Posted by psgels on 24 May 2013 with categories: Hataraku Maou-Sama

Last episode I was asked to not focus on cliches anymore, and I agree with that. Cliches on their own usually aren’t bad. If a show is goring, then it’s just boring, whether it has many cliches or not. So with that in mind, I set out to view this episode with an open mind. And then this episode played the pseudo-harem card. Well thank you for making things so easy here, Maou-sama…

But yeah, the pseudo-harem card. Rather than just having a male and a bunch of females in a cast, a show just has to have romantic hints between the male lead and every other hot female in the series. It might not outright state feelings… but the hints lack any sort of subtlety. This is a cliche, but I hate it not because it’s a cliche, but because it’s just a completely stupid and shallow plot twist on its own. The fact that so many different series use it doesn’t really help. It makes the series so much more shallow than what it needs to be. Have the females fall for some side character. Heck, show some actual romantic hints that can be taken seriously for a chance! This is Maou-sama. It’s not a shallow shounen-show that is meant to appeal to young pubescent boys. It has proven to be intelligent in the past! Why is it not that now!?

Thankfully there were points at which this episode was smart again. Small points okay, but they’re there. In particular: for once a disease is treated as annoying, rather than dramatic. Finally a character is just out cold for a few days, rather than randomly fainting followed by heavy breathing with everyone melodramatically worrying over things. Oh, and disguising the holy water as vitamin bottles. That was pretty clever too.

Problem is, that these were mere details that could easily have been omitted without having much of an effect. My beef in particular lies with the holy water, which turned out to be just something to make a sword more powerful and completely pointless unless it goes over 9000. Beyond that… I miss the wit of the earlier episodes, and this show did not offer something else in return.
Rating: 3/8 (Disappointing)

26 Responses

  1. MCAL says:

    Just so you know, the new girl isn’t in love or have any kind of feekings towards Maou (At least not at the time of this episode). She’s most likely the assassin introduced last episode and when Emilia asked her if she was “after” Maou, she thought Emilia meant “after” as in “after his life”

    • Mikey says:

      Also, I should add the reason that the vitamin beta doesn’t end up working because the assailant for some reason nullifies Emi’s powers. So no, even if her magic was over 9000 she still would have lost it. So yeah, you tried to not see the cliches, but you ended up doing just that. Not that there’s anything wrong about that but people are going to call you out for it.

  2. nicheitch says:

    Honestly, in this instance, you missed the subtlety. It’s fairly obvious that she is trying to attempting to kill Maou. Look back at the scene with Emi and that girl. The creators used that conservation as a classic misunderstanding between two people. Emi thinks the girl is in love in Maou and the girl is thinking that Emi is providing aid to kill Maou.

    I really do think most of your comments on anime are worthwhile and insightful but there are moments where it seems that you just skim the surface of an episode.

    • Scruffy says:

      Like some of the others here I think you missed what this show is doing, especially with Emily. First of all she is NOT a tsundere, she genuinely does dislike Maou, although she is puzzled by him. However they put her in typical tsundere situations almost like they are mocking tsunderes.

  3. Mikey says:

    Yeah… psgels. In your search for wit and subtlety, you ended up overlooking it all.

  4. HUEHUEHUE says:

    Psgels is just falling for the troll like he did with some of the other series. He’s dropped some decent series because of this. So quick to judge.

  5. TheUltimateReaper says:

    Psgels you’ll be happy by next episode.

    In the end it doesn’t look like Maou-Sama is made to disappoint.

  6. Mazz says:

    I thought this episode was rather disappointing for the same reason. So you arent the only one that didnt catch it. I knew there was something fishy about the convo between Emi and the new girl. She didnt sound like someone in love. After this episode I assumed this show will eventually just become another generic harem once Emi falls for him, but now I think that may not happen.

  7. Avalon says:

    I won’t deny that your attitude towards cliches has annoyed me in the past especially when they cause you to basically pass a great (or at least very decent) anime, but sometimes I can agree that with a lot of anime, they do not try to differ the cliche from any other anime and those are the ones that deserve to be called out on. This anime seems to be using them pretty well though.

    Also, I will admit I thought the new girl was the assassin the last episode, but had forgotten those thoughts when I watched this episode so I am also guilty of not realizing what her conversation with Emi was really implying…as long as what the comments here are saying is true…and I think it is pretty safe to say they are.

