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Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou – 12 (END)

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「おしまいは完璧?」 (Oshimai wa Kanpeki?)
“The Ending is Complete?”

For a series finale, things sure went out with a bang when Akuto took his fight directly to the Gods and Peterhausen showed just how faithful he is to the very end, but I found myself constantly trying to accept explanations on the law of identity and how the entire system works faster than I could even comprehend them. So with that, I was questioning whether I’m an utter failure at grasping the key points of the story or if Artland and their production staff didn’t do a very good job telling one. Every time Akuto responded to either Hiroshi, Bouichirou, Peterhausen, or the Lilidans protecting the Gods’ system’s with a correctly surmised statement, I was often left puzzled and wondering if I missed something that was said earlier on. At times it was less important stuff, such as Peterhausen telling Akuto to release his mana limiter and the latter knowing that it means risking harm to himself, but at others it was the Lilidans saying that the demon lord is supposed to form a contract with the law of identity and recreate the next world as its “father” — something Akuto had already figured out at some point. Looking back, I found that it’s actually a combination of both that made this series a little more difficult to follow than I gather the producers wanted it to be.

I actually had to watch this episode twice to get a proper grasp on the overall story, plus refer back to the previous ones to see how tangible the progression’s been. With only twelve episodes to work with in a series that’s expected to have a fair amount of fan-service on top an extravagant plot that works in both Gods and Demon Lords in a Matrix-like system, I’ve come to the realization that my personal difficulty in making sense of things stemmed from those two aspects being forced to overlap in the limited time frame. If you just look at the story that’s been covered thus far and ignore the “fluff” that’s encompassed it, the foundation has actually been laid to make it work. I mentioned before how the quick introduction of plot devices such as the Sword of Sohaya felt like a cheap way to advance the story, but in retrospect it only came off that way because the episode couldn’t spare enough time to focus on the Hattori/Teruya side of the struggle leading up to the Junko drawing the legendary sword to deal with Eiko. The screen time in the following episode had to be shared between Akuto, Bouichirou, Fujiko, Lily, and Hiroshi’s perspectives, which made it increasingly difficult to appreciate the underlying story elements that were progressing steadily along.

Leading up to this finale, if you took notice to the school director’s brief mention of how Bouichirou was around in the battle a hundred years ago yet never aged one bit, in conjunction with the flashback scene of his lover and former law of identity Rimu’s contract with the demon lord, it won’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that Bouichirou’s a time traveler intent on stopping the God’s endless cycle of destroying all human life and recreating it elsewhere. Along those lines, this means that everyone is caught in a system designed to collect data from each iteration, revise it, and then destroy the world and create a new one based on the changes. Being the demon lord, Akuto has been aware of this fact for some time now and is why he’s rebelling against the Gods. The huge twist is that the demon lord is proxy of theirs intended to close the chapter of each “story” by wiping out mankind, but it didn’t come off as one due to the brief and easily glossed over foreshadowing in previous episodes where the fan-service-filled subplots involving Junko, Keena, Korone, and Fujiko took center stage.

Whether you actually got all that leading up to this finale and saw past the ecchi surface of this series, the conclusion here where Akuto asks Peterhausen to tap into the God’s system and take it down to prevent their world’s destruction, will be either utterly awesome with a lot of closure or totally nonsensical random chain of events. Admittedly, I fell into the latter category when I first watched this episode, but a second viewing and some flipping through of the previous episodes landed me in the former. When I say “utterly awesome” however, this doesn’t mean the series has suddenly redeemed itself and become a series I’d recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. Instead, it’s been elevated from being rather unsubstantial and run-of-the-mill to actually having a good plot amidst all the fan-service. In addition, it even allowed things to come full circle with the law of identity’s slight modification to their world so that everyone except our main characters forgot about whole demon lord incident, only for Yata Garasu give Akuto the future career assessment of becoming one once again. It looks like there are some viscious cycles that can’t help but be repeated with or without the Gods’ involvement. =P

 

Epilogue

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou   12   43 Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou   12   44 Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou   12   45
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou   12   46 Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou   12   47 Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou   12   48

Final Impressions:

When I skimmed through the first bit of this series’ manga while writing up the Spring 2010 Preview, it came off primarily as a high school comedy with a fair bit of fan-service in a futuristic setting with magic. In spite of that, it was something I felt had potential to be much more given its light novel roots and backstory revolving around Akuto’s past with Keena. Having seen the full adaptation now, I can say that there is a lot more depth than it appears on the surface, albeit it wasn’t anything like I was expecting. Not once did I consider that the story would reach such heights as addressing the existence of Gods and depicting how religion is nothing more than a means for them to guide their human subjects in the system. All I was expecting from the demon lord premise is Akuto being viewed negatively yet possessing the power to do amazing things as he forms his high school harem. Clearly that was a misjudgment on my part, especially considering that this is based on a light novel where fan-service-oriented pictures don’t even exist. The plot has to play a significant role in order to propel things forward there and that’s exactly what we had here. Kind of hard to imagine based on the promo artwork of course, but that just goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover, regardless of how cliché is.

