「真贋対戦」 (Shingan Taisen)
“Battle for Legitimacy”

We finally arrive at where we were always going: all the girls, naked with Diablo.

I actually don’t have many problems with the Diablo vs Krebskulm battle. While it is funny how he seemingly had less trouble with her than with Galford or Eulerex, the big risk was that it would drag on too long, which it did not. We always knew the big moment would be when Klem sees that Rem is still alive, so getting the action/big ol’ nuke out of the way quickly was the best idea. As I’ve found in my own writing, if you don’t have anything particularly interesting to say, it’s best to just say it and be done with it. Same thing with action scenes.

Special props to Emile. He’s a silly character, but he’s always felt more oafish than actually creepy, so when he says he’s an ally of women—well, he probably shouldn’t say that. It’s like a guy I used to know who talked about “feminine energy.” Just … don’t. But he’s walked the walk more every chance he’s gotten, so even if he’s a rather shallow character, he’s at least a kind-hearted one.

Going with the enslavement ritual so Klem can stay … well. It’s the best idea they had. Compared to how Rem and Shera are still wearing the collars, it’s much better. I still didn’t like the image of the two current slaves encouraging a girl to become their master’s new slave, and I don’t love the theme of slavery throughout this series. Even Death March did it better, barely, though once again the focus came off as off-putting. Still, it was a good idea in this current situation, and I don’t have a better idea given my knowledge of the show’s universe, so. That happened.

Alicia’s characterization turned on a dime once her plan fell apart. They scattered hints to it throughout, but none were given that she’d give a shit about Edelgard in particular—and how did Edelgard, a Fallen, make it through the barrier anyway!? (Though I guess also how did Klem manage that originally. I forget the rules on it. Seems pretty arbitrary.) Ditto to them trying to line up Alicia’s way of thinking (and her trauma) with Diablo’s. I see what they were trying to do, and it’s not completely out of left field, but the link was brought up too close to its resolution, it hasn’t been explored enough before, and none of it was earned. Diablo got in some good moments, but that’s about the best I can say for it. Other’n that it led to where we all knew we were going all along: all the girls, in the harem, and naked, with Diablo. Fair enough. It was harder to get here than I expected, which just might be a win in the end.

As for forgiving Alicia, I agree with Diablo. Death isn’t penance, it’s a cop out, nor does her trauma excuse her actions. She is guilty of horrific crimes, ones which she cannot be absolved of. That does not mean she needs to die, though, nor that the others should hold it against her forever. Far from it. She can be redeemed, and should, and even though that won’t absolve her of her sins, it will at least lead to more good in the world than a corpse in a hotel room would. They made a good decision, even if the writing was shaky around it.

Onto the final impressions below!

Random thoughts:

  • I love Emile’s face during the Sylvie confrontation scene! So silly, just perfect.
  • Of course, now that Klem is officially part of the harem, she gets skimpy nightwear. Not that it’s much different from her usual outfit, natch.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: An Author’s Review of: Wage Slave Rebellion.

Full-length images: 23, 34.



Final Impressions

I had reasonable hopes heading into this series, and the first few episode met or slightly exceeded them. Up until probably the fifth episode, the series was actually pretty good, featuring likable female leads, a male lead who is overpowered but hobbled for a social phobia that’s both treated kindly and holds him back, and there were actual, believable challenges to Diablo’s powers in this world. That’s all really good! Also, the fanservice was big and silly, and that’s how fanservice should be. Tongue in cheek is the best place to put the tongue. Read into that statement as you will.

Things started to get shakier around mid-season, though, and that poisoned the well. I think the elf prince was the biggest initial problem. While Galluk (that crazy dude who stabbed himself with a Fallen inside) was a shallow villain, he was also clearly a bit player, which kept his idiocy from dominating the narrative. Not so for elfie nii-san. They also got way more into glorifying slavery, which ew. No.

But then there would be a fight against Galford, which was really, really good. Then Saddler would be marched out, another flat, clichéd villain. Then there was a bit of a rush at the end to bring it to this point. It was dicier in the second half, and it exposed the series’ central problem.

Murasaki Yukiya-sensei can do better. He has before, or so I’m told, and though I haven’t read his other books, I’m willing to believe it. There’s real skill in evidence in Isekai Maou, and real thought put into the premise, world, and creation of the characters, which elevates it above bottom-barrel genre fare. I mean, Rem and Shera end up developing a real, earnest friendship, instead of squabbling over the boy like expected! That’s really good! That’s not something a shallow writer could pull off. He seemed to actually care.

Except when it came to the villains, and much of the plotting. The issue, I think, is that enough of Isekai Maou is good that, when it takes the easy path, it’s disappointing. I know Murasaki-sensei writes these as a way to relax after writing his dense military epics, but when he opts for the path well trodden, it’s clearly because he didn’t care to dig deeper. He’s able. This is clear. But sometimes he just doesn’t try, such as when everyone danced so easily to Alicia’s tune, and then she suddenly about-faces in the last minutes.

Adaptation decay could be the culprit. I don’t read light novels, because their writing style is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I’m totally willing to believe that some of these issues were done better in the source material. Only … not all of them. Four episodes per light novel should be plenty to adapt it properly, so unless the anime crew screwed up, I’d wager some of this was just there.

The result is pretty good, all things considered. It’s an above average isekai show easily, and I don’t lament watching it, nor blogging it. The reason I leave it disappointed is that Isekai Maou never escaped or elevated its genre, even though it could have, even though it was on the cusp of doing so. It had so much potential, and sometimes it traversed the difficult path with skill and aplomb (Rem and Shera’s relationship!). That just made it all the more disappointing when it took the easy road.

At least the fanservice was nice, more often than not. You can always believe in boobs. That seems to be the philosophy of the Japanese light novel industry, at least.


