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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Prince returns and Shera follows him leaving one depressed Demon Lord. However, Rem and Alicia get Diablo back on his feet and then it is time for a showdown between the Prince’s ability to overwrite Shera’s will with Diablo’s ability to command her to tell the truth as his slave. Wait? Who was supposed to be the good guy here?
After the fan service heavy episode 6, I was hoping for a more plot driven episode and to be honest, this episode delivered (while still actually delivering on fan service at the same time). It was unexpected how well the episode managed to balance both aspects that so far had been separated. Where most events fell into either the fan service or the plot/character camps, this episode succeeded at delivering the two simultaneously without seemingly giving up on the quality of either. A rare feat but one I had to applaud by the end.
Shera is the star of this episode even if she isn’t the hero. From the early focus on her as she watches Diablo make potions (as he watches her breasts jiggling) to the first round of brain washing where she returns to her brother, this episode is Shera’s. Diablo may have started the episode with a flash back to his childhood when he was still in the real world and facing rejection (a theme that will carry through the episode) but it is nowhere near as compelling as Shera’s story here.
By the time the stupid prince Keera delivers cloth eating slime to Shera (and do I dare ask why it immediately attacks Shera’s clothes when there’s the prince, a rug, a tent and a lot of other cloth it could eat), despite the obvious cliche moment of the girl writhing under the slimes, the audience is genuinely feeling for Shera’s character and waiting for the rescue that we know is on the way.
Even after the rescue, it isn’t as though Shera simply becomes baggage. As Diablo and Keera fight it out for control over Shera’s mind, ultimately it is what Shera wants that dictates the outcome of the battle and then Shera’s not ready to cry and play the damsel in distress. She’s standing right there next to Rem as Keera unleashes his dangerous summon and I’m hoping that Shera continues to grow as a character and an adventurer.
This was a genuinely satisfying episode and while bouncing boobs and dissolving clothes may not be to everyone’s liking, here it felt like they actually did belong in the story rather than feeling like an added extra for the sake of it after the fact.
Fan-service: Essentially something added to a work of fiction for the sake of pleasing the audience. Now that means fan-service isn’t limited to nudity, groping, and other things of a sexualised nature that most people immediately think of when we talk about fan service, but it does include those elements. I’ll hopefully get back to what else fan service is in a future post, but today I’ll probably just be discussing what we mostly think about when the term fan service shows up.
This season brings us How Not To Summon a Demon Lord, The Master of Ragnarok, Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, Free, Harukana Receive and the list of anime that would immediately spring to mind when someone mentions fan service just goes on. Now before you think I’m about to launch into a rant or a tirade against the various half-clad girls flouncing about the screen (or equally shirtless men who are striking a pose while flicking their hair about), I’d like to reassure you that while I’m not a fan of fan service, nor do I deny that there is an audience for it and that it serves a purpose within stories.
Let’s move the discussion momentarily away from the current season of anime. We all know Hollywood movies have used these kinds of gimmicky moments forever to draw the audience. There’s little reason for the various Bond girls to be shown so often in swim-wear, formal wear, or wearing very little while in bed (or for the Daniel Craig scene where he emerged from the water). There’s practically zero reason why Amanda Hunsaker (Lethal Weapon 1) makes her only appearance in the movie wearing an open robe that is blowing open in the wind before she takes a dive off the balcony. And anyone who watches a lot of bad horror and slasher films will know that there’s definitely going to be a sex scene at some point and inevitably the girl who participates in said scene is going to die fairly soon after. That’s been done so often it is now a running joke in self-aware parodies of horror.
But while I say there’s no reason for these scenes, we all know the reason. Even if that isn’t the part of the film appealing to you, someone out there was waiting for that scene and they enjoyed every second of it. Whether that girl or guy was hot or not will make or break their enjoyment of that film. And while sometimes these scenes are fairly well integrated into the plot, Amanda’s death worked because she was working as a hooker, she was on drugs, and the whole scene played into the tragedy of her death, others are clearly there just so they have something to put into the trailer to get audiences to watch.