However, this anime adaptation wasn’t without problems as it tried to cover a fair amount of material in a short period of time. I originally felt that this series suffered from pacing issues, but now feel that really wasn’t the case at all. To the writers’ credit, they did what they had to in the limited time frame and compressed the story so that multiple things were happening concurrently. The trade-off is that things got a little hard to follow and were briefer, but all the key story elements were there to string the entire series together. The real problem I found is that it’s hard to take notice of those elements with all the fan-service that this series included. As soon as the viewer saw scenes with a loli getting fingers shoved down her throat or a naked girl being licked against her will, the whole bit about the assailant being a member of the government agency CIMO8 was the furthest thing from their mind. This tendency of overshadowing the underlying story with a lot of fan-service is what ultimately plagued this series from being taken seriously enough for it to come together in a significant way. Normally a series would alternate between story and fan-service rather than being forced to overlap them the entire time.

Be that as it may, it’s kind of impressive how much material was covered in only twelve episodes using this approach though. The first three were introductory ones, the next two focused on Fujiko’s brother and the revival of Peterhausen that was hinted at earlier, the sixth one was an obligatory beach episode, and the remaining six covered the rebellion against the Gods. If you can actually spare the time to watch this series again while trying to focus on the story elements of what’s happening rather than how it’s happening, it almost feels like this could have been a really good series that everyone would’ve been watching. In the end, unless watching a series twice with different focuses in mind is an option for you, it’s kind of hard to recommend Daimaou beyond what you’d get the first time through. I still enjoyed it thanks to characters like Korone and whatnot and see it in a whole new light after looking at things under a finer microscope, so everyone’s mileage will vary with this one.

June 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm
42 comments »
  • June 19, 2010 at 3:19 pmSilivious

    Hmm…very good ending, I’d say.

    • June 20, 2010 at 12:42 amItalian Spiderman

      … No

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:27 pmrebel2010

    well they left it open for a possible second season. If they were to do that hopefully its longer so stories can be explain instead of trying to figure them out while having other things going on. Overall i enjoyed the series, Korone and Junko were great everytime they were on screen and it was nice to see a male lead that accepted their situation rather than the usual cliche spineless one who always run away.

    • June 19, 2010 at 4:04 pmChaos

      well it was ok it wasn’t the greatest thing since code geass but it was good and i like the charaters most of all im hoping for sequal even peter might show up regenerated from that bit of fang he left behind and hopefully the student council president will get more screen time.

      • June 20, 2010 at 10:26 amrebel2010

        yeah Lily really needed more time on the screen, but at these they owned in episode 11

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:39 pmfrubam

    The only thing good about this show was Korone and Junko’s bashfulness. Other than that, it wasn’t that great of an anime, probably due to the amount of material covered in only 12 eps. I’m enjoying the manga quite a bit more than I have the anime.

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:41 pmClick

    This ending left me so…. confused xD. The series has a lot parts which makes you question what’s happening, but as you said, if you focus on what’s actually happening instead of how, the series becomes more enjoyable. I also enjoyed a lot of parts in the anime, especially the characters *CoughKoroneCough*, and it made me laugh quite bit. Still though, after watching it over a few times, I still wouldn’t say this would be a series that you would recommend to a friend, but the show’s good enough in its own right to watch on your own.

    Except for episode 7. That was like, one of the strangest things I’ve watched all year lol.

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:46 pmLevy

    Great to see that the conclusion straightened out a lot of question marks. I am also one of those that will have to re-watch some things to get my head around it. And thanks for the coverage of this anime till the end Divine. :D

  • June 19, 2010 at 3:58 pmCommander C.

    Here’s hoping for a sequel…

  • June 19, 2010 at 4:08 pmIsland Esper

    Another show ends and though I liked all the characters the mix of harem echi vs real story kill gods that never got shown, killed my interest. The other thing was the power ranger suit I still hate it. I can’t mix boobs and walking toilet liladans with let’s have a huge war against the eternal system that have fooled humanity forever. Is water and oil it won’t mix no matter how much you shake them. Give me eitherl just don’t force both. Having so much material and throwing everything at the viewer seem it was this season undoing, like the other show that will remain nameless. I’ll take Junko and Korone any day; but peterhausen poping cables? Nah for me this one goes to live with the likes of Tayutama. Sad indeed.

    • June 19, 2010 at 5:59 pmdivine

      Ah Tayutama. Yeah, that show didn’t live up to expectations either, but I enjoyed it to a degree nonetheless.

