The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody

How would you rate episode 1 of
The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody ?
Community score: 3.5



What is this?

The greatest demon lord in all of history, Varvatos, has reigned for several millennia as an absolute ruler. Now, there's only one thing left for him to do: enjoy the life of an average commoner. When he's reincarnated as a villager in a non-descript town, everything seems to be going as he hoped, but there's just one slight problem—even when he holds back, Varvatos is still too strong. Soon, rumors about him spread, and he's approached by all sorts of men, women, and assailants.

The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody is based on Myōjin Katō's novels and streams on Crunchyroll.


How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis
Rating:

Hands down, this was one of the cringiest 22 minutes of anime I have ever watched—and I am certain that is by design. Ard is a reincarnated Demon Lord who had no equals in his past life and, thus, no friends. He sees his position as the reason he was friendless, but as we see in this episode, that's not really the case.

Rather, Ard's problem is that he lacks social skills. And like many who share that problem, he is searching for a set of hard and fast rules to follow when meeting people. Unfortunately, no such thing exists. This is only exacerbated by his tendency to deal in extremes. When talking down to potential friends as their superior doesn't get the results he wants, he talks like a knight addressing a princess. Worse still is that he keeps trying over and over on the same people. It's trying to cross a bridge that is already burnt. He's already a wierdo in their eyes, yet Ard truly believes if he can find the right words, all will work out just as he intends.

And let's face it, to anyone who is or was socially awkward, Ard's struggles are relatable—that's the main reason it's so cringey. In fact, even the whole thing where he badgers Litz incessantly, might have been cute if it weren't for the fact that he is a 40+ year-old man stalking a literal child. Moreover, Ard doesn't really learn his lesson. Instead, he lucks into becoming Litz's friend by rescuing her from danger and getting her to open up about being friendless herself.

Lacking any kind of teachable moral or character growth, I'm not sure what this anime is trying to say or where it plans on going in the future. This might have been one of those shows that should have started in media res, because as it stands now, I have no idea.


Caitlin Moore
Rating:

You know, I have to hand it to light novel anime: every time a cliché dies out, a new one pops up to take its place. How many series in the last few years have there been where a powerful mage (often, but not always a demon lord) decides he's weary of his life at the top and decides to be reincarnated? And then, in his new era, he discovers that magic has degraded significantly since his reign but he's just as powerful as ever? Also he struggles socially but has one or two devoted female friends/followers? I'm ready to declare this overdone, and The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody is just yet another entry into the trend.

If you're into series of this ilk, it's not too bad a premiere. Ard's social struggles come from a mix of overenthusiasm and lack of skill, which is much more entertaining than his stone-faced equivalents. It's a little puzzling, though, how he ended up ten years old, raised by a nice, normal family in what appears to be a good neighborhood full of children, seemingly without ever having talked to a child his age. The effect is more that Ard sprung fully formed into his ten-year-old body, rather than having been born and raised in it. Maybe it's intentional? But the flashbacks to him studying magic and practicing sword indicate that no, he really is ten years old. It even turns out that the girl he spent most of the episode pursuing is the daughter of his parents' best friend, who he has somehow never met before despite being familiar with her father.

Speaking of Ireena, his dogged pursuit of her is what gave me the most misgivings about the episode. It's played for comedy, but I'm not comfortable with a little boy chasing after a little girl while she screams for him to leave her alone. When this became the main joke about ten minutes in, I had to fight not to check out. Even without the cultural baggage, it was repetitive and unfunny, and went on for almost half the episode. When she was surrounded by goblins and obliquely threatened with rape (they only showed little girls running from them), it took all my power not to turn off the episode.

The other parts of the episode aren't too bad. Ard's parents seem like good, caring people, as does Ireena's father. The jokes about Ard trying and failing to connect to the other children aren't especially funny, but some of the visual gags got a chuckle out of me. But boy, does he spend a lot of time chasing Ireena. No thanks.


