People have been telling stories forever. We love tales of adventure and danger and heroes who overcome obstacles. We just do. The isekai genre really just kind of taps into that love in a nice simple way by taking ordinary person A and throwing them into adventurous world, usually giving them some kind of power up, and then sitting back and watching them pretty much dismantle anything in their path.
It isn’t complicated, most of the time, and as long as there’s a little bit of deft in the way the story is stitched together fans of the genre will largely be satisfied. Let’s be honest, we aren’t expecting Shakespeare.
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Season One kind of got this. We summoned a guy from the normal world into a fantasy world that kind of resembled a game he just happened to be awesome at playing and then gave him all the stats of his character in said game. Naturally, he’s overpowered to the max and walks through a whole range of scenarios.
They also hit us with a lot of over the top comedy and fan service which mostly worked and at the very least didn’t actually prevent a fun little adventure story playing out.
Then we get season two.
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Ω – How the mighty have fallen…
Though that may be an exaggeration given the first season was largely just kind of entertaining and hardly a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination.
I’ll be honest and point out How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Ω doesn’t actually look as bad as that screen grab above. My internet was having some issues that day and I had to drop the video quality just to finish the episode. Still, season two took a definite hit in the visuals. The fun and cute characters spent a lot of this season looking either wooden or just like a stock image of themselves.
This wasn’t helped by Rem and Shera, the two female characters from season one, largely doing little besides standing behind Diablo or off to the side and reacting to stuff. It felt like a serious down grade for them as characters and even when they got thrown into fan-service mode it no longer felt like it served a narrative purpose so much as the writers realised they hadn’t had a bath scene in two episodes and so it was definitely time to get Shera out of her clothes again.
Now I review How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Omega episodically and discussed each episode with Irina. It was a lot of fun revisiting this anime with her because we both liked season one but we liked different aspects of it. I don’t think either of us knew what season 2 would be like but I do know that by the time we got to our episode ten review we were both pretty happy the season was drawing to a close and didn’t try to push for a thirteen episode run.
For me, season two of How Not To Summon a Demon Lord was a lesson in how not to write a sequel. It makes the mistake of trying to keep the original characters together and includes short appearances from almost every character in season one even if they serve no purpose in the new story. Rem and Shera could have stayed behind on this adventure and Diablo could have gone off on his new quest and we probably would have ended up with a less bloated plot and less screen time eaten by interactions that served no purpose.
As a consequence of refusing to let go of a single character and freeing up space, the new characters all feel shallow or feel like they could have been interesting if we’d been given a little more to go on. The first episode of season 2 introduces Diablo to the damsel in distress of season 2, the head priest of the church Lumachima.
She’s a young and idealistic girl who the church is trying to kill and so she first wants to travel to some city to enlist the aid of some other higher up in the church before returning, but that largely becomes a side quest that results in little other than costume changes for a few characters and eats up more screen time from this already faltering follow-up season before we just go and confront the church.
It really feels like How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Ω could have skipped a few steps here and Diablo could have solved this whole issue in about an episode if left to his own devices.
You would think in ten episodes there wouldn’t be time for all these random little asides that go nowhere. And I clearly wasn’t the only viewer feeling like a lot of these things just made no sense. They could have gone somewhere but they just didn’t.
Some characters are introduced and killed off quickly.
Other characters introduced who look like they’ll be an interesting addition who then just stand in the background or are left behind as an unresolved plot thread.
There’s a disease being spread and a search for a cure but it doesn’t end up having any real impact on the plot.
These’s also a secret dungeon with a treasure trove.
We introduce another demon lord who makes a big opening and then is unceremoniously discarded.
All of these things kind of come and go from How Not to Summon a Demon Lord before we get to actually move the plot forward and confront the church.
On the one hand, it does kind of feel like a video game. I could go and challenge the boss or I could run over to this map location I haven’t yet explored and grind for a few more hours. Which is fine when you are gaming because you can decide when you’ve had enough fluffing about and get back onto the main quest. Also, you usually are levelling up and gaining something from the experience of all that fluffing about. Here that’s not so much the case.
Actually it definitely isn’t the case.
Sure they pick up two new characters, Horn and Rose, but neither really make the ending of how Not To Summon a Demon Lord any better. Horn’s ‘contribution’ in the second last episode really felt like a forced side plot just to extend the run-time and largely added nothing but some really poor humour and fan-service.
I know I’m not the best judge of either given I don’t really find comedy or fan-service appealing when picking a story, but here it just felt so forced and ultimately I can’t quite figure out who it was supposed to appeal to. Even Irina couldn’t help me out as she also seemed to find it a little on the baffling side.
The finale did at least provide resolution to the plot with Lumachima. That would have been the worst. Having sat through the series that at best was average and then being left without an actual ending. I think at that point my series review would have just been a rant.
Though ultimately, there’s little that can be declared a clear positive for this sequel. It is watchable. Diablo is still Diablo and there’s the occasional moment of hilarity as his inner geek clashes with his exterior personality as the tough and detached demon-lord.
Along the way there are sprinkled moments that capture some of the fun and energy in season one but it is all too little and too buried in a paint by numbers, unfocused story that feels overburdened with unnecessary trappings and unclear on what it wants to uncomplish.
I didn’t hate How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Ω by any stretch. I just ended up feeling indifferent to it. Which is actually kind of worse because it means this one is fairly forgettable. If a third season came out, I’d consider starting it at least but it wouldn’t be high on my priority list. I’d be keen to see if it could re-energise this franchise or whether all the best moments were delivered in season one.
That said, I’d love to know your thoughts on How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Omega so be sure to leave me a comment below.
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Season 2. Dir. S. Kuwahara. Tezuka Productions and Okuruto Noboru. 2021.
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