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by MrAJCosplay,

The Duke of Death and His Maid Season 3

Anime Series Review

The Duke of Death and His Maid Season 3 Anime Series Review

Viktor is a young Duke who has been cursed ever since he was a little boy. This curse causes him to kill anyone and anything that he touches, making it hard to form relationships with people. His mother disowned him, forcing him to live on a small estate away from the main family. However, he has made a happy life for himself with friends and a maid named Alice, whom he intends to marry after breaking the curse.

The one responsible for the curse was a powerful witch named Sade, the former leader of the witches, as she died a long time ago. However, with their friends' help, the Duke plans to go back to the past to save Sade and have her resolve the curse. Can Sade's acts of cruelty be undone so that the Duke can finally embrace Alice and live a happy life with her?


We have finally approached the end of this journey. When I first watched The Duke of Death and His Maid, I didn't think I would grow as emotionally attached to these characters as I did. What I thought would be a light yet digestible waste of time became a perfect blend of wholesome affection and bittersweet tragedy. The two characters couldn't touch each other because of a curse, yet their love persists, attracting like-minded people on their journeys to discovering love. We have a main character who should have led a life of tragedy, but now, he isn't the least bit lonely.

The journey to the end has not been the most seamless. Season three's biggest sour point is its sense of pacing. The first episode starts almost immediately from the end of season two. The characters are training in magic and developing a strategy to eliminate the curses laid out by the evil witch responsible for our characters' hardships throughout the show. However, right after the first episode, we go through roughly five episodes of waiting time. The narrative is put on hold for an arbitrary reason, for the sake of covering side stories and setting up other character arcs. In many ways, Alice and the Duke's story feels like it gets sidelined for the first half of the season.

There is a lot of emphasis on Walter and Daleth's relationship and how unconventional their love is. Some cute side stories feel like one-off comedy chapters from the original manga and emphasize tying up loose ends. We get more of the Duke's family history and how everything ties together around the central villain so that her confrontation will feel as emotionally satisfying as possible. None of these stories are bad, but their integration leaves much to be desired. This isn't helped by the fact that some segments drag on a bit longer than I think they're supposed to under the pretense of misunderstanding the feelings of others. There are a lot of moments where characters will question how another person feels about them when I'm confident that feelings were affirmed openly not too long ago. It weirdly feels like the narrative takes a step back to drag out specific plot points to hit the twelve-episode quota. It would be better if some of these setups were scattered throughout season two or maybe if there was a stronger story reason for the characters to wait around for the plot to kick in while all this stuff is happening. It feels clunky.

Unfortunately, a lot of the segments are unremarkable from an animation standpoint. J.C. Staff used CG models for the series with some hand-drawn integration to keep things wacky and expressive. Seasons one and two justified this artistic direction more than a good chunk of season three did. There are a lot more still frames, there aren't as many expressive facial animations, and overall, things tend to look cheaper. Thankfully, the entire show does not look like this as some sequences justify CG integration, whether it's a gorgeously animated dance sequence or some climactic moments towards the end of the season. Besides, anytime the animation lacks expressiveness, the voice acting picks up in both the dub and the sub. This is the season that emphasizes a lot of the character performances across both versions. Characters like the Duke, Alice, Wallace, and even the Duke's mom get moments to shine with poignant character acting in both versions.

Despite my grievances with how the story is told, I cried like a baby by the end. The Duke of Death and His Maid feels like it can only be described as wholesome edging. There are moments of fan service, but at the end of the day, the characters are so endearing and likable that you end up sitting there WAITING for them to get the happy ending you know they deserve. You know they'll get it, and you'll sit patiently at the edge of your seat until it happens. Then, when it finally did, the floodgates opened, and I was left relatively satisfied.

When the plot is finally allowed to kick in during the second half of the season, we are left with a perfect blend of narrative progression and emotional pathos. Character arcs come to a close with thoughtful callbacks, and everyone gets the ending they more or less deserve, given how the series presented them. Nothing feels cheap. I might have some gripes with the story trying to integrate Sade as the center of evil for everybody. The idea of love and desire can be a powerful thing. It can be enough to get people through their toughest hardships, even when you can't physically touch or affirm the feelings that you have. But sometimes, those feelings of longing can deteriorate you and push you to hurt those around you in retaliation. The parallel between the main villain and the main characters is strong, and I was genuinely shocked that the show won me over in its final resolution.

I don't think I would rank the show amongst my top favorites because some things could've been a lot tighter or even cut out. However, I'd be remiss to say that it's been a while since I've been this invested in the tragic plight of two characters like I have with the Duke and Alice. They're not the most tragic characters ever put on screen, but their emotional and physical place in the show is simple yet effective in their portrayals. You feel longing and desire to be a part of something. Likewise, I longed for the show for the past couple of years, and I feel like I can finally embrace it the same way Duke and Alice hope to embrace each other.

Overall : B
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : A
Story : B-
Animation : B
Art : B+
Music : B

+ The characters are wonderful and you want them all to get their happy ending, strong voice acting performances across the board, the ending made me cry
First half has rough pacing issues, animation feels more stilted then the first two seasons

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Production Info:
Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Series Composition: Hideki Shirane
Mutsumi Ito
Hideki Shirane
Kiyotaka Ohata
Kiyoko Sayama
Yoshiki Yamakawa
Episode Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Unit Director:
Kiyotaka Ohata
Yoshiki Yamakawa
Gen Okuda
Takeshi Watanabe
Original creator: Inoue
Character Design: Michiru Kuwabata
Art Director: Akira Suzuki
Sound Director: Jin Aketagawa
Cgi Director: Yūya Ishihara
Director of Photography: Shingo Fukuyo
Mao Higashi
Yūkō Itō
Sayaka Iwasaki
Kazuto Kitamura
Shūhō Kondō
Sōta Shioiri
Toru Umemoto

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Duke of Death and His Maid (TV 3)

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