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IN BRIEF: In another world, humans and demons battle for survival. A human Hero injures the lord of demons badly enough that he flees to another world. He and his loyal retainer are surprised to find themselves in modern Japan in human & magicless versions of their demon bodies, and feel the effects of poverty almost immediately. With fake IDs and determination, they set forth to conquer this new world... after the lord gets a promotion at not-McDonald's first, of course. Settled at the bottom tier of Japanese society, they are surprised again when it turns out the portal to Earth was more of a open door than they thought.
I have not read the source material, so I am limited to what I saw. That said, I had a lot of fun with this reverse isekai. If another season came out, I would watch it. Things I liked:
1) When it was there, the humor was great. The Burger Fool trope for the king of demons? Hilarious. His commitment to rising to the top of McDonald's hierarchy was a sign of how he became top demon - and also ridiculous. Every world traveler choosing transparent fake names built off their original names was another nice touch (I like that his coworkers just pronounce his name as Mao, rather than Maoh, and are none the wiser).
2) This show was surprisingly feminist in its egalitarian view of gender. The Hero is a woman (yes, who used the title of Hero in her new name), and a majority of the characters were female, with no suggestion whatsoever that their gender would affect their skills. *clapping*
3) This was subtle, but a relief when I figured it out. The dialogue works like how real people talk! You don't get a lot of comedic misunderstandings of words, or one character dumbly repeating what the last character just said (not to digress, but that drives me insane. So many shows do it that it's more unusual when it *doesn't* happen!), or most of the other clumsy dialogue tropes. Instead, the characters are straightforward, genre-savvy, and more likely to interrupt one another than stand around repeating words.
4) The whole reverse isekai thing is such a nice departure from the proliferation of boring normal isekai stories.
There were a few things I didn't love, but only one of them really affected my enjoyment enough to drag this rating score down. Everything about Sariel is terrible, and he was a pain to watch the moment he showed up. As villains go, he's both dumb and reprehensible. He's a ridiculous and hammy admirer of women, and when a woman is his enemy he has no problem suggesting that he's down for some sexual assault. He's so irritating, that the previously least-likable main character Lucifer (who's an unappealing shut-in after he's failed as a villain) rose in my estimation when he decides to tell Sariel off. If I were to rewatch this series, I would seriously consider fast-forwarding or muting every scene he's in, he's that repugnant.
My reviewing system for films and shows that are NOT anime: 1-5: I hated it. I also don't think it has redeeming qualities, so you shouldn't watch it either. 6: I didn't like it. It's not my thing, I didn't like the execution, I don't want to see it again. However, I don't think it is a BAD film or show - it has qualities that will recommend it to those who like that kind of thing. 7: It was fine. I didn't love it, and I don't need to see it again. I won't be sad if I never see it again. 8: I liked it. I didn't love it, and while I'd like to see it again, I wouldn't want to see it often. 9: I loved it. I would be sad if I never saw it again. I might want to see it every few years. 10: I loved it beyond description. I wouldn't mind re-watching it every year.
Clarifying my Anime rating system: My number key below is an attempt to parse the small differences between 5 and 6, 7 and 8, & 9 and 10. When I rate, I consider my own enjoyment, the characterization and the plot, the appearance of the animation, and occasionally the soundtrack - in roughly that order. An anime will lose at least 1 point for presence of deal-breaker tropes (for example, comedic pedophilia), and more if the trope(s) ruined my enjoyment. On the other hand, it will gain at least 1 point for artistry in animation or sound.
Never Recommend: 1-4, inclusive. Further clarification: I don't expect to rate anything 1-4, as I would probably never finish watching something in this range of rating. It's likely to have bad plotting, subpar animation, bland characterizations, silly and/or irritating tropes, etc.; I would consider it to be pure excrement.
Cautious Recommending: 5: In this case, it started out with a higher score and slipped over time... because I normally don't watch anything that I would score below 6, except for movies (small time commitment). 6: I may or may not have watched the whole show, but I recognize deal-breaker issues in it, and I'm unlikely to rewatch. It just wasn't enjoyable enough for me to forgive its flaws. There would be huge caveats to any recommendation.
Likely to Recommend: 7: Not my thing, but usually I at least respect it. Generally, I didn't like it enough to think I would rewatch it, but also didn't see huge problems in the plot, characterizations, etc. and thought it was worth finishing. I might suggest it to someone if I know they like the specific sub-genre or other work by the studio. 8: I had a good time watching it, but it didn't move me the way a 9 or a 10 does; it's possible that over time I would upgrade it if I liked it more on reflection. I would be willing to rewatch it. I'd recommend it with the occasional caveat.
Highly Recommend: 9: I enjoyed it very much. It may have had one or two issues, but not enough to diminish enjoyment. It's possible that over time I would downgrade it to an 8 (changing tastes) or upgrade to a 10 (realize it's never left my mind). I'm likely to rewatch, and likely to buy the DVDs. I'd recommend it to most audiences. 10: Virtually flawless. I'd definitely rewatch, and definitely want to buy DVDs. I would shill this to anyone.
EDIT: for 2021, I'm participating in the MAL Anime Challenge. Any anime in the Completed section with a * in the note was watched for the challenge.
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