If you were advertising a movie, wouldn’t you want the shot of Daniel Craig walking out of the water wearing that?
It plays great for the trailer, gets people talking online, gets images shared, and while no one is talking about the plot of your new Bond film, everyone knows there is in fact a new Bond film and Daniel Craig looks hot (if you are into that kind of thing – personally I’m all for Antonio Banderas in the Mask of Zorro, but to each their own).
Now anime may take things to a whole new level, but it more or less does the same thing (save for when a show is entirely built around fan service moments and the plot is entirely jettisoned – there’s a commitment there but I’m not sure I’m interested in the end result). This season I’ve been watching How Not To Summon a Demon Lord and The Master of Ragnarok. Both are essentially isekai stories and as normal they are both filled with fan service moments. And this is something that in individual episode reviews I definitely take a negative take on but this isn’t actually condemning the existence of fan service itself but rather speaks of what I’m looking for in an episode.
For me I’m looking for moments that move the plot or help flesh out or develop the characters and the issue with the way fan service seems to be delivered in these kinds of shows is it not only doesn’t do either one of those things, it actively eats screen time which could be used for parts of the show I’m actually interested in.
The other issue I find, and the reason I probably seem fairly negative when I discuss fan service as part of a review, is that so often it is females being seen in this light and it is regularly extremely sexualised content even if it is played for laughs. The boob grab, the rubbing breasts against the guys arm, the low camera shots, touching other girls; I’m clearly not the target audience for this kind of content so while such sequences don’t make me instant drop as they would some people, they certainly aren’t adding to my engagement of the story or helping me to actually care about the characters as people. That doesn’t necessarily make the show or the fan service bad, but it does mean that I’m less likely to really be drawn in as a member of the audience.
Of course, I’m certain there’s a writer somewhere who is now all upset and about to lose sleep because Karandi isn’t interested in his content (heavy sarcasm there). Because of course, for every viewer that determines that the weight of fan-service is just bringing the story to a screeching halt there are clearly plenty of viewers happily checking in.
If I ever needed evidence of that (and I didn’t mind you), then this season really did prove it to me. In the last 30 Days, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord episode reviews have been my most viewed posts. Also most searched for terms to find my blog via search engines.
However, even looking over the last three months, the first three episode reviews which have only been up for perhaps a month and a half at most, are the most viewed posts.
Then if I look back over the entire year, the first episode review of the show is now the second most viewed post, surrounded entirely by Killing Stalking reviews (and I don’t have to wonder what fan service that particular title was delivering).
So here’s a show I started watching out of curiosity because I don’t mind isekai stories, but wasn’t really thrilled about. It delivered two episodes that had me sitting on the fence before it finally launched into its actual plot. Episode six took us back to nearly sixty percent of the episode being fan service focused moments rather than plot and I wondered once again whether the show was really worth my time or not. But it most definitely appeals to its target audience. It has left the other isekai fan-service filled title, The Master of Ragnarok, for dead.
Which of course made me wonder why?
In terms of actual plot, both stories are more or less the same. They both have an interesting idea, potentially interesting directions they could go, and both have regularly come to a screeching halt because they’ve wanted to show off the numerous girls in the show in various states of undress.
In this at least How Not To Summon A Demon Lord tried to come up with a semi-plausible explainer linking all that grinding on the bed action to some kind of magic that may or may not eventually free Shera from being a slave (I’m not sure I buy magical boob gropes, but whatever). Still at least they tried. If the scene had been a little shorter and there had been a little less orgasmic panting, I may have even not felt distinctly uncomfortable while watching it. Master of Ragnarok didn’t even really bother. They just had another character tell the MC to take a break and go to the hot springs where the girls then pounced upon him.
