Maoyu Maou Yuusha Series Review: Understanding the Economics of War

Overview:

Fifteen years have passed since the war between humans and demons began. Dissatisfied with their slow advance into the Demon Realm, the Hero abandons his companions to quickly forge ahead towards the Demon Queen’s castle. Upon his arrival at the royal abode, the Hero makes a startling discovery: not only is the Demon Queen a woman of unparalleled beauty, but she also seeks the Hero’s help.

– From MAL

Review:

Maoyu is a strange little anime that kind of came out, got a little bit of attention and then disappeared from sight. I’d like to pull it back out from under the bed, dust it off, and remind people that this gem exists. Certainly it isn’t going to make any of the big anime titles tremble in fear because the audience for this is going to remain fairly small, but I have a deep respect for an anime that sets out to achieve a goal and succeeds admirably even if the story here is decidedly unfinished and there’s a number of obvious fan-service choices cluttering up some of the screen time.

It is actually easier to describe Maoyu by talking about what it isn’t. It isn’t a good vs evil fantasy fight between a demon king and a hero. It isn’t really focussed on action at all despite the war setting. It also isn’t an actual introduction to Economics though I’ve seen it described as such. Certainly war and good and evil and Economics all come into play in this story, but while you might gain an appreciation for why war and Economics are intrinsically linked, you aren’t going to walk out the other side of this anime able to have a conversation on Economic theory.

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This story, for me, felt like a critique of war stories and how these stories all end with the heroes overthrowing the villains and then declaring peace and happiness when the end result of most wars is anything but even for the victor. It also felt like a critique of the real world and the way we continue to ignore real issues due to convenience and comfort. With these two ideas forming the base of the narrative, the story that unfolds is fairly average but the message it constructs is on point.

So what is a demon king (or queen) to do when the hero has come to kill them? Lay down their life? Fight to the death? Recruit the hero into a campaign of economic reform so that neither side needs the war to continue to ensure prosperity? Let’s take option three for a change and see what happens.

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None of the characters in this story are given a name. Each are referred to by their job or role. This makes it much easier to generalise the ideas of this story beyond the narrative itself and see these characters as placeholders for people/nations/ideas that we are familiar with in other narratives and in real life. It is a bit awkward at times and discussing the anime by talking about the ‘female knight’ or the ‘senior maid’ might seem a bit odd to someone who hasn’t watched it, but it actually works quite well within the context of the story.

However, it isn’t all smooth sailing. Of course they want to paint a romance into the story that sometimes just feels very contrived and convenient. There are also far too many complications introduced. While on the one hand this makes the setting more true to life with multiple factions both supporting and rejecting reforms, on the other it makes it impossible to bring to any kind of satisfactory resolution to the overall narrative within the anime. Basically, it bites off more than it can chew in its run time and ends up leaving the audience hanging, which would normally be an automatic shelve the disc and never watch again point for me, but somehow this anime managed to make me not care so much about where it was going and more about the journey to get there.

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The other point I will make is there is a lot of times where the characters will sit or stand and discuss farming or trade or politics. And I mean, a lot of times. So if characters sitting and discussing things isn’t what you are looking for, then this anime will end up being a firm pass. However, if you don’t mind that as long as you are interested in the topic being discussed, this won’t be an issue.

I really enjoyed this series for what it was and it just felt a little bit different. While I know it has a lot of similarities to Spice and Wolf, I found this one a little more engaging and liked the characters a bit more (sorry fans of Spice and Wolf). I’d have loved for this anime to get a second season but that seems very unlikely so I’ll just have to rewatch the DVD again and enjoy this odd little story.

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I’d love to know your thoughts on Maoyu if you’ve seen it. If you haven’t, do you think you would watch an anime like this or does it sound like something you will firmly pass on?


Thanks for reading.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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12 thoughts on “Maoyu Maou Yuusha Series Review: Understanding the Economics of War

      1. Heh, the no-name thing bugged the crap out of me, especially when the characters were talking about each other. “Hero. Demon King. Head Maid. Big sister maid. Little sister maid. Soldier.” And my personal favorite, when one of the villains is raging in his desire for revenge against a guy he blames for the consequences of his own disgraceful actions: “Western Fortress Commander!” (rolls eyes)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is one of those shows that seemed to fly under most people’s radars but there’s actually a lot to like about it. If it was finished it would be a show I’d highly recommend however it is still an interesting oddity that is worth having a watch.
      Glad to know there’s another fan out there as most people ask me what I’m talking about when I mention the show.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re definitely right there. Too bad about the cliffhanger ending, which you pointed out as being unavoidable.

        Mmm I remember someone thought I was talking about Hataraku! Maou-Sama when I brought up this show.

        I definitely had meant to mention this series when you wrote that Friday Feature “I Am Human” back in July 2016, but I never did figure out how to write that particular comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I somehow missed this post today. Sorry about that. Glad I read it though because this sounds like a very intriguing and unique anime. As I am always on the lookout for anime that are different in some way, this certainly seems one of them. And not every anime needs to be a full on action fest for me either. Despite it’s flaws, I’m going to see if I can find this one on dvd at this Year’s anime con. Thanks for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the biggest issue is that it does not end. They are still working on reforms while other people are still raising armies when the show runs out of episodes. Doesn’t stop it being interesting but makes it hard to recommend as a story when it is so unfinished.

      Like

      1. Well…seeing the amount of animes that arent’t finishe these days, it actually starts to bother me less. Don’t get me wrong it’s still annoying. But for some reason I have gotten used to it now I guess 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Better than Spice and Wolf! How DARE you! In all seriousness, I loved Maoyu and would rate it just a notch below S&W. Thanks for the little reminder on this gem, and don’t forget one of the greatest speeches in anime in episode 9.

    Liked by 1 person

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