Final Review: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless other noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (or Maoyuu for short) is based on a series of light novels that ran between 2010 and 2012. It is often compared to Isuna Hasekura’s Spice & Wolf light novel due to its similar nature and approach. Maoyuu is set in a time where humans and demons are at war. Upon the hero’s encounter with the demon king (or rather queen), the demon queen proposes an alliance to help end the war and bring prosperity to both humans and demons alike. The hero agrees and thus began the life and adventures of the demon queen and the hero. Maoyuu ran during the Winter 2012/2013 season and was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll.

In simple terms, Maoyuu is Spice & Wolf in a demon/human world setting. It has the same medieval like setting and similar applications of economics/politics in many of its plot explanations. Unfortunately, the Maou and Yuusha are really dull characters. Despite being voiced by the same duet (let alone effectively the same staff) as Spice & Wolf, neither character really stood out, especially with all the demons effectively looking like humans than “actual demons.” The economic applications (aside from a couple episodes) weren’t as interesting either as it was mostly, if I manipulate person X, I can get result Y and/or use forwards to hedge my risk. That sounds like your standard economics in order to maximize individual utility but the lack of an apparent trade mechanism aside from mostly verbal promises really didn’t leave as big of an impact. Despite having a completed source material, the overall story feels weak. I’m not sure how faithful they are to the original source but the objective was clearly stated from the get go, yet the execution and progression to get there felt very empty. Far too many time skips and far too many holes left unfilled. In essence, the show is mostly talk with little to no action/implementation of plans to follow-up or follow-through.

Art is generally decent. It caters to the medieval like setting appropriately. Character designs, while from the source material, are overly bland. I still can’t get over the fact that many demons look like humans. If that’s the case, it raises the question as to how do you actually tell the difference between humans and demons? Animation is by ARMS, a studio that has mostly done hentai titles along with the more recent Queen’s Blade and Ikki Tousen franchises. As a result, there is slightly more fanservice than one would expect in this show. Of course, it is very tamed, implying that ARMS at least has some common sense on where to draw the line. It’s one of their more prettier titles but it also lacks much complex movements outside the OP video sequence.

OP and ED are both average but fitting with the show. Background music and sound effects are average. Probably could be better but seeing as most were often too soft to even notice, it really can’t get better than “average.” Seiyuu is mainly the same as Spice & Wolf, implying great cast. However, the interaction between characters was not as heart warming or fuzzy. The interactions generally felt bland and dull.

Enjoyment? Overhyped show is overhyped. I recall at the beginning of winter where many people were saying either this or Vividred Operation were going to be the best new shows of the season. Personally, I think neither are and it’s even worse when you factor in shows that rolled over from the previous season. Recommendation wise, Spice & Wolf is the obvious choice. Senyuu if you want hero vs. demons and a quick laugh. Generally speaking, Maoyuu is a niche title if you exclude Spice & Wolf. There are very few shows that attempt to drive plot via basic economics and politics with “logical” reason. So it’s nice to see these type of shows every once in a while.

Overall, Maoyuu is an inferior “copy” to Spice & Wolf. The “adventure” is nowhere near as intriguing and the characters are not as likable. The interaction between Maou and Yuusha is also lacking given to how often they are separated, thereby weakening the main objective of “together making humans and demons enjoy prosperity.” It’s not a terrible show if you watched this before Spice & Wolf, but because it came after, it leaves much to be desired.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Intriguing until you realize the OP video is misleading.
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Removable horns? Boring leads
  • Character Development (1/2): Generally shallow. We know a bit about Maou’s past and why she waited for Yuusha, but what about the Yuusha?
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Cast grows quite large rapidly making it somewhat difficult to learn names. Not to mention that it’s rare they mention names.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Generally fine.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (2/2): The politics and economics unsurprisingly make perfect sense. Most are simple transactions though.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Cheesy and anticlimatic.
  • Total: 6.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Decent
  • Character Designs (1/2): Bland and dull. Again, removable horns?
  • Fluidity (1/2): Stiff. Lack of complex movement
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Very colorful
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1.5/2): Arms has mostly done hentai titles along with Ikki Tousen and Queen’s Blade. I’d rather watch Kite or Kite Liberator if I wanted to watch action though.
  • Total: 7/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): Average themes but very fitting with the series.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (2/3): Great cast and same as Spice & Wolf but lacking in good emotion.
  • Total: 6/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Had a few funny moments.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0.5/2): Generally none except for a couple weeks.
  • Presentation: (1/2): Very weak hooks.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Not really
  • Recommendation (1/2): Spice & Wolf and maybe Senyuu. Still a niche title overall.
  • Value (0/1): As long as Spice & Wolf exists, Maoyuu will never see much, if any, value.
  • Total: 3.5/10

Preliminary Score: 7/10

Final Score: 6/10

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