Maoyuu Maou Yuusha Episode 1: “You Will Be Mine, Hero.” “I Refuse!” [First Impression]
“Let the curtains rise on the first, and perhaps last, play of the Hero and the Demon King!”
(Hi there! It’s me, Tenderfoot, filling in for Oki who’s waiting on a new computer and thus can’t do this article. Don’t worry, you’ll only have to put up with me this one time.)
Summary: Finally faced with his chance to end the war between demons and human, Hero rushes to kill who he believes is the Demon King, only to be faced with an overly cheerful and very buxom woman. Turns out that “Demon King” is only a title, and that this Demon Queen has got a couple of things to teach Hero about the realities of war and how a little thing like killing her wouldn’t solve anything. Instead she proposes that the two of them work together in order to end the war between their people as peacefully as possible.
BOOBIES! Errr…I mean…PLOT! ECONOMICS! DEEP STUFF (and I’m not just talking about the Demon Queen’s cleavage!) Throw in a magic lantern, a couple of silly moments, just a pinch of fanservice (alright, more like a teaspoon’s worth), and finish it off with two likable leads and you have Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. In many ways similar to it’s spiritual successor Spice and Wolf (the share a lot of the same staff too), this time around instead of focusing on trade, we’re shifting gears to explore war and the many problems faced when trying to determine why it continues and how to best put an end to it. It’s an interesting premise, and with all the extra fun stuff thrown in, it makes something that could become real boring, real quick for someone not really into long-winded discussions, actually watchable.
Our first episode starts right where any other fantasy tale would end: with the Hero (or Yuusha as he’s called most of the time) finally making it to the Demon’s castle and slaying the villain, bringing peace to the lands. But not so! Right as Yuusha is about to cut down his enemy, the Demon Queen (or Maou) turns around, causing Hero to come face-to-face with her
boobies! feminine charms. This stops him dead in his tracks, surprised as he is that he’s not going to be facing a man. The two go from there, developing some chemistry that while not totally original, is at least fun to watch. Maou is clearly the brainier of the two, with a deep understanding of the politics and economics behind why the war between the two nations wouldn’t (and couldn’t) simply end with something like her being killed. She can be pushy, demanding that the Hero be hers, but also a little self-conscious, like when she thinks her upper arm is flabby when it’s so clearly not.
Hero, on the other hand, hasn’t been educated as well in anything except for, well, how to be a hero. He doesn’t really know what concepts like pollution or economics are, and he’s shocked to find out that the humans are in fact profiting from the war. While he does have the common sense to refuse Maou’s offer the first couple of times, at least until she fully explains what her grand plan is (and throws in her self as part of the bargain), in the end he does decide to join Maou in figuring out the best way to end the war. I think the show did a good job of striking a balance between sillier moments between the two and more “cute” moments. There was also some fanservice with the Queen’s boobs (can you really blame them with such low hanging fruit? (I’ll show myself out…)) While unrealistic, because I’m pretty sure boobs don’t turn like weird screwed-on water balloons when you move them to show some marking you have on one of them, it wasn’t so over done that it became too much. I’m fine with a little, so I’m glad it didn’t turn into boobapalooza 2013.
While I’m sure that MMY is simplifying some of the complexities of the conflict that the Human’s and the Demons find themselves in, it’s not boiled down to a simple black and white. Some of the points raised are valid ones, like that there most certainly are people who make a profit off of wars, and that such things as “buffer states” do exists (see post-WWII Russia as a prime example, with their little Eastern Block countries.) I even liked that Yuusha and Maou were realistic about how even their method of ending the war was going to cost some lives, and that neither of them would come away with their hands totally clean. Maou certainly has a long list of things that need to be accomplished in order for the war to end, supplying enough food seems to be first on that list, so I guess we’ll see where that goes next episode.
Other that Hero and the Demon Queen, there were a couple of other characters that were very briefly flashed to, who I take it are Hero’s traveling companions. There are a couple of witches (they all look shockingly like Yuki from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya during that episode where they play that concert. Here), a blond warrior lady who reminds me of Joan of Arch, and an old man that is also present in the brief glimpse we have of Hero’s memories. I’m sure that they’ll all be introduced in good time, and will either help or hinder Yuusha and Maou’s plans. With all the information being given in just this first episode, I’m relieved that they didn’t try to fulling introduce all the other characters actually.
Let’s see, what else? On the animation front, it’s average (I thought it would be a lot worse actually.) I don’t really like the watercolor filter effect in the backgrounds, but I think that’s just personal taste. The characters are well done, except for some horribly awkward CGI used in some crowd scenes. The designs remind me a lot of Romeo X Juliet, with Maou as a more saturated Juliet (and a bit bigger in the chest area) and Yuusha looking like a more rugged version of Romeo. While none of it looks cheap, it also doesn’t seem like it was made on a KyoAni budget. The music, eh, it’s alright. Like I said, some parts were kind of funny, like at the end of the episode.
My final verdict is that this is a totally fine show. The story is interesting and not something you see in anime everyday, the humor is funny enough, there are some very sweet moments, there are boobs, the characters so far are likable, and the animation is not horrible. And that’s really about as much as you can ask for. I’ll certainly keep watching because it does have a lot of promise. Let’s see if it can live up to it!