The Summer 2021 Preview Guide
The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated
How would you rate episode 1 of
The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! ?
What is this?
Once she was the second most powerful being in all the Dark Realms – Jahy, the Demon Lord's right-hand woman. But then came the magical girl, and in no longer than it takes to shatter a mana crystal, the world was destroyed and Jahy flung down from her perch. Now she's stuck in a child's body, lives in a crappy run-down apartment, and scours the human world for enough pieces of the mana crystal, obviously.
How was the first episode?
I read the manga of this last month, and one thing I distinctly remember liking about it was that it wasn't particularly mean. I'm not entirely sure what changed for the anime adaptation, but this episode was distinctly less enjoyable than the source material, and in part that does feel like the humor got a little closer to cruel. It may be something as simple as the addition of voices – Jahy's delivery of her lines does give things a slightly different edge just because we can hear her anger and frustration.
In any event, this is definitely a case where, with a few small exceptions, I'd suggest picking up the manga instead. The anime does do a couple of things better, with the notable change in her boss' nickname for Jahy standing out. That sounds like a small thing, but the tortured attempt of the English translation to avoid using “chan” resulted in her being called “Sweet-hy,” which just sounds unnatural. I also like that when Jahy regains her adult form she has a full-on magical girl style transformation sequence. It's a nice nod to the fact that she was defeated by a magical girl in the first place, plus I always enjoy a good transformation sequence.
But mostly this is just not as good as it could (or should) be. Certainly the amount of time devoted to Jahy's landlady is a problem. She may be Jahy's boss' younger sister, but we can't assume that she also knows that Jahy is really an adult, so she's picking on a little kid. And even if she DOES know, she's still taking unfair and unpleasant advantage of Jahy being in a child's body. Yes, Jahy needs to pay her rent, but the aggression on the part of the landlady isn't nearly as funny as the episode thinks it is. That's actually a good blanket statement for this episode: it's just not as funny as it thinks it is. We've all seen this story when it has worked (and was called The Devil is a Part-Timer!), so that may be part of what doesn't work here – it feels like a pale imitation. You'd be better off not subjecting yourself to Jahy's constant shrieking and just rewatching that other show instead, or picking up the manga for this one.
It's funny, I like the setup for The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! way more than the show itself. Basically, it's set in a Sailor Moon-style magical girl universe where the heroine is hyper-competent. Rather than waiting for the “monster of the week” to show up, our magical girl just straight up invades the Dark Realm. When she encounters resistance, she doesn't make speeches about love and justice; in fact, she doesn't talk at all. Hell, she doesn't even stop to fight the Demon Lord or Demon Generals like Jahy, she just blasts past them and shatters the crystal that is the source of all their magic—thus destroying their entire plane of existence—and calls it a day.
Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there as we follow Jahy who, without her magic, is forced to live in the modern-day human world. She works a service industry job, but she wouldn't even be able to afford an apartment if it weren't for her boss using family connections to get her one. Even then, the place she gets is a bathroom-less, one-room, nine-foot by nine-foot apartment—and a 40-year-old one at that (meaning that it is basically a death trap if an earthquake were to hit). She's so poor, in fact, that all she can afford to eat each day is a single meal of bean sprouts—and adding mayonnaise as a topping is considered a rare treat.
I think the joke is supposed to be that a once affluent person is getting her comeuppance by being poor. I mean sure, we all like to see arrogant people get knocked down a peg or two, but if you look at it in a more general sense, all we'd really be doing by laughing at Jahy is making fun of the struggles of a poor person—and people living in her circumstances aren't exactly rare. Maybe if she were a terrible person—constantly screwing people over in get-rich-quick schemes, for example—we could laugh at her. But for all her bluster and ego, Jahy works hard when on the clock and does her job well. She deserves a living wage if nothing else.
In the end, I think the issue I have with The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! is simple: rather than getting some kind of “justice boner,” I feel sorry for Jahy. I just don't enjoy seeing her beaten down by the all-too-real struggles facing a large number of young workers in Japan.
I'm sure I will be roughly the millionth person to compare The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! to The Devil is a Part-Timer!, but it simply can't be avoided, since both series share a functionally identical premise: After your typical heroic struggle between good and evil, a great demonic figure from another world is magically transported to modern-day Japan, and they have to slum it as an hourly worker in the food service industry just to make ends meet. Jahy even recycles many of Devil is a Part-Timer's jokes about scraping by on meager wages in the big city: Jahy is surprisingly good at her service-based job despite being a malicious demon with magic powers; deciding which single condiment to apply to a meager meal of frozen food; there's a lady at work with a big chest that constantly becomes a source of wacky, boob-related shenanigans.