  1. and how did Edelgard, a Fallen, make it through the barrier anyway!? (Though I guess also how did Klem manage that originally. I forget the rules on it. Seems pretty arbitrary.)

    I think the anime skipped discussing it to keep us light on exposition. Anyone can enter through the city gates, so long as they’re open. Those were made that way specifically because the barrier also blocks Demons like Diablo from entering (because they have some Fallen blood in them), as well as any weapons, armor, or other artifacts that were made by the Fallen (which are all higher-quality equipment than are made by the races, so both adventurers and soldiers will hang on to any they find). Thus, gates exist which allow those people and things to enter the city.

    Anyway, regarding the series as a whole… it’s basically as I’ve said before (although maybe I didn’t say it here…): this is a good, fun, enjoyable isekai series. It doesn’t redefine the genre or anything like that, but it does make use of the tropes and whatnot of the genre to make itself an enjoyable experience. It is definitely above the garbage-tier works that have flooded the genre. I am absolutely certain that the author could have taken it to a higher level, but he chose not to. It’s his call. Plenty of people still enjoy the series as it is.

    PS: I think Krem’s nightie actually conceals more of her body than her regular clothes.

  2. this last episode needs some FBI monitoring 😀 but anyway, pretty good episode actually, puts a smile on my face after the resolution of klem/alicia issue and with klem on diablo’s control, he has access to unlimited MP potion and boosts which will make him stronger. my only disappointment on this is his grand magic that was used here. i expect it to be OP in animation like the “white nova”, but in this episode it is somewhat lacking in WOW factor. it was supposed to look like a apocalyptic and very destructive like huge twister of sort as what is portrayed in manga but oh well… perhaps after that white nova OP-ness, the expectation bar was set higher on his finisher magic in this episode or maybe that is how it really is in LN (didn’t read the LN).

    finally, looks like next season will be insane for all of RC bloggers. lots of good stuff to cover so uh good luck @Stilts and the rest of the crew

  3. Thought this wrapped things up pretty well. Making Krem a slave
    was a pretty good twist – I really wasn’t expecting that (but her
    mention of biscuits was great comedic timing). And I agree with
    Stilts, there was / is some real story telling skill in the flow
    of the events, each building on the previous (again I was pleasantly
    surprised that the contract stone was so important, since it was
    introduced as a no-big-deal item early on).

    Dunno if this was a LN-selling series, or if there’s hope for a
    second season, but I’ve invested in the characters enough to watch
    a second season…

  4. As far as Alicia goes, the anime kinda stream-lined her part here to make it an ending instead of a start to something new (the end here is actually the first chapter of Vol. 4). In the LN she was less “I know I was wrong, but I can’t help it”, and more “If you lived my life you’d be the same way”. She and Diablo get into an argument that ends up going sideways due to his Demon Lord roleplay, and he ends up accidentally convincing her that it’s not all the Races that deserve to die, just the upper part of human nobility that try to force their dumb idea onto people. This “revelation” makes her swear undying loyalty to him even as he tries to convince her that isn’t what he meant, but she just races off back to the capital to start setting the groundwork so that when they meet again they can start fixing the problem.

    As far as her and Edelgard go, a lot was skimmed but Alicia basically likes her for accepting her and her ideals, and Edelgard went through a pretty big fight to protect her from most of the other Fallen who were trying to kill Alicia as the two fled. Alicia basically views her as the first person to accept the “real” her.

    1. Yeah, and you know what – that’s why I was so disappointed in those
      dopey episodes earlier on. All of this character dynamic opportunity
      was missed to give (us) some poor fan-service which added nothing to
      the story. Like Silts mentioned, (IMHO) this has good story telling
      where each character is distinct and believable. The relationship
      between Alicia and Edelgard seems to have been far deeper than Alicia
      being used by the Fallen to gain access to the Krem – but little of
      that actually came through the Anime. I think seeing Edelgard trying
      to protect Alicia through their retreat would’ve added so much depth
      to their “friendship.”

      Oh well… On to the Fall Anime season!

  5. I really liked this anime, it was above the average isekai.
    What did disappoint me the most however was the fighting animation, especially the magic which is supposed to be really high level, but I wasn’t feeling it in the screen.
    Compare it to the way Overlord or even Megumin Explosion(konosouba) do it, and you get what I mean.
    It looked pretty weak for such high level magic, even the one shown in this episode.
    Maybe it was also the sound effect, don’t know.

    1. Maybe not Alicia since she’s still technically a respected imperial knight and that could cause some trouble with the nobility, but Edelgard seems like a no-brainer especially after this whole Klem ordeal.

  6. Boobs in LNs/WNs are more for male-oriented titles, of which most get anime adaptations that are most often looked at by the Western anime community.

    Female-targeted LNs/WNs tend to talk more about how dashingly handsome/sparkly their male leads are, with the occasional reference to them shirtless. That said, the female-focused titles I’ve seen tend to define lewdness by how closely the males intrude their personal space while spouting semi-dashing/dangerous lines about wanting them romantically/carnally etc.

  7. Edelgard – I’m calling best girl this Anime season.

    She’s taken terrible beatings and has had her vision of the Demon Lord’s
    resurrection completely changed (also, I just realized she wasn’t healed
    after the beating by the Eulerex in episode 10) and is willing to follow
    Krem anywhere. And cuddle with Diablo – a sworn enemy (until now)!

    So cool!

    I’m gonna miss this silly series!

  8. the good: power of friendship, dysfunctionality of MC keeps his OP stats in check
    the bad: positive view of slaveery, especially with them using it as a way to “control” Klem.
    the ugly: (or rather beautiful?) fanservice overdose

    Alicia turning to the light side was kinda forced, too…


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