Posted by psgels on 18 June 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



Artland is… weird. Let’s define it as that. They’ve got this talent to make all of their shows look as cheaply as possible, and yet they actually deliver some pretty good series. Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou looked like an incredibly cheap harem series when it first was announced. The character-designs for the females were incredibly stereotypical, the trailer was full of fanservice, it had the director of Shakugan no Shana. It was a recipe for failure.

Again, another proof of why you shouldn’t judge books by their cover (a saying that I really hope applies to the upcoming Summer Season!), because Daimaou turned out to be along with B Gata H Kei the series to breathe some much needed new life into the moe fanservice genre. Beyond all of the stupidity, beyond all of the pointless fanservice, this series has a lot to like. It’s not exactly deep or anything, but as entertainment it is very solid.

Finally, we have a moe show that understands the concept of creativity. This show turns out to be a subversion of the good versus evil genre, where the most good-natured guy out there gets labelled as an evil demon lord. Instead of whining and crying like a little girl, he’s assertive and tries whatever he can to escape his fate, ‘helped’ by to be honest quite a dynamic cast of side-characters. Every character here stands as unique and contributes something to the series, though my personal favourite was the green-haired girl. I loved her wise-cracking jokes with her deadpan delivery.

What makes the plot of this series interesting is that unlike most fantasy series, it just doesn’t care about credibility: it’s just there to have fun, and while the subplots are all solid enough to give the characters their background and make them to be more than just paper bags, it often just gives up and chooses entertainment above just making sense. The series is at its best when it manages to balance these two out the best, in which serious scenes move to nonsensical ones in rapid succession. The show is at its worst when it rather forgets this, and dabbles too long in either its fanservice, or its serious stories.

While the character-designs of this series may be terrible, the animation, especially in the money shots, is actually very good. There is a surprising amount of fluidity, and a few episodes are just downright fun because of how much the animators were playing around and trying out various ideas.

I think the weakest part of the series are the serious parts of Hattori in the beginning, and the serious parts of Keena in the end. With Keena, the creators were trying to go for some dramatic climax that just ends up as an anti-climax, while with Hattori has some annoying tsundere moments. For a harem though, it’s pretty damn good and has quite a few nice ideas on good and evil.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Too much pointless fanservice, but nevertheless solid entertainment.
Characters: 8/10 – Charming, stupid, harem, hilarious, tsunderes, background, cliches, but all have their own purpose in the story.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Unimpressive character-designs, but actually pretty good animation. Artland knows a number of very good in-betweeners.
Setting: 8/10 – Ton of nice ideas, though limits itself with its cliches a few times here and there.

Suggestions:
Touka Gettan
Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou
Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito

18 Responses

  1. atheist says:

    atheists love this. =)

  2. AKI says:

    OMG. I must be reading someone else’s blog. First B Gata, and now… this. Argh.

  3. kirikaeshi says:

    what?! really?

    i tried to make sense of everything said, but they just don’t.

  4. Camario says:

    I don’t see that as a problem…it’s a predictable fact that there will be variations in the personal entertainment value of anime and this can’t be entirely removed from reviews. Not even those posted in this blog.

    Yes, sometimes psgels has been harsher with series that he didn’t enjoy as much, to say the least…but sometimes he’ll go in the opposite direction and his reviews will be a little kinder and generous than expected, regardless of the technical merits involved.

    Nothing wrong with that, of course, and it’s also true that some of us have the right to agree to disagree with either outcome, whether in terms of the arguments involved or the final ratings.

    Incidentally, I still need to find the time and will to finish this show myself. Earlier episodes didn’t really grab me.

  5. Coyote says:

    I know it’s a matter of taste, but this series storytelling was terrible (like, Basquash level) everything was rushed and cliched. It’s a 6/10 for me, just because it was entertaining at times.

  6. Nomus says:

    Interesting. It’s really hard to believe anyone can create something new in this genre. Good to hear that miracles still happen. Shall give it a try!

  7. Puran says:

    I’m late to the party, but I think you have scored this series too high. Parts of the story were nice (at least from the few glimpses of it that we got), but the pacing was a complete and utter mess. It always felt like a series of disjoined scenes that gave us glimpses of a somewhat interesting story.

    Obviously there wasn’t enough time, but they spent a lot of time on humour and fanservice and lost time that they didn’t even have.

    I guess you were expecting nothing out of this (so did I), so you were pleasantly surprised at the glimpses of something decent we got at times (as was I), but this series was a complete mess.

    I still can’t believe artland made mushishi.