      • June 19, 2010 at 7:17 pmIsland Esper

        lol you are too kind Divine. However I have to admit I still love episode 4 getting Machiro (name?) in 20th century pantsu was priceless :)

  • June 19, 2010 at 4:48 pmdiet otaku

    this series can be summed up for me as “what did i just watch?” i’m glad this one’s over.

  • June 19, 2010 at 5:16 pmFono

    The two most important things for me in a series are compelling stories and characters that you can get attached to. Daimaou definitely has the latter, and I would argue it has the former as well. It’s was just a little too rushed. I think if Daimaou would have had more time (at least twice as many episodes) to go through everything and give everyone a thorough understanding of exactly what was going on then it would have undoubtedly been an outstanding show. Even if twenty-four episodes led to more unneeded fluff. But in the end I still think it’s a good show. I really, really enjoyed the far too short ride.

  • June 19, 2010 at 5:28 pmKarmafan

    This series reminded me of the recent 2 part revision of Fate/Stay (one of the greatest anime series of all time). They took a 12/13 part anime series and condensed it down into 2 45 minute episodes and it was a jumbled mess. There was so much material to cover that they jumped from one thing to another and unless you already had seen the original series and knew what was gonna happen you were screwed trying to make sense out of the new Fate/Stay.

    This series is similar to that. IMHO this series should have been a 24/26 part series or 2 seasons of 12 episodes so they could take their time and explain things easier and we could make sense out of it all. It was just too many plot points thrown into a 12 parter. Not a series I would recomend to anyone.

    • June 19, 2010 at 6:04 pmdivine

      Yeah, my sentiments exactly. Even with only three or four more episodes, this series probably would’ve come together a lot better. Unfortunately, no one makes 15-16 episode series, unless their studio’s name is SHAFT and they resort to airing web episodes that come out whenever they feel like it.

      For Daimaou, I don’t blame the writers given the time frame they had to work with. Like I mentioned in my post, if anyone does watch the series again and pays attention to all the subtleties, they’ll likely appreciate the story a lot more.

  • June 19, 2010 at 5:32 pmbigguy

    one of the good things about this site blogging is about the least recognized animes that have tons of fan service to b review and still point out the good things from that series unlike the big bloggers out there that focus mainly on storylines(those anime r good btw) and the bad thing that promote. For example if big bloggers would review this anime they will most likely put a bad review right away cus of too much perverted scenes.

    hoping to see more of fanservice anime in the future. it keeps myself being happy!

  • June 19, 2010 at 5:57 pmN0216332

    the bit where the bird tell him hes gonna be the demon lord again came across as unnecessary, at least it did to me (i know its for the comical effect of junko, but i cant help but think the series is not finish). At the end i found myself liking keena the most out of all of them, which is weird, usually my favourite will probably be lily. :/ .. oh well, well done keena

  • June 19, 2010 at 6:12 pmEC2891

    Hi Divine! I would like to ask if you read the mail from your gmail account? The one with the e-mail address randomc.anime@gmail.com? I sent an e-mail a few weeks back asking a question in regards to website partnership and I have not received a reply in the positive or the negative. I was wondering if you guys use some other e-mail address now after the change? If so could I have it?

    • June 19, 2010 at 6:28 pmdivine

      I do check that address. Please check your mailbox for a response.

  • June 19, 2010 at 6:25 pmAshan

    One thing is constantly nagging at me. What about the flashbacks at the make-shift Church where Akuto and Keena met as children?

    One other thing as well, though minor, during the very first episode its hinted that Akuto’s caretaker had foreknowledge that he would become the Demon Lord / Saviour, how’s that possible?

    Overall, a bit odd in terms of presentation (I recall the insane muscles episode) and the pacing was way out of whack, but it boils down to a decent entertaining show when not taken seriously.

  • June 19, 2010 at 6:25 pmcrazystudyguy

    Horrible, rubbish what a load of trash this series is just another for the rubbish bin sigh Wish I never picked up this series

  • June 19, 2010 at 6:35 pmarb

    It was good til they had to end it, they royally f’ed that up

  • June 19, 2010 at 7:52 pmtama

    I think it is expected that the ending is not the greatest after watching the last episode. There’s just too little episodes for so many ideas. I got good laughs here and there.. and that’s all I care about from the beginning. It’s just that kind of show..

  • June 19, 2010 at 9:03 pmFlameStrike

    Heh well this series way exceeded my expectations. I was expecting another crappy harem show but this series presented an awesome badass main lead, fun enjoyable characters, and an actual overarching plot to boot. The loads of good fan service was a plus too. However I agree with Divine that the main downfall was that everything was too condensed to make sense of. After thinking about it for a moment, the story line comes together and you realize there really was a pretty good plot instead of random stuff happening, but it’s hard for people to see the first time around due to all the crazy shit that happens in every ep. Overall a good enjoyable series.

