The Important Qualities Of An Adventurous Leader

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 2 Review

As I watch four pastel girls go through the motions of a pyjama party discussing their favourite monsters and what they like about them (though they keep the actual subject hidden for a little bit to make it a punch line) I had to wonder what the appeal of this kind of show was. I get that there are plenty of fans of slice of life and cute girl shows but honestly this scene was actually less fascinating than watching my cat pursue a lizard across the floor of my study (I rescued the lizard, came back and watched the scene again).

Endro Episode 2 Seiran
I’m sure my cat would try.

That doesn’t for a minute make Endro actually a bad show. I can’t really compare it with all that many other cute girl or slice of life shows because normally I don’t really stick with them, but this anime functions just fine, each scene moves along, each character plays their role, it looks good enough and it intersperses action or physical comedy in amongst the talkier scenes to break things up a bit. Everything works but the vast majority of the content doesn’t actually appeal to me as an audience. Still, if I had the choice of watching this episode again or episode 2 of Grimms Notes I’d choose this one in a heart beat. This anime is actually functional as a narrative.

Now there were actually two parts of this episode that did interest me and will keep me watching despite this being well outside of my interest area so far. The first was the leadership decision. Mao, in another insidious plan (provided you find six year olds insidious) to break up the heroes’ party so that they won’t defeat the demon lord in the future declares that each team needs to choose a leader. The girls in the heroes’ party all assumed they were the leader and are shocked to find out they aren’t.

Endro Episode 2 Leader

Here I will give the show some credit. Instead of petty squabbling or attempts to bring other members of the team down, the girls diplomatically choose the mascot character as the leader (truly cute). When that idea gets shot down they each take a turn at being leader and fail abysmally. Because, as the girls realise, they all bring something to the party. Whether it is strength, brains, weirdness, or sheer luck, each of them has their own important qualities that are needed in a leader. The end result, they are all the leader. It’s a cute and novel solution and this was actually the part of the episode I ended up most engaged by.

The other part of the episode that actually made me think this might go somewhere interesting at some point, was that the Demon Lord realises that if things continue they’ll end up repeating the same actions as last time and the heroes will turn back time again and they’ll be stuck in a loop. One problem with this is the sequence the Demon Lord recalls with the girls casting the spell isn’t the same as what we saw in episode 1 so not sure why the discrepancy there. However, this show surprised me yet again by having Mao simply decide she won’t become the Demon Lord and instead she’ll just take it easy.

Endro Episode 2 Mao

Did the villain just take herself out of the picture? Does that mean her petty plots are done?

Endro isn’t really my kind of show and yet I’m still kind of glad Cactus Matt suggested I watch it because there’s been some interesting moments in amongst the fluffy nonsense moments that aren’t my speed. While this might not end up going anywhere with these ideas given it is listed as a slice of life, I can’t deny that some of the ideas are interesting.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Series Review: He Is Diablo

It’s another I’ve been summoned to another world story where of course, for escapist reasons, the protagonist is severely over powered and becomes the one person who can save the day. Despite the generic premise can How Not To Summon a Demon Lord distinguish itself in a fairly flooded market?

Review:

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 1 - Diablo

There’s become this trend online that calling something generic is somehow a negative review of the subject matter and I guess if you’re only looking for novelty and unique story-lines (good luck with that by the way) generic would be the kiss of death, and yet How Not To Summon a Demon Lord can well and truly be labelled generic however it still manages to be engaging and entertaining. I guess if you’ve seen one isekai fantasy with a focus on fan-service and harem building you have seen them all, but the same could be said of action movies, romances, and more or less any other type of story. They naturally share genre traits and have a basic identifiable pattern. The important concern is how is it executed and what makes this one worth the time.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Group hug

Before I get into what distinguishes How Not To Summon a Demon Lord and made it more entertaining then say Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody I do feel I should address a couple of points that are going to make this anime one that a few viewers aren’t going to like and so probably shouldn’t even start watching. The first, and most obvious one, is that this isn’t just a harem anime, it most definitely has earned the ecchi label that MAL has on it. And while it isn’t as confronting as some titles with that label, there are definitely some scenes and sequences that will make some viewers uncomfortable. Be prepared for nudity, groping, rubbing against another person and then the fingering scene that very nearly had me walking away and only the fairly interesting story (and the fact that it came two episodes from the end) kept me going.

