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Demon King Daimao Complete Series Anime Blu-ray Review

10 min read

All Akuto wants to be is a Grand Priest, yet destiny has him set for very different things.

What They Say:
After enrolling at the Constant Magic Academy, Akuto Sai discovers he’s not just a gifted student with magical powers, he’s destined to become the Demon King. Though he’s not that crazy about the idea, it drives the girls wild! From the sexy school girls in his class to the skin-obsessed android who’s programmed to seduce him, Akuto has no shortage of wacky girl trouble. How much temptation can a demon king take?

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is pretty straightforward with the two language tracks in stereo encoded with Dolby TrueHD. The show has a fair bit of action and activity to it so the stereo encoding here works pretty well for the show where it captures the loud and busy scenes very well while still handling the more basic dialogue material just as capably. The music is in general the most noteworthy part that stands out since it’s fully using the stereo channels to good effect. The feature has some strong action moments for a stereo presentation and it has an appropriate feeling that lets the action come across cleanly. The dialogue is solid as well with lots of placement and a bit of depth at times that comes across without any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2010, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with eight on the first and four on the second. The series is one with a lot of bold, primary colors and some overactive animation and the transfer captures it well with no real issues to be had. The animation isn’t exactly top of the line and they cut corners, but the transfer doesn’t suffer because of it as it has a clean and bold look to it. Backgrounds maintain a solid feel throughout, cross coloration is non-existent and noise in some of the darker scenes is pretty hard to pick out during regular playback.

Packaging:
Demon King Daimo comes in a standard single sized Blu-ray keepcase that holds both discs against its interior side. Though the series is called Demon King Daimao, the cover is filled with a trio of cute girls that are anything but and they’re wearing just swimsuits of different types against a bland if dark background. It’s cute in its own way, but doesn’t really sell the show itself all that well. The back cover uses a black background that gives it a bit more ominous of a feeling because of it and the use of the Eto character artwork in the center. The shots from the show are small and kind of dark, almost murky, and they play a balance of fanservice and action. Add in the basic summary, the usual production credits and a clean and easy to read technical grid and it all comes across well though it doesn’t exactly sell the show cleanly since Akuto barely shows up in it. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for the release is simple but effect as each disc uses a different piece of artwork for a background still of the girls in different outfits against a fairly bland background. This lets the character artwork really stand out as it’s bright, colorful and vivid. The left side has the menu navigation itself, which doubles as the pop-up menu where it lists the episode numbers and titles and language options through a submenu. They all load pretty quickly and smoothly with no problems in getting around. The discs read our players’ language presets which was a big plus.

Extras:
The extras for this release are on the second volume where we get eleven minutes worth of various production images from the series at about ten second intervals. They’re pretty colorful and look good, showcasing various aspects of the characters and series. In addition to that we get the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series written by Shōtarō Mizuki, and art by Souichi Itō, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimo is a fun magical, romance and action series that ultimately collapses under its own weight. The series is based on the eight light novels from which it draws from and a recent manga adaptation as well. With the anime production being done by Artland, it’s a show that has a rather good look with a lot of detail, solid character designs and a real sense of fanservice and CG work that plays out well across this first opening episode. Like any show that’s essentially a harem show of sorts, we get a number of girls introduced in the first episode but they’re kept more to the background towards the end which is nice.

The series revolves around a new transfer student to the Constant Magic Academy named Akuto Sai. Akuto’s a rarity in that few people transfer between such schools but there are some that are doing so this year. Akuto has a lot of luck on his arrival, after an accidental beating, in that he meets another student named Junko Hattori. Junko’s a bright, beautiful and athletic student there who takes her role seriously. She’s a part of the Suhara religion and she ends up feeling close to Akuto from the start and forms a bond with him that they both feel right about. Her feelings stem largely from Akuto’s stated goal of becoming a Grand Priest in the future. This is the hardest of professions to choose because of what it is involved in the training and she sees that as something to definitely reward and to try and help and be part of.

It doesn’t take long for everything to go wrong though. New and transfer students go through the process of meeting the artificial spirit named Yatagarasu in order to check for any health issues as well as getting a prediction on future careers. While it’s not a real future viewing, the school nurse Mitsuki informs Akuto that it’s almost always correct and most people get what they’re wishing for anyway. So he’s terribly excited about this fact until Yatagarasu informs him that he will become the Demon King no matter what. Cue panic from everyone else on campus, in his classroom after Mitsuki smoothes things out and from anyone he comes into contact with. It doesn’t help that another student named Hiroshi wants to basically suck up to him and push him further in that direction with bad suggestions.

