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How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord UK Anime DVD Review

9 min read
I sense a theme all of a sudden that Isekai series seem to be a thing nowadays
© Yukiya Murasaki / Kodansha

I sense a theme all of a sudden that Isekai series seem to be a thing nowadays…and this things gimmick is a ton of questionable fanservice….

What They Say:
How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord contains Episodes 1-12 of the anime directed by Yta Murano. Takuma Sakamoto is famously known as Diablo throughout the MMORPG Cross Reverie. And although he’s a magical prodigy in-game, in reality, he’s a total social outcast. One day, in his video game body, Takuma is summoned to another world by two girls seeking to control him. But when he accidentally reflects their enslavement ritual back at them, the only way to save face is to act how he looks. SThe Review:

Audio:
e sound quality has options of 5.1 English Dolby Surround and the Japanese a 2.0 Stereo option. There were no complications of the audio throughout the release and the 5.1 option definitely comes through well with no need to adjust default settings on the audio system I was using. There were no problems with the video synching in with subtitles as definitely acceptable as a DVD release, though some of the…ahem…more interesting sounds in both English and Japanese, you may want to turn it down a little if you’re watching it with parents nearby ^^

Video:
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio via NTSC transfer to PAL format – with DVD releases nowadays the effect definitely seems more grainier compared to HD and with me doing a ton of Blu-ray reviews recently this is a good way to remind you how the times have changed. This combined dull and dark with bright and strong quite well as can be both due to the colourful town scenes with our three main characters or the more magic filled fight scenes – only a few minor obvious noticeable CGI effects as well so overall flows more naturally.

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release however the special DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack comes with collector’s packaging.

Menu:
The menu is pretty standard – a shot of Diablo, Rem and Shera in happy town attire on a town background, with Play All, Episodes and Set Up as selections. Easy to move and not much delay between choices on a DVD release making it fine for what it is, just not very interesting.

Extras:
There are no extras on the DVD release though on the Blu-Ray release there are episode commentaries.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The term issekei is one I’ve only just figured out is the general term for a lot of series I’ve reviewed recently – it seems to basically mean series that have a generic person either go into another world, get a different personality or completely different character and basically have a different life in said world compared to the regular world. Shows like Re; Zero, Overlord, The Saga Of Tanya The Evil, even shows like Sword Art Online and Zombieland Saga have this one. Usually the character is a generic one but here, we get the actual otaku/hikkomori shut in character being transported into another world based on a video game – of course he is the ultimate super power similar to Overlord and Reincarnated As A Slime, but this one takes it more to the ‘I’m awkward at socializing’ mentality. Add that a bucketload of fanservice with the female characters definitely more interested in him in his buff male super powered demon lord character and voila…

…let’s just say the show has its moments.

Our lead character is Takumo Sakamoto, a gamer who is the most powerful being in his favourite game, Cross Reverie. Weirdly, he only goes all out on people who seem to be couples in the game as feels that ‘norms’ shouldn’t be doing real life things in game. His character however is Diablo, who for some reason (none of these series seem to ever give a reason why they get transported into the world the show is based on) he gets ‘summoned’ into the game world by two cute young women, Rem, a Pantherian (basically a half-breed human/cat but mostly human) and Shera, a rather well endowed elf. Strangely, the show actually does have some plot and background for both and does again surprisingly flow well throughout the series – Shera wants to be free away from her family, whilst Rem has a demon king named Krebskrem sealed inside her and both want Diablo to help…with of course a lot of silliness with Shera’s ‘blobs of fat’ as Rem calls them, combined with Diablo trying to remain in character rather than revert to his real life persona mentality…which of course means not just social interaction, but attractive girls really into him and he can’t handle it. (Though this actually has meaning, as we see a flashback sequence later in the series showcasing why he became a shut in…)

The first trouble is that all powerful as he is, he still needs money to go on adventures and rest in inns and despite making friends with the mages association, there are those who clearly don’t trust me. One of them, Galluk, is the first minor antagonist who is a bit obsessed with Rem and clearly is not happy she is with Diablo. In a big scene, he tricks Diablo to going to fight a group of Fallen and their leader Edelgard (who gets a bit more of an important role later on) whilst he is convinced to take something by them to transform into a powerful demon named Gregore. And of course, his plan works perf…

…no wait, Diablo manages to get back and defeats him in like 3 hits.

Yeah, it’s one of those. Like Overlord and Slime, the main character is insanely powerful from his in game stats and his knowledge of the game makes things even more easy for him. Later on, there are things he hasn’t come across that give him more trouble, but basically he’s an in-game Saitama at this point.

