27 CommentsFirst Impressions, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha / By Inushinde /

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha First Impressions: War, War Never Boings

MMY105

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is a bit of an odd beast to adapt to animated form. Considering that the setup is basically a hero learning exclusively through expository conversation that his journey to end the never-ending war between demons and humans is actually a shitty idea, there would have to be quite a few liberties taken to make its transition from text to anime a relatively painless and fluid experience. Thankfully, the end result is mostly competent, even if the inherent levity in bountiful bouncing boobs often threatens to derail the mostly serious discussion.

The first episode isn’t just two people debating the finer points of economics and morality, a departure from the manga’s interpretation; as engrossing as their interactions are, that would get boring rather fast. To alleviate the issue, every so often, the shot cuts away to some throwaway character loudly musing about whether the war is really all that good for them, while sitting in the lap of opulence, metaphorically licking caviar off of a callgirl made entirely out of chocolate and gold-leaf. It’s not exactly the ideal way to spice things up, but it injects emotion and outside perspective into what’s essentially one talking head explaining circles around the other.

MMY102

MMY, at its heart, is a cynical reinterpretation of the standard Good vs. Evil dilemma examined through the lens of the even more standard Human vs. Demon scenario that does its best to defy all expectations, looking at the economic benefits of ongoing war for both sides, something that’s generally ignored by most media. From the most regal of kings to the lowliest peasant, everybody profits from the conflict in some way, and the hero seeking to put an end to it is seen as too burdened by his ideals to see that every conceivable facet of his society has been drastically improved by channeling resources toward sticking pointy things into demons. From production to sustenance, the war is a boon to humans and demons alike as they do their very best to only being shitty toward the other race.

To balance out the almost morbid laundry list of benefits, the message falls just short of “Yay war! Everybody kill each other and let your blood fertilize the fields of the rich! Fuck tha proletariat!” Sprinkled amidst the mentions of economic prosperity and rich men toasting to their good fortunes while loudly pondering if it’s the right thing to do is the occasional depiction of the inevitable downside—paranoia leading to witch hunts, political corruption, and families torn apart by those who profit the most from doing so. By talking about the effects of the fighting, rather than the conflict itself, the show does a great job at setting up the moral ambiguity surrounding productive strife without coming across as heavy-handed.

Maou herself is quite unexpected in terms of personality, a bubbling, friendly, witty woman with horns who’s the last person you’d expect to rule over the realm of demons. Rather than putting a stop to Hero through violence, she does her best to talk him down and use him as her vehicle for exploring the world, treating him to dinner and stimulating conversation as a sort of bribe. Ironically, she ends up far more endearing and relateable than any of the humans shown thus far, even if that list only consists of several background characters, Hero, and one of Hero’s companions. She exists solely to fuck your expectations sideways, and she does a damn good job at it.

MMY103

Your expectations

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is a series brimming with potential, and there’s far more content here to parse than I’ve let on. Hell, the comedy is actually decent, even if a good amount of it revolves around loudly announcing disbelief, and the fanservice isn’t quite as intrusive as I’ve made it out to be. All in all, there’s definitely much worse that’s going to air, so I’m going to lap this up while the going’s still good.

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27 Comments

  1. Posted January 6, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    MACROECONOMICS

    • Inushinde
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      Those are the most macro economics that I’ve seen, that’s for sure

    • shengar
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:40 am | Permalink

      Spice & Wolf : Microeconomics
      MMY : Macroecnomoics

      Pick your specialization buddy.

      • alexvoda
        Posted January 6, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        [C] : Global economics with pokemons

  2. Anca
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I was expecting a more negative review. Oh well.

    • Inushinde
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      To be fair, it wasn’t all good. The tone of their conversation felt condescending toward the audience at times, like Maou was the author insert trying to explain things as slowly as possible to the audience insert. And again, the constant presence of boobs, complete with sound effects, detracted somewhat. Still, I liked it.

      • Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        To be fair, Oh Sweet Merciful Suffering Those CG Robot-People.

        Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the banter and wit, and could overlook the rather frenetic pacing of the first episode, that CG drove me absolutely bananas. You don’t just swap major characters out for poorly animated 3D models in the middle of a conversation! You don’t forget to animate their face moving when they talk and cover it up by zooming out the scene a little! You don’t give them creepy stiff-limbed walk cycles and have them stumble around at a different frame rate from the rest of the world around them! People will notice!

        I found Maoyuu to be a joy to watch when these things weren’t glaringly apparent, but more often than not they were apparent in force.

  3. Posted January 6, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    The fanservice is really just that Maou has enormous boobs and, well, enormous boobs are sorta noticeable, especially in a setting where the bra apparently hasn’t been invented yet (they might want to get on that).

    Yuusha could stand to be a bit more interesting and less of a putz, but still, I quite enjoyed the banter.

    I personally described Maou as “cheeky”.