There’s some past to this as we get an offhand bit about a war a hundred years ago with a Demon King which leave Akuto even more confused and unsure of what all is going on. He wants to lead a great life of good but everything going on around him seems to be pushing him the other way. His new friendship and bond with Junko ends up going very badly once this is discovered and she’s even intent on almost killing him as she views his predicted future as a betrayal, something she cannot stand. There are others waiting in the wings to take advantage of him though as we see another two or three girls appear in different ways towards the end where they’re meeting him or plotting their own plans for him.

The show follows some basic plot points where it brings in the other women, though you know that he’s largely destined to be with Junko since she’s the first one he meets and the one he strikes the best bond with. They add a cute girl named Kena who has the special ability to turn invisible, but she has to be naked to do it. Korone arrives on the scene and reveals she’s a surveillance agent for larger powers that want to keep an eye on his destiny, but she tends to get more involved just for the fun of it. She’s also amusing in that she’s an android that has a bunny tail that can be pulled which shuts her down and resets her for the moment, something that is taken advantage of a few times. Add in a foil along the way with Fujiko, a powerful sorceress student who wants to use him to her own advantage, largely in relation to the head of her dead brother that she has where there’s a mystery to be resolved in there. Unsurprisingly, they all have designs on Akuto in different ways, and he gets caught up in a lot of awkward situations with them.

Where the series has its problems it just a bit past the halfway mark. The first half runs through the usual in bringing in the girls, show off lots of skin and potential sexual encounters and getting a basic lay of the land with how Akuto has to deal with being a future Demon King that everyone is afraid of but have no problems in trying to bully and abuse. At the halfway mark, we have Akuto going through a treasure hunt that has him acquiring a really interesting dragon, Peter Hausen of all names, which only serves to elevate his status as a future Demon King. It’s a bit of an awkward and drawn out two part piece, but it also feels rushed, as if this is coming much earlier than it should have. After that, Hiroshi gets to take center stage as we discover that with the way the ages work, he’s destined to be the Hero of this one, and that’s complicated since he has an idol worship kind of thing going with Akuto. To make matters worse, he looks like a dorky sentai superhero with his costume and overly grand way.

The two episodes that deals with his becoming that throws the show off track, but even that isn’t the worst. When I watched this as a simulcast, there was a point where I felt like I missed an episode because suddenly it goes big, introducing the real epic scale of events, tying it back to the story a hundred years prior, and Akuto suddenly becomes this powerful presence that’s going to change the world and save his friends. It is, very admittedly, standard fare. But it’s the pacing and how they got there that doesn’t work. Suddenly everything goes to the grand scale and the fate of the world is at stake as new characters are introduced and it gets properly epic. And it would work, very well overall based on what we see here, if these episodes were in the early twenty range rather than episode nine and up. It’s all too soon, too quickly and without enough transition time with what came before to make it work.

Demon King Daimao does succeed a fair bit on its initial idea though of a quasi-fantasy show with lots of fanservice. While the broadcast and simulcast were pretty well censored, this one shows it all and that means lots of exposed breasts, underwear and torn clothes. This was a big part of its appeal during the broadcast run and there is some fun to seeing what was actually animated underneath it. It doesn’t enhance the story in the slightest, but it makes the show a bit more bearable as it progresses and goes in such an odd direction. I do like the character designs for the show though so that was a plus in them spending some decent naked time with the various girls.

This series really won me over pretty easily from the start with its look. The quality of the animation looks good, though some of the CG blending doesn’t flow as well as it could. It’s the character designs that had me hooked combined with the vibrancy of the animation itself with its color choices. Akuto has a solid look about him with a few rough edges while Junko is pretty much standard school girl material with a bit of confidence to her to say the least. The action that takes place is nicely done, the magic effects are really fun and it handles the various mechanical designs that introduced later just as well as the organic pieces like the dragons and the magic itself.

In Summary:
Demon King Daimao was a show that I was curious to see if a straight marathon viewing would change my opinion of it in regards to how the second half plays out. Unfortunately, it’s a show that has a lot of problems here that kills a good deal of the energy because you feel so disconnected from how they got from point A to point B. I do like the overall concept, the characters are fun and it reminds me a bit of Kyo Kara Maoh in a lot of ways. The sexy time works well and while it is a distraction in a way, it’s intentional to ramp things up and make it noticeable. It’s definitely a series that could easily have run for twice the length and told a much more coherent and fun story, instead of leaving us with a show that feels rushed and like we got shortchanged. Still, there’s definitely fun to be had here, but it has some caveats to it.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Production Images, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 14th, 2011
MSRP: $69.99
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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