Ah, but Jahy comes with a gimmick! You see, for completely arbitrary reasons, Jahy was transformed into a tiny girl when she came to Earth, and she must use her precious stores of mana to maintain her bustier human form, lest even more shenanigans ensue—and I'll let you guess how long it takes for Jahy's ruse to completely fall apart (Answer: about six minutes, if you don't include the OP). Now, I'll give Jahy some credit for not shamelessly exploiting its title character's diminutive form as much as it could have; aside from the instances where Jahy's face gets shoved into her boss' giant breasts, the show never really aims to be sleazy. I appreciated that, especially since I'm still recovering from the amount of bleach that I had to dump into my eyes to recover from Mother of the Goddess' Dormitory.
Then again, since the loli-demon thing never really amounts to much beyond a sight gag, it only becomes more obvious that Jahy truly is just a gender-swapped riff on The Devil is a Part-Timer!, except without any of the charm or humor that made Part-Timer! such a hit. Weirdly enough, a lot of this boils down to the fact that, even though Jahy is running with the reverse-isekai scenario, this first episode really goes out of its way to avoid doing anything with it. By the time the show has started, Jahy is already seven months into her stint on Earth, and we only get a few tossed-off references to her early days as a homeless vagabond living in a box by the river, and her initial unfamiliarity with Earth stuff. Now, though, despite being desperately poor, she seems to have a handle on things, aside from constantly threatening to burn people alive (and this is not a joke that benefits from being repeated a dozen times in twenty minutes).
Hell, even when Jahy's spell fails, and her boss finds out about her whole “Demon Lord from a Fantasy World” shtick, the latter doesn't even bat an eyelash. Weirdly, Jahy makes a note of this, which made me think that this might be some kind of clue about the boss' true nature, but then we find out that the boss' sister apparently also knows Jahy's secret, and she also doesn't give a shit. Why is nobody's mind blown by the reality-altering truths that Jahy's very existence represents? Be impressed, damn it!
That's the problem with The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! in a nutshell. Since it isn't very funny, and its characters aren't especially interesting or unique, all I can do is think way too much about the internal logic of its writing and world-building, which eventually just leads me to wishing I was watching The Devil is a Part-Timer! instead. In fact, if you've never seen The Devil is a Part-Timer!, you would do well to correct that mistake immediately. If you've already seen it, and you're hoping that Jahy will fill its void until the long-awaited second season debuts sometime in the near future, don't bother! Just watch The Devil is a Part-Timer! again. It'll probably be a better use of your time.
It's not every season you get a month-long preview guide, but thanks to some bizarre scheduling decisions across the whole season, this straggler of a reverse-isekai comedy has arrived just in time for other shows to be hitting their fifth episode. Thus we usher out this premiere season with neither bang nor whimper, but rather a high-pitched screech imploring you to laugh.
Just out of the gate, The Great Jahy struggles to really find footing with its gags. The premise of a once all-powerful fantasy villain being forced into menial labor among the human masses is a pretty solid foundation for goofy comedy – The Devil is a Part-Timer! proved as much years ago – but so far the execution is just lacking something. For one, it has an oddly slow pace for a comedy series, often reiterating punchlines for minutes on end without either progressing the plot or increasing the intensity of what's happening on screen. Jahy's fight with her landlord sticks out as an especially inert sequence that keeps threatening to break out into absurdity only to never really change. It's just not particularly funny, and with how one-note Jahy is, it can make for a pretty boring viewing experience if you're not enamored with the cuteness of her childlike form.
Granted, things may change as the larger supporting cast comes in, because right now Jahy herself is in desperate need of stronger personalities to bounce off of. Landlord lady sort of provides some belligerent tension when she shows up, and it's mildly entertaining to see her fighting with a rugrat-sized gremlin, but she's also pretty one-note and not particularly interesting once that novelty fades. Then there's Jahy's boss, whose major points of appeal are her big boobs and bigger personal space issues. In a particularly weird sequence, she grabs Jahy's (read: her employee's) cheeks and tries to teach her how to smile, and that's all before she discovers Jahy's pint-sized alternate form. So for all she knows she's treating her full-grown adult employee like a 5-year-old and telling her to smile more. It's weird and creepy and kinda feels like it was written out of order considering Jahy's secret is blown just a minute later. It also feels weird to me that Jahy's voice is the same high-pitched squeal regardless of which form she's in, as emphasizing the contrast between her two bodies seems like prime comedic material that's just being ignored.
So yeah, not a great way to start things off. Combined with some inconsistent productions values it makes for a comedy where the most notable moment is when they randomly use a soundalike for the Wii Shop Channel theme for some background music at one point. There's of course potential for this one to get funnier, but you may end up better off waiting for season 2 of The Devil is a Part-Timer! instead. Or join me in granting offerings to the Anime Gods for a Magu-chan: God of Destruction adaptation someday.
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