- Alt. Name
- Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
- Release Date
- Summer 2018
- No. of Episodes
- Light Novel
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is a 2018 Fantasy comedy anime series from the longtime Japanese animation studio, Ajia-do. Though some may pass over this ecchi anime series, some of the other creations from the studio are not, like; Abundance of a Bookworm, Izetta: The Last Witch, and even Kakushigoto. However, when any studio comes out with fantasy and ecchi series, one would hope it’d be at least halfway decent and not fall into the traps of past series. However, every anime deserves its fair and equal chance, no matter what the genre may pertain to.
When it comes to the fantasy MMORPG Cross Reverie, none can match the power of the Demon King Diablo. Possessing the game’s rarest artifacts and unrivaled player level, he overpowers all foolish enough to confront him. But despite his fearsome reputation, Diablo’s true identity is Takuma Sakamoto, a shut-in gamer devoid of any social skills. Defeating hopeless challengers day by day, Takuma cares about nothing else but his virtual life – that is, until a summoning spell suddenly transports him to another world where he has Diablo’s appearance!
In this new world resembling his favorite game, Takuma is greeted by the two girls who summoned him: Rem Galeu, a petite Pantherian adventurer, and Shera L. Greenwood, a busty Elf summoner. They perform an Enslavement Ritual in an attempt to subjugate him, but the spell backfires and causes them to be his slaves instead. With the situation now becoming more awkward than ever, Takuma decides to accompany the girls in finding a way to unbind their contract while learning to adapt to his new existence as the menacing Demon King.
When it comes to the storyline of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord sounds generic, the true story is a little better than that. The world-building within this series was exceptionally well written and better than one could expect. The series focused more on the environment at the correct times when other series would use fan service or crude humor, which was refreshing to see. Another positive aspect of this story is that the level of engagement was unusually high, especially as the series went into the later episodes. Nonetheless, having a harem work within this series, but when they adventure onward, the main characters’ tactics are often hit-and-miss, which is quite funny to see.
However, when it comes to the pitfalls of this series story, it is understandable that there would be some significant problems. For instance, the pacing was a bit off in a few of the arcs making the viewer potentially miss essential information due to the story moving too fast. Having the story moving a bit too fast in a fantasy series can be problematic. The viewer potentially not understanding the world they are watching and inevitably not being submerged and entering the adaptation’s world it tries to create.
Another negative aspect of this is that since the story goes faster than expected at times, the main character appears way too overpowered, which he most definitely is without a doubt. Creating a character that is too powerful without any problems or weaknesses can be rather tedious to watch since the viewer will always know they’ll be okay in the end. Though this is nothing compared to how this series glorifies fan service with any chance, it can get. Having that problem mixed in with the fact the series seemed to forget the actual plot of the story halfway through seemed like two different teams were writing this adaptions script.
Though for all the negative criticism that How Not to Summon a Demon Lord receives, the one aspect that deserves a good amount of praise is the art style and production. This series didn’t have as huge of a budget as other ones had, but the art style was entertaining and inviting every step of the way, with the colorful clothing for each character, to the designs themselves. The bright and cheery backgrounds are equally as good as the dark and gloomy ones, evenly used throughout the series. Of course, some mature-themed clothing and scenes were drawn rather well; these don’t affect the series because the artistic designs were exceptionally creative.
The animation production side of this series was rather interesting, yet some viewers may be demanding more after they finish the last episode. The opening sequence is a little bare, but it works for a series that isn’t trying to be something it is not. The opening theme is catchy and easily rememberable and works well with the animation, which a studio would hope to work well with since it’s so crucial to have at times. The ending sequence is a bit boring and will keep the male viewership’s attention. Though the theme is perfect, it’s a bit of a waste to have on such a basic ending animation that looks like it could be made from a college dorm room. However, if the viewer is watching this series for the fan service, this point is mute.
When it comes to fantasy anime series, the story sometimes comes second to the characters partly since if the characters aren’t relatable, the viewer will switch to a different series. Takuma Sakamoto was a Cross Reverie player who controlled the character Diablo, known as the real Demon Lord. He always defeated players with better equipment and overwhelming skills, always holding back for being too strong. But one day, he was invoked into a different world, appearing as his Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game character, Diablo, finding two girls standing in front of him who claims to have summoned him. In the game, he is somewhat extroverted, but in reality, he’s the opposite, which causes much of the communication problems for the character.
Shera L. Greenwood is an elf who is one of the two who summoned Diablo. On the outside, she could be classified as the blonde that’s well gifted in the chest area, but she is a sweet and caring girl who cares for her friends and allies more than anything. She would put herself in danger if it could help her friends escape from danger, and for a fifteen-year-old, that’s an exceptionally courageous thing to do. Rem Galleu is a Pantherian and is the other person who had summoned Diablo. She was forced to become an adventurer to demonstrate her strength and wishes to continue proving it any chance she can get. She is a little stubborn and egotistical in her daily life, but that’s typical for a fourteen-year-old.
Some of the characters within this series are a little less interesting but still show some worth, like Edelgard, a Fallen – Demonic Being. She commands the Fallen army that is set on taking back what was lost to them. Outside of her character, a few characters are barely in more than one episode, and if they are in more, they don’t contribute anything worthwhile to the plot. This may sound like a negative, but indeed it’s not; this series seems to have found its threshold of good to lousy storytelling with minimal characters. Of course, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord had its problems initially, but by the third episode, they had gotten their footing down solid.
The level of entertainment within this series was quite exciting but hard to pin down exactly. If one is coming towards this anime with high expectations of adventure and storytelling, then they’ll be very disappointed in what they find. Though if the viewer goes into this anime series looking for girls in skimpy outfits and awkward situations, they’ll get that, but they’ll also have to wait for several episodes in between to get more. And of course, there is the type of viewers looking for a good story, one they can really sink their teeth in and slowly digest it as they watch. This series is not for either of the three stated above.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is a simple anime series that gives its viewers exactly what it wants with the best transfer from point A to point B it can do. The story is not spectacular but is better than some other fan service series out there. The art is average but decent for a mid-level budget, but the production value is where this series truly is at its best. Watch this anime if you want something fun and easy to consume. Is it the best fantasy series one could watch? The viewer better hope this isn’t! This anime is one of those that doesn’t try to be spectacular or redefining, and it stays in its lane and has fun doing what it does best.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.