  8. Arno says:

    I think that in the comments of the last episodes there was a – voluntary or not – misuse of the notion of cliche.

    There is a legitimate meaning which is basically like having a store of props and clothes that you can use for various stage plays. In that sense in a crime story it is perfectly legitimate to reuse the cliche of the inspector investigating a murder.

    The negative meaning is when you say “this is cliche”, and it is precisely because you have noticed it is a cliche, because the story was so poorly inspired that you have begun gazing at the props so to speak.

    Or in other words it’s like a dish at the restaurant. When you find a meal not good, and you notice the cook has added bits of parsley on top, not because parsley would genuinely fit but because the cook thought that parsley would cover up for the lack of taste.

    As far as this anime is concerned, I am now content to stop criticizing it. There is virtually no plot and it is rather a series of rather good jokes that you are meant to enjoy in a very relaxed atmosphere.

  9. Silty says:

    I seriously hope you don’t drop series because of one bad episode. Heh, though I’m a bit disappointed that everyone else decided to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it (I have seen it).

    But really, I am starting to think that this anime is genius in a way that’s especially relevant for Japanese-language media. It really goes all-out in terms of making fun of how much the Japanese language relies on context. Also, the translators did a really good job of conveying it, given the fact that English is usually more straightforward.

  10. meaqui says:

    I guess the word “pseudo-harem” pretty much sums up what everyone here said, and how very narrow-minded this review was.

    Its not necessary to for cliches to exist in a series, but when someone is so affected by thinking in cliches, one starts to see this stuff everywhere: “a show just has to have romantic hints between the male lead and every other hot female in the series. It might not outright state feelings… but the hints lack any sort of subtlety.”

    Honestly, I havent seen those romantic feelings yet (except for chiho obviously). But I expect them to come in a few episodes. But this is of course just me projecting my experiences until now! at least.

    All I can say is, for me this episode was pretty boring, but thats got nothing to do with cliches.

  11. Joe says:

    Yeah. I don’t see it. Just because there are more than two girls in a show does not make it a harem. Emi doesn’t even like Maou to begin with (She hates him and is just confused by how he’s such a nice guy now) and Suzano (I think that’s her name) is most likely that assassin out to kill Maou. And Emi’s magic powers were cancelled out by the assailant, not because it wasn’t enough.

  12. moo? says:

    Actually I also did not see her as an assassin in attempt at Maou’s life cause immediately previous their conversation in the hall she was relieved to know Emi had no intimate relation with Maou and even blushed at that which threw out any assassination theories out the window. Anyway if that were true then the show simply did a poor job at interpreting it.

    • nicheitch says:

      I’m pretty sure that scene just completely flew over your head. She was relieved to know that Emi was going to help her kill Maou.
      Though not everyone grasped this, I feel that the majority did based on the comments.

    • MCAL says:

      Don’t worry. I didn’t catch it at first either. I found it out in a review and then watched the episode again and saw they were right.

  13. YourDream says:

    I actually thought they did an awesome job. They spent a lot of time in the beginning talking about an assassin being hired to kill Maou. Then this girl shows up and everybody starts thinking she’s the assassin. Then she gives him the bento. I totally genuinely thought the box would explode not just once, but twice, when first opening the box, and then opening the bottom. But no, the show faked me out twice. To do that trick all the build-up prior was totally worth it imo.

  14. moo? says:

    Sorry but in this episode and even in the next episode she shows zero animosity towards Maou and could easily be interpreted to be opposite of that. And it can’t be cause she’s simply nonchalant about everything cause her dispute with Emi obviously showed signs of emotion.

    • Mikey says:

      I don’t understand what you are talking about. She’s already said she has been sent to kill Maou which is what she asked Emi for. And just because it doesn’t look like she shows amnimosity towards Maou doesn’t mean anything. (And she does when she asks him about his relationship with Chiho) If anything she’s doing a good job at being an assassin by blending in (period drama tips aside) and not arousing suspicion. There are zero hints she has any feelings towards Maou whatsoever. I don’t see them and if they were there they are very subtle.

  15. Arno says:

    It is not a huge problem. The show is just about enjoying the jokes and all the misunderstandings situations imho.

  16. B0Mb0y says:

    I remember psgels didnt seem to mind the ‘cliches’ in Sakurasou because of the good writing and humor. Hataraku Maou-sama manages to crack me up way more often every episode than the first half of Sakurasou.

