「神様演技」 (Kami-sama Engi)
Spirit bombs, big ugly bosses, and a whole heap of wholesome fan service: yupp, it was an Isekai Maou finale alright. While there will certainly be some complaints about ending things early for what is normally an 11-13 episode affair, at least it’s nice seeing everything more or less tied up. Well, except Diablo’s demonic status of course. For all the effort of proving he’s not God the poor guy is still in status purgatory, with no one really doubting him, yet comparatively few so far outright believing him. Hilarious fun for us of course, but I hope he gets to the point of public acknowledgement at some point, if only for the accompanying scenery. Guess that’s what the source material is for – have to learn about that new threat somehow after all. Anyways, it’s impression time!
Isekai Maou for me really is a guilty pleasure. It’s superficial, generic as hell, and far too trashy to reach the heights of isekai masterpiece (especially given the ever-growing competition), but it retains a sense of fun often lost in many contemporaries. This season was no exception, and though it arguably stumbled more than it ran, it still was an enjoyable ride.
Much as with Isekai Maou’s first season, success here was born from the fusion of comedy and fan service. Diablo’s social introversion for example remained at the forefront, utilizing and reflecting off the rambunctious and bashful natures of Shera and Rem while adding in some extra complexity courtesy of new harem initiates party members Horn and Rose. It was nothing too far removed from the first season, but it was enough to add to Diablo’s earlier development and start growing him beyond simple embarrassment or freezing. Stuff like his moxie adlibbing in the final couple of episodes wouldn’t have been possible before, and even various fan service scenes this season needed the courage Diablo acquired previously to work the way they did. Simple, trope-based characterizations or not, Isekai Maou made the most of prior developments and let its main man shine.
Conversely, however, is where things fell apart in terms of story and pacing. While Isekai Maou has never had an extraordinary tale, this season (particularly the first half) did feel off and less coherent than the first. Pacing arguably was the major reason; many of the new characters like Lumachina or Fanis for example had minimal time for proper fleshing out, and key threats in Varakness and Vishos barely received more than passing introductions. Even past staples like Klem and company, while not focuses for these arcs, were left hanging given how fast related material was sped through. And that doesn’t even include the noticeable lack of Diablo-Shera-Rem banter (Rem especially) which helped define Isekai Maou’s season. Hindsight may be 20-20 and all, but I really wonder how things would’ve turned out if this season had run for a full 12 episodes in place of 10.
In the end though I’m not disappointed at all in choosing to cover this one. Isekai Maou may have its issues and be more fluff than substance in practice, but as a nice bit of weekly entertainment it certainly did its job and then some. I have no idea if I’ll return to it any time soon (in part from the improbability of any third season), but Isekai Maou is certainly one isekai I wouldn’t mind getting more of should the opportunity arise – and not just because I need more Horn in my life. Well, mostly.