Oh good. Another isekai anime.
I’ve given the isekai genre flak for relying on simple gimmicks to differentiate among themselves but to the trick’s credit, it at least helps you tell some shows apart from each other. With Demon Lord, Retry!, I struggle to identify what the gimmick is. Is it the fact that protagonist Akiro Ono (Kenjiro Tsuda) gets isekai’d into a world where the MMO he plays is real? Not really. That’s already been done by Overlord and How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, just to name a few. Is it the fact the Akiro’s character, Hakuto Kunai, is a so-called Demon Lord? Again, not really. That’s also been done by the two shows I just mentioned, also just to name a few.
At this point, I’m left to talk about execution which I suppose is competent but nothing that’s worth writing home about. By far, the most interesting thread established is the existence of a cult that tried to summon Hakuto, an act so sinister that the monster of the week actually tried to prevent them from doing so. What kind of plans do these people have for Hakuto? Would Hakuto be forced to fulfill their perception or would he still be Akiro? Unfortunately, that mystery ends up playing second fiddle to introducing Hakuto’s sidekick — a little orphaned girl named Aku (Kanon Takao). She seems likable enough and her chemistry with the demon lord is alright (it’s also not creepy…so far). But I don’t know, I rolled my eyes when she talked about how mistreated she is at her village and when the villagers started throwing rocks at her. So many isekai anime have pulled this stunt before. By now, it comes across as a cheap way to make the viewer sympathize with the character in question.
A bigger buzzkill are the visuals. I want to be a little lenient since this is studio Ekachi Epilka’s first half-hour show but things do look a little rough around the edges. When you see Kunai give Aku a piggyback ride and notice that the animators smudged his walk cycle to make him look fast, you really notice how cheap the show feels. The character designs aren’t that great either. Kunai has a bit of a yakuza look to him and while that’s a little unique from other isekai protagonists, it looks out of place in what seems to be a medieval fantasy world. Meanwhile, Aku looks like a color palette swap for Re:Zero‘s Rem and I’m sorry but that’s insanely distracting. It makes me want to watch Re:Zero instead.
There’s a ton of isekai anime coming out this summer season and jaded though I may be, I’ll freely admit to liking one if I run into such a show. But let met tell you something: Demon Lord, Retry! does not fit that bill.
OP: “TEMPEST” by Kaori Ishihara
ED: “NEW” by Haruka Toujou
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