It was thinking about this where I realised the difference in these shows really lay. Even with its non-fan service moments, The Master of Ragnarok isn’t subtle. The main character always just explains his battle plan to someone, usually waving his phone around to remind us he’s from the future, and usually making a reference to the fact he’s a cheater using future knowledge. And it delivers fan service in an equally blunt and matter of a fact way with the girls just coming straight onto him and declaring they want to be his wives. Its very much like they have a tick box list of events that they need to shove into the narrative and so they’ll just have the character say whatever is needed to progress us from A to B. As such, despite the more interesting setting, the Master of Ragnarok is actually a fairly sub-par show even when compared to How Not To Summon a Demon Lord, even if it does have more girls of more types and so far a lot more nudity.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord has several advantages. Firstly, Diablo as the main character also provides some fan service as he has been shown on more than one occasion to be shirtless or posed very dramatically. While there are less girls (so far – the harem has been growing however) the characters of these girls are infinitely more developed and entertaining than the girls in Ragnarok. For instance I even remember Rem and Shera’s names and what their motivations are and the why they hang around the protagonist. While the story isn’t all that rich and deep, it is logical enough and there’s a lot of fun to be had with the idea of a socially awkward over powered demon lord who is role playing his way through his current life. And then the fan service itself has often been used to build connections or tension between the characters, and while there are plenty of other ways the show could have gone about it, we all probably have to admit that Rem’s ‘torture’ session where she ended up confiding in Diablo definitely kicked both the plot and character development into gear.
Though I think we’ll just leave aside the whole issue of slavery and ownership for a whole other discussion because there’s a lot of that going around this season as well.
So I’ll get back to the question from the title about whether anime is doing its fans a service through the inclusion of fan service? The answer, whether you individually like it or not, is probably yes. It sells and there’s clearly a market for it. Does that mean everything needs these elements in it? Not really. Does it mean you have to watch them? Also no. There’s plenty out there without these sorts of scenes, and yet, I know that there are some people who haven’t watched Dan Machi because of Hestia and I can’t help but feel that perhaps they missed out on a fairly extraordinary adventure because of one element. And while there are plenty of shows I have dropped because the balance of fan-service to plot tipped too far away from plot, provided I’m getting some decent character moments and plot development, fan service isn’t likely to make me turn something off.
Though depending on how loud the girl is moaning I may end up muting the episode.
I’m not surprised that this episode went the direction it did, but nor did I particularly enjoy parts of the episode. When a character is moaning and crying out (after being magically inspected) so loudly I feel the need to turn the sound down and I finish the episode wondering if there was even ten minutes of content, there’s probably something lacking (although it would have been hard to squeeze some story in amongst the outfit changes and bed sequences I guess).
Episodes like this one are kind of expected when you watch something as clearly fan-service focused as this anime has been. Delaying their journey to deal with the elf situation in order to visit a slave market to investigate the removal of the collars is a fine excuse to stall the plot while we instead get some magical shenanigans that of course involve Shera once again wearing an incredibly revealing outfit and then writhing and moaning on a bed while Diablo investigates magical flows (and they still don’t get the collar off because that would kind of puncture the whole set up of the show I guess).
However, in case you think Rem is being ignored, there is actually some minor plot points being developed outside the tent where Alicia teachers Rem a ‘charm’ in a scene that suggests a number of possibilities but keeps fairly quiet as to which way they’ll ultimately take things. This was perhaps one of my favourite moments of the episode because it actually added to the characters and the plot and ultimately it felt meaningful. Also, if you actually want to see Rem writhing about on a bed, just wait until the end of the episode where Shera decides that she can treat Rem to the experience.
The other thing of note that happens this episode is Shera’s brother, Keera, shows up at the inn and plays the sweet brother who has been misunderstood. It was clearly a fairly lame act in the first place and about the only character buying it is Diablo (which plays nicely into his lack of social skills). Right before the credits we get a scene of the brother playing his flute while standing on the apex of a tree (because that’s normal) and he lets his crazy out. The scene kind of lacks impact because even without it we more or less knew that this was the case, and really they could have had the same dialogue shown while he was walking away from the room. It didn’t really need its own scene.