    The only part that jerked me up short was when the scene with two girls watching their sisters get burned to death was followed up by a small boobs joke at the expense of Female Knight. Not the world’s best transition.

    • Inushinde
      Posted January 6, 2013 at 1:06 am | Permalink

      Enormous boobs that ends up the focus of several shots. Hardly the worst thing, but it still doesn’t really add to the show’s purpose much. Still, it’s one tiny gripe when there’s much more to compliment it for.

    • anona
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      She was wooing Yuusha so it has a purpose for ep 1 at least

  4. Posted January 6, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    I personally felt that some of the jumping around (like the jumps to Hero’s fellow adventurers and the three witches) was unnecessary and just exposition.

    But, I can see what you mean about the jumping around helping convey the message they were talking about. That is true.

    I didn’t really mind the fanservice, but some of Hero’s reactions and blushing was a tad bit overdone. Fortunately, it is not much of a problem though.

    I am not a big fan of the art style/visual quality though. It feels like an anime from 2006. Maybe I am just too used to shiny CGI now?

    I probably sound like a hardboiled crit, but I actually enjoyed the episode a fair amount and am looking forward to what comes next. :P

  5. Posted January 6, 2013 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    I like the part when Maou took off her horns! That was random and so damn funny and yeah the whole demon vs human thing has been done over and over and over again, but I hope they do something different with it.

    At least the two main characters hold my interest minus Maou shoving her boobs in Yuusha’s face every chance she gets hahah

  6. Daniel
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    The Keynesian/Malthusian macro economics was a bit too offensive. At points I had to pause and take some Austrian brain bleach: http://econstories.tv/2010/06/22/fear-the-boom-and-bust/

    This anime has the potential to be incredible if it explores various macro theories. I’m not sure how it could do this considering the initial settings. I’m not sure I can enjoy the show if it spends 13-24 episodes expounding capital mis-allocation.

    • Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      Is ARMS seriously about to make the best show of the season? *facepalm* the Queen’s Blade guys? Please god let the monkey punch show be good…

      • Shadow
        Posted January 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Technically the best shows of the season are the shows that started the past season. *JJBA and Psycho Pass* It goes to show you how bad this season is.

        It is a shame those 4 Kokoro Connect episodes were released on the same day. It was the best ive seen this season.

        Maou Yuusha is not a bad light novel. If you take away the fan service it could really be one of the best light novels. Hopefully the anime will stay true to the plot.

      • The Big Guy
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        The actual team working on the show are the people that made Spice and Wolf. Don’t be too alarmed.

  7. blargh
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    having read several iterations of this story, wtf is up with the character designs. I’ve not watched the actual episode yet, but it was disheartening from the animated gifs I saw of useless meat.

  8. Posted January 6, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Maoyu exists to fuck expectations? Well, when you put it that way my opinion of her suddenly becomes a lot less negative; I was one of the people screaming “SHE’S TOO MOE AND ECCHI FOR A DEMON KING!”

  9. matrixEXO
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    “…every conceivable facet of his society has been drastically improved by channeling resources toward sticking pointy things into demons.”

    I see what you did there. Sticking pointy “things” into demons and channeling the resources into doing so.

    OK. For all realistic reasons, I liked the manga but this was based off of the LN. Down at Baka-Tsuki if you want to know more but there really isn’t much progression in the translation (3 chapters only?).

  10. Posted January 6, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    That’s a nice big ass that is!

  11. kirin
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I liked how the introduction made it out to be some sort of epic fantasy, but then turns the genre on its head into a lengthy spiel on wartime economics. This is what I get for not reading the synopsis beforehand. I enjoyed it nevertheless.

    Now, since this is the first episode, I’m going to assume that this is just a exposition episode for the purposes of defining the setting. I don’t think I’ll be able to stand another twenty minutes of talking heads in the following episodes. But I also wish that this show doesn’t lose any of its cleverness.

    • Edraii
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:58 am | Permalink

      No, this show is 90% macro and wartime economics, politics and hell, all that “boring” stuff so rarely touched.

      While fighting does happen this is not an action anime.

  12. Mr. Anon
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I want to like the Maou character, but those ridiculous tits make it very hard.

    Well at least it was amusing that the two main characters here have the same voice actors as Horo and Lawrence.

    • Inushinde
      Posted January 7, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Might want to rephrase that first sentence, because it took me a minute to process that “it” wasn’t anything lewd. Anyway, they’re definitely more of a distraction than they should be, I agree.

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        Are you calling my penis lewd?!

        But yeah the innuendo wasn’t intentional.

      • Inushinde
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry about it, I’m just a bit slow sometimes.

  13. Matthew
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Just to be clear, all of the shot cuts were to characters who we’re going to see again and whose various parts in the war will become part of the plot. They weren’t throwaways.

    One of the interesting things about this series is that both of the leads are acting purely out of idealism. They’re both “high level” characters (in terms of magic and force) in a low level world, whose personal power means neither would ever want for anything if they only cared about themselves.

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