Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou – Series Review

Ichiban Ushiro-Beefy

Cower before the beefy Demon King!

winter15-highwI mentioned during my Secret Santa 2014 series review of The [email protected] that in addition to that show, I had also been recommended a show called Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. I kind of dismissed it at the time, taking the suggestion that I should just go ahead and watch [email protected] once and for all. Well, I then subsequently found out that it was Foshizzel who had recommended shows for me, and looking for something to watch over the New Years’ break, I thought I would give this other show he recommended a try.

The Show I Should Have Watched?

Ichiban Ushiro-Almost the whole crew

Most of the most of the time good guys

I’ll admit, I hadn’t ever really heard of “Demon King Daimaou”, so that probably factored a lot into me not watching this show for Secret Santa. Also going by the literal translation of “Demon King in the Furthest Back,” so named because our protagonist, Akuto Sai, is assigned to the farthest back seat in the class, even though the show spends almost no time with him there. There’s more classroom seat time in a single episode of Tonari no Seki-kun than there is in the whole 12 episodes of Ichiban Ushiro. Instead, this show is always on the go. And it does it well, with a good amount of character action and interaction.

Ichiban Ushiro-Akuto's rep gets around

Word gets around fast when the Demon King is in your class

The main thrust of the show is that Akuto and the rest are students at the Constant Magic Academy, a magic user school in a world where “Mana” is pumped into the ground and air by the government, and then people are able to use it based on their abilities and talents, something like Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe project. But at this school, all the incoming students are assessed for not just their physical condition, but a divination of what their future occupation will be, something like the Harry Potter Sorting Hat (if the sorting hat was a black bird that looked like Groucho Marx). The big problem comes in when Akuto’s future is found to be “Demon King,” which is a big problem because noone’s ever been divined incorrectly, and because Akuto actually wanted to be a high priest to change society for the better. Unfortunately, that kind of talk starts to backfire on him when he’s believed to be the Demon King. All of a sudden, talking about making the world better and about discrimination, elitism and changing things sounds an awful lot like “I want to be the Demon King.” Actually, unknowingly, Akuto is restating the same things the previous Demon King said 100 years ago.

Ichiban Ushiro-Fujiko relaxes

Fujiko spends a lot of time lounging around, scantily clad

As a quick aside, I want to touch on why I think the quick explanation of the magic in this world is such a good thing. I like when a show gives me an out for my suspension of disbelief. It’s one thing to say “Oh, it’s magic.” But to me it adds a lot more when the reason for magic is “explained”. Even a minor figleaf like “It’s a public utility” goes a long way towards freeing up worries about the show, and lets it get on with being entertaining instead of having to explain all sorts of stuff about the world mechanics. So I thought it really was an excellent explanation even being a hand-wave.

Fractured Factions

Ichiban Ushiro-It started off so well

Things start off so well for Junko and Akuto… and then it goes pear-shaped

Even with all these things I’ve been saying about the show being ‘like’ other things, perhaps the type of show it’s most like is High School DxD, a comparison that’s not harmed by the fact that Youko Hikasa plays the main female character, Junko Hattori. But it’s not quite as harem-y as DxD, although girls liking Akuto is a mostly secondary driver of things that go on. But there’s very little of openly harem hijinks. And the main reason is that there are a ton of factions in this show. So many that it becomes really hard to figure out who’s doing what for what reason. It does filter out towards the end, leaving us with a fairly clear couple of fights, but even the ending is a little confusing. To be honest, though, it doesn’t matter because at that point you’re just going along with the flow of the fun action.

Ichiban Ushiro-Nice Seitokai

Believe it or not, this is 3/4 of the Student Council (and no, that’s not the sorting hat on her head)

But the action isn’t really the main attraction of the show for me. I think the best part of the show is the characters they put in. From Akuto’s self-appointed little brother / lackey Hiroshi (in the role Tsubasa Yonaga might have based Free!’s Nagisa on), to the earnest ninja Junko, through the free-spirit Keina (Aki Toyosaki), the scheming power-hungry Fujiko (Shizuka Itou), all the way to Korone (Aoi Yuuki), an android with a cotton tail who is Akuto’s ‘observer’ and perhaps the best troll character I’ve seen in anime. And past the main characters, almost like The Outsiders is a little remembered film starring the hot actors of the 80’s before they got famous, the rest of the cast sounds like a who’s who of the anime seiyuus from the early 2010’s, with Ayana Taketatsu, Haruka Tomatsu, Yuka Iguchi, and Minako Kotobuki all contributing. It even has Jouji Nakata as a dragon! A way better dragon than in Amagi Brilliant Park, btw.

Ichiban Ushiro-Dragon with a throne

A dragon with a friggin’ throne!

