One consistent truth among isekai titles is that summoning something as powerful as a Demon Lord is never a good idea. Nevertheless, that’s what Rem Galleu and Shera L. Greenwood set out to do in this latest fantasy adventure – How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord. Is it a worthwhile watch? Let’s find out!
Takuma Sakamoto spends his days playing MMORPG Cross Reverie where he is the Demon King known as Diablo. One day our hero is transported to a fantasy world in the body of his character Diablo. There he meets Rem and Shera, who both claim to have summoned him as their slave, but unfortunately, their spell has failed somewhat.
Although Diablo was successfully summoned, the Enslavement Ritual magic was bounced back by one of Diablo’s accessories. Instead of becoming a slave to Rem and Shera, they have instead become slaves to Diablo! To make matters worse, our hero has spent so long on his own that he has no idea how to talk to people. Filled with anxiety, he decides the only thing he can do to interact with those around him is to play the part of the fearsome Demon Lord he’s supposed to be!
As Diablo spends his days adventuring with Rem and Shera, he realises that the world he’s been summoned into isn’t all that dissimilar to Cross Reverie. Thanks to his knowledge of the game, he can keep himself and his companions out of grave danger – but just what drove them to summon a powerful being like him in the first place?
It turns out that Rem summoned Diablo to defeat the Demon King Krebskrem, whose soul has been sealed inside her body. Meanwhile, Shera just wishes for the power to live her life freely. Although Shera and Rem spend their days bickering about who Diablo truly belongs to, the two are stuck together until their enslavement is broken. Ultimately they become close friends, willing to risk their lives for one another.
Speaking of enslavement, although this series could easily have made Rem and Shera Diablo’s slaves forever, it does seem there is a way to remove the spell. Even if they can’t accomplish that in the end, Diablo has no interest in treating the two as his processions. He’d much rather they lived as freely as possible. It’s certainly nice to see, given how tricky the subject matter of slavery can be and how often mishandled it is in anime.
How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord is an entertaining mix of fantasy adventures and comedy. The characters all have great personalities and it’s a joy to watch them interact with each other as well as team up to take down monsters for quests and so forth. The only real issue is that the anime is very fanservice-heavy and I think that will put off a lot of viewers.
It’s not just that the characters are quite often half (or completely) naked, but also that there are a lot of suggestive sexual scenes. It never goes as far as sex, but there are certainly instances where things cross the line from lighthearted fan service to outright smut. If someone who didn’t know otherwise walked in during these scenes you’d have a hard time arguing they weren’t borderline porn, that’s for sure!
Animation for the series has been handled by studio Ajia-do (Ascendance of a Bookworm, Izetta: The Last Witch) and they do a great job of bringing the world to life. The animation is fluid and easy on the eyes, while the rich palette of colours gives off a warm and inviting appearance. I would certainly love to see more of the anime in the future should it happen.
Music for the series has been handled by Yusuke Kato (Zombie Land Saga, Masamune-kun’s Revenge) and fits the series well. None of the tracks ended up being particularly memorable after viewing, but they work so well in the moment that I don’t think that’s a negative this time. The opening for the series is “DeCIDE” performed by the Japanese voice actors, while the ending is “Saiaku na Hi demo Anata ga Suki” by HoneyWorks. I found the opening to be forgettable, but as a fan of HoneyWorks, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the ending (despite the fact the animation was the female cast mostly naked).
Where voice actors are concerned both the Japanese and English cast do a good job. While I prefer Masaki Mizunaka (Yosuke Maezawa in Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai) in the role of Diablo, I found Eric Vale (Arthur Boyle in Fire Force, Tomura Shigaraki in My Hero Academia) handled the character well too. Both actors were able to successfully flip between Diablo’s anxious, softer inner self and the menacing Demon Lord persona he projects.
This release comes to the UK thanks to Manga Entertainment and contains all 12 episodes of the series on Blu-ray or DVD. On-disc extras include episode commentaries for Episodes 1 and 11 as well as trailers and a clean opening video. Surprisingly there is no clean video for the ending, which is a shame, given I preferred that song and find it a strange omission. If you’re interested in reading the source material for the series, then J-Novel Club has been releasing the light novels in both print and digitally.
How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord is an entertaining isekai following what happens if you decide to summon a Demon Lord. Although the fan service will be too much for many, if you can look past that, there is a lovable cast of characters and an interesting story waiting for you.