How Not to Summon a Demon Lord

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord anime cover art featuring Diablo, Shera, Rem, Alicia, Sylvie, Edelgard, and Klem
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Cover Art

Overview

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord was the surprise hit of the Summer 2018 season. At first I picked up this series thinking it was going to be another generic isekai anime, but that just wasn’t the case.

In fact, Demon Lord was so good that I actually picked up another isekai this past season just so I could prove to myself that Demon Lord was an exception among isekai, not the rule. This anime ended up being my highest rated of the season, but you’ll have to wait until the conclusion for my actual rating as usual.

The best way I can describe Demon Lord is that it’s a cross between KonoSuba and Overlord, and my rating of it reflects that nicely. It has the comedy of KonoSuba, but the general premise of Overlord, and it actually turned out to be a nice mix, despite how it seems at first glance.

Diablo, also known as Sakamoto Takuma, was the strongest player in an MMORPG known as Cross Reverie until one day he was summoned into a fantasy world with striking similarities to the game he played. He was summoned by two girls, Rem and Shera, who attempted to cast an enslavement spell on him to make him their familiar.

However, as one of the most powerful players in the game, and therefore in this world he was summoned into, Diablo has a magic reflecting ring which fired the enslavement magic back at Rem and Shera, making them his slaves.

The rest of the season follows Diablo, Rem, and Shera as they try to figure out how to break the enslavement spell cast on the girls, as well as defeating the Demon Lord sealed inside of Rem. Diablo’s harem also continuously grows over the course of the anime, but this doesn’t detract from the premise as it might in other anime.

So just how is Demon Lord similar to KonoSuba? In general, it has a fairly similar sense of comedy, although Demon Lord focuses more on ecchi as a source of comedy than KonoSuba does. However, besides ecchi, Diablo’s character is the main source of comedy for the series.

Despite referring to himself as the Demon Lord, Diablo is actually a human, even in this new world. The horns on his head are just a prop that he wears because he thinks they look cool. His Demon Lord persona is also all just an act as we learn from his internal monologue.

While he plays the part of a Demon Lord and tries to act powerful and evil on the outside, it’s only because that’s the only way he knows how to talk to other people. In Cross Reverie, he always interacted with other players by role-playing the part of a Demon Lord, and due to his poor social skills, role-playing this way is the only way he can power through social interactions.

Next up, how is Demon Lord like Overlord? Again, Diablo is the primary way in which these two anime are similar. Much like Ainz is in Overlord, Diablo is the strongest known person in the new world he was summoned into. He’s also a mage, just like Ainz, and many other MMO isekai protagonists.

Diablo’s internal monologue is also reminiscent of Ainz’s as well, showing the drastic difference between his inner and outer personas. However, unlike Ainz, Diablo doesn’t actually appear to be the villain of the series, although at times I wish he was.

Characters

Diablo is the protagonist of this isekai, but despite being your typical overpowered isekai protagonist, he’s actually fairly entertaining and balanced. Yes, he’s a higher level than everyone else he’s come across in the world, but he still requires large amounts of mana to use his powerful spells and so doesn’t completely outclass some of his stronger opponents.

While he certainly one-shots enemies at times, which occasionally felt reminiscent of One Punch Man, his fights against the stronger opponents often come down to his actual skill rather than his magic abilities. Yes, he’s strong, but he’s also sunk so many hours into Cross Reverie that he knows how to fight in it inside and out.

He’s also surprisingly good at making friends despite his Demon Lord persona. I think this is in part due to most of the other characters not taking him seriously, and also in part due to their recognition that he’s actually strong enough to do whatever he says he will.

Diablo from the anime How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Diablo

Rem is one of Diablo’s two initial companions in the series, and no, she doesn’t have a sister named Ram this time around. Rem is a demi-human known as a Panthera, but for all intents and purposes, she’s a cat-girl because ecchi.

Rem, like her ancestors before her, has the Demon Lord Glebsklem sealed inside of her. This is a secret she’s had to bear her entire life, because if anyone ever found out they would either try to kill her to prevent the Demon Lord from resurrecting, or kidnap her and force the Demon Lord to be resurrected and destroy the mortal races.

However, once he learns of this, Diablo vows to defeat the Demon Lord sealed inside of Rem. While he does this because Rem is his friend and he wants to help her, his “official” reason is because he’s the true Demon Lord and so needs to punish this “fake” for claiming his title.

