16 CommentsMaoyuu Maou Yuusha / By Inushinde /

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha Episode 9: The Inquisition

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It’s amazing how much distance Maoyuu Maou Yuusha has covered since the halcyon days of hero dakimakura jokes. We’ve journeyed far from pretensions toward developing a commentary on post-feudal society, only to have an entire episode revolve around proselytizing the virtues of freedom and choice in as heavy-handed, condescending, and above all predictable a manner as possible, and no amount of minimizing Hero’s harem moments can change how self-satisfied it is with doing the minimum amount of effort. I have almost never been so insulted by such laziness.

Predictability is never a deal breaker for a series by itself, but there’s failing to shake things up, and then there’s plumbing the depths of clichéd writing and Oscar Bait to pull out a gem as horribly made as this. Picture any speech given by a figure that’s portrayed as something of a rebel (usually a woman) made to be a pariah by an antagonistic authority that blindly adheres to tradition, or its own selfish desires, in any film made in the last thirty years or so. Now imagine that pared down to the basest element of freedom of choice and stretched out over the course of a twenty minute runtime, and the problems begin to become much more evident; hell, even the slack-jawed audience looks bored. (Hilariously enough, this is panning over the crowd to show how inspired they are).

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Then again, it’s not necessarily the fault of a by-the-books, pseudo-inspirational speech that the entire episode fell flat. It would certainly help if the surrogate Church was portrayed as something other than a nebulous force that had long ago abandoned its original mission, letting the people suffer so it could retain its increasingly tenuous grip on the realm of secular politics. While that’s not exactly as rare an occurrence as it should be, to paint the Church in the broadest of unfavorable strokes only makes it a ham-handed adversary that’s hardly worth exploring in the depth that any examination of medieval society worth its salt would try to.

Yes, intentionally making Faux-Maou’s flogging as gratuitous and painful to watch as possible certainly gives her speech some level of context, but by doing so, it ironically pushes the level of engagement horribly low, near the quality of the writing. The speech, and by extension the episode itself, isn’t pointing out some infected stab wound on history’s ass and relating it to modern problems of a similar nature; it’s pointing at the stab wound and saying “Yep, that was certainly a stab wound alright. Now that I told you about it, I’m going to sit on my throne and bask in how brilliant I am while you drown me with praise.”

What bothers me the most is this is a segment that could have been made with some modicum of complexity, by not portraying the Church officials as hardheaded zealots who refuse to see differences as anything other than targets to purge, flay, dismember or what you. Again, there are definitely some people like this, but it’s disappointing for the whole organization outside of the Winter Kingdom to fall into the tired archetype of the corrupt organization that peddles salvation to the highest bidder, whipping dissenters in the street and treating the common folk like vermin. In short, this fucker is the only example we’ve seen of the Church outside of the Lakeside Convent explored to any reasonable degree, and he’s cartoonishly evil.

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Still, with that said, it’ll be interesting to see what the fallout is, provided there is any at all. To have the Winter Kingdom try to form a splinter branch of the religion in response to clear examples of rampant corruption would certainly alleviate some of these concerns, and maybe even lead to a more nuanced portrayal of the Church, and its relation to the people that it services. But hey, at least there weren’t obnoxious levels of ass.

So basically what I’m indirectly getting at is Mel Brooks did it first, better, and in roughly half the time. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to put this into a post, regardless of its actual relevance because c’mon. Mel Brooks.

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15 Comments

  1. shytende
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    If instead of hinting to things that will soon happen, things actually happened that will be great…

    This show is really disappointing, for sure…

  2. fathomlessblue
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I prefered this franchise back when it was under the name Happy Science; at least it wasn’t afraid to throw in a golden elephant or two.

    But yeah, I’ve seen Punch & Judy shows with more subtle writing that this. If only there was more exaggerated ‘booing’ & hissing’ from the audience, to complete that dodgy play vibe.

    • Inushinde
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 2:03 am | Permalink

      To be fair, they looked like they couldn’t summon anything approaching positive or negative emotion regarding what they were seeing.

  3. DarkEnergy
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Mel Brooks is moe.

  4. Maximillian
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Well, I’d honestly have to disagree here.

    The main reason I didn’t have any problems with the speech being too predictable and cliched was because, despite other issues with the show, it served to tie things back to the girl’s original introduction into the narrative and what had happened to her since then. In other words, the result made sense in context.

    Taking all the available information into account, it wasn’t out of place nor unreasonable to have her make that case, even if it’s clearly not an original development nor an unprecedented argument.

