「人心変転」 (Jinshin Henten)
“”Change of Heart”
I can’t help but express my disappointment with the central moment of this episode. When Shera gets obviously mind controlled, and leaves with her brother—contradicting everything she was saying seconds beforehand, and with Diablo in full knowledge of the possibility of a mind control spell—I was pretty peeved. You see, the best stories surprise you. I’m not saying anything crazy here, right? It can start from a familiar base, but when it comes down to a crucial moment, it’ll do something you don’t expect, throw in a twist, or simply reveal itself as more than you expected. That elevates the material. Isekai Maou did that in some ways, but when the crucial moment came, it opted for cliche. Diablo got mopey and went inside to bed. Where’s that genre savvy from earlier!? Gah!
Not that everything was done poorly. I very much like that he showed real vulnerability, he even cried, because that (along with how he’s never ordered the girls to do anything after that first time, and now when it benefits them) continues to humanize and insulate him from becoming an overpowered ass. I don’t even hate that he has this past trauma, which serves a similar function. It’s just a hamfisted way to link two events that aren’t all alike! The first one was kids being dicks, of their own free will, while this time it’s a blasted abduction! A third party, Keera, is being shitty, instead of the friends in question. Totally different! They’re not the same! And trying to link the two like this is a cringe-worthy affair. It just doesn’t work.
You know what other anime this series reminds me of sometimes? Nisekoi. They’re both okay series executed relatively well by an author who has the skills to do much better and is only half trying. Here, the premise is better than with Nisekoi (that one was shite), but the character/moment-to-moment execution was better over there. Here it can become absolutely middling when Murasaki-sensei leans fully into the cliches. It can still be fun, in a trashy way, but I do expect it to try. Keera using the letter of the agreement while violating the spirit of it was a good moment, as was the call back to Diablo never ordering Shera. It’s just the missteps take away from the fun stuff, in an arc that feels like it should have ended this episode, rather than dragging on to another (look forward to Keera’s death and/or defeat by his own petard next time).
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