First Impressions: Maoyu

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Alternate Title: Maoyuu Mao Yuusha
Light Novel Adaptation by Arms
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise: The hero and the Demon King meet and become partners in looking for a way to find the horizon beyond the war between their peoples.

Lifesong’s Verdict: 110% Invested

Maoyu reunites the actors of Holo, Lawrence and much of the cast that made Spice and Wolf to great effect here. Superficially this anime feels like Spice and Wolf, which being my all time favorite anime instantly pulled in my interest when I first read about this production. Ask anyone at Glorioblog and they will tell you that I have been more hyped for this anime than any other in years. After watching this first episode I am happy to say that I have not been disappointed by this introduction.

Maoyu promises to delve into the economical and politic problems associated with war in order to find a good solution for both sides. This first episode spent it’s time pondering human behavior, explaining that the war is not only beneficial for some people, but necessary for the survival of many. I am about as hyped for this anime as I could possibly be. This first episode only helped to build up my hype. There was some oddness in the animation at times, but everything looked really pretty anyway.

She is not amused by your stupidity.

She is not amused by your stupidity.

I loved this first episodes bluntness. When the Demon King meets with the Hero, and demands that he become her’s, offering herself in return, it set a great mood for further adventure into this world. What I really want to see out of this anime is an awesome adventure, and while all this episode did was paint a picture of what is to come, it did so in a fantastically charming way.

My biggest concern going forward is that this series sense of humor may put some people off. By the end of the episode the Demon King has removed her horns. At one particularly charming moment she brushed her hand against her memory device, playing an embarrassing scene of her “practicing” an embrace on a hero body-pillow that she apparently had hidden away somewhere. Personally the medieval body-pillow got a chuckle out of me. I hope this humor won’t be much of an issue for the rest of anime fandom.

Suffering cause not by war, but a lack of war.

Suffering cause not by war, but a lack of war.

Jel’s Verdict: Heroic Potential

This first episode throws some big chunks of background story and setting at you, but with the size and scale of Maoyuu’s premise it seems necessary. There’s tons of story potential considering the amount of war, politics, and economics boiling underneath the surface of our title characters’ first encounter

My only real concern is if ARMS (a studio not known for restraint) is capable of handling a more nuanced story. Will they be able to balance the silly comedy and Dead or Alive breast physics with more serious elements? I don’t have a problem with those things being there, but I’ll need to see more before I believe they can keep things in check. They do an admirable job with the first episode, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.

Miyuki Sawashiro is voicing this one so I already like her.

Miyuki Sawashiro is voicing this one so I already like her.

Gee’s Verdict: Read the manga

Coming from the perspective of a guy who’s a huge fan of the manga adaptation (the good one with the amazing art), I was honestly disappointed. The excessive fanservice and the rather poor execution of the same scenes from the manga made for a rather awkward first impression. Not to say the anime is a total loss. For the most part, it gets the basic premise right and the setup has been done without too much compromise.

That said, the execution of the premise is what worries me the most. Maoyuu is both a nuanced and entertaining story. It’s not too deep, yet at the same time it cleverly plays with economic concepts and their applications in a fantasy world. I fear the studio, known for its…less subtle works, may not be the right fit for something like this. Then you have the glaring issue of the manga’s art being infinitely more gorgeous to look at than the anime’s, which doesn’t even make an attempt to emulate its style. The manga had a dynamic and distinct quality to it that is nowhere to be found in the anime, which is honestly quite disappointing. While I’m aware that the manga itself is an adaptation of the light novel series, I find it a waste to not use the most aesthetically pleasing version as inspiration.

There are some memories you really don't want to share.

There are some memories you really don’t want to share.

Overall, if the studio can tone the fanservice down and portray the rest of the story faithfully, we’ll at least have a passable adaptation. For the time being though, I’m not confident. If you really love the premise of Maoyuu as much as I do, do yourself a favor and read the manga adaptation instead.

Also, they made her horns fake?!

Iro’s Verdict: Half-Baked Hero

This show has plenty of potential via its premise, which assures the viewer that this is going to be an examination of fantasy and RPG tropes and how they might realistically affect the economic and political situation of an actual world. Instead, the first episode is a bevy of boob shots, with the Demon Queen’s rack wiggling around the screen with every movement she makes, distracting the viewer from dialogue that would actually be important if it were presented as such.

Undressing after the show.

Undressing after the show.

As far as I understand, the original source material and at least one of the manga adaptations (of which there are five. Seriously?) do indeed take this supposed plot seriously; I’m just unconvinced that this anime will do so, considering how preoccupied it is with the Demon Queen’s chest. The way this show is handled for the next two or three episodes will either make or break it in my eyes, but for now, color me unimpressed.

Marlin’s Verdict: Impressed, but not convinced.

Coming into the show I’d heard good things from Gee about the quality of the source material. However, as information came out about the anime itself I became worried, what with bouncing boobs and uninspiring character designs. Still, as the dialogue commenced I enjoyed its decent in-depth take on the economics of war. I really do hope this is the focus of the show completely, as I always love intellectual dramas and nothing has really been the same since the Spice and Wolf anime’s departure. Unfortunately I’m finding it hard to see the drama as well realized, as finding the solution to ending war sounds like it would be much harder to capture into separate arcs in the same way Lawrence and Holo’s dealings with trade guilds and merchants was.

I officially call this meeting of the League of Fabulous Hats to order.

The presentation also just feels off. Since the Demon King is supposed to be incredibly knowledgeable, making her look like a fool with scenes like the hug pillow segment just take away from her character. I suppose this might just be me being a little unfair due to the tangential relations to Spice and Wolf. In that show, the main characters were magnificently balanced and equally witty. In this show I suppose you could say they’re balanced, but they almost seem to have a greater sense of naivete that makes them hard to take seriously.

One thought on “First Impressions: Maoyu

  1. I kinda like where the theme is heading… I’m all for deconstruction of war and economy. But daaam those bouncing mound of flesh are very distracting indeed.

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