    ‘This is Maou-sama. It’s not a shallow shounen-show that is meant to appeal to young pubescent boys. It has proven to be intelligent in the past! Why is it not that now!?’

    Uhh you must have missed the first few minutes after the opening of episode 6. Mysterious female from Ente Isla does not just suddenly move in and become interested in Maou for no reason. Ironic that you call out the show for being unintelligent.

  17. Mushyrulez says:

    I’m gonna have to agree with you on the boring (goring? was that a typo?) nature of Maou-sama. Before, it actually tackled interesting issues (cultural assimilation, differing political perspectives etc.), but now, it just seems too absorbed in its own ‘story’ with the resurgence of Ente Isla influences.

    (I kinda find it odd how many comments here disagree with your post… usually, it’s the opposite, isn’t it?)

  18. KaZuHiRo says:

    Yes, it usually is. But psgels usually watch anime in raw format so a few scenes (especially the confrontation) might be misunderstood by someone who doesn’t speak Japanese natively. If psgels should watch this subbed, I think all of this will just go away.

  19. dark-kyon says:

    i gonna give kudos to this guy,he see every season the animes full of drama,angs,boring story,insipid characters, and dropped the comedic,lighteart anime for be generic,cliched,etc.even if these are good, truly a masochist.

  20. Zyrusticae says:

    I do have to wonder how you completely missed the fact that Suzuno clearly is not after Sadao’s love, but rather his life. That whole misunderstanding was pretty important in this episode (and it should’ve been pretty clear after her introduction in the beginning of episode 6).

    And, really, this is the one series that’s managed to make me laugh consistently this whole season. This episode was no exception (Emi falling down the stairs repeatedly and Lucifer asking if she finally made it all the way, the demons’ reaction to Suzu pulling out the landlady’s envelope, Emi STILL getting hassled over looking like a jealous lover to bystanders despite the fact that she really does hate his guts, the entire scene with the bento with Chiho, the store clerk running out and hitting the assailant with a paintball), and I really think you ought to give it more credit than you are.

    Unless it somehow failed to get you to laugh as much as it did me. No accounting for taste, and all that, especially when it comes to something as personal as humor.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:46 AM)
    Wait, wait scratch that, that was an old article/rumour…feck…
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:39 AM)
    @Bam: I was quite fond of Gillian Andersons character.
    Apparently Laurence Fishburne wants to quit the show =<
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:44 AM)
    I really enjoyed Alana Bloom’s shadow transformation during the season two hypnotherapy sessions. I thought was visually stunning and thematically relevant. Bryan Fuller has managed to gather quite a bit of talent around himself in the recent years, but Mads is undeniably both the egg that holds this cake together as well the cherry that’s sitting on the top.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:37 AM)
    Word of mouth and good reception managed to raise the viewership near the tail end of the 2nd season, that and the aforementioned cosponsorship managed to pull a hallelujah and bring the show back from the verge of death. And I’m glad tha happened.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:32 AM)
    I also always felt that their screen chemistry was mesmerizing and am very surprised that some critics found that it was lacking in that very same department, but to each his own I guess. The budget is not all that low actually, and the reason the 3rd season was greenlit was in part due to a dedicated fanbase, as well as the fact that this is a joint effort between NBC and a European studio who undertakes portions of the expenses.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:08 AM)
    There is this…certain chemistry between Dancy and Mikelson in that show too.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:01 AM)
    *their
    As much as I love the inventiveness and creativity of the death/crime scenes I can see how someone would find them silly.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:54 AM)
    @Bam: I had heard there were alot of cancellation risks but that there series was cheap to make, if its true the budget is low, then they’ve worked around it effectively.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:27 AM)
    But everyone knows that this is Mads Mikkelsen’s show, and it’s really his magnetic charm and the series’ strong cinematography that sells the experience. I also think that the special effects are very well handled, and the whole show has a seriously disturbing edge while still managing to stay classy. Quite sophisticated if nothing else.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:22 AM)
    @Emma: I’ve been steadily enjoying Hannibal and am thrilled for the third season. A lot of people had a problem with Hugh Dancy as Graham since they believe that he doesn’t fit the novels or the earlier adaptations, but I take this show as as a whole new reimagining of the story so I don’t particularly mind him, and I do think that he’s mania is quite palpable.

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