Sunday, April 7, 2013

Anime Review: Maoyu

In case you where still wondering, NO I'm not reviewing porn... yet. That was an April's Fools joke, although the number of views it has gotten isn't surprising. Anyway, if you want Spice & Wolf porn, there are other places to find it. This is a serious and clean blog... well mostly clean. Anyway, onto my review of Maoyu, short for Maou Yuusha (or Demon King and Hero), a series that takes the most cliche of fantasy tropes, and completely throws it on it's head, through the power of an agricultural revolution!

"Join me, Hero!" "I'll Never join you!" "Huh?... Why not?"
For 15 years the good nations of the Human world have been at war with the evil Demon world. After a long and harsh journey, the Hero chosen by the Light Spirit abandons his comrades to challenge the ruler of all Demonkind, The Demon King, to free the world from his tyrannical grip and bring peace back to the Human world. However, when he arrives at the Demon King's Castle, nothing quite went according to plan as the Hero was unprepared for the Demon King to be a beautiful woman, more over that she wasn't the evil tyrant he was expecting. The Demon King also wants peace, not only for her own kind but also for Humanity as well. But, with the current state of the world, if the war was to end, then the once unified nations would war against each other, and disease and famine would spread. That the war is actually a stabilizing element, establishing relative peace in the mists of a continuing conflict. And so, to end the war without the destruction of the peace that it has established, the Demon King hatches a plan that would not only decrease famine and disease in the Human world, but also unifies both Humans and Demons in a long lasting peace. But she requires the Hero's help to do so, and so instead of offering the Hero half of the world (something she doesn't own) she instead offers herself, in exchange the Hero offers himself to her. And so with the contract between them sealed, both the Demon King and the Hero ventures forth to change the world.
Now it is time to teach you all about agriculture!
Maoyu is a fascinating series that seems to have been created after some one saw the ending to Dragon Quest and thought "What if..." What if the Demon King wasn't tyrannical? What if the war between humans and demons is more like wars in real life? What if we used real world history as a base for how this universe operates, and that this war wasn't a simple clean cut "Good vs. Evil" campaign? What if you where trying to create a lasting peace, and what would you have to do to accomplish this? Maoyu starts off with with a simple concept, and then completely fleshes it out with interesting and dynamic characters, concepts pulled straight from European history, and conflicts that can't be solve simply and must be approached intelligently. All this creates a series that, at first glance seems like the same crap you've seen before, but as soon as it starts it is completely different from anything else you might have seen... Unless you have seen Spice & Wolf. But that isn't to say that the series is all serious and dramatic. Several times the lighter side of the characters shine through, from the Hero's inability to write detailed reports and instead having to resort to drawing pictures of his various encounters with beautiful demon girls who each declare him their husband, to the Demon King being rather sensitive about what she sees as an excess of fat, or the constant war between the Demon King and the female Knight to win the affections of the Hero. However, when things get serious, they REALLY get serious, so much so that the placement of commercials on Crunchyroll will lead to several moments of frustration. I don't care what oil I put in my nonexistent truck, I care about what happens to the Older Sister Maid!

Take that Scribes! We now have a Printing Press!
The series isn't perfect, but it's flaws are few. One of them is the unusual pacing the series has. The time jump between the early episodes are incredible, stating that several months have passed from one episode to the next. While this is necessary for the plot, considering many of the plans of the Demon King take a year at least to see results, it also makes for rather awkward phases in the story where the Demon King and the Hero's relationship haven't even pass first base after a year since they "proposed" to each other. There are also several events that are mentioned in the early parts of the series that have major effects later on, but are only shown briefly and occur "between" episodes. This gives the series a bit of a "rushed" feeling, like they could have padded the 12 episode series into a full 26 episode series since there is content there for several episodes. Also the series ends frustratingly with a massive cliffhanger, which does leave enough room for a sequel series, but leaves a lot of questions unanswered and the main conflict unresolved.

Even with the issues of pacing, and removed content: Maoyu is a series that just doesn't come around that often. It is smart, well developed, extremely funny, and even educational. The only people who wouldn't enjoy the series would be people who don't like to think when they are watching anime, or even refuse to think. The characters are likable, the story is excellent, and there are both moments that are laugh out loud funny as well as moments that threaten to pull your heart right out of your rib cage with how emotionally draining it is. Maoyu is a Must Watch!

Until next time.

-Crescent, You'd be amazed how much the Demon King uses that body pillow.

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