    • June 20, 2010 at 12:46 amunlisted

      I liked the show’s comedy parts. I agree that they tried to cover too much ground. It might have diminished some chance of it getting a second season. Had they fully fleshed out the light novels they might have made it more bad ass thus showing need for a sequel somewhere down the line. They could have also devoted more time to comedy this way.

      Having pretty much watched every worthwhile series out there (in my opinion), I’ve become much more picky and cynical towards anime in general because I know there is a light novel or manga out there that tells the full story (and in most cases still running!). It’s pretty depressing since I like shows so much but realize there is usually much more to it. In any case, I hate those half ass open ended (anime original) endings.

  • June 19, 2010 at 9:25 pmKat

    I love the pace of this story
    no wish washy
    a breath of fresh air
    It had a lot stuff
    everything just came
    bam bam

  • June 20, 2010 at 5:17 amTomer

    This is one of the worst final episodes I have seen.

  • June 20, 2010 at 5:29 amTomer

    From the pilot and the next couple of episodes I thought this would be a decent enough series to watch. The idea did seem interesting and unique enough and whilst I agree with you Divine that the plot had a lot of potential (I can imagine it works a lot better in the light novel) it was pulled off so badly that I cannot in recommend this series to anyone.

    You say they didn’t have enough time to tell the story properly but from what I they had plenty to spare. Had they removed just half of the compeltely ridiculous and way overused fan-service and focused more on the development of the plot and the characters they could have stretched the final arc to another couple of episodes. Again and again they chose to show a few more naked shots instead of actually explaining what the hell was going on which in my mind was the downfall of this series.

    I do hope though that another company does a second adaptation focusing more on the light novel than the manga.

  • June 20, 2010 at 6:05 amHikari

    “…What just happened?”

    That’s what I thought when I watched the episode, but thankfully your summary resolved a LOT of incomplete passages.

  • June 20, 2010 at 7:12 amSuppa Tenko

    *cough*Matrix*cough*

  • June 20, 2010 at 7:15 amSin1505

    What? This is what force feeding feels like?

  • June 20, 2010 at 7:55 amle nuage

    Doesn’t this mindfuck remind you of Asura Cryin ?

  • June 20, 2010 at 9:32 amAuroraFlame

    I might have enjoyed this a little more than you did because I was rewinding so many times to catch all the out-of-nowhere concept explanations.

    Something I found interesting is that this series chose a specific place to rush its story. They knew they wouldn’t be able to keep the pacing straight, so they introduced a ton of stuff in the second half of 9 and the entirety of 10. The breakneck pacing of those two ended up (for me) allowing 11 to make sense and resolve numerous stories despite jumping from plotline to plotline. This, in turn, allowed 12 to have a much more relaxed pace because they didn’t have to deal with as many characters.

    Compare this to a series like Ryuusei no Gemini, which had a good pace for ten episodes then rushed the finale in the final two. I wonder if the quality of shows will change if they start actively deciding where to cram, rather than taking it easy for as long as possible only to have the writing explode at the end.

  • June 20, 2010 at 11:09 amBROOKLYN otaku

    GUGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • June 21, 2010 at 12:50 amSnicket

    This kind of ‘stumble pacing’ happens a lot to an adaptation that could/should go for about 24-50 episodes. Is crammed into a mere 12 episodes. Things get altered and the pacing is thrown into a off balance tumble drying set of high. Since the producers are trying to cram as much as they can it, while still trying to have it make seance.

  • June 21, 2010 at 1:51 amSnicket

    Blah! sorry for the disjointed comment, i was on the phone when i was typing it.

  • June 21, 2010 at 3:00 amdrzero7

    needed to be 24 episodes….

  • June 21, 2010 at 10:31 amZero

    Was really hoping for a Junko ending, but ah well :(

  • June 24, 2010 at 12:06 pmsealouse

    Why did I watch this again? Well the premise sounded good enough then it was all down hill from there

  • June 25, 2010 at 5:29 pmnissannut

    Good ending, but 3 or 4 more episodes would have allowed for more time in the development of the plot. I liked the series regardless, but a little more in-depth explanation of what was going on, Akuto’s and Bouichiro’s reasons, and more on the system and Identity would have made this one heck of a series. Still, I’m glad I watched this and the girls were great and Akuto is definitely gar and one cool cat.

  • June 28, 2010 at 5:38 pmAnkoku

    Why was it that the gods trying to wipe humanity? All I could ask myself during this chapter was that. Anyone can answer? I mean, collect and revise data, then wipe out humanity, start anew and that’s all?