Anime A to Z: I – Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (Review)

Otherwise known as How Not To Summon A Demon Lord.

Anime titles these days seem to be getting more long form and straightforward.
Or maybe I’ve just paid more attention to them recently!

I was surprised to see that MAL uses the romaji title and didn’t expect to see this one for the letter I. Honestly, you could trim the title all the way down to “Isekai” and I’d be interested. However, being isekai doesn’t automatically make the anime a good one…

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Another Isekai; Another MMO

This time it’s Cross Reverie, an MMO that is either very new and next to no players managed to reach max level / gear, or one that is incredibly unbalanced and provides unique items to individual players that boost them way above the rest of the playerbase. I found it odd that Diablo managed to become this raid-boss type player in an MMO. You’d think there were other hardcore players in the game who would have sunk enough hours in to at least match him, but maybe the game is just unbalanced in that aspect. I guess he somehow managed to solo a raid boss to get that unique magic ring? I feel like it’d be more believable to just say he was a moderator or one of the game developers or something like this.

Poking at the MMO aside, Diablo somehow got summoned into the game world, and our hero’s isekai journey began.

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The Story Itself

I believe it’s fair to call the story of How Not To Summon A Demon Lord standard at this point. Nothing really special or unique about this one, aside from being much more ecchi than the average isekai.

I didn’t mind the story though. I like fantasy anime, so I generally enjoy anime that create and explore fantasy-style worlds. This world didn’t feel very fleshed out in comparison to other fantasy anime, but I still enjoyed watching the anime reveal what it did about the game world. Sort of like with Overlord, I enjoyed the inner dialogue of the protagonist when trying to discern differences between the original game world and the new one. Just things like “this wasn’t in the game before” and whatnot. It’s a minor detail to enjoy but it also helps to reveal information about the world.

World aside I can’t think of much that I really enjoyed. It’s basically an ecchi harem isekai anime, so the protagonist just gets dragged around by the harem and shows off his power in certain situations. I enjoyed watching his magic in action, but other than that I can’t think of anything that I really found enjoyable throughout the story.

Diablo

I like overpowered main characters. I don’t find it boring that they always win, or that no one can stand up to them, because I enjoy watching the reactions of people around them when they witness incredible power – both friend and foe. That being said, I’m on the fence about Diablo.

Reason for this is because I’m not a fan of the traditional harem protagonist types, and Diablo falls into that category to a large degree. I just don’t think his character was really that interesting. He seems just like a harem protagonist – “always does the right thing in the end”, “dependable”, “surrounded by women”, “doesn’t really decide anything for himself”, “goes with the flow”.

There’s just a huge contrast between Diablo and Momonga from Overlord – one character is decisive, crafty, self-aware, and interesting. The other is Diablo.

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So on one hand, there are many scenes in which I enjoyed Diablo and his overpowered abilities. On the other hand, he doesn’t have much else going for him.

I don’t really understand his whole inner social issues either – unless Cross Reverie had voice chat, he would have been typing all of his “Demon Lord” statements to players. And even then, I think there would be a big difference between speaking from behind a computer screen and speaking / interacting to people in real life. Maybe another nitpick, but it was just something else that didn’t quite feel believable.

I appreciate the arrogant persona though, because I like arrogance in overpowered characters. I guess I just liked the persona more than the actual character – if only his actions also reflected his persona a bit more.

Ecchi

I knew the anime was an ecchi one going in, and that the anime makes no attempts to hide that fact. So I’ll say that I appreciate the honesty at least.

I knew it was going to be an ecchi anime, but I still think there was too much ecchi. Or maybe I should say that the amount of ecchi really put a damper on the story. The anime stalls quite a bit when every episode contains explicit ecchi scenes that add nothing to the story itself.

I’m not a big fan of fan service, because I can’t think of any real examples where fan service made an anime more enjoyable to me. That being said, I don’t mind at all if an anime decides to throw in a little fan service here and there, or dedicate a certain period of time specifically to fan service. I just don’t see the point in dedicating half the anime to it, because it holds up the story. I feel like too much ecchi leaves nothing to be desired in the end – I’ll call it ecchi diminishing returns.

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I don’t have many good examples of when it does add to the story, but I know that some anime integrate ecchi with action, like Highschool of the Dead. It can still be overt, but it doesn’t hold everything up by dedicating a scene to the protagonist feeling up one of the female characters for no real reason. Best way I can describe this is that anime can still flow well while including ecchi content.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord seemed disjointed in this regard. It’s not even that the ecchi was forced, because that can still be done in a way that allows the anime to feel like it is progressing. How Not To Summon A Demon Lord just felt like it had too many moments where the story / progression was paused in order to include ecchi content.

I’m no authority on this, but I feel like I’ve watched enough ecchi anime to know that I’ve seen it done better.

Slave Collars

Was there really a point to this? I believe Diablo only ever made a single command using the collars, to the elf. Other than that, they were just there. They felt more like a gimmick than anything, although that can be said for more than just the collars. Even if they are there to add to the whole ecchi style, by showing girls with slave collars, they aren’t used so I just don’t see the purpose.

In fact, Diablo basically ends up following the girls and helping them throughout the anime, not the other way around. This aspect of the anime just didn’t add up for me.

A Couple Minor Points

  • I like the double entendre of the title, considering two demon lords are summoned in the anime at different points.
  • I didn’t like the elf character at all – she felt very cliche and didn’t feel like she offered anything to the anime other than her chest. This is an ecchi anime, but big chest doesn’t necessarily mean the character has to be braindead.
  • Edelgard and Emile were my favourite characters in the anime. Both seemed more interesting than the main cast. I would have enjoyed watching more of them or learning about them. Even then, I don’t think they were very special, just different enough from the fairly boring main cast to get my attention.

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In the end, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord was pretty mediocre. Many people might say it’s “just another isekai”, but considering I love the genre and this anime still didn’t do it for me, I’d say it’s not a very good isekai (I suppose some might consider it a good ecchi anime though?).

I think that How Not To Summon A Demon Lord a little overrated on MAL.
This has also turned out to be my least favourite isekai anime.

Finally, I’d like to bestow How Not To Summon A Demon Lord with the Honest Ecchi award, for being consistent and  honest about it’s intentions as an ecchi anime.
Congrats.

That’s all for this review.

Until next time!
Thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “Anime A to Z: I – Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (Review)

  1. Pingback: The Anime A to Z Awards! | Umai Yomu Anime Blog

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