How Not to Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9 Shera

The other aspect that may very well throw some viewers, and it is something that comes up in more than a handful of isekai stories, is the slavery trope. Diablo is a gamer summoned from our world into the world of the game (or close enough) and his first encounter is with two beautiful girls who kiss him in the hopes of placing an enslavement enchantment on him, and the only reason it doesn’t work is because he turns up in his in game character and happens to have a ring that reflects magic causing the spell to backfire. But now of course we have an overpowered male character who has essentially enslaved two female characters and the end result could rub people the wrong way. It doesn’t help that the show itself insists on not taking any kind of stance on slavery one way or the other but the only encounters we have with slaves are mostly to do with very good looking female characters.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo and Shera

However, if those two aspects aren’t enough to put you off (or if you happen to be in the camp that is suddenly mad keen to see the anime after hearing that), then How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is a surprisingly good time. There’s definitely a balance overall in the series with almost equal weight given to fan service moments and plot/character moments and both are fairly well done. Okay, boy summoned to magic world and forced to save city from a demon lord isn’t the most original story, but watching him learn about the world and the encounters he has are pretty entertaining and there’s a nice escalation in the danger faced throughout the series.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 5 - Diablo

The characters are well designed and quite pleasant to look at. Most of the female characters fall into a type and suffer from the usual fantasy issue of clearly not noticing weather or understanding that armour works better when you actually protect your vital areas but honestly if this bothered you there’s no way you’d be reading about an isekai fantasy anime in the first place so let’s just move on rather than discussing the completely useless nature of their battle wear. Diablo’s in game character is also quite well designed and I like the striking contrasts in his facial expressions from extreme arrogance and confidence (a facade) and his panic and turmoil when out of his depth.

Actually, Diablo’s character as a whole is a highlight and is one of the many things that really distinguishes this story. Male protagonists in this genre are usually strictly nice guys with limited personality and Diablo does meet a lot of these genre expectations. He’s certainly a generally nice person to all the girls he meets and he’s too soft-hearted to actually kill his enemies even when it would be a good idea. So the general notion of isekai protagonist is definitely there. As is his general insecurity around girls and passiveness when seemingly being assaulted by them. So the male fantasy and self-insert firmly in-place, this anime then expands on this basic idea by also giving Diablo a dual personality. We have his real world persona, the fraidy-cat shut in with no social skills, competing with his in-game personality which is the demon lord Diablo. Some of the best sequences in this anime come from watching the inner-turmoil Diablo faces even while cooly conversing with other characters. Not to mention, despite being overpowered there are genuine moments where you feel he might lose and there are consequences for overusing that power leaving Diablo weakened and vulnerable.

DemonLord3a

What we see of the world is pretty impressive and interesting. There are so many potential avenues for future exploration and it seems like there are multiple layers to the world and the power structures. It is a little disappointing that we don’t really venture far from the city in this particular stretch of episodes, but at least it feels like there is a wider world where this story is taking place rather than feeling like there’s nothing beyond the walls of the city because the writer hadn’t imagined it yet.

DemonLord7b

With magic, fight sequences, and touching emotional moments, the plot is well worth following along for. It isn’t original but it does balance things nicely and it certainly provides entertainment. I was a little disappointed with the final episode feeling they didn’t elevate the fight enough to really give it any weight as a climax, but it still does the job of wrapping up the current drama and providing a satisfactory resolution.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 3 - Diablo

All and all, I’d have to say that I really enjoyed watching How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. There were definitely moments that were a little uncomfortable to watch and more than a few moments where turning the sound down became a necessity (I’d recommend headphones), but I certainly don’t regret spending time with this anime and for those who enjoy isekai, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12: The Power of Harems?

A Demon Lord in one direction, a fallen army in the other, what will our heroes do? Apparently we’ll rely on the power of friendship and follow that up with a healthy dose of harem power.