This is a show that gets the little things right, the character interactions, and the overall production. The way everything Akuto does is misinterpreted by the rest of the school, the way he’s constantly trolled by Korone, even things like the fairly frequent toplessness, are done in a way that feels natural and completely in line with the plot. Another fun thing is that the show uses bumpers between the A and B-parts, frequently with a double joke of one set of characters doing something while watching TV while another set of characters is on the TV having another joke (I nearly died when Korone snuck a ribbon of condoms in Junko’s packing). And the comparison to DxD isn’t just because of Demon Kings, it’s mostly because it’s a very ecchi show. Junko ends up topless in half the episodes, Keina strips all the time (to turn invisible), even Fujiko gets her clothes destroyed a few times, but it doesn’t go for making Akuto seem like a klutz. There are few to none of the Rito Yuuki pratfalls, and very little ‘comedic’ ecchi. This helps keep the show from getting too silly.

Ichiban Ushiro-Korone winds up Akuto

Korone loves winding up Akuto

Ichiban Ushiro-Senshi hero

There’s even a sentai hero!

header-winter15-highw

I really enjoyed this show, and watched all 12 episodes of the TV series in 3 days, something I rarely do. It’s a lot of fun, and if you enjoy a romp, especially if it’s got a little bit of MetaFap quality, then this is one I heartily recommend. Good character designs, well drawn, good action, and great voice work. And because it’s from 2010, it doesn’t suffer from the big difference in art that a lot of mid-oughts anime does. Last note, the OP song is by Sphere, and is a nice rock song, so that’s just another bonus. This has taught me a lesson: When Fosh recommends a show, you should watch it. Especially if it was on his top 10 for 2010.

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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34 Responses to “Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou – Series Review”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Ignore boobs
    Ignore oppai
    Ignore females

    !!!Takes note of smexy, beefy, hunky piece of naked manchest. ~heart~

    And I did not watch any of Fosh’s top10 for 2010. 😛 Okay, I lied. I did watch bakamonogatari in 2012. 😛 Out of a whim. It had nothing to do with a certain LOLi vampire. *whistles innocently*

    • Highway says:

      It was interesting how much Akuto ended up topless (like the whole last 3 episodes), and how he got hunkier the stronger he got… and then reverted back to normal after the fight.

  2. akagami says:

    I can’t remember if I was semi-lurking around back then. I don’t remember Captain or Sassy, so that might have been before I started lurking.

    Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou was a fun show. I think this was the show that got me into the whole OP MC harem genre.

    • akagami says:

      Hmm, 2010 though. Looking back, my top 10 that started airing in 2010 were (didn’t count Bakemono since that started airing in 2009, else that’d be #1 hands down)…

      Hm, this list was harder than I thought. Everything after 6 was a 7 for me, ho ho ho. So 7-10 is kind of iffy, because there were a lot of decent, enjoyable shows (imho), so it was hard to just pick 4 and rank them >.<
      1) K-On!!
      2) Nodame Cantabile: Finale
      3) Katanagatari
      4) Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
      5) Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto
      6) Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai
      7) Amagami SS
      8) Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu
      9) Working!!
      10) Angel Beats!

      I don't think my list really jived with any of the team back then =P. But hey, I got Katanagatari and Angel Beats in there, and K-On!! So I'm not that weird~~~

      • Highway says:

        People usually count when a show ends as the year it is eligible for lists.

        As for me, 2010 was before I started watching anime. I didn’t start watching any until Fall 2011, and the first one I watched while it was airing was High School DxD in Winter 2012 (and that was right at the end of the season).

        Of the shows people talk about, I do like ones like Working!!, K-On!!, and Star Driver. I *really* like Amagami SS (I just rewatched some of it on Sunday, because I was eating ramen, and it reminded me of Junichi feeding Haruka ramen which is the best ramen scene I’ve seen… as opposed to the best soumen scene from Kanokon…). The rest of the ones I’ve watched from then that I can remember are all “eh, I guess it wasn’t bad.”

        • akagami says:

          I like to be different, because I’ve always considered it the other way. What you say, you can’t include them in your best of polls in January? Pfft, run the poll in June then ^^

        • akagami says:

          I really enjoyed the omnibus format, and enjoyed most of the girls’ arcs. I just couldn’t get myself to like Rihoko, and I was one of the few rooting for the friendzone in s2. Mwahahaha…

          But damn, Sae’s voice was just painful. I had to sit through that x2 when I watched it again with others.

          And I can’t help but hate Risa. That evil stalker demon… thing. I can’t say kitsune because that’d be insulting to them.

          • Highway says:

            I liked Rihoko fine, and liked the way she got out of the friendzone. Even Sae’s voice didn’t bother me that much. But for me, the show’s made by Tsukasa, Haruka, and Ai. Those two extra episodes I just ignore, ni-shi-shi-shi.

