After a strange dream of a mysterious ancestor, high school student Yuuko Yoshida wakes to see that she has grown demonic horns and a tail. Dazed and confused, her mother reveals to her a dark family secret: her family is descended from a Dark Clan that was banished to live powerless and destitute by their mortal enemies, the magical girls of the Light Clan. The only way to lift their ancestry's curse is for Yuuko to find a magical girl, murder her, and splatter her blood all over her ancestor's Demon God statue. Fortunately for "Shadow Mistress Yuuko," a magical girl saves her from being run over by an oncoming truck. Unfortunately, Momo Chiyoda happens to be Yuuko's classmate at Sakuragaoka High and is much stronger than her in both strength and endurance. Taking pity on her wimpy assailant, the magical girl agrees to train Yuuko and help her unlock her dormant powers. Now, Yuuko must rise up and defeat her generous frenemy to save her family from the terrible grip of poverty. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
The Demon Girl Next Door stands as the latest in a very long line of comedies where the central joke is that the presumptive villain is pretty much harmless. As crowded as this category may be, it’s one that I tend to like, because robbing the antagonist of his or her powers often opens the door for some clever genre parody. In terms of tone and pacing, this series seems to be a little snarkier than Endro~!, and about as energetic as Gabriel DropOut without being as raunchy. This episode settles into a comfortable middle ground where it can make jokes at the main character’s expense without coming across as mean-spirited, and that’s right about where you want to be with a show like this.
As the titular Demon Girl, Yuko resembles the kind of sinister rival every magical girl eventually ends up fighting, albeit without any of the confidence or supernatural firepower. This episode’s early scenes do a nice job of turning her family’s demonic history into a running joke, whether it’s the mundane inconvenience of the curse placed upon them (they’re perpetually broke) or the wonderfully undignified fate of their dark idol statue (it’s being used as a doorstop). Yuko’s nonplussed reaction to all this new information is right on the money, and there’s something endearing about the way she treats her ominous destiny like an unwanted but necessary chore. Momo, her magical girl rival, looks like she’ll make a good comedic foil for Yuko, reacting to her earnest but ineffective attacks with a mix of straight-faced disinterest and pity.
For the most part, the humor in this episode works pretty well. Most of the jokes are standard genre fare, with a few unique punchlines tied to Yuko’s particular circumstances. I really enjoy how unfazed her family and friends are by the whole thing, since their casual acceptance balances out Yuko’s frequent overreactions. There are a couple of fun little details here as well, like the fact that Yuko’s little sister checks out a library book on weapons in an understated attempt at supporting her in her quest to defeat a magical girl. Not every joke here is a winner, though, and this episode’s biggest weakness is its overuse of on-screen text and other visual gimmicks. Those sorts of sight gags work fine in moderation, but at some point they become more of a distraction than a source of humor.
At the moment, The Demon Girl Next Door has a decent chance to establish itself as a worthwhile genre spoof. Its focus on the villain over the magical girl helps distinguish it from similar titles, and its relatively good-natured sense of humor should appeal to a broad audience. While there doesn’t seem to be anything truly groundbreaking here, I had enough fun watching this premiere that I’ll probably stick with the series for a few weeks to see how it develops. You can also free Machikado Mazoku anime watch online and free anime download.