It has its share of tropes, but The Misfit of Demon King Academy is a treat for fans of fantasy anime, with solid world-building and plenty of charisma.
This recap of The Misfit of Demon King Academy episode 1 contains spoilers.
All storytelling is iterative – every good idea has been had before, at least once or twice. But it’s the execution that matters, finding a new-ish angle from which to approach familiar material, or at least boasting a sense of style that makes that material feel fresh and exciting again. The Misfit of Demon King Academy, a new fantasy anime now streaming on Crunchyroll, has all the trope-y hallmarks you might expect, but with a high-school dynamic, a nice visual style, solid world-building and an overabundance of charisma to help those played-out elements not to grate.
As solid as that world-building is, though, it’s a little inelegant in The Misfit of Demon King Academy episode 1, which frontloads a bunch of exposition about the Demon King, and the school which has been established to determine the reincarnation of the once-feared Anos Voldigord, who turns out to be our month-old protagonist. In the two thousand years that have elapsed in the Demon King’s absence, demons have been softened by peace, and it was in the making of this point that the show grabbed me.
The overpowered protagonist is nothing new, of course, but Anos is enjoyably smug and is prone to fanciful displays of his power that I found wildly entertaining, including messily killing a rival, Zepes, over and over again, reincarnating him with a spell each time. Dialogue drives this sequence, and in fact, several of Zepes’ deaths occur off-screen, which is a smart choice. Here, we get a sense of Anos’s personality and power, and he’s an engaging figure. Later, when Zepes’s brother attempts to avenge the family’s now-sullied reputation, Anos once again humiliates his rival with a display of magic that brings Zepes back as a shambling, vengeful corpse, forcing reconciliation between the brothers. It’s a great, memorable sequence, and a fine introduction to the character.
It’s the supporting players who feel a bit weaker and more clichéd, including Misha, another hopeful student, and Anos’s parents – especially his mother. But there’s a bit of a knowing sense of humor that helps to offset these overly familiar elements, and the premiere episode is modest in how it only establishes the basic premise and a couple of key figures, delivering a last-minute cliffhanger ending with Anos’s reveal that he’s the true Demon King.
The animation courtesy of studio Silver Link is impressive, with great effects and well-conceived magic powers, and the line readings – especially Anos’ – are frequently excellent. This is a polished, confident anime series that makes a strong first impression. It should suit fans of fantasy and/or school-set anime down to the ground.
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.