“Magic Sword Tournament” makes an effort to reduce its seemingly overpowered protagonist to a more manageable scale, as mysterious threats loom all around.
This recap of The Misfit of Demon King Academy episode 6, “Magic Sword Tournament”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There’s a lot going on in “Magic Sword Tournament”, most of it wrapped up in the show’s burgeoning politics and worldbuilding. For once, it isn’t about Anos showing off, but about justifying his showing off, contextualizing his abilities, and highlighting where his weaknesses are. Most of these things occur in the form of conversations, implications, and with a little bit of guesswork, making the episode less exciting but somewhat richer, on the level of character and plot.
For a start, the titular Magic Sword Tournament doesn’t really matter until the end, and The Misfit of Demon King Academy episode 6 is mostly devoted to establishing why Anos, being the eponymous misfit, shouldn’t really be welcomed as a participant, and why he’s compelled to enter anyway. The fact he is suggests it’s a trap. The fact Anos doesn’t notice shows that he isn’t as clever as he thinks, at least not where his parents are concerned. But more on this later.
The “misfit” part of the show’s title seems more prevalent here than ever since the idea of pureblood superiority and the prejudices of the royal faction against Anos and indeed any other mucky half-bloods are essential to the tournament concept and to why Anos is under threat. He, of course, grandiose fellow that he is, believes that the age-old conspiracy of Anos Dilhevia and his whole erasure from history thing is at the forefront of his concerns, but up-front petty bigotry might just win the day in that regard.
It’s perhaps still a bit difficult to swallow that anyone would underestimate Anos’s abilities since he has done nothing but show off the extent of them all throughout the season, but then again, prejudice is a funny old thing, and I suppose it isn’t difficult to imagine the kind of ego attached to supposedly pure lineage. The Misfit of Demon King Academy episode 6 is designed pretty explicitly to float the idea that Anos isn’t as overpowered as we’ve been led to believe, which it kind of has to in order for us to feel the appropriate things given Anos is clearly walking right into an obvious trap.
This is primarily expressed through Anos’s relationship with Misha, who he speaks with later in “Magic Sword Tournament” and explains how it’s only really in destruction magic that he excels – she, as someone much younger than him and much more naturally versed in creation magic, could ultimately end up just as powerful, if not more so. This is an idea we’ve never really been given cause to consider since Anos has dispatched everyone and everything so easily until this point. But if Misha has the potential to be stronger than him, who else does? And what might that mean for the tournament, or for the underlying Avos Dilhevia conspiracy?
This conversation occurs largely as a way for Anos to address the obvious imbalance in his relationship with Misha, who clearly idolizes him but also feels deeply inferior to him. The fact Anos even cares helps to round him out as a character, as does his motivation for eventually joining the Magic Sword Tournament, which is simply to please his parents; to reward them for their unconditional love of and support for him. Demon King or not, it is these deeply human aspects that are increasingly coming to define Anos.
The idea that Anos can be human above an all-powerful Demon King, and that a supposed pureblood like Lay could have a dying half-spirit mother, and that Misa could similarly be a half-breed but one that, mysteriously, is immune to all of their usual complications, all make the underlying point of this show loud and clear: That matters of lineage and dynasty and other such things are largely irrelevant; that people can be who they want to be, and that nothing is preordained. For a show all about lofty titles, inherited responsibilities, bloodlines, and raw power, that’s a refreshingly open-minded sentiment.