First Look: If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord

Alternative titles: Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai, UchiMusume
Light Novel Adaptation by Maho Film
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

A successful adventurer runs into a lost demon orphan in the woods, takes her home, and adopts her.

colons’ verdict: Thanks, Jel, you’ve broken me

In a vacuum, If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord is fine. Charming, even. It seems like it’s just gonna be a cute and heartwarming story about adoption and responsibility. The trouble is that the show has two main thematic components, both of which have been handled extremely badly by many other shows, and coming into this as I am with the context of the kinds of show Jel usually assigns me, I cannot help but expect the worst.

The first is the generic fantasy/isekai milieu. Our Shit Protag, Dale, isn’t from another world (as far as we know), but the rest of the isekai trappings are here; it’s a fantasy world and he’s the best adventurer in the land. He wields extremely powerful magic, but lives in in a humble abode. He travels alone and has essentially zero personality. Despite this, he is well-liked and trusted.

The second is an adult suddenly having responsibility for an innocent little girl in bad circumstances. In this case, Latina is a demon with a recently dead dad and a broken horn, lost and alone in the woods. She doesn’t speak the same language as Dale, but Dale speaks fragments of hers because it’s the language he casts spells with.

Neither of these components is inherently bad; good stories can and have been told with both, and this episode skates around the issues I was expecting with knowing grace. It’s not a power fantasy. Dale is not showy with his magic; he is confident, but pragmatic and deliberate. He fights a big ol’ dragon in the opening animation, but the circumstances of that are not established. The friendly townsfolk are genuinely friendly, and the innkeeper couple whose attic Dale lives with seem like real, good people. Also, at no point does the show get creepy with the kid. She freaks out when she’s to be bathed, but she’s not sexualised at all. Later, she sleeps in Dale’s bed, but only for one night, after which they purchase actual bedding for her.

For the first half of the episode, I was expecting some kind of racism allegory, too, but even in the rowdy inn, nobody kicked off about the demon kid. It’s established that the only reason she wears her hair up to cover her horns is because one of them is broken, which carries a lot of stigma.

Even the language barrier thing isn’t farcical; the reveal of what Latina was actually trying to communicate during the initial meeting was genuinely unsettling, and the moment late in the episode when she first speaks human language is effective too, both inherently, and because of how it brings Dale and the innkeepers together.

The only actually material complaint about this episode that I have is that it is far too saccharine for my tastes. It goes farcically hard into making this kid as sympathetic and adorable as possible, which is fine, but perhaps a little exploitative. If it pulls an Usagi Drop and gets creepy by the end, I guess I’ll feel a little vindicated, but I wish I could just enjoy this show for what it is. I can’t, and it’s anime’s fault. If you lack the baggage I’ve picked up from years of watching only the most horrible first episodes and you think you’d be into a cute bit of fluff about adoption, this show might be great for you.

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