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Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha
(All episodes watched):
My impression is that in Japan 'Demons' aren't necessarily evil--like humans, they can be good, bad, or somewhere inbetween. They just have fantastic powers. Thus we get the new Anos Voldigort, a guy with a very conventional set of parents who is courteous to Misha Necron, another candidate for Demon King. Just don't cross him; while generally pretty harmless, he will totally kick the ass of anyone who picks a fight with him. So, I wondered while watching episode one, what exactly is going on here? What will Anos do with his fantastic powers? How can he be both the ultimate demon lord and a guy with morals? He seems virtually invincible, so what will the basic conflict be (or might this just be comedy?)? So far, there had been a good deal of action, and the magic seemed fairly classy--not just the usual shooting of energy blasts but some fairly scary stuff, like killing a person, resurrecting him, and killing him again and again. Also, why his being labelled a 'misfit' mattered was beyond me; I wonder what exactly that term entails in Japan. Anyway, I was curious where this would go and whether it would all make more sense eventually.
Episode two offers a degree of explanation of just what Anos is up to. Contrary to what you might expect, it seems that 2000 years ago he was largely a peacemaker, who brought an end to an inexorable war between demons and humans by magically separating them--not exactly pure evil. What's more, he sacrificed his own life to do so. He needed the cooperation of a human hero, Kanon, to do this, and we also run into a reincarnated Kanon later on. I got a good laugh out of Anos' first words after being reborn. The reason why he is looked down upon and labelled a 'misfit' is because over two millennia his name has been forgotten and a wrong one has been assigned to him. Again, there seemed to be some depth and complexity to the magic in this show. On the other hand, the magical duel Anos gets into with Misha's sister, Sasha, wasn't all that brilliant and her personality initially struck me as pretty predictable and 2D. I was confused by the claims that were made by Sasha about Misha being nothing more than a 'doll' (whatever that is). Are they really sisters or not?
In episode three Sasha seems to mellow somewhat from the arrogant, privledged aristocrat she was--and then she doesn't. She snaps back to her old ways--if not farther--so instantaneously that I wondered if she had been possessed or this was some sort of impostor. It doesn't seem to make sense; what purpose does it serve? Her plot to betray Anos and Misha barely gets started before it is quashed. If I were Anos I would at the very least eject her from my clique, but there's no way that will happen in a quasi-harem anime. The episode left me wondering if I should continue watching this series after all. Episode four was confusing as well--Sasha hates Misha--no, scratch that, she loves her. Misha never existed yet she will cease to exist on her birthday. Division Fusion Resurrection Magic Dino Jixes. WTF? At least I think I understand how Anos will fix the problem. But is this show going anywhere intriguing? Even after episode five (in which the resurrection of an old ally of Anos turns up) I felt I had at best a vague idea what the basic message behind this show is. If anime pickings had not been rather meager due to the pandemic, I might have quit this show.
There is a sort of interesting thread (if I'm not reading too much into things) that someone seems to have been intentionally rewriting history to diminish Anos' importance. Whether anything would come of this was initially unclear, but in the end it does. In general the show struck me as being of unremarkable quality though it sometimes had moments which made me sit up and pay attention--like the highly appropriate punishment Anos inflicted upon an arrogant aristocrat in episode seven. One thing this show does well is create characters that we truly despise then have Anos stick it to them. I guess the reason I continued watching is because it's kind of fun to see this super-powerful and not particularly evil guy who people disparage humiliate the stuck-up elite.
As late as the end of episode ten, I still didn't feel the story was approaching any sort of climax. Somebody is screwing with Anos' reputation, but who exactly is doing this and what they hope to achieve remains a mystery. Relatively minor challenges arise and Anos defeats them, but who his main opponent is remains unknown. I wondered if a second season might be in the works, because no climax seemed forthcoming. But things get more serious when what was supposed to be a friendly competition with a human magical academy almost gets deadly. They were clearly trying to kill Anos. It's a bit odd that the humans are the villains and the demons the heroes here. In episode twelve things quickly come together as Anos' main opponent reveals himself and it's not who we expected. I'm not sure if this person's identity made complete sense given the clues we had been provided previously, but I can't deny that it was a cliffhanger. I didn't exactly 'get' all the magical spell nonsense in the final episode (as usual), but the climax was OK. The basics were clear enough and it was clear who won in the end. So, not brilliant but good enough. This show had some unusual touches and watching Anos teach haughty people lessons was cathartic.
Perhaps the reason shows which involve magic are so popular nowadays is because many people are anxious about the direction that reality seems to be headed, and wish they didn't have to be subjects to harsh facts and logic which are carrying them helplessly along. They wish there was a world where you could have whatever you want if only you knew the right spell. That is, where people, rather than luck, have the upper hand.
Last updated Tuesday, October 06 2020. Created Thursday, July 09 2020.