Makai Ouji Overview:
In Makai Ouji, William, apparently a brilliant student, is a son in a noble house but due to his Uncle his fortune is lost and now William is going to struggle just to pay his school fees. While searching the family home for anything that might sell he comes across a magical symbol in the floor of a hidden room and somehow summons a demon.
That said, this story then goes in a slightly weird direction after he has the demon arrested for trespassing and steadfastly refused to believe in anything demon related for the vast majority of the show despite the copious number of demons popping into his life.
Makai Ouji Review:
From the various descriptions of this show I kind of thought this would be some good, mindless fun with maybe some slightly darker overtones. Enjoyable and forgettable. I was right enough about the forgettable side, but enjoyable might be stretching it.
It isn’t that there is anything terribly broken about the show. The plot works reasonably well (such as it can with several demon factions all trying to get William to agree to support their push to rule over hell – and why William has any say is something that is better left undiscussed because it’s incredibly arbitrary and not really dealt with well in the series though there is a reason). The characters are all kind of one note characters but they fairly consistently hit their cues and visually it works well enough.
No, my main complaint with this show is in the delivery. It consistently takes short cuts in story-telling or underestimates the audience’s ability to put two and two together and somehow get a number close to four.
What does that mean?
In my overview I said that William is apparently a brilliant student. How do we know this? Because the synopsis told us so. Because the show tells us. Over and over again. The other students are jealous of him. His teachers praise him. His own inner and outer monologues tell us this. But do we ever see William being brilliant or doing anything that might even suggest he is slightly above average in intelligence? Not once.
On not one occasion does this character do anything remotely bright. He isn’t stupid, but his decision making skills as demonstrated over the course or 12 episodes are average at best and at times questionable. His stubborn refusal to believe the evidence of his own eyes about the supernatural elements at play might be seen as him being egotistical but they hardly show the flexible and quick thinking of a so-called genius. This is compounded by his flimsy attempts to rationalise his refusal to accept evidence.
This complaint carries over to almost every character. Rather than allow these characters to be met organically or to learn about them and their natures in any kind of natural fashion, the show continuously has characters make snide comments about the nature of others or has the character themselves declare their fascination or obsession. It’s really lazy character development and it hinders any kind enjoyment these characters may have otherwise given us.
While I said the plot works, it is a really contrived plot. It is one of those situations where everything is centred on William and it gets increasingly difficult to believe that one of the demon factions won’t just take him out. The argument that he’s being protected by Dantalion will only stretch so far given even Dantalion can’t fight all the hordes of hell. And yes I know there’s the whole back story which I’m not going into but again it feels really contrived.
All and all, unless the thought of demons taking on human form and going to highschool offends you, Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist is a fairly mindless piece of fluff that might make you smile or you may just watch it and forget it. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it but I also won’t say its terrible. There’s a lot worse out there then mediocre demon comedy.
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