Well, this is quite a hit of nostalgia for me. Here I am watching How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, a show I had enjoyed more than I expected to in its first season. But I’m also back doing episode reviews with Karandi. Always great to have a chat with you, K!
Curiosity: Is Karandi really that long?
Anyway, I’m glad we’re back reviewing anime together this season, and kind of glad we are reviewing this one together. While I enjoyed season one, I know that How Not To Summon a Demon Lord occasionally pushes dangerously close to the edge of my fan-service tolerance and I kind of think I’ll have more fun reviewing this one with you then going solo as it will help me see the fun side of the show more-so than the bits that don’t quite click.
In many respects How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Season 2 picks up right where it left off. Not storywise exactly but the feel and look of the show remain completely unchanged. As far as production notes go, I only wrote down that the animation seems to have taken a bit of a hit.
It was kind of jagged in this first episode as if the number of cells was a little lower than usual and they used way more still shots and minimal movement scenes. But you know, the art is still as pretty as it always was and that’s really all I care about. Any views on the production side?
Honestly, I didn’t think season one looked particularly great. It did its job but it wasn’t really trying to ride on its great animation. And yeah, the fight against the worms in this episode is pretty lame with minimal animation and even the freezing spell (forgot its name) used sound more than visuals to get the point across. Still, I don’t think the animation was ever the draw card here.
The first thing that hit me was that I had kind of forgotten that this show was sort of an Ecchi. And they packed in quite a bit of fanservice in the first few minutes. I was a bit afraid that that’s all we were going to see in episode 1 but I was wrong. There was actually a lot of story packed in.
It started off with a comedic bit about Diablo trying out some new spells that turned into a very generic monster of the week fight with Diablo winning easily as always. As I was watching it I thought it was a bit meh, like a random filler episode but I realized that the first half of the episode was really a great way to set up the mood and characters for anyone that hadn’t seen season 1 (or that had forgotten it). The exposition was quite smart in this bit. Am I being too optimistic?
Oh yeah, they really hit hard with the fan-service in that opening sequence. I mean, tentacles wrapped around a female priest after tearing her robes open… But season one had those kinds of moments as well and usually balanced the fan-service heavy scenes with the ones that moved the plot and this episode continues that trend.
And just when I thought it was going to be all refresher, we actually got some set up for the season and I’m into it. The thought of Diablo having to play God and confront the church seems like it could be a really fun time. I’m into it.
The only thing I was a little less into was Klem. I’m sorry but that character annoys me and I didn’t want her to be a huge part of this season – and she apparently won’t be. Woohoo! It’s like they consulted me or something. Do you like Klem, Kara?
Klem? No. Klem is an unnecessary addition and kind of left over from a plot that ran its course last season. Glad they decided to leave her behind when they set out.
I am amazed that this episode managed to spend a chunk of time on fan-service, review all the main events and characters who were introduced in season one, introduce a new character and conflict, and see the main group head off on a quest, while throwing in a monster of the week moment, all in twenty minutes and never felt rushed. I don’t know how they did that but it was something I appreciated in the first season. The plot never screeches to a halt just because they want to build in fan-service. Everything kind of comes together in some way or another.
I am also pretty happy about the idea of Diablo going up against a corrupt church. Particularly when the head priest seems to think he is god. Could be all kinds of amusing going forward depending on what they do with it. Just hope some of the minions the church sends forward offer a bit of a challenge or at least have more than a one-note personality.
By the end of this episode, I was genuinely enthusiastic about the season. How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is not a grand series that you shouldn’t miss but I think it’s a great bit of fun at the end of a long day when you don’t want to think too much. And watching it weekly might actually make it better. We’ll see.
The single negative I have for this week is that paladin fellow. I thought he was a meh villain. That’s actually in my notes: bad guy – meh. And if he was just a one-off then it’s fine but they did put in that last little look at his face that seems to suggest he could become an important antagonist. I think we need a better big bad. Make Emile go nuts or Sylvie be a secret agent of the church. I love those guys!
Any overall thoughts on episode 1, Di?
The episode did it’s job and reminded me of the strengths and weaknesses of How Not To Summon a Demon Lord so I remember exactly what it was about and know what I’m getting into. It also made me curious about the quest going forward and so I’m definitely in and Diablo is still really entertaining with his internal insecurity and attempts at sound like a confident demon lord externally. That alone keeps me pretty hooked on this show.
Though, can I just ask how many variations of Karandi did you throw in this post?
I only got 5 and it was a challenge! Also, Karandi isn’t long I just like giving my friends nicknames. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m a high school baseball coach at heart…slugger?