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.

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:

    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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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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