Mayou (Maoyu Maou Yusha, aka Archenemy and Hero) is an anime adapted series from a light novel that was originally “serialized” on 2ch. The series is written by Mamare Touno who is not well-known but has recently made his debut. The LN has sold over 450,000 copies and here we are the anime adaptation. As one of the first full-length series to debut in 2013, it definitely needed to set the bar high. So without further ado, let’s see if Maoyu lived up to the hype.
Maoyu follows the story of a hero and queen of demons as they seemingly join forces to bring about a new world. They desire a world of peace, a world without conflict, and a world where values and ideas are accepted without violence. The series begins with a lot of promise as in the format of a preview as to what’s to come. In fact, our two main characters take up most of the tv time as they engage in humorous dialogues and discusses their ways of changing the world.
It is actually quite fresh and entertaining as viewers can see that the demons and humans are not so different. For instance, the demons themselves have their own code of ethics and politics. They have their own ideologies and ways of thinking. To top it off, they also don’t have actual or maybe I should say..physical features in the way some people may originally see them as.
To me, the series takes off with strange tropes and turns it into a rather refreshing series at first. I mean, we have an ordinary human and meets a not-so-ordinary demon king. Hero also gets a surprise from the fact that the Demon Queen is actually a female rather than what he originally expected. The Demon Queen herself is shown to be not violent but rather trying to persuasive for her goals. It also sets up a state of prejudice at first between the races but as time goes on, it’s shown that the duo can get along quite well.
Even from the pilot episode, Hero seems convinced enough to join the Demon Queen despite her rather sophisticated dialogues. The dialogues themselves contains lengthy references to politics, economics, and a history lesson rather than any violent backgrounds. In an entertaining way, it transforms the tale of the struggle between humans and demons into a story of that almost seems to be educational at times. It’s almost like watching the fantasy version of the Discovery Channel as the Demon Queen educates about trading and her ways of inventions.
The series maintains as a small cast of characters. Obviously, we have the two main stars of the series, Maou and Yuusha. They often go by their titles, Demon Queen and Hero respectively. In fact, many of the supporting cast seems to follow this trend. We have Onna Kishi known as the Female Knight, Onna Mahoutsukai was known as the Female Magician, etc. Their names match their respective titles and define the role they play in. But perhaps the most interesting relationship in the series is between Hero and the Demon Queen. This is because they are nearly nothing alike, even in terms of being the same race. Hero seems to be a guy of using action rather than words of persuasion. On the other hand, the Demon Queen seems to play the role of a politician and uses her intelligence.
This brings a problem of their relationship being too rushed. As a matter of fact, there are strong hints of romance between the duo already after the initial episode. To add to this relationship is a strong dose of fan service. The term “useless meat” becomes a recurring joke for the Demon Queen as she takes on the role of an eye candy. With or without horns, she retains her stature as a female that seems to allure viewers. This shouldn’t come too much of a surprise though as the production studio Arms handles the series. Arms is known for its rough and sketchy ways of presenting fan services such as in Elfen Lied, Ikkitousen, and Queen’s Blade. Their stance of producing lascivious visuals has been a long-standing trend. In this case, Maoyu isn’t off their charts.
As being labelled as an adventure genre, the series takes the fantasy theme well. There are the old medieval like architectures and maintains that feeling of being in a fantasy world. The way the characters are dressed reflects this theme of being in simple wear in the case of servants, modern in the case of the maids, and fancy in the case of high-level authority figures. Hero’s design sees him as a warrior and ‘hero’ as the title suggests him. On the other hand, there is a Demon Queen who is dressed in an ornamental way that is elaborate and eye-catching. Unfortunately, some of her appearances are played as a joke like the “horns” on her hand and once again, the useless meat.
Other problems I’ve run into the series is the rather weak story based off the original premise. Some of the preceding episodes from the narrative prequel pilot almost seem like filler. It doesn’t also help the fact that some of the jokes made throughout the series become a bit stale. The Hero seems to attract other female characters of interest and creating some unfriendly rivalry for our Demon Queen. It falls under a track of insubstantial romance with a seemingly love triangle between her, Hero, and the Female Knight.