Things get more interesting when the two girls backstories are brought up though. Shera is asked to return to the Kingdom of Greenwood otherwise her brother will threaten war on the area of Faltra. Diablo obviously has none of this as it is clear that Shera is not wanting to lose her freedom, combined with some definitely…creepy…annotations between her and her brother. We get introduced to a new character, Alicia, an imperial knight who seems like the straightforward type that is overly serious in her role, but again, there is surprisingly more to her than it first appears…

One of the main plots is that Rem and Shera actually summoned Diablo as a way to control him, but because of an item that reflects magic, the two girls actually have slave collars on them instead. Now, this is very uncomfortable especially with the fanservice and whilst there is a slave trader who demonstrates it isn’t what you think, it still have rather unpleasant connotations. Fortunately Diablo being not exactly comfortable around girls anyway, is not one to take advantage of this situation…(bar the usual harem-esque accidents that happen in these series, mostly involving Shera) and the ongoing story is to remove these collars of them. This comes in contrast with Shera’s creepy brother Keera, as whilst he tries to make it seem he is pleasant, he is conniving and basically tries to mind control her to come back, which Diablo fortunately realizes after a good talk with Rem manages to go out to rescue her. It turns out to be partly a ruse with Galford, a man who hired him to prevent the war between the two nations, was using it as a way to invade Greenwood – so Diablo has to take care of both problems…fortunately he does and Shera’s arc is concluded for the time being.

Rem on the other hand we’ve known since the 1st episode has a big problem and this brings back Edelgard as a member of the Fallen to try and extract the demon lord Krebskrum from Rem’s body in a…rather interesting way (which is a bit unpleasant I might add) – whilst Diablo being a demon lord brings in a demon hunter Paladin named Saddler as another potential antagonist. However the extraction of Krebskrum comes out in the form…of a cute demon girl which they name Klem. And despite Edelgard’s hope she will destroy all humans, she wants nothing of the kind…only cookies. Yep, she’s cute and fun but obviously a bit misleading…especially when we learn of Alicia’s backstory and true intentions….

The finale is basically making Klem snap into Krebskrum and because of her attachment to Rem, this brings her into snapping, which leads to Diablo to try and stop it. It is pretty much standard, albeit with some strange fanservice at the end with the guild manager Sylvie, but yeah, it’s clearly setting up for a second season as the ongoing story of the collars is still continuing.

This series is definitely NOT as bad as certain other heavily fanservice series I could mention (coughs DEVIL coughs) despite some rather uncomfortable scenes and notions, it balances out due to Diablo being very socially awkward. Granted, it is the dreaded ‘nerdy video gamer can’t handle real life’ trope which is one I don’t like but shut-ins/hikkomori sadly still do exist especially in todays day and age of pressure and mental problems/anguish (especially in Japan) and whilst brief, seeing why he became like this (being taken advantage of by people pretending to be friends – something I can definitely feel the same way to) does bring you into why he is like this and trying to play a role as it were like in the game, acting like how Diablo would. A lot of the moments where he does stuff though is like a fruedian excuse though so there are still uncomfortable moments.

The series however I have to admit, does have some merits. There are some legit funny moments (usually involving Rem and Shera’s love/hate friendship and Diablo trying not to react to certain things, them being eternally broke despite the most powerful being is at their inn), the actual story is surprisingly good as in the short amount of time you get good backstories with Shera and with Rem, the new character Klem looks to be a good attention, and Alicia’s backstory with her parents again makes you realize why she has become as she has. I’m actually impressed as the series has half focused story, and half focused fanservice. Granted, the show almost certainly will be more remembered for the fanservice especially on Shera’s side, but there are moments where the minor antagonists are so vile, you cheer when they are inevitably squashed by Diablo or Klem.

It’s not a series I would say I’m a huge fan of, but it is verging on guilty pleasure. I can’t really recommend it, as there are definitely a lot of things wrong with it, but I won’t say give it a shot, because there are things you might enjoy. Just try not to get too comfortable as the uncomfortable moments will balance it out…

Summary:
How NOT to summon a Demon Lord is your typical isekai series with new persona in a video game world, is super powerful, has a mini harem and with the themes like the slave colours, the sexual nature of certain characters and some really uncomfortable moments, this series could easily be one of the worst I’ve seen. However, it surprisingly saves itself with some decent back-story with Shera and Rem and setting up for a second season with an ongoing story. I won’t be in a hurry to watch it again, but certainly not as bad as I was expecting.

Features:
N/A

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: February 17th, 2020
MSRP: £27.99
Running Time: 250 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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