The Misfit of Demon King Academy
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 12 of
The Misfit of Demon King Academy ?
“In which the better part of an entire arc is crammed into half an episode.”
There's no sugarcoating it: this, the penultimate episode of The Misfit of Demon King Academy is by far the weakest episode of the series—which is odd when you consider how strong it starts.
Picking up from where we left off last episode, Anos is able to talk with Eleonore and learn about her true nature: she is one half of Jerga's soul that has been transformed into a magic being whose sole purpose is to produce and endless army of mindless clone soldiers. The other half has infected the Asc spell (the spell that channels the power of many people into a single person/small group of people). Thus, anyone who uses it, be it the givers or the receivers of the power, is tainted by Jerga's need to wipe out the demons.
Eleonore is weary of being used as a baby/weapon-making machine for 2000 years, and feels that she is responsible for the deaths of all the clones she has made. She believed that the clones, if they were able to convey their feelings, would hate her. However, when she asks Anos for death to release her from her eternal torment, the previously-mute (except for spell casting) clones instead beg Anos to save Eleonore who they see as their mother.
This is an interesting dynamic. Eleonore is both an unwilling tool of war and the remains of all that was good in a heroic human corrupted by his own need for revenge. Yet, she is controlled by humans who still cling to that need. Moreover, her existence is tied to Diego (who is also a clone, though one with the genocidal zeal of Jerga coded in) and so as long as she lives, he will continue to respawn no matter how many times he is killed.
Figuring out how to save Eleonore and nullify the threat of keeping her alive seems like it would be a legitimate challenge for Anos and his allies to overcome—and one rife with personal stakes and moral quandaries. Yet, before we can even get started, the plot suddenly takes a left turn and completely forgets about Eleonore and her problems.
Avos Dilhevia appears alongside the three remaining traitorous demon emperors and steals Kanon's holy sword from the room next to Eleonore's. We then suddenly skip several days to where Diego musters an army to fight Avos and kill the demons while Avos reveals himself as the Demon King of Tyranny and calls on demonkind to kill all the humans.
Before the episode is over, we see: Anos and company gather their own force to stop the impending war, a romantic scene between Misa and Lay, the entirety of the war (which is basically Anos and friends kicking their fellow demons in the teeth), the defeat of the remaining three Demon Emperors, and the reveal of Avos' true identity. To say it's a busy episode would be an understatement.
Even compared to the infodump episodes that kicked off the past two arcs, this episode is insane. There's at least two full episodes of content packed into its second half. Moving at this speed opens up all kinds of plot holes and makes Anos seem incompetent.
• Why did Anos leave Gairadite in Diego's hands? (I mean, sure the man respawns after death but that doesn't mean you can't incapacitate him in any number of ways).
• Why did Anos abandon his teacher and all of his classmates (besides those who have sworn loyalty to him) in Gairadite—basically trapping them in a city that wants them dead?
• Why did Anos leave Eleonore's problem unresolved, letting the humans make an army of her clone children for the war?
• Why didn't Anos reveal himself to demonkind at the same time Avos did? After all, Anos has four Demon Emperors backing him as the legitimate ruler while Avos only has three.
• How is there seemingly unanimous support for a war against the humans? The demon empire has numerous human citizens (like Anos' mother) and even more part human mixed-bloods (like Anos himself).
• If Anos had known that Lay was Avos for the past three episodes, why didn't he confront him before the two armies are set to shatter a peace that has lasted for 2000 years? I mean, he was literally with Lay in his home base the night before the war began.
Even the revelation that Lay is Avos seems suspect. The idea we're being presented with is that Kanon's soul was spread across seven people—Lay and six of the Demon Emperors. But even that leaves the question of who the Avos that appeared before Anos and Lay at the end of the magic sword tournament is. Moreover, if Kanon's souls can be revived as long as a single one remains, where did the one attached to Ivis go when Anos destroyed it? Not Lay at least, as he only has a single soul throughout the tournament arc. Heck, two more of Kanon's souls were also freed from the demon emperors from that point on—but where did they go?
All these questions highlight the major flaw that comes from the pacing being this fast: You can't tell what is a plot hole and what is a legitimate clue to solving a mystery. Consequently, it makes the characters look like idiots because we are not privy to their reasons, only the results of their actions.
To be clear, while this is the worst episode in the series by a fair margin, that's not to say it is unwatchable. Even with the mad dash through the story in the episode's second half, it's still easy to understand what's going on—if not why. Likewise, the animation is still on par with the level of quality we've come to expect.
Hopefully, with 22 minutes left to spend entirely on the climax, we'll have enough time to explore Avos' motivation so that the series ends on a strong character note, if nothing else. However, I'm not going to lie: part of me fears we're in for another mad attempt to cram way too much into a single episode instead of getting a satisfactory conclusion.
• I guess this means none of the students of the Jerga Kanon class had the hero's soul after all. They were just strong yet easily influenced children. That makes them rather tragic in their own way.
• I'm gonna be rather sad if Eleonore's plight is solved entirely off screen—or, worse yet, forgotten about entirely.
• At this point, I wish the Avos mystery would have just been left for a second season/movie that may or may not come.
• While I'm staying away from the source material until after the final episode airs, I'm already wondering if this is an anime-original ending.
• I'm sad that Misha and Sasha are likely going to be relegated to the background from now on.
• I'm happy that they've set it up so that Misa actually has something to do in the final episode given that she is Lay's romantic foil.
• Even here at the end, I don't trust Melheis at all—especially given that Avos/Lay says that the events surrounding the magic sword tournament were not his doing.
The Misfit of Demon King Academy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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