If you’ve followed my seasonal coverage you will already know that I’ve been kind of surprised by just how much I’ve enjoyed many of the moments from How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. On paper it doesn’t look like something I’d find all that compelling (definitely watchable, but not something to be looking forward to) and with the amount of fan service it threw around I was very surprised by just how well they still managed to deal with characters and plot.
As such, having come to the end of the season and before I finalised my review of it, I decided to look at my favourite moments from the series in a top 5 list.
If you watched the show, I’d love to know your top 5 favourite moments from it.
Here are my Top 5 Moments From How Not To Summon A Demon Lord
Please note, there will be spoilers below.
Honourable mentions: Pretty much most conversations between Rem and Shera are really great fun as the two have a great chemistry as the supporting characters, and I’d probably throw in Alicia befriending Rem except that we all know how that ended.
Number 5: Diablo takes out an army of the fallen (Episode 4).
While it had been clear that Diablo was overpowered from his encounters with humans, it wasn’t until episode 4 where we really saw just how much power Diablo could throw at something. With an army of Fallen advancing on the city and Shera hiding in the gate tower behind him, Diablo unleashed a massive spell literally blowing the army, the bridge, and a lot of the river away in a single attack.
That was a pretty impressive display of power, more so when you realise he went on to fight straight after this sequence by teleporting to the city.
Number 4: Klem declare her purpose is to devour all the biscuits in this world (Episode 10).
Okay, not what you expect from a resurrected Demon Lord but still a fairly fiendish plan to eat all the biscuits. Basically on being reborn Klem is told that she shouldn’t destroy the mortal races and when she complains she’s hungry she’s given a biscuit and look at that, problem solved.
Turns out biscuits can solve everything. It was a fairly adorable moment even if it did kind of kill the tension of the whole demon lord resurrection thing.
Number 3: Diablo getting genuinely angry at Shera’s brother (Episode 5).
I’ll admit this sequence did lead us to Shera’s kidnap and the whole tied up while slimes melted her clothes off moment, but Diablo’s genuine anger at the idea of a brother placing a bounty on his sister was a great moment.
Up until then it was hard to know whether Diablo genuinely felt anything toward Rem and Shera or whether he felt they were handy to have around and helped him keep up appearances, but his actual anger at how Shera is treated put those concerns to rest. Actually this whole arc with Shera going with her brother, Diablo’s depression, and ultimately his rescue of Shera was all really great to watch.
Having sat and watched Saddler torture Rem in front of her because Rem told her not to fight, Klem finally snaps after Rem is more or less killed in front of her. I say more or less because we know they aren’t actually going to kill off a main character in this kind of show, but realistically, she should be dead.
Klem loses it in a truly spectacular manner and even if the fight in the next episode wasn’t as solid as I would have liked, I still really enjoyed this build up.
This wasn’t the flashiest of fights or the most purposeful however it was the very first time it really seemed like our Demon Lord Diablo might very well not be the most untouchable and invincible character on the planet. Galford really pushed Diablo and there were definitely moments during this fight where you could easily believe that if Diablo had reacted just a fraction slower he might very well have been seriously injured if not killed.
It added an extra level of tension to every conflict after this one even if none of them ever quite delivered on the same amount of excitement. A really enjoyable moment.
There we have it, my Top 5 Moments from How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. I’d love to know yours or even just what your favourite moment has been this Summer in anime.
Images from: How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. Dir. Y Murano. Ajia-Do. 2018
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
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.
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.
Fan Service isn’t just for 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.
What are your thoughts on fan service in anime?
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
Have you ever wanted an anime musical? Not an anime with a character who wants to be an idol and occasionally performs, but an anime where the cast just burst into song and dance? Well look no further because Dance With Devils takes a typical supernatural harem show and adds music.
Review (a few major plot spoilers here if you are concerned):
It should probably be noted up-front that I’m not the biggest fan of harems (though I don’t hate them) nor do I particularly like musicals (but again I don’t hate them). Mostly I watched this for the sheer novelty of seeing an anime musical and yes, it is novel, but it isn’t great.
To put it simply individual songs with their accompanying visuals within this anime are quite good. I particularly liked the fight sequence early on where Rem defeated the enemy during his song because visually it was interesting. The story itself with Ritsuka being a grimoire that both devils and vampires are fighting over is also pretty interesting. Throw in Lindo, the kind-of-brother-who-also-has-a-massive-crush-on-the-protagonist, who is somehow a vampire and an exorcist, and you’ve got a fairly impressive list of ingredients to make an interesting narrative. The show then proceeds to squander most opportunities to do this.
Part of the issue is it is a harem show so for the first half the series each episode kind of focusses on a different member of the student council as they get their introductory song and get to torment Ritsuka in a way that makes no sense given their overall objective (then again it is never particularly clear why the other members of the student council care one way or the other about the grimoire). This means a lot of the plot is just kind of put on hold even though initially we are under the impression that time is of the essence, you know given Ritsuka’s mother was kidnapped by vampires and might be being killed. And of course each member of the student council is a devil and a particular ‘type’. You’ve got the handsome flirt, the strong guy, the massochist, and then literally a dog. It’s all pretty stock standard.
When we finally have the introductions out of the way things do take a turn for the more serious including a character actually being killed (which I kind of didn’t expect and the show gets points for actually upping the danger level) but the relationships between the characters just kind of drift back and fourth without progressing (which again is probably the general issue with harem stories because if someone just stopped dithering and actually made their feelings clear the story would probably end).
For all of that, the vampires are probably the weakest part of this show. They really just exist to launch attacks and force the plot forward but they themselves get almost no development and their motives, while explained, aren’t particularly compelling or convincing.
This is definitely a show for fans of harems, people who will watch anything with a vampire in it, or anyone who is just curious about how an anime musical looks. For everyone else, there are probably better harem shows and there are most definitely better supernatural shows out there. This is never unwatchably bad and there are some good moments to be found in
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