Rebecca Silverman
Rating:

I remember roughly two things from reading the first light novel this series is based on: that it was very dull and that the title was awfully misleading. While I don't feel that this was quite as boring as I thought the book was, the title thing is still an issue, albeit a nit-picky one, because while Ard is absolutely something of a nobody, he's in no way at all typical. I suppose that could be the point – that in his previous life as Varvatos, a human who won the appellation of “demon lord” for his prowess and fear factor, Ard was so out of touch with what “normal” and “typical” were that when he was reborn with his memories intact, he remained blissfully ignorant. But I can't help but feel that Ard's absurd levels of power and overwrought manner of speaking isn't helping the series that much, instead giving him leave to be the typical overpowered protagonist, albeit one with the social skills of a radish.

There is something a little sad about that, of course. Varvatos seems to have been in the same position as Leo from I'm Quitting Heroing in that his skill only served to make people fear him. Varvatos got to rule while Leo was kicked out of the kingdom, but both seem to be looking for friendship and acceptance that isn't forthcoming. As Ard, the former demon lord at least has some very loving parents (even if they seem more into each other than invested in their kid), but that doesn't translate into him having any luck at making friends. Largely that's because he's the most unchildlike child in the entire village – even Ireena (who is probably the reincarnation of Lydia, Varvatos' queen) does a better job being a kid while being ludicrously powerful; Ard is basically the anime incarnation of the old “hello, fellow kids” meme. Presumably this is meant to be funny, but I'm with the rest of the village children that it comes off as a bit creepy – especially once Ard focuses his friendly ardor on Ireena. Of course, once they “grow up” Ireena's doing the old “sneak into his bed when she comes to see him in the morning” routine, so my sense of creepy may be skewed.

But hey, if you're not content to watch a reborn adult continue acting like an adult in a child's body while exercising a ridiculous amount of magical power, don't worry! Because it looks like we're headed into magical school territory very soon. Even if this looked better or had a better executed story it's hard not to compare it to roughly half a dozen other similar shows that had slightly better hooks, and while it isn't precisely a bad episode, it's also not really a good one either. Since the story does look to be headed in a relatively different direction with episode two, it may be worth the three episode test to see where the plot settles, but otherwise there really isn't much here to recommend it, the entertaining scene of Ard snapping his fingers and frying monster hordes behind him notwithstanding.


Nicholas Dupree
Rating:

It's always weird when a show manages to exceed your expectations, but still can't make it all the way up the stairs to being good. I went into The Greatest Demon Lord blah blah blah expecting basically the same show as last season's The Strongest Sage With the Weakest Crest, and that wound up being half true. There's still a plainfaced, OP potato boy at the center of things who has all his memories of being the biggest badass to ever wield a magic circle, and by the end of this episode he's on his way to both magic school and a harem of adoring anime girls to impress. But along the way there are at least a few sparks of charm that made it an overall more memorable watch than a lot of these kinds of shows.

Pretty much all of that comes down to Ard and his pre-pubescent demon lord shtick. The guy talks like a total weenie, and seeing a grown man in a child's body completely fumble through basic conversation is pretty funny. Small gags like monsters attacking him in the background only to be set ablaze by a snap of the fingers are silly enough to complement the goofy tone of his quest for friendship without being overbearing. And there's genuinely something funny about his first friend hating his guts for most of the premiere and fleeing from him in the streets. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, and if you start thinking about it you do feel a little icky about a grown man chasing a little girl around in spite of her constant protests, but on a basic comedy level it at least gives this show some personality.

That's something it's desperately lacking everywhere else. The visuals are cheap and rough, failing to sell any of the action or even the basic visual of Ard flying. Character designs are that particular kind of generic that would let you slot them into damn near any LN fantasy world without trouble, and they leave basically no impression. Once the jokes stop and the show tries to be serious and emotional, it becomes a slog. Ard and Ireena are flat and boring archetypes, and despite the show's best(?) efforts there's no weight to their eventual friendship, especially once we skip to their teenage years and she's clearly in love with him, as all anime girls must be in the presence of a potatoman.

So yeah, “better than expected” is sadly not the same as “good” and this premiere is here to prove it. This wasn't as hefty a chore as I figured going in, but that just means it felt like taking out the trash rather than mowing the lawn.


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