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Puran: would you believe that they also made the Legend of Galactic Heroes? ;)

    But yeah, I know that the series doesn’t make any sense, but it’s not like it was trying to be. Instead, I found it to be quite solid entertainment, which is why I rated it this high.

  9. cody says:

    I haven’t seen a harem that’s tried to be serious. All harems know that they are about a couple things. Stereotypes that the community loves to hate to love, boobs, softcore stuff, panty shots, etc…This is literally no different except for a ridiculous plot…O wait I’m pretty sure all harems go in that direction so they can differentiate themselves from each other yet stay in the same genre.

    Really have no clue at all what you saw in this. I saw generic harem that will do when you aren’t ready to stomach a serious series but still want something dumb to watch.

  10. 4saken says:

    @cody: Fate/Stay Night, Tsukihime, Utawarerumono, … they are harem and they are serious.

    And why are you so surprised with psgel’s rating? People have different opinions, you think something is bad but others can think it’s good.

  11. AidanAK47 says:

    I agree, you are being too generous.
    I get you when you are talking about the characters. For example I think that Akuto is one of the most respectable Harem protagonists I have ever seen. And the green girls humor was very funny.

    However from what I can gather it seems you think the rushed plot was intentional. I can tell you that is definitely not the case. It looks like the makers had decided to adapt three books of the light novel. Then halfway through the series that figured out that they spent all that time adapting the first book and now had a total of two to three books(Worth at least eighteen episodes) that had to be crushed into six episodes.

    This was a good show but once the plot started shooting at you like a machine gun it just lost much of it’s enjoyment. To me this was a show that had a story with great potential but due to episode constraints and time wasted on fan-service it never lived up to it. And all they had o do to fix this was to make it a twenty six episode anime instead of a twelve episode anime.

    @4saken: Fate/stay night and tsukihime were not harem animes.

  12. AuroraFlame says:

    Is it bad that I was thinking, “This show is Bantorra with more fanservice and half the run time,” throughout the whole finale?

  13. 4saken says:

    @AidanAK47: Define “harem anime”

  14. AidanAK47 says:

    @4saken:
    Harem anime is anime focused on a boy or girl being surrounded by three or more members of the opposite sex and are striving for the main characters affection.

    Fate stay night does have a main character who is surrounded by girls. However only two were actually trying to get the main characters affection. Well actually one of these girls didn’t consider him a romantic interest until halfway through the series and the other if you had read the VN you would know that she had no intention of ever acting on her feelings.

    I have no idea how you see Tsukihime as a harem. It just isn’t.

    And both of these did not treat a harem as a main aspect. So yes, they are not harem animes.

  15. psgels psgels says:

    Okay, so harems that do fit that description and that do try to be serious:
    – Sekirei
    – White Album
    – Koukaku no Regios
    – True Tears (sortof)
    – Saiunkoku Monogatari (Again, sortof)
    – Tenchi Muyo (Esepecially the second movie)

    So yes, serious harems have been done successfully.

    I know I have a strange taste at times (heck, I liked Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou), but for me Daimaou served its purpose and had me entertained for most of its airtime.

  16. MsteaK says:

    This show had some of the worst characters I’ve seen in a long time (no, I don’t watch K-ON). Especially the females, stereotypes that come in various moe variations. Furthermore, the story was a rushed mess.

  17. MsteaK says:

    This show had some of the worst characters I’ve seen in a long time (no, I don’t watch K-ON). Especially the females, stereotypes that come in various moe variations. Furthermore, the story was a rushed mess.

  18. par167 says:

    Ok, so it was not Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari but it was a fun!! I thought it was one of the better series this spring despite a somewhat stale middle. I would have liked to see the relationships develop more but hey it was a good way to relax and laugh 20 minutes a week. It was entertainment and that is all it had to be for me.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that event later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @bam, Muv Luv has the problem that most of its brillence lies in the third title. But in order for the third title to have the same effect you need to read the first two. Successful or not, I doubt theres animation studio willing to go all in and adapt the full trilogy. There’s also the issue of the first title being a really mediocre harem.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 12:48 PM)
    just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of reasons why y’all need a PS4 for the upcoming year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Hz8eXWHNY
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:09 AM)
    Why they didn’t adapt the original Muv Luv novel or Alternative is a mystery to me. Wasn’t the VN really successful? Whats with these offshoot shows instead of doing the real deal? They are avoiding it for some reason.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:06 AM)
    @Aidan: I have a suspicion that they got it from that 80’s song Total Eclipse of the Heart. Japanese authors are strangely enamored with the corny pop songs from that era.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 05:46 AM)
    And even then, those two muv-luv alternative episodes, schwartzmarken is still better than those.

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