    As for the Church…well, I didn’t see what was wrong about that either. Granted, I’m not much of a religious person…but if a religious institution declares someone a heretic, especially when done at the request of other interested parties, you’re usually not going to see a liberal, open-minded fellow doing the job of bringing the supposed criminal back to the capital in a cage. Quite the opposite.

    • Inushinde
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      It ties in, but it’s redundant because they do this every single episode. They didn’t need to dedicate 15 minutes of a single episode to the same message. The fact that Female Knight declared her a saint at the end made it even more cringe-worthy.

      And, quite simply, the Church is portrayed as way too cartoonishly evil. There’s no depth whatsoever in the depiction, especially since it treads the same ground as every other anime regarding an organized Christian religion. Granted, in many of those narratives it serves as window dressing more than an integral element to the plot, but that’s not the case here where the Church is a very real force in everyone’s lives. It doesn’t give the impression of being manned by people so much as caricatures of depraved priests.

      For a show that touches quite often on what it means to be human, there’s not much about humanity being broached that hasn’t already been done before.

      • Maximillian
        Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        INUSHINDE:

        “It ties in, but it’s redundant because they do this every single episode. They didn’t need to dedicate 15 minutes of a single episode to the same message.”

        Not exactly, in my opinion, since the message hadn’t really been portrayed in this specific manner before. The story is visibly moving forward now and not just repeating itself, which means it’s not actually redundant when you put things in context. In a sense, it’s basically the culmination of the girl’s characterization too.

        The way I saw it, there were larger causes and different motivations at work, both of which affected the specific circumstances of the episode and may have other consequences down the road. It’s not coming out of nowhere nor without any relevant purposes besides repetition.

        “Granted, in many of those narratives it serves as window dressing more than an integral element to the plot, but that’s not the case here where the Church is a very real force in everyone’s lives. It doesn’t give the impression of being manned by people so much as caricatures of depraved priests.”

        Truth is, religious affairs haven’t been focused on a lot and the material could afford some more attention. I guess you could consider it a flaw in that respect. But in spite of the above, you do have the Convent as a visible sign that not all organized religion is automatically bad in this world.

        And again, I don’t see why seeing a single representative of the Church coming from the Central Nations for the express purpose of arresting a heretic automatically implies that all of the priests in the world are like him. At most, I’d say it portrays the Central branch of the Church as stubborn, narrow-minded, aloof and possibly corrupt…which isn’t particularly original, conceptually speaking, but it’s not a huge deal for me.

        “For a show that touches quite often on what it means to be human, there’s not much about humanity being broached that hasn’t already been done before.”

        Well, I guess that’s where our expectations differ. I wasn’t expecting to learn something completely new about the nature of humanity or anything along those lines.

  5. R1CK_D0M
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    hahaha you skipped ep 8 again. are you just blogging every other episode?

  6. SENSEISHUN
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    My only gripe with this show is that it is not doing as much as it can. However, I do not feel like this episode fell flat at all. The speech may have been cliche but I felt like it accomplished what it needed to. Also this was the first time in awhile I felt the show really focused on something. May not have been done as well as the earlier episodes, but bad?…Ehh not quite for me.

  7. potty
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of Steins;Gate – a couple teasing concepts and then promptly thrown in the bin as the concepts just got simplified, then forgotten as if some kind of fan service – only served to draw in the wannabe intellectuals without ever cutting into the meat.

  8. shytende
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Well, it felt flat for me.
    I noticed for the firt time the problem with these kind of scenes. I mean, he’s evil, but he let her talk as much as she needs to get her point across and turn the tables ? Really ?

    Well, I still thought that, if Maou had expected this, this is a smart move, and the girl finally had her day of glory, but I couldn’t enjoy it…

  9. Posted March 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I bet that they won’t dwell too much on how the Winter Kingdom breaks itself from the main continent and the church, and the implication of that action. The issue will be totally shoved aside, they will be shown in flashback instead. The episode epilogue shows it all. Next episode, they are going to show how Maou lost herself, turn into a demonlord. The old maid tries to kill her as promised, only to be defeated. She runs to the non-Hero crying. The non-Hero ends up fighting his non-Waifu. He ends up killing her after some CG battles and powerpoint slideshows. The redhair dies in his arm. “Thank… thank you for stopping me.” The end.

    Of course, the little maid who hasn’t grown an inch in three years, and her invention, carbonated lemon drink, is super relevant to the story.

    • Inushinde
      Posted March 18, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      You laugh now, but when the political struggles are resolved thanks to the power of carbonated lemon drinks… you’ll probably still be laughing.

  10. R1CK_D0M
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    So apparently they do establish a splinter church, like the english did with the english protestants.

    btw I’ve been embarrassed to watch many a thing before, but never like this

    • Inushinde
      Posted March 18, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Oh this is going to be great!

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