When it comes to the fantasy MMORPG Cross Reverie, none can match the power of the Demon King Diablo. Possessing the game's rarest artifacts and an unrivaled player level, he overpowers all foolish enough to confront him. But despite his fearsome reputation, Diablo's true identity is Takuma Sakamoto, a shut-in gamer devoid of any social skills. Defeating hopeless challengers day by day, Takuma cares about nothing else but his virtual life—that is, until a summoning spell suddenly transports him to another world where he has Diablo's appearance! In this new world resembling his favorite game, Takuma is greeted by the two girls who summoned him: Rem Galeu, a petite Pantherian adventurer, and Shera L. Greenwood, a busty Elf summoner. They perform an Enslavement Ritual in an attempt to subjugate him, but the spell backfires and causes them to become his slaves instead. With the situation now becoming more awkward than ever, Takuma decides to accompany the girls in finding a way to unbind their contract while learning to adapt to his new existence as the menacing Demon King. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Ever wanted to know what it feels like to own someone? I’m not talking about people who you hire or a business partner. I’m talking about if you actually hold ownership of someone like a slave. Taking on the role of a protagonist in a fantasy world is no easy task. Even for a guy like Sakamoto Takuma, he may be an experienced gamer but he’s never been equipped to deal with a life changing event such as being transported into the very game he played. After becoming “Diablo”, he learns that the hard way.
Isekai Maou no Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (otherwise known as How Not to Summon a Demon Lord) is exactly what it looks like – a show about a demon lord who gets summoned into this fantasy world. The juicy part of the show is that the main protagonist possesses a “slave-turning” skill that allows him to enslave others. True to its form, this anime sets off so many damn red flags that it became of those cases of being so bad, it’s almost good.
I’m not going to lie. This show glorifies fan service at any chances it gets so be prepared for a whole feast of them. The first few episodes makes it clear that the two main girls – Shera and Rem serves as Ms. Fanservice. It doesn’t help with the fact that around their neck are collars standing as proof of their enslavement status. As a guy with poor social skills, Diablo have trouble building a connection with his two slaves at first. My early impression of Diablo is that he is a joke of himself. Being a Demon Lord with such power is like an unholy gift but he doesn’t truly know what to do with it. Furthermore, Shera and Rem doesn’t know anything about him and vice versa. However, it does show that Shera adores Diablo and is “impressed” by his skills. Then, there’s Rem who shows little respect to Diablo at first but does warm up to him as they get to know each other more. In a stereotypical manner, they grow closer together and seems the two main girls even develop feelings toward their master. Yet, Diablo still has to hold his urges of lust whenever he gets caught into compromised positions. If you’ve seen any Isekai series of similar nature, you’ll know what I mean.
As I watched more and more of this anime, it seems the show does take on a more emotional side once it decided to focus more on the characters. Despite his poor social skills, Diablo shows a genuine caring side towards his two slaves. This is shown in later episodes when he decides to risk everything to save Shera. He even begins to enjoy his new life as a Demon Lord and make the best of it without jeopardizing others. His main goal transform from ruling the world to being a trustworthy master to his slaves. By nature, it’s a peculiar sense to develop a character but somewhat works this way because of Diablo’s personality. He’s a haughty guy with a lot of pride on his side but sometimes drops his guard when it involves his two slaves. On the other hand, I think it’s a cheap ploy by the creators to get the audience to like Diablo. Because let’s face it, Diablo is still a generic character that adheres to wish fulfillment fantasies. So many isekai series pulls this trick from the book and it’s impossible to overlook this show’s pitfalls.
Unfortunately, I also have to proclaim that it’s very easy to overlook the other characters outside of the main trio. We got characters like the Fallen (Demonic Being) Edelgard making her debut early on. Does anyone actually care about this character? She speaks broken sentences and plays more of the role of a combatant. Oh and I can’t forget how absurd her personality changes from time to time depending on who she faces with. Other characters like Sylvie and Alicia represents archetypes like the guild master and honorable knight you can find in almost any video game. And of course, they had to add Glebsklem into the show so that the cast would be complete with a half-naked loli. That’s not even the worst part. If we look at the antagonists of the series, they are what really holds the character cast back. Every villain in the show are one dimensional characters with their own self-interest and greed. Some even have other sins that pushes the line of the show’s censorship. I can’t fandom how these antagonists were made except perhaps to tests the limits of Diablo’s powers. The obvious result is that Diablo overcomes his obstacles because how overpowered he is. It’s lack of creativity 101 that hardly takes any effort for anyone to make these type of characters.
Ajia-Do worked on a variety of genres before but this is their first full TV anime adaptation based on a light novel. By technical standards, it looks vibrant and matches with what an isekai world should look like. The high fantasy elements of the magical creatures and archaic structures are within expectation. Plus, some of the action scenes carries sufficient details to prove what Diablo is capable of. However, be aware of the show’s fan service. In some episodes, it really pushes the envelope with the “action”. Scenes that includes fingering, sexual power restoration, and tentacles made this anime look like a cartoony porn. It’s also impossible to not take eyes off of Shera’s body. The camera plays around her breasts like they have a life of its own. Clothes are also blown off constantly for specific “reasons” that puts Rem to shame. Character expressions often include their screams of passion in moments of ecstasy. Thanks to the talents of the VA, they make those scenes look more lascivious than they should.
There’s an unwritten rule where people drop episodes for a show after three episodes or less. For Isekai Maou, it will most likely take one. It’s a break or take for first impression and if you’re coming in with low expectations, then do yourself a favor and hit that drop button. If you make it beyond those passionate screams of our slave girls, then this may be a sexy rollercoaster. The main trio of Diablo, Shera, and Rem carries this anime so get used to that. Does that still make this anime an enjoyable experience in the end? Hell no.