(All episodes watched):
Most shows which have a 'gag premise' aren't able to do much to expand on it afterwards, since they are neither particularly funny nor do they have much of an interesting plot. But after watching episode one I figured that with this show we might just have a series which is able to remain funny, at least for a while (the quality of the plot remained to be seen). Unknown to Queen Echidna, who despises Leon, the four generals--Edvard, Mernes, Lily and Shutina--grant him an interview of sorts. They display varying degrees of suspicion--at least one thought the 'duel' he fought with Leon was exciting and holds no grudges. He managed to beat each of them for amusing reasons. In general their behavior is plausible enough, and the humor is good enough, to persuade me that they might just take the risk of giving him a position. Usually a lack of humor would cause me to automatically go looking for a plausible plot instead, but here the jokes, while not LOL grade, are OK and the plot makes some sense. The demon army seems such a laughable excuse for a real one that I can believe that it might do domething like hire its former arch enemy. But, crucially, the generals and Echidna are not idiots--that, I think, would have quickly ruined this show. Leon explains how he got little thanks for his accomplishment in defeating them. It would make some sense to just pay him to sit on the sidelines and not get involved as they make a second attempt to seize power. In the end he is hired for a one month trial period, with general Shutina as his supervisor. I prayed this show would flesh out and have a decent plot. One thing that confused me--wasn't Leon in the ruins of a real-world city (skyscrapers, automobiles, etc) at the beginning?
Thankfully, episode two did not disappoint me--there's always the chance that the first episode of a new series being good was nothing but a stroke of luck. This show seems to have a sublime sense of humor; it doesn't deliver uproariously funny jokes, but the humor is definitely clever and witty nevertheless. Leon seems like little more than a bum at first, but with time we see that he is earning his pay. Most shows have little more than the simplest, most minimalistic plots and characters, but this one clearly made some effort to be really good.
I didn't like episode three as much, however. Basically, the problem Leon must solve--he's on an important mission but is second in command to Lily, a juvenile general who only wants to play--didn't ring true. The problem in episode two had at least a veneer of being something that might really happen in a corporation, but this didn't. And Leon's solution made little sense to me (there are infinitely simpler ways the problem could have been solved) and therefore wasn't funny.
It turned out that my early assessment that this show might be more about the jokes than the plot was completely wrong. In episode six we get a surprising explanation of those real world images from episode one. This isn't an Isekai world at all, no, this is planet Earth after modern civilization was destroyed by a mix of human faults and the introduction of magic into it. And Leon is some three thousand years old. He and General Mernes have a lengthy but modestly interesting discussion of why each of them joined Queen Echidna's army, and Leon reveals his true goal. Basically, things get fairly serious rather than remain comic. In episode eight Leon has a long talk with a captured imp, who pities him despite his own unenviable situation. I don't think there was a single joke in this episode. The inescapable trend has been that the 'Demons' aren't nearly as bad as they have been made out to be and may actually be better than humans. There hasn't really been a single human character in this show, in fact.
This show was looking pretty good at this point but unfortunately would have a major flaw. In episode nine things near a climax as Leon comes clean with Queen Echidna and the other generals about exactly who he is and what he intends to do. Still, things were somewhat blurred; is he challenging them to fight him for the Philosopher's Stone, a priceless gem that is contained within his body? Why not just sacrifice himself and let them have it? The number one objective that is programmed into him is that he must defend humanity, yet he uses it as a hostage? I was left partly intrigued and partly confused. It's hard to get dramatic when things don't make complete sense, and this climax would have been much better if it had been clear just what he was thinking and demanding. Indeed, they fight it out in episode ten, but to what end I could not say and I was again left (modestly) confused and frustrated. Modestly, because a sincere effort was clearly being made to tell a tragic story, but I could not understand exactly what was going on. The twisted logic Leon is employing is hard to follow and simply does not make sense to me. He seems to make arguments in one direction but also arguments in the opposite one. This was a pity, because (again) it was obvious that this was a fairly ambitious show which was trying to tell a meaningful story, which is all too rare.
It turned out that at least one OVA had already been made as the series neared completion. I watched OVA 1 but it turned out to be only the first part of a multi episode story. The main characters all stop at an odd inn for the night, and are warned that they may be tormented by ghosts. Weird stuff happens.
Last updated Saturday, August 13 2022. Created Thursday, April 14 2022.