Shera is the other companion Diablo starts out with alongside Rem. Shera is a princess of the Elves who doesn’t want to take over the rule of her homeland in the future. Instead, she wants to go on adventures, see the world, and have fun with her friends, Diablo and Rem.

She’s essentially Rem’s opposite in every way. Rem is stronger, smarter, and acts more like an adult, but Shera has a more mature physical appearance and is more open about her emotions. Their character designs also have competing color palettes, with Rem’s being dark and Shera’s being light.

The next addition to Diablo’s harem is Alicia, an imperial knight who was sent to help protect Shera from her brother who wanted to kidnap her and take her back to the Elves’ homeland. Alicia then sticks around with Diablo and the gang for the majority of the season after this point.

Spoilers: Alicia is actually a Demon Lord worshiper who wants to resurrect the Demon Lord sealed inside of Rem, despite being an imperial knight sworn to protect the kingdom. She’s probably my least favorite character, so that’s enough information about her.

The next girl we meet, but who doesn’t really join the harem until later is Edelgard. She’s a being known as a Fallen, which is one of the immortal races that worship the Demon Lord (the real one, not Diablo). In the end she chooses to turn her back on the Fallen and follow the Demon Lord instead, who we’ll get to next.

Klem is the final member of Diablo’s harem (for now). Klem is the incomplete resurrection of the Demon Lord Glebsklem who was sealed inside of Rem. Because she’s an incomplete resurrection, she’s vastly different from her complete form.

For instance, she has the appearance of a small child, and acts like one too. Shera introduces her to biscuits, and they immediately become her favorite food and driving factor behind all of her choices. She also has no wish to destroy the mortal races as she should, simply because Shera said it’s not a nice thing to do.

I know a lot of people hate on loli characters simply for existing, but Klem is a pretty good character if I’m being honest. I thought she was a clever way to have the issue of there being two Demon Lords resolved, and she adds more comedy to the series which isn’t a bad thing.

The final female character I want to mention is Sylvie. While not technically a member of Diablo’s harem, Sylvie is a pseudo-member. She’s a bunny girl who serves as the adventurers’ guild master in the city the story takes place.

While Diablo has done questionable things to the other girls, especially Rem (and Klem due to her age), the most questionable thing he’s done involved Sylvie after she got him drunk and he mistook her for a body pillow. I’d like to see Sylvie officially added to the gang one day, but we’ll have to wait and see if a second season ever comes around.

There are a number of male characters in this series other than Diablo, but there’s one in particular I want to mention because he’s one of the best male isekai characters around. Emile is the white (golden) knight of the series and seemed to be a parody of the usual isekai protagonists much like Mitsurugi in KonoSuba.

If Mitsurugi is a 10 on the white knight scale, then Emile was turned up to 11. He proclaims that he’s an ally of all women, even to the point of allowing the Demon Lord Klem to remain in the city simply because she’s a girl. This “ally of all women” character trait is probably one of his best because of the situations it puts him in.

Even if he’s going to look like a fool, or get beat up to the point where he can barely stand, Emile refuses to give up on helping and protecting women. Emile’s character is primarily used for comedic purposes in this way.

That said, he’s actually considered to be the strongest adventurer in the guild other than Diablo, and he proves it by vowing to fight a Fallen soldier to the death in order to protect Rem. This scene was the one time Emile actually looked cool, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him like that.

His other primary character trait is that of the “bro.” Despite how Diablo initially feels about him, the second Emile hears that Diablo is helping Rem and Shera, he decides that he and Diablo are best friends. Over the course of the season, Diablo comes to see Emile as a friend too, but he can’t admit it due to his poor social skills.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a new comedy, or just something from the Summer 2018 season to watch, I highly recommend How Not to Summon a Demon Lord. Overall I think it was an 8/10 which means it was a great anime; not quite as good as KonoSuba, but still better than Overlord which is a good isekai as well.

The OP for How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is available here.

Did you watch Demon Lord this Summer? If so, what did you think of it? If not, do you plan to add it to your PTW list? Let me know in the comments below, and while you’re at it, click the like button if you enjoyed this post.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribe to my blog, if you want to receive notifications every time a new post goes live. As a quick preview, tomorrow’s post will be the final entry in my Madoka Magica character series, and Tuesday’s will be about the other isekai I watched this Summer, The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar.

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