Day 1 of the 12 days of anime
I’m starting 12 Days of Anime a little earlier than everyone else as I celebrate Christmas on the 24th. I don’t really want to post on Christmas itself, so I’ll instead end on the 23rd of December. I’ll be starting out with this post, as I’d rather start with a positive one. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a negative post, but I’m pushing it for relevancy. After that, I’ll hopefully just make positive posts. I also have a pretty long post ready, so look forward to that (spoiler, it’s at almost 4500 words!)
In recent times, the word, isekai, has gotten more of a negative association, with people immediately calling other people’s tastes for shit if they like any show with isekai elements. However, I am one of the people who still have a special place for them in my heart, hoping that every new isekai show will be good. This year we’ve at least gotten two shows I believe to be among those and that I definitely believe to be anime that proves that isekai has not yet been completely starved for new ideas and great writing.
I’m not gonna fault the haters of isekai for their sentiment, as there are definitely a lot of mediocre isekai shows that are being created just to sell on the premise. In recent times the first ones to pop into memory is In Another World With My Smartphone and Death March. These and several others stand out to saturate the isekai genre and make people tired of the concept. This means that for many, the genre tag that might’ve drawn them in no longer serves as a welcoming one, but rather a feeling of not giving a shit. There are several people I know that would immediately write off an isekai just for being an isekai, which is a sentiment I can’t share.
Every season I check out every new show, hoping to find that one show that will be remembered down the line, or the one that goes under everyone’s noses. I don’t go in expecting much of anything. I don’t need the show to prove itself for me, but I look for telltale signs that show us if it’s handled well or not. Most of the time the case for modern isekai is of the latter part, being handled quite poorly. However, once in a while we get shows that actually turn out good. The summer season might’ve been my least favorite season of all time, however, it brought an isekai I enjoyed my time with (it was also the only show I finished from summer), How Not To Summon A Demon Lord.
Sometimes what breaks an isekai for me is the focus on always explaining how this new world works (read: Sword Art Online) and forgetting how to write compelling characters and an engaging story. In this case, they actually just dump all the boring exposition as a wall of text at the start of the first episode and then continue the story allowing the character to naturally learn these things in a non-expository way. So much better, as I didn’t read that and still completely understood the world. While Demon Lord may not have the most engaging story, I’m not a person that really mind a lackluster story. What sells this show for me is the two features I care the most about, characters and visuals.
Let’s tackle the two points individually, starting with the characters. The main character keeps reminding me of my favorite character from Gintama, Gintoki. Not only does he have a voice actor with a very similar voice, but he also has similar overexaggerated reactions to situations going a bit out of what he expects. He also has problems communicating with other people, which is why he speaks with the persona of a demon lord. This is actually quite possible. I know a lot of actors from my years studying music and being friends with people studying acting, as well as having first-hand experience playing in a musical. I asked my friends about how they managed to stand on the stage without getting nervous, even if they are doing things they would normally never do. The answer is that when they’re on stage, they’re not themselves anymore. They are the character. They themselves fade away and step into the mind and body of the character. While I was playing in the musical I became my character as well. During that time I was a lot more outward-going, while now I’m back to being a lot more introverted again. It’s an act, and this is a what Diablo (the main character) in Demon Lord is doing as well. He’s acting like a demon lord, doing stuff he would never do himself. This surprises himself, as he’s not acting on his own persona, but someone else’s. I can definitely relate to that.
I would talk more about the other characters, however, I don’t remember too much about them other than them being cute, which is definitely a plus in my book. I didn’t really watch this show with that much of an analytical mindset, because I had a lot of fun with it. It was simply fun watching it, so I didn’t feel the need to analyze it. So instead let us talk about the other element that is easy to analyze without remembering too much about the show, the visuals.
The first thing that struck me in this show was the colors. Like, damn, the coloring in this show is done really well. It’s saturated and gives an inviting feeling that tells me that we’re about to have fun. Some of the backgrounds were also really well done, making me really believe that these characters inhabit this world. It’s a world that invites you in and calms you down. The welcoming feeling is also very prominent in the character designs featuring friendly character designs. It is rare that I would say that best girl isn’t the loli, however, simply because the cute design of Shera, I have to say, the loli, Rem, loses in this fight. Well, that is with the exception of the other lolis in this show, like the actual demon lord Glebsklem and the other loli Sylvie which is most certainly the actual best girl of this show. I think I’ll leave the visuals at that, just barely mentioning that in several of the episodes, the character animation was quite stellar.
I have plans for writing a proper post about both character designs and backgrounds some other time, so excuse me for glossing over these things in this post. It would get too long if I were to go into too much detail about that.
I think I’ll stop this post at this point. I was going to write about Slime Datta Ken as well, but I feel like I’d be repeating a lot of my points there as well, so just remember that Slime Datta Ken is also a great isekai, actually, so far I think it’s one of my favorite isekai anime of all time. I can make a top 10 isekai anime some time and include it there, that way I can still talk about it some other time without making this post too long.
So far it’s taken me about an hour to write everything up to this point. Damn, I’ll be spending a lot of time writing these posts for 12 Days of Anime, I hope people will actually read them and that it’s not a complete waste of time. Well, it’s still fun writing them regardless and I get to put my thoughts into words, which I do enjoy.