By the way: Spoilers

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 12

This is probably one of those cases where I kind of understand why the story has ended this way. Being isekai and harem it really does make sense that our overpowered protagonist will deliver an amazing feat of magic but somehow the day will still be saved by some lip-service from the haremetts before Klem reverts back into her loli form and willingly accepts being enslaved by Diablo. We even get a moment to redeem Alicia and let’s throw the fallen Edelgard into the mix right at the end so that we can have the full range of fan-service this show has on offer all in one scene.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12

And it works. There’s no denying that the fight was kind of fun, the character relationships make sense, and Diablo not killing Alicia for putting everyone through all of that is more or less expected at this point. However, it kind of makes it hard to say that this anime ultimately distinguished itself from so many others in the genre. It had a real chance for a far more serious ending and one with far more dramatic consequences and yet has chosen the softer and more expected end.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12

Still, for those who enjoyed the plot, it is wrapped up nicely though plenty of room for sequels should they ever exist. For those who loved the fan-service the final sequence is definitely ensuring you don’t forget this show is full of it. So there’s enough going on here to make most viewers feel this show was worth the time.

Was this the most thrilling end ever? Probably not, but at the same time it did its job and overall I’m feeling pretty happy with watching this.

Now I have to get my thoughts together for a full review.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 11: No More Games

When Alicia decides its time to drop the charade, she doesn’t go half-way about it. There’s very little subtlety to be found in any of the events in this episode of How Not To Summon a Demon Lord but with one episode to go I can’t say that is necessarily a bad thing.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 11 - Alicia

This episode has Saddler’s return, Alicia’s betrayal, a Fallen army marching on the city, a torture sequence and the real resurrection of the demon lord… That is kind of a lot to pack into an episode and yet all of these story elements have been building up nicely over the course of the season so none of them felt suddenly thrown in or unnecessary. The Biscuit Song potentially could have been cut down a few seconds of screen time, but everything else in this episode felt fairly purposeful, if a little blunt.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 11 - Klem

And that is probably the only criticism I have this week. Due to how much the episode was trying to cover everything was just kind of thrown at the audience and explicitly stated by the characters. Even Diablo’s momentary panic attack about how he could act like a Demon Lord and ask for help wasn’t as nuanced or interesting as previous scenes that have dealt with his internal personality freaking out. Though I did like the reaction of the guild.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 11 - Guild

But overall, this series has managed to maintain a fairly cohesive plot that’s had relatively good pacing and so as we draw closer to the conclusion, while I personally may have liked a little less fan service along the way, I can’t help but feel that this story has been a pretty enjoyable ride and as long as it doesn’t hurl itself off a cliff in the final episode, I’m going to remain pretty happy I watched this.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 11 - Saddler

Though, I kind of would have liked Saddler’s end to have taken significantly longer. That guy was a sadist and totally deserved a more painful ending. Still, at least we don’t have to listen to him declaring himself god anymore.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 10: How Many Enemies Does Diablo Want?

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 10

This is an episode that gives us both some incredibly uncomfortable fan-service moments and some truly adorable but equally fan-service moments. That and a reasonably decent but cut short fight sequence. So what is going on with episode 10?

Just a warning that one of the images this week is quite fan-service oriented.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 10

So we’ve met Galford, the local Lord, who pushed Diablo in a fight. We’ve also met Saddler who had a lot of build up to be taken out fairly unspectacularly but was always going to come back and the end of this episode guarantees it. We also now have the strongest fallen that Diablo is going to let just leave for reasons. Really, for such a great game player Diablo is forgetting something really fundamental. Every time you don’t completely defeat an enemy, you are just letting them come back stronger (seriously, play Final Fantasy X for awhile and realise how obnoxious Seymour is by the third time you have to fight him).

However, that’s kind of background stuff as this episode primarily involves the resurrection of the demon lord from inside of Rem, the anti-climatic conclusion of that resurrection and the addition of a new loli style character into the harem, and then a fight before yet another fan-service style sequence involving Shera and the new Demon Lord dubbed Klem rubbing themselves against Diablo. Given this story has been developing for some time, this episode does it justice by not rushing through this and giving it a whole episode. That and Klem’s sudden love of biscuits and no desire for killing mortals was pretty hilarious.