            • akagami says:

              No no no, Miya was the cake, the other girls were the icing ^_^

              But agreed about the best three girls. Although I didn’t like Tsukasa’s arc in s2 that much. She lost most of her haughty attitude and the villain was kinda weak.

    • Highway says:

      I liked that he wasn’t *too* OP, or at least that he didn’t know he was too OP until right near the end. A lot of people have compared this show to Hagure Yuusha no Estetica, which isn’t very favorable to Daimaou, because Hagure Yuusha was fairly terrible. Especially compared to DxD, which I think is terrific. I’d put Daimaou between the two, but a lot closer to DxD. And the girls in this were a lot better in the way they acted, perhaps even better than DxD.

      • akagami says:

        I agree with your positioning. I felt like Hagure could have been much better, although it was a decent watch for me.

        • Highway says:

          Yeah, Akatsuki in Hagure Yuusha wasn’t terrible, but the “I know I’m way more powerful than you” schtick wore thin about halfway through the series. And that series also shamelessly ripped off pretty much every other character from some other series, even down to having the same VA voice them (i.e. Kuzuha being Kuroneko, Vice-Prez Haruka being Tsukiumi). And the villain was just awful. Who names their villain “Phil Barnett”? Atrocious.

          Ichiban Ushiro didn’t fall into the traps that Hagure Yuusha did. I’ll guess it’s not nearly as memorable as DxD, but it was almost as enjoyable to watch, sometimes more with Korone.

          • akagami says:

            Don’t forget the atrocious motorcycle! A disgrace to motorcycles around the world.

            I did get tired of the “I’m invincible so got sit down puppy” routine after about the third time. I can only take so much cockiness in my MC’s before I want to smack them some. If he was somewhat likeable it might have been more tolerable… maybe. I didn’t notice the same VA part, that’s interesting.

  3. Alexandre says:

    Highway, your review piqued my interest for this series. However, as it is a 12-episoder, I have one important question: Does It Have An Actual Ending? Or Does It Continue In The Manga? Because I love the first and hate the latter. I simply detest when they live loose ends, do not conclude the series properly, actually telling only one arc of the story and leaving the rest for possible future seasons that usually never come. Just to quote one that I was really into – Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? I find it extremelly frustrating when they just end a series like that. At least Hitsugi no Chaika, despite the awfully cliche and hasty ending, HAD an ending and Sidonia no Kshin said they wil have a second cour. So, can you please help me decide whether to watch this one or not? Thank you!

    • Mentar says:

      The anime offers a semi-conclusive ending. Nothing final, but a proper time for a stop.

      I’m a bit surprised though that you hate the manga (unless I misunderstood you)? The manga has a very nice, conclusive full ending. Which is fairly popular with the Daimaou fanbase, because it corrects the completely disastrous ending of the light novels. Maybe if you elaborate what you hate about the manga, it would be possible to gauge if you’ll like the anime?

      Generally, I’d easily recommend the anime to anyone remotely interested in the genre.

      • Highway says:

        I think he’s saying that he hates when a show doesn’t have a definitive ending, instead pushing people to read other media to get an ending. Not that he knows anything about this series yet.

      • Alexandre says:

        Sorry, my sentence was a bit muddled. I mean I hate series that don’t have conclusive endings and hate it when they continue in the manga. I haven’t read the manga, so I don’t know the series at all. My problem is when you put just an arc of the story in the anime and leave the rest for the manga, like Witchcraft Works, Roukoujouma, Black Bullet, Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (totally frustrating as for me the only interest became the impending conflict between Virgin Child and Luci First and the other competitors in the Fairies’ Game – I hope it gets a second season, but I doubt it very much), The Irregular at Magic High School… the list is almost endless. I understand that these manga that never end, like Berserk (which, surprisingly, maintains very high quality despite of its length) become nearly impossible to adapt fully for anime. That is why I have never touched Bleach or Naruto.

        • Highway says:

          I edited your post to say “don’t have conclusive endings”. Let me know if that’s not right.

          I think a big issue you’re seeing is adaptations from LNs, which are generally plotted out on a much larger scale. There’s really no way they could do a whole big series arc in one-cour of a TV show. Especially not when you have to introduce characters in the beginning of the show and get some character development in there. But I see that there’s possibly a problematic contradiction in that it seems like you’d prefer stories that finish up in the time they can make an anime, but that will necessarily limit the depth of the story to things that would probably not be interesting enough to bother with. Given that anime are usually a means to a different end (selling more books or manga volumes, with the minor hope of breaking even on the anime), I think we’re just going to have to realize that a lot of anime will be windows on the story.

    • Highway says:

      While Daimaou does have more that continues past the end of the story in the anime series, the anime series does have a complete story and finishes what it’s doing. It’s the first of multiple stories, and you can see where it could possibly go after this anime cour, but it’s not anything like “And that completes the introduction for the story! Stay Tuned for more!”

