REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL 12 EPISODES) / DIRECTOR: YUUTA MURANO / STARRING: MASAAKI MIZUNAKA, AZUMI WAKI, YUU SERIZAWA / WHERE TO WATCH: CRUNCHYROLL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (VOD), FEBRUARY 17TH (BLU-RAY - REVIEWED)
An introvert with very little social experience is transported into a world much like his favourite RPG in How Not To Summon A Demon Lord.
Isekai anime series (where the protagonist is transported into another world) are all the rage these days with the likes of Sword Art Online and Digimon arguably being the most popular - so when another series like it enters the market, the showrunners must work extra hard to make it stand out. In the case of How Not To Summon A Demon Lord, it, unfortunately, does nothing of real note to accomplish this and disappears into the crowded market with its risque approach and a lacklustre ending.
The story follows Takuma Sakamoto, a secluded gamer that is brought into the fantasy world of Cross Reviere, his favourite RPG, by the pantherian Rem and the elf Shera L. Greenwood. Unbeknownst to them, Takuma, who goes by Diablo in the game, possesses an item that reflects magical spells and instead of enslaving Diablo, they become Diablo's slaves. In order to help Rem and Shera remove the chains to which they are now bound, Takuma as Diablo must venture forth on treacherous quests to learn the spell to remove them.
In terms of the animation style, it is crisp and clean and the world feels inhabited and fantastical. Each character is given their own unique look and when it comes to our heroes battling other races and monsters, the action flows smoothly. However, the characters themselves are a bit of an issue. A running joke throughout the series is that Takuma is an introvert and struggles to talk to girls, so obviously the girls that inhabit this universe are well endowed. A large portion of the jokes come at the expense of the female characters being groped or targeted for their appearance and whereas this way chuckle-worthy to being with, it lost its appeal rather quickly - especially when you consider how old these characters are (which is stated in the source material manga).
The main issue with the series is that we struggled to exactly pinpoint who the big antagonist was meant to be - a few threads were sown early on which led towards an enticing finale but when the revelations came to light, we couldn't help but feel very let down - all in all, the encounters that Diablo and his gang had never really felt, dangerous.
How Not To Summon A Demon Lord possesses great animation but is let down massively with its risque comedy approach and bemusing choice in not having a dedicated antagonist and flat ending.
The features included on the Blu-Ray release of How Not To Summon A Demon Lord are the quintessential extras that you can expect from a short 12 episode series with nothing overly of note.
- Disc 2
- Episode 1 Video Commentary - with English Cast and Crew
- Episode 11 Audio Commentary - with English Cast and Crew
- Promo Video
- Textless Opening Song - "DeCide"