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Demon King Daimao PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 20 December 2011 00:00
Demon King DaimaoDemon King Daimao takes Akuto Sai, a mage-in-training, and has destiny drop the worst possible job on his lap: Demon King, destined to destroy the world. Except that Sai's not one for "destiny", and there are plenty of girls around him doing their best to kill him before he becomes King anyway...

Akuto Sai transfers to the Constant Magical Academy with high hopes of becoming the Grand Priest - the most high-ranking magician there is. Like all new students, he must undergo an evaluation, but when his predicts that his future occupation will be "Demon King", it spells big trouble for his future prospects. It’s hard enough to be the new kid, but having the entire school either run in terror or try to destroy you can really make high school life the pits...

I'll say up front that Daimao is a train wreck of a series - it tries to do so much in its twelve episodes that it hasn't a hope of doing it all justice. On the one hand, it's a heavy-on-the-fanservice harem comedy, with tsundere swordswoman Junko; mysterious magician Kena; and obsessive observer Korone (I love alliteration...) all vying for Akuto's attention. If you're watching the show through Anime Network's website, as I was, you have choice to make if you want the full fanservice experience, as they're streaming the original TV edit with subtitles, and the uncut version dubbed - if you want an uncut, subtitled version, you'll need to buy the DVD release. I'm quite partial to fanservice, and it's actually quite well done here - nothing too over the top, but enough to keep the fan value high while Akuto deal with the girls who, despite each being interested in him in their own way, all come with their own attendant problems. If that was the whole series, I would've been quite happy.

Right from the start, though, there's a fighting-show undercurrent - you can't be the Demon King and not expect the forces of good to try and cut you down, after all. That's okay while it remains an undercurrent, but around the half-way mark that suddenly becomes the show's reason for being, and we kick into a series of battles that takes all the way to the end of the series to resolve. It's quite a shift of tone and intent - and as if the change from harem comedy to action series wasn't enough of a wrench, it's not really all that good as an action series, either, with it being hard to give a damn about Akuto's rise to being the Demon King, and with the whole arc playing out in a rather non-sensical way anyway it doesn't really help itself.

Add in storylines involving Kena's true identity; the story of school idol and black witch Fujiko, who keeps her brother's severed head beneath the school; the transformation of Akuto's best friend in school into Brave, the powered-suit-wearing warrior of justice; and several other characters all tossed into the mix with attendant storylines of their own, and you get the picture: too many people, too many plotlines, not enough time and not enough to care about. A train wreck, as I said, where I ultimately found myself carrying on with it only to see how badly it could crash and burn towards the end.

The answer: pretty badly, but finding that out for yourself is no reason to watch the series. Another one of those cases where, however good the initial ideas may have been (and that's debatable), the execution ruined any chances the show may have had of being worthwhile. Pass.

Rating - **