Basically if you are watching this show for the fan-service, this episode is a treat. If you are watching for the plot, there are a few pieces here and there that you will need for later so this episode isn’t skippable, but it won’t be the most enjoyable either.
There’s been a lot already said about the proliferation of anime, seasonal watchers, and the general idea that there’s just too much content so I’m really not going to get into that. However, in that sea of content, creators know they have to get the attention of their very fickle audience and then they have to catch us and reel us in. Mostly because seasonal watchers tend to demonstrate a number of common traits: a short attention span and limited tolerance for ‘filler’.
While previously shows have had episodes to build a world and characters, now many viewers make snap judgements with some cutting episodes before the first scene is done. Where the three episode rule used to hold true, and current narratives seem to be well aware of such a rule with more and more shows either moving a mini-climax to episode two or making episode 3 a two-parter to draw their episode back (How Not To Summon A Demon Lord), less viewers seem to actually hold to this rule these days. To be honest, they just don’t want to sink an hour of their lives into something they are ultimately going to drop.
As such we are getting more and more first episodes and more and more characters with quite distinct traits designed to draw the audience in with the hope that then the rest of the story will hook the in for the season. While sometimes this works beautifully as the audience is dragged along on a wondrous adventure before being cut loose to go and bite some other line, other times it leaves the audience feeling like they got reeled in and left high and dry.
This isn’t exactly new. Entertainment has always been competitive and most shows have always realised they needed something to distinguish themselves from other titles. Yet in the age of streaming and simulcasts this has become more important than ever and it is starting to show in the way first arcs are feeling more and more compacted and rushed and mid-seasons are feeling a little bit empty before we escalate toward a climax.
Now, there are some obvious baiting moves. If we look at Darling in the Franxx, well we already know how they baited their hook, the glorious Zero-Two. She was such an energetic enigma of a character in the first episode. Throw in some nudity, a bit of danger, and a sense of her rebellious nature, and you have the perfect bait for a community to go crazy on social media. And so they did. I also really loved Zero-Two’s initial characterisation particularly the way they built up the idea of her being a partner killer. However, this was definitely a case of bait and switch as little came of the partner killer idea beyond the first arc and Zero-Two became a progressively less interesting character as the season continued.
Clearly the writers knew how to grab the audience’s attention but then they didn’t know what to do with it. They’d created this perfectly researched, tantalising character, but had no message, point, or even solid arc for her to travel on. By the time she literally became a hollow shell before turning to stone while staring at the sky a lot of the love for Zero-Two had worn down and many viewers realised that they’d been hooked onto a show that ultimately didn’t suit them and what they wanted from an anime.
Other obvious baiting moves include the flash forward or flash back to some kind of massive conflict that may or may not become relevant later. The issue with this is it has been done to death and when done poorly, it mostly just eats up screen time with characters no one knows running around or shouting and there’s little reason to care what is going on (Lord of Vermilion – looking at you right now). However, this can be highly effective bait.
Look at the opening sequence to season one of Attack on Titan. The birds slowly flying over the city to the wall where we suddenly see the titan emerging. The close ups on the character’s eyes as they widen in fear and horror. This sequence is brief enough that it doesn’t feel like wasted time and yet sensational enough to have an impact. The audience wants to know. When is this going to happen? What happens next? And fortunately, Attack on Titan knew what to do after baiting the hook. It delivered the titan by the end of the episode. No waiting an entire season just to get back to the original bait. For all that Attack on Titan might be criticised for some of its narrative choices, it knew exactly how to capture an audience and that really explains why its popularity exploded the way it did, even if the longevity of that massive fan-base wasn’t so set in stone.
However, bait isn’t limited to first episodes. Supporting characters introduced later in their series need bait as well otherwise they get crowded out or forgotten. There are many shows where viewers would struggle to name any of the support characters even a month after the show finished its run. Yet a memorable support cast can really elevate a viewing experience.
