Sun 6 Jan 2013
When I first read the synopsis for Maoyuu Maou Yuusha on a season preview chart, I was a bit put off by what seemed to be a generic premise. I started getting the feeling that there was more to the show when the first episode starts with the hero about to confront the demon king; something that usually is towards the end. I was hoping this wasn’t some crazy in medias res ploy to skip straight to the climax and then tell the back story later. Thankfully, that’s when the macroeconomics started.
It turns out the war that humanity has been waging against the demons, the one that Yuusha is working so hard to end, is actually beneficial. Does that sound familiar? It’s somewhat similar to the role war plays in George Orwell’s 1984. In 1984, the world is split up into three factions and the one the main character belongs to is always at war with one of them. Without saying too much, these wars are more or less artificial; their real purpose is to prevent unrest and uprising on the home front. Why would you want to make trouble for your country when you’re at war? Good job, Maoyuu, anything that combines 1984 and boobs is fine in my book.
First off, the war unites humans against the demons keeps them from fighting amongst themselves, like in 1984. Second, the war effort stimulates the economy, paralleling the effect of mobilizing for World War II, a major factor of America’s recovery from the Great Depression. Third, supply lines are maintained that wouldn’t otherwise exist, thus saving droves of people from starvation. Thanks to the human-demon war, countries providing troops would be cut off from the resources that they lack the means to produce.
But enough exhibition, let’s talk about why I like this show. Instead of doing this whole info dump while walking in circles, some of the major points of the discussion that Maou and Yuusha have are outsourced to various characters around the human world. This does a great job of showing that the higher-ups of society understand the state of their world. Frequently, shows like this about clashing factions look at the conflict from the point of view of various characters to communicate the devastating and terrible nature of war. Maoyuu chooses to look at war from a more impersonal standpoint, freeing it up to look at the nature of wartime logistics and war profiteering without focusing on all the people dying because of the conflict. Seeing the show take an analytic route is refreshing, as I haven’t seen many shows do it outside of Spice and Wolf, Moyashimon, and arguably Shin Sekai Yori.
That said, for all the intellectual appeal of Maoyuu, it can still be pretty silly. Maou is a potent source of fan service, which might turn people away. More often than not, though, the silliness is welcome. The comedy between Maou and Yuusha is light-hearted and a bit cheesy, their great chemistry makes it amusing and enjoyable. I already like these characters, and it definitely helps that Maou is hot and moe.
Overall, it was a solid first episode. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this show plays out, especially because I want to see how Maou’s plan plays out to bring an end to the war without plunging both sides into strife. The world feels big, but not unmanageable and I can’t wait to find out more about how it works. The dialogue between the characters also feels very natural, being able to readily switch between intelligent macroeconomic discussions and zany antics.
Despite being skeptical at first, I already like Maoyuu Maou Yuusha after one episode. If there’s one thing I find strange so far, it’s how strangely ok Yuusha is with suddenly ending his journey to end the war to help the enemy king. Not to mention how ok he is with Maou’s romantic feelings for him, but hey, at least they use it for comedy.