And they lived happily ever after.
Once again, Maou-sama! ventures away from the realm of romcom and into more serious waters. Well ok, the show does retain some comedic aspects. And while some might complain about the flip-flopping between serious business and comedy, I actually think that Maou-sama! handles the balance pretty well.
First up we have the cliffhanger from the previous episode. We know that Lucifer is behind the attacks on Maou and Yusa, but it comes as a bit of a surprise to me that the archbishop briefly mentioned in episode 2 is actually pulling the strings. I guess it’s just the norm to make religious groups corrupt in anime now? I myself am not a religious person, and I recognize that there is certainly corruption in real life religion, but I have to say I find it in bad taste that the role of the bad guy keeps getting relegated to religion. But I digress. What’s interesting is Maou’s comment about how the archbishop made a bargain with Lucifer to “return him to heaven”. This suggests that Lucifer is true to his namesake; a fallen angel. I doubt that Maou-sama! will pursue this matter much more than Maou’s brief comment, but Lucifer’s angelic nature might suggest why Yusa’s sacred sword failed to kill him. Otherwise, there’s really not much explanation for how he managed to survive his deadly encounter with the hero.
Moving on, we get to see why Maou deserves his title of Demon Lord. The guy is both sharp and a quick thinker. In spite of a few risky maneuvers, he managed to turn an unfavorable situation around without the enemy catching on. I can see him being a great strategist. Oh, and he’s not too shabby in combat either, if his smackdown of both the archbishop and Lucifer is any indication.1 This leaves me wondering what had him so preoccupied during his conquest of the humans that it distracted such a capable leader from what was going on in the frontlines. Maybe we’ll find out later on?
Is It Over?
With the defeat of the two baddies, Maou-sama! is looking an awful lot like it’s over. Maou has regained his powers and can thus return to wreaking havoc on Ente Isla. Heck, even the mage (Emerada) and the warrior (Albert) arrive at the conclusion of the battle to offer Yusa a way home. But of course, Maou-sama! isn’t going to end here. Maou still has to get first place on the sales rankings, after all. Really, the demon lord’s priorities have changed drastically during his brief stay on Earth. It’s as if he’s taken all his ambitions for conquering Ente Isla and turned them into an ambition to become the number one MgRonald’s employee. When he first arrived in Japan, this was only supposed to be a stepping stone on his way to gaining power and influence on Earth, but somehow I get the feeling he’s forgotten about what comes after MgRonald’s. Maybe he really has changed for good.
And so before you all start concluding that Maou-sama! is ending here, I would like to point out that there’s no need to be hasty. It’s not as if Maou-sama! is the first show to feature extremely satisfying ends to arcs.2 Obviously there will be more on the way, and I have no doubt that what follows will be able to live up to the conclusion we just witnessed. It’s a pretty good bet that we will return to the simpler days of good ‘ol romcom, considering the show is in fact supposed to be romcom. And while the dramatic developments have been nice to inject some story to the show, I did come for the advertised romcom. To me, the end of this arc is more like the end of a brief but satisfying diversion from the regular programme. So will the rest of the show be disappointing from this point? The answer is no. Rather, what follows should be what we came for in the first place.
As purportedly serious as the recent developments have been though, Maou-sama! doesn’t fail to inject some well-placed comedy into the mix. There’s the subversion of the rule that antagonists will not attack while the protagonists are talking, to deadly effect. I have to say, I laughed a bit too much when Ashiya took a beam to the chest as he was complaining about Maou’s careless usage of their meager funds. And then his following “last words” are for Maou to take advantage of monthly discounts? Ha! Truly, a miser to the end. In any case, there were countless other humorous moments, such as Yusa deflecting Lucifer’s “pitch” straight into Maou’s face, so I won’t try to list them all. Suffice it to say this episode was just as funny as the previous ones.
Maou-sama! continues to be my favorite show of the season. The more serious developments have been a welcome addition, but it looks like it’s time for the show to return to its roots for some romcom. I really enjoyed how Chi-chan’s ability to hear the magic communications is explained again at the end, while simultaneously reintroducing both comedy and romance. It turns out Emerada and Albert had set the magic communications to be received only by those who think about Maou all the time. The thought behind this is that Yusa is obsessed with defeating Maou, so she would be the only one to hear the transmission, but I guess none of them could have fathomed that an innocent girl deeply in love with Maou would also be able to tune in. If you think about it, Yusa not hearing any of the transmissions might even hint that Chi-chan thinks more about Maou than her. But now I’m treading dangerously close to the cesspool that is shipping wars. Let’s just leave at that.