OP: 「Believe My Dice」 by 江口 拓也, 寺島 拓篤, 松岡 禎丞, 柿原 徹也 (Takuya Eguchi, Takuma Terashima, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Tetsuya Kakihara)
「第1柱 devil and realist」 (Dai Ichi-Hashira devil and realist)
“First Pillar: devil and realist”
I counted zero women in that premiere, when was the last time that happened?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I went into Makai Ouji. I’m the type of anime viewer who likes to keep premises short and sweet before venturing into a show, and I like being surprised. So when I heard “gothic-styled” and words like “demons” and “butlers” I immediately thought of a series like Kuroshitsuji. It turned out to be only a so-so comparison. Now I’ve never finished the latter so I can’t really talk too much about it, but compared to the premiere of that, Makai Ouji doesn’t seem to take itself very seriously at all. There’s a whole lot more slapstick humor here than I remember there being in shows of the vein of Black Butler, and the plot doesn’t seem nearly as critical as it is in those series either.
In fact, from the moment we’re introduced to William Twining (Eguchi Takuya), it’s clear this isn’t exactly a show with seriousness too high up on the priority list. William is a young noble who proclaims himself as possessing “brains worthy of being national treasures” and his reactions, along with the rest of the cast, including devil duke Dantalion (Terashima Takuma), are so ridiculously over the top that they make that earlier statement feel rather modest. William’s whole dilemma is merely that his rich Uncle has gone bankrupt and he can no longer afford his ritzy school education; even after he discovers his destiny as an “elector” for the devil crown, he refuses to take the whole escapade as reality, cementing his role as the “realist” amongst all the magic and weirdness around him.
Honestly, as an adaptation, I felt this could have been portrayed better. For one thing, this premiere felt weirdly paced; it is rushed in some places, leaving awkward pauses in dialogue and it generally has no room to stretch out with. There are also some issues with comic timing; it feels somewhat odd seeing those chibis and jokes thrown in there, and much of that odd feeling has to do with the fact that they’re not introduced very naturally. They just feel out of place the way they’re used, which is never a good way to start anything. There were also copious amounts of that signature shoujo atmosphere, but in this case I didn’t really feel like that contributed too well to the overall atmosphere. While it did work fine in some cases, such as those early homoerotic-styled close ups between Dantalion and Solomon, the consequential overdose (ie, the sparkly hug) makes even that difficult to take seriously (or even as stylistic). Perhaps it’s just me, but in general I just felt like this premiere was overstuffed with too much of everything and didn’t let itself establish any particular mood, except perhaps “silly”.
If that sort of comedy and shoujo fabulousness is your cup of tea though, then by all means, this is your stop to all things devils and tsundere, stubborn, narcissists. If things slow down a bit from here on and pace themselves better, it might actually turn out to be highly enjoyable for those of us still on the threshold.
Note: There are currently no plans to cover Makai Ouji on a weekly basis.
ED: 「a shadow’s love song」 by 江口 拓也, 寺島 拓篤, 松岡 禎丞, 柿原 徹也 (Takuya Eguchi, Takuma Terashima, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Tetsuya Kakihara)