girl Diablo has enslaved to him, Rem is the more plot based character and she is used as a plot device more than Sherra. Rem isn’t a typical deadpan girl, her hard exterior hiding a warm and loving girl who pops out of her cold shell every now and then like a little snail (that is the stupidest metaphor ever). Her curse of having the demon Krebskulm trapped within her does act as the main threat of the show, with it factoring in to many different aspects of the show, however it usually takes a back seat. I like Rem for her reliance on others and hr willingness to allow others to help her. She grows into a more open person as the show progresses and when she accepts Krem as a friend, her arc comes full circle as she’s grown to love what she’d previously resented. My only problem with Rem isn’t her specifically, but the fact that she became the ‘Refrigerator Woman’ of the show. If you don’t know what that means, it means a woman character whose soul purpose is to move the plot forward via their own suffering. Rem gets maimed at the end of the show and it really doesn’t need to be so brutal or mean-spirited but it was and that’s what ushered in the final fight. So in conclusion, Rem may have been mistreated a bit towards the finale, but her growth as a character and secretly soft fluffy personality lead to her being a great character.

  • Alicia: *deep breath* I hate Alicia! Why? Because she is the most cliché character in this show. She exists for one purpose, to betray the group and make people hate her. From the beginning I found her unlikable because she seemed too much like a good girl type character. Her sudden sadistic streak comes from real tragedy in her past, but it just seems twisted to a ridiculous degree. What’s worse, she comes back at the end of the series and is redeemed, her ‘new life’ starting as the series comes to a close. I think it would have been better for her character if she received somewhat of a harsher punishment for her sins, but instead she’s forgiven and everything’s peachy again. Alicia really had no true personality other than “I’m actually EVIL! I hate ALL mortals!” I may seem too harsh, but she really got under my skin and left me angry when her reveal as a villain happens. She’s meant to be the sympathetic villain towards the end, but her redemption isn’t earned, especially when you see what happens to Rem because of her betrayal. I know there are some who like Alicia, but personally, I hope she doesn’t return should a second series arrive.

  • Krem: Krem is a really cute character and her reveal as a passive child of a demon is a great fake out and her relationship with Sherra is a really cute and sweet one, their love for food being a really cute common interest. Her relationship with Rem is also really nice, she realises the misery she caused Rem and wants to make it right. She isn’t in the show too long so I can’t really add more about her, but she was a really fun character and I loved what short screen time she had.

  • Other characters: The other characters in this show are either minor or one-off episode specific characters. Saddler is meant to be hated so I don’t see the need to talk much about him, though I do wish they’d dragged out his death more since it was satisfying to see him suffer (I think I have a problem). Sylvie is cute, but she acts as a quest-giver and nothing else.  Eldegard is ok, but she only acts as a reason for the finale to come forward and other than that she’s pretty bland. Emile is a comic character and I do really like him, his sheer obliviousness is a hilarious quality. So other than these characters, no one else is worth a mention.

In conclusion, this cast is a really strong. I love their relationships, I love their interactions and I love the development many of them get.

IseMaou_01_2https://unboxholics.com/anime-comic-news/33370-to-kafto-opening-apo-to-how-not-to-summon-a-demon-lord

Presentation


This show boasts some decent animation, it’s nothing special but it is pleasant to look at and the character designs are all varied. One thing I did actually notice was that the backgrounds in this show were very well made and do actually create a wide and fantastical style to the world. The colours are also fabulous, they add to the more lax and calm nature of this show with a lot of vivid bright colours and the occasional subdued palette to balance the mood. The characters also have very good voice acting, the different voices really do lend themselves to their respective characters. I don’t really have anything to say about the music, the opening and ending are ok but nothing worth bringing up and the rest of the soundtrack is pretty standard. One thing I shall bring up in this segment is the fanservice. This is an ecchi anime, but the fanservice for the most part isn’t really too intense. I mean Sherra and her outfit is a walking mound of fanservice (or two mounds if ya get what I’m saying), but nothing else is really intense. Now there are scenes like the end of episode 2 and the start of episode 10, but for me this fanservice was pretty tame and honestly quite wholesome in places, used for either comedic effect or to provoke a funny reaction. In conclusion, this show had some lovely animation with some nice background, distinct character designs, a pleasant collection of colours and some mostly tasteful fanservice, overall it has great presentation. (I cannot believe I used valuable sentence space to talk about fanservice.)

img_0165.jpghttps://thenerdbook.com/2018/07/08/how-not-to-summon-a-demon-lord-episode-one-review/

Diablo: An OP Character Done Right


One thing I want to draw attention to is how Diablo was OP, but in a good way. OP characters are nothing new to anime, and for many people they suck you out of the world because you know that all that world’s problems can be solved by this one character. Diablo is no exception to this world saving rule, he is a powerful warrior and more often than not, barely displays any signs of weakness. But what is good about Diablo is that he’s given a sizeable number of emotional flaws to balance out his lack of physical ones. Diablo is a shut in at heart, he initially resents others and looks out only for himself, this creates physical weakness since he has no one to watch his back for him. He also puts too much faith in his knowledge of the MMO this world is based on, and this leads to him adapting to more realistic factors (in this world), and therefore grow as a person. He does meet many physical matches like the swordsman Galford and Krebsklum, but in the long terms they are barely a challenge for him. Many heroes have to endure a physical struggle along with an emotional struggle, but for Diablo he has no physical struggle but makes up for it with a pretty sizeable mental one. he has to learn to not only accept this world, but the people in this world who look up to and appreciate him, something he never really knew in the real world. Diablo isn’t as OP as the likes of Saitama, but he is still a physically powerful foe and they manage to craft a great story around him despite his power to quell all physical threats.

demon-lord-ep-6-feature-image.jpghttps://alexanderprange.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/how-not-to-summon-a-demon-lord-episode-6-review-slaves-family-and-magic-power/

Grades


  • Story: 4/5 – This plot is daft, it has the dumbest kickstart and the story isn’t filled with much peril or urgency until the final stretch. But the plotlines are engaging and they offer some great character moments and fun nods to MMO’s and fantasy in general.
  • Characters: 5/5 – These characters are great, and the shows main pull comes from their interactions with one another. Characters get a sizeable amount of development and grow as the series progresses. With the exception of Alicia and of course Saddler, there are no characters I really dislike.
  • Presentation: 4/5 – It’s not special, but it is colourful, has great background work and the world itself is engaging and looks very pretty.
  • (Unique Grade) Tasteful Fanservice: 4/5 – It is tasteful and often pretty tame. There are some intense, like REALLY INTENSE scene, but they are very fleeting and the rest of the fanservice actually adds to visual humor and character moments.

 

  • Final Grade: 4/5 – This anime was satisfying to watch and a treat to follow. It wasn’t groundbreaking or special, but it had a fun story, some wonderful characters and a lot to really enjoy and have fun with. I’m glad I saw this anime and considering they’ve covered only a small chunk of the light novel content, there is room for a second series and I will be very happy if that happens.

Thank you for reading I ope you enjoyed it. If you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “How Not to Summon a Demon Lord – Anime Review

  1. Great review! I love how you touched on nearly every aspect of the show! Like you mentioned Diablo is such a good protagonist, usually these shows have such generic leads but Diablo makes it all the more interesting!

    And yes, Shera is absolute best girl! No denying that!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s