Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Majestic Prince, Hataraku Maou-sama, and Devil Survivor 2

I didn’t explain it that well in my first post, so let me say it here. Most modern anime, having lots of competition in whatever season they air, face a real need to prove themselves from day 1. This column is a breakdown of what I saw in various intro episodes that I think will prove indicative of the show’s quality in upcoming weeks, and hence what I plan to be watching. I generally don’t go over plot in much detail, as that’s something anyone can just go to any of a dozen encyclopedia sites for.

Majestic Prince had 2 things going for it right off the bat: the mecha action was spiffy (about on the level of Aquarion EVOL) and the main cast had personalities right off the bat. They didn’t get a whole lot of development, but everyone in the main 5 had their own charming traits, along with their tendency to get smartass on each other, highlighted right from the get-go. The main character, a nerd doing his best impersonation of classic hot-blooded hero, opens up some interesting possibilities for the show going forward. While there was nothing really special direction-wise going on in the first episode, the handling was competent and I feel this one’s earned at least another week’s worth of attention.

The first 5 minutes of Hataraku Maou-sama was rather jerky and dull, a collection of action scenes strung together basically incoherently. It felt like that could have been handled quicker and with a bit less animating scenes of stray warriors/monsters getting killed. The next five weren’t a whole lot better, as they essentially relied on the brand of “magicians in a normal world” comedy that Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai did a whole lot better. After that, though, it got pretty dynamic; over a timeskip, the demon lord became a happy-go-lucky frycook (the scene of him talking while his hands pantomimed from under the table was fun as heck), and his assistant became a capable straight man. If a significant portion of this show is going to be demon-king-at-McDonalds comedy, I’m in for a while. I’m less interested in the serious half of the show at this point, because while it could get better with time, the parts that tried to be serious were fairly dull. It’ll be worth taking 2 episodes to see which way this one will go.

As someone who was, as Kishi Seiji’s #1 fan, in the bank for Devil Survivor 2 from the start, I felt it did what it had to. It wasn’t an episode that’ll produce immediate wows, but the action scenes were well-handled, and the sense of post-quake shellshock the cast felt was clearly communicated in the second half of it. I’m giving it 2 episodes to build the characters more before I make a call on whether I want to follow it all season.

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