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That said, this episode tread on some dangerously uncomfortable ground with the resurrection sequence. It isn’t as though the audience doesn’t know that they are watching this kind of show, but episode 10 pushes things further than ever before with a sequence involving Rem and Diablo that certainly had me debating whether or not this was where I bid the show farewell. It has skirted along the edge of my tolerance for these sorts of scenes for most the season and this was definitely a step too far. Ultimately I decided to keep watching the show, but if I ever did rewatch it, I’d most definitely skip that sequence because that was just not comfortable to watch at all for me.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord

So as always, this show does a lot of things right even as it does have some fairly full on fan service and episode 10 is going to push that to a whole new level. For the most part though, if you’ve gotten to episode 10 and you make it through that sequence, then this is a fairly enjoyable episode.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9: The Good, The Bad, and The Protagonist

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Group hug

I kind of mentioned this in my post about anime angels and demons, but there are a lot of demon characters out there in anime that are portrayed as the lesser of two poor choices (if not actually the good guy). How Not To Summon a Demon Lord does one better with the paladins seeming like psychos, the actual demon lord an unknown boogeyman type character, and Diablo, the self-proclaimed demon lord, the character we’re supposed to rally behind.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Saddler

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord continues to introduce new characters even at episode 9 and I’m not entirely sure we needed that. There’s already a fairly rich cast and a clear set up for a final so Saddler coming in at this stage as the overly righteous Paladin didn’t really seem necessary. Whatever role he might be intended to play as an antagonist could easily have been fulfilled by Galford, but given how Saddler ends up this episode I’m not even sure if we’re supposed to count him as a reoccurring character or whether he was a villain of the week.

DemonLord9g

There’s another sequence early in this episode where Diablo reaffirms that not everything is just like the game when Rem is teaching Shera how to summon. They are using a stone Diablo has never seen before and he certainly seems to be wondering just how the game and this world are related given the number of similarities but these ongoing discrepancies keep stacking up. Outside of that though, the whole summoning sequence just felt like down time and I’m not sure we gained all that much from the sequence.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Shera

Of course this show needed its dose of fan-service and this week we get that in the form of Shera and Rem taking a bath in a stream. There’s a particularly uncomfortable moment where Rem is doing something to Shera’s boobs that defies physics and common sense, however the sequence is fortunately brief before what’s-her-name the fallen shows up. Here Diablo is presented with a choice. He can trust the fallen and learn the spell to unseal the demon lord inside of Rem or he can decline her offer. Admittedly, he wants the demon lord out of Rem, but his confidence that he can definitely beat the demon lord seems a little mis-placed after he has realised not everything is just like the game.

How Not to Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9 Shera
The magic of anime hair, and sparkles.

Still, for what this show is, it remains remarkably fun to watch. I’m looking forward to what will happen next week with Rem and the spell and I have so far pretty much enjoyed most of what this show has on offer. The bits that miss their mark for me aren’t enough to detract from some of the strengths this anime has on display with its characters and ongoing plot.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 8: Is It Not A Game?

Diablo is given reason to question whether or not he really is in the game world yet again as several events this episode make him reconsider how safe he is and how things actually work. It’s a wonderful reminder that despite being overpowered Diablo is still incredibly vulnerable and it leads to a fantastic fight this week.

DemonLord8b.png

This week we see the resolution of the fight with Shera’s brother but it turns out that he isn’t going to be hanging around all that long. After a fight between Diablo and the summoned hydra the Prince runs for it and Diablo doesn’t kill him because Shera begs him not to. That doesn’t play at all into the plans of the Lord who sent Diablo after the prince in the first place and so the real ‘villain’ of the week will raise his sword in a fairly spectacular fight as we finally get someone who can more or less keep up in a fight against our overpowered demon lord.

DemonLord8c

I wasn’t overly surprised that Galford showed up here as I pointed out in episode 5 that his introduction made no sense unless it was set up for something:

Maybe they just want this guy known so that later when he does something important it doesn’t feel like a last minute add in?

Still, I wasn’t expecting this interesting a fight during this episode and I wasn’t expecting a single opponent to be this challenging for Diablo. However, given he just took out an elf army, rescued a Princess, and defeated a hydra, we can probably forgive him for being a little under the weather when it comes time to fight the local lord.

DemonLord8d

What was less spectacular was that Rem and Shera were more or less shunted off to the side to clutch their hands and be all hopeful that Diablo would win. While it is clear that they aren’t in Diablo’s league, they really deserve better as characters than to be spectators coming in after the fact to mourn in Shera’s case or heal the remaining elves in Rem’s.

Now, after a wonderfully plot driven episode they did need to dive into what can only be described as a fan-service fuelled scene as Sylvie first gives him alcohol and then gets mistaken for a body pillow. While the scene isn’t as graphic as earlier scenes with Shera have been, there’s really no other reason for it other than a fan-service finish.

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