      • Alexandre says:

        Ok, that’s good to know. I’ll watch it, then, because your review made it seem really interesting. Thank you! And thanks to Powhu, too. I’ll look the manga up too!

        • Highway says:

          I hope you enjoy it, and I’m glad my review gets that across. I did find it really interesting, and even when it’s getting a little overwhelming, it’s still fun.

  4. Bobob101 says:

    Of course! the women named Fujiko had to be sexy and scantily dressed! Have you never seen Lupin?

    It’s an ok show, I watched it all then forgot it.

    • Highway says:

      Actually, no, I’ve never seen anything of Lupin. Nothing about that show has ever interested me.

      I actually liked the character trajectory of Fujiko Etou in Daimaou. She never really seems to fall for Akuto in a rabu-rabu sense, just in a way that fits her personality.

  5. belatkuro says:

    How time flies. It’s already been 5 years since I watched this when it was airing. I don’t remember much from it and just have some vague impressions of it. Of course there’s the ecchi stuff. It has a great voice cast, from Hikasa Yoko to Nakata Jouji voicing the most badass dragon with the best name(Peterhausen). Guess that’s why Nakata voiced the dragon in Amagi.
    And I remember that it felt pretty fast-paced that it somehow didn’t give you much room to take in the happenings or something. But even with that, I enjoyed getting swept by the flow of the plot and what transpired amidst the confusion.

    I believe this series is dubbed ‘Color Wars’ by the fanbase because of the color coding of the girls and the waifu wars it created. I think I preferred Blue the most of the girls.
    I have the manga on-hold which I seem to have started at the same time as the anime. I should finish it already, though I don’t remember much about the plot where I left off. Heard the ending was pretty good. Planning to read the LN as well. The based translator of Index/Horizon has finished translating everything a long time ago.
    A bit forgettable tittle but a rather decent series. It’s an okay recommendation to fans of the genre.

    • Highway says:

      I liked Junko (blue) as well. It was a very fast moving show, and didn’t hang around much from one point to the other, but it didn’t really feel like they skipped over anything. I do wonder what people thought while it was airing when episode 11 pretty much ignored what Akuto was doing to focus on the fights between the girls (again, not harem-y fights, more like ninja-faction fights). But it got back to him in episode 12. I still have the BD specials to watch, although I don’t know if they’re anything more than shorts.

  6. Foshizzel says:

    YESSSSS <3 this freaking series! I should read the manga because I loved the cast of goofy characters and DAT DRAGON and wow mind blown 2010 anime good god that was a long ass time ago...

    I am glad you decided to give this series a shot Highway and I knew you would like it because of those DxD vibes and the harem.

    I laughed so freaking hard when Akito wanted to be a janitor I think which = disciplinary team? Lol the students freaked out and they sorta treated him like Kodaka from Haganai aka misunderstood.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, Akuto was definitely good at sticking his foot in his mouth, but the rest of the student body was really good at misinterpreting his intentions. “He should be the class rep” = He wants power to take over the school. “I want to be on the cleaning committee” thinking that meant the sweeping and cleaning, but really to everyone else it meant the ‘Cleaners’, the people who “clean up” “messes”. And of course, every time he interacted with Junko they thought he was corrupting her.

  7. akagami says:

    To be honest, the only thing I really remember from the anime is Junko’s grandma and how Akuto helped her out in the beginning. Funny how that’s the scene that jumps out at me when I try to remember the series.

    • Highway says:

      Well, it kind of all comes back to that. Show ▼

      • akagami says:

        Well, that’s true. I like your explanation much better than mine.

        Btw, did he help her down the stairs or pick up some apples. For some reason I thought it was apples… nice and shiny red apples…

        • Highway says:

          What it was was that Grandmother dropped her luggage and it broke open. He was helping her gather it all up when Junko came along and thought he was robbing her.

          • akagami says:

            I had the feeling it was answer c).

            That’s why I hate my memory (and jealous of others). Like I can watch a movie and my friends will start quipping lines from the movie (which I can recognize). But the second I try to recall a line, my mind goes blank =/

  8. Next on your list should be “Asobi ni Iku Yo” (aka “Cat Planet Cuties”), which is another show which is surprisingly sophisticated even though it includes a lot of fan service.

    • Highway says:

      That one I’ve already seen, a few years ago, when the English title was still the immensely tone-deaf “Bombshells from the Sky”.

      That one maybe goes a little overboard on the fanservice, for instance having Aoi and Minami jump out of the bath and pursue bad guys down the street completely naked. But the MC in that show is not nearly as good as Akuto in Ichiban Ushiro. It does have a bit of a different ending, tho.

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