The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Demon King Daimaou

Title: Demon King Daimaou aka Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Artland
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 2 Apr 2010 – 18 Jun 2010

Synopsis: Sai Akuto is an upstanding person who helps the elderly, has a strong sense of justice and would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it. He enters a prestigious magical academy full of hopes of one day becoming a high priest where his dreams ends up falling straight into a garbage bin. After a rather damning prophecy that he will eventually become a demon lord, he is hounded with nonstop rumors, threats, and totally unjustified malice. Among those in the student body, there are those who wish to destroy Sai Akuto before he turns into a full demon lord and those who want to manipulate him. The common quality among these individuals is that they tend to be hot girls.

The Highlights
Characters: Cliches that manage to break out of their molds.
Fanservice: If there’s a moment a female can be heavily sexualized, it happens.
Plot: Unnecessarily hammy, unnecessarily convoluted; just unnecessary.

It’s been near a lifetime since there was a watchable harem anime. The genre as a whole has been sliding down the list of common denominators so rapidly that you can pretty much say anything to come out of this category will be horrible and always be right. Ichiban Ushiro no Damaou runs headlong into the genre tropes with such over-the-top swagger that despite filling out a ninety page checklist of stuff that makes bad anime, it functions really well as simple, mindless entertainment… full of explosions and boobs.

The main protagonist Sai Akuto is the reason why the show works. Strong-willed, assertive yet honorable, he is the ideal go-getter of any wish fulfillment shounen harem/action series who initially comes across as well-meaning though inept but he quickly crushes that perception when he’s shows he is willing to break bones and then take names. Akuto’s female companions also show that they are woven from a different yarn. A certain robot Kurone stands out since she first seems like a generic Rei Ayanami clone but she makes horribly offensive jokes with a straight poker face then silently relishes the reaction.

A budget is something Ichiban Ushiro no Damaou does not have, but the show has visuals that are engaging and somehow keep pace with the high kinetic energy of the plot. Inconsistencies are everywhere but studio Artland keeps everything looking dynamic and interesting. The music is equally energetic but forgettable.

At first, the story comes across as just a vehicle for the jokes and to further spread the protagonist’s general awesomeness, but near the end of the show things get serious, and the show falls into the toilet and does not escape the whirl downward. The plot should have existed to fuel the comedy, not try to be something on its own. The final episodes function to some degree as a super giant robot anime with cute anime girls in place of the mechas, but the comedy should not have been ousted, ever.

Ichiban Ushiro no Damaou is cheap, derivative and in many ways just as bad as any other harem anime. However, the series has an intrinsic fun factor that makes most of the show a devilishly sweet guilty pleasure. Some may say that the show is terrible, but I would say that it is terrible done right.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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