How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Takuma is a shut in who's mastered a popular MMO called Cross Reverie. He's become the most powerful player known as Demon Lord Diablo. The game has filled a void in his otherwise empty life, however the game becomes his life when he's summoned to another world resembling Cross Reverie and he's incarnated as Diablo. Now as a supreme powerful sorcerer in a real life incarnation of a game he's mastered, surely this is his time to shine. Except being a social shut in makes this much harder, especially with the two cute girls who are bound to serve him.
Another fan service anime. Another MMO based anime. You'd think I'd pre fairly critical about that, however I really enjoyed How Not to Summon a Demon Lord. Why? It's upfront about why it exists, and what the target audience wants to see from a show featuring a cute girl with animal ears and the big boobed elf girl. It's wish fulfillment and unashamed about it; something many shows don't quite get right. With a decent story, reasonable characters, and avoiding the pitfalls of stupidity; this anime is much better quality than I'd expect.
The MMO aspect works well, and it doesn't succumb to the "that's the way MMOs are" crutch plaguing similar shows. Takuma was a master at Cross Reverie, so when thrust into a real world like his favorite MMO, he's very familiar with how most things work; this is particularly important in how he can use and manage his powers. It's also an interesting point that if such an MMO were real (as in the world he's in now), some things are quite different - particularly how most people are very low level because it's dangerous and you don't re-spawn after you die. Despite his overwhelming power, Takuma still struggles with situations he never had to deal with in an MMO so it's not a snore-fest due to him steamrolling everything. His former life as a shut in has hilarious results when girls throw themselves at him, and also when he has to deal with common folk. The best he can do is assume his demon lord persona to talk big, but internally he's still a geek.
The girls... um, well they're fan service oriented so not much to say about that, but are likable. All the characters work well within the story, which How Not to Summon a Demon Lord has, and it's good! I especially liked the very strange turn summoning a demon destined to destroy the world takes. Early on I was hyped for the show, and only dreading one particular weakness it could fall into: bad pacing. And it has exactly that problem by episode 3. There are a number of episodes which are unnecessary and only function to bridge story points. That annoys me a lot because time could have EASILY been filled with short fluff stories without worry about "breaking the story" of the manga (still ongoing) Just have a quest, Takuma does something bad ass, then the girls need to "restore his energy" afterwards. It would have helped the pacing a lot, but even with that flaw the show isn't bad.
If you know much of anything about the current climate of anime, you know what to expect. This anime delivers just that: anime girl fan service in a fantasy setting. Done with reasonable quality with artwork and story, shows putting the effort into something with a fairly weak premise can result in reasonable quality. It's a fun time and that's all I wanted. Currently How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is a story in progress. I rate this well, but I could actually see myself upgrading rank if the story keeps going in a good direction and concludes.
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reviewed by archen in 2018