That word memorable might be a bit of a double edge sword though with some shows simply giving characters insane designs or making them needlessly crazy but forgetting to actually characterise them in any meaningful way. The Musicians from Caligula would fit this bill. They were definitely visually distinct and yet their characters rang very hollow and ultimately I couldn’t tell you anything about any of them, except one of the guys had some complex about another guy being prettier than him. That isn’t exactly leaving an impression.
My Hero Academia excels at building its support cast and baiting their individual story-lines so that when the main narrative turns its attention to one of these characters it doesn’t feel like filler but rather like a much anticipated story thread. Who didn’t want to know the story behind Todoroki’s scarred face? Who isn’t curious about Tokoyami’s dark shadow? And let’s be honest, if Twitter is anything to go by, Tsuyu is a character who has captured all the fan’s attention and the filler episode of season 2 was entirely a show about everyone’s beloved Froppy. These characters each have something about them that makes the audience want to know more and feel satisfied when they finally get it. They are talked about almost as much as the protagonist’s, and they are an intrinsic part of what makes the show feel like more than what the basic narrative of Midoriya becoming a hero really should warrant.
When a show does baiting right the audience feels satisfied and happy with the experience. When the baiting is just that and there’s no substance to back it up, then the audience feels cheated. When the baiting is poorly done the audience looks at the hook and then turns away looking for something better.
Of course, that does leave us all with the question of whether or not this is going to have a positive impact on how stories are told? While grabbing a reader’s attention has always been an important goal for a story, usually there was more time to do this. As we get increasingly more gimmicky, more violent, more zany and more over the top premises clamouring for our attention (and longer and longer titles on light novels) you have to wonder where it is all going and whether we’ve already gone too far. Has narrative integrity been abandoned for a series of point in time sensational moments that will be shared on social media?
The more cynical would say yes, but that is ignoring some fairly fantastic stories that have come out in recent times. However, there is definitely a shift occurring in the way stories are presented and as always it is the audience driving this shift, whether we’re doing it intentionally or not.
Over to the readers then: What is the worst bait an anime has used to hook its audience?
Diablo is perhaps the best thing about this anime with his internal and external personalities constantly at war. While the plot continues to be surprisingly interesting there’s no denying the ongoing prolific fanservice.
How Not To Summon A Demon Lord continues to be quite a bit of fun to watch. The fantasy setting is generic and so far the events (invading army, bounty on a party member, prevent a war) are all pretty standard, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. While Diablo as a character may suffer from some of the usual hang-ups of these kinds of characters (as well as having an almost magnetic connection with Shera’s chest) he actually remains a fairly interesting character and one who I’m enjoying watching find a balance between his in-game persona and his inner self.
This week we are introduced to the local Lord who is apparently some big-shot Hero, though his overall presence in this episode felt more like a set-up or an introduction given Diablo had already been given the quest and they were given no real extra information. 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? The one useful thing that did come out of this meeting was Diablo added yet another girl to his harem in the form of an Imperial Knight (who are apparently usually male but of course the one sent here is female).
Alicia might be a fun character but we’ll see how she goes next week. That said, the final part of this episode where Shera is kidnapped and we get a short chase sequence was kind of fun. It is also good to know that Emile made a full recovery after his confrontation with the Fallen last week. As much as I thought Emile was a jerk, his defence of Rem despite knowing he was outclassed was pretty admirable.
I will just say that while the occasional panty shot, the ongoing revealing outfits, and other aspects of fan-service don’t really bother me that much, scenes like this one, where Diablo is nearly smothered in Shera’s boobs, really does break me out of the story. Mostly because I can’t imagine what purpose such a scene serves given it doesn’t look like a desirable situation for anyone and visually it isn’t exactly alluring. Maybe I’m just not the target audience, but I think even people who like fan-service would have to look at that scene and be a little put off.