I can’t help but be a little puzzled with the name of this anime. I mean, The Demon Girl Next Door has a nice ring to it but had I not known the plot ahead of time, I’d assume this show is about someone finding out their next door neighbor is a demon girl. The show however stars a demon girl and as far as I can tell, none of the other characters actually live next door to her. I’m getting nitpicky here but surely there could’ve been a more fitting title.
What the show actually is about though more than makes up for it. The titular demon girl, Yuko (Konomi Kohara), has an important task. She must defeat the local magical girl so that the curse placed upon her family will be lifted. There is only one problem: she’s a poor, defenseless girl with no actual demonic powers bestowed upon her. Her opponent, Momo (Akari Kitou), is absurdly strong with or without her magical girl powers arming her. This would normally make for an underdog narrative but I assure you, The Demon Girl Next Door isn’t going in that direction. Instead, it’s looking to be a series of hijinks with the “battle” between Yuko and Momo getting milked for all its comedic worth.
And not going to lie, the comedy does work. What I love about it is how much it trivializes the conflict. The curse Yuko’s family and clan is afflicted with is simply poverty and Yuko is only motivated to lift it because more money means she can actually eat proper meals. The demonic idol she needs to use for her mission has been used as a doorstep for years. Her friends don’t even bat an eye that she now has horns and a tail. In fact, they immediately rat out her identity to Momo who happens attend the same school as ten (put that in the Top 10 Anime Betrayals). You’d think Momo would immediately eliminate Yuko but instead, she offers to help Yuko with her fighting technique. Maybe she pities Yuko or maybe she’s so lonely she doesn’t mind having what should be her sworn enemy as a friend. Either way, it says something that even the enemy isn’t too invested in the plot. All things considered, the plot is clearly meant to be one big joke and it’s a pretty funny joke at that.
It’s not all perfect. I’ll admit that in spite of its solid hook and general routine, it still uses the simplest of gags that you’ve seen a million times before. You know, stuff such as someone’s stomach growling at the most inconvenient moment or a heavy use of text effects that frankly work better in a manga than in animation. Sometimes, the show actually just has Yuko say her current mood or action such as randomly blurting the word “outrage” when she’s angry or saying she’s sniffling while she’s crying. It all just seems cheap to me. I wish the show would express more confident in its humor.
Still, I did laugh plenty of times with this premiere. I suspect it’ll go along the same lines as Endro! and Gabriel Dropout; not terribly interested in its own plot but nevertheless still delivering a fun time. I can see myself dropping this show (seriously, this summer is packed) but I’ll watch a few more episodes before I make a decision.
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