The Misfit of Demon King Academy
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 6 of
The Misfit of Demon King Academy ?
“In which our hero's greatest enemy is his own mind.”
While the last episode was largely about setting up the political structure of the world, this episode shows what happens when Anos gets caught up in it.
From nearly the moment its introduced, the upcoming sword tournament is clearly a trap. While it makes sense that Lay would be nominated—given that he's the best pureblood swordsman of the young generation—the royal faction is in no way compelled to let Anos (or any mixed blood) join the tournament. Yet, the fact that he is makes it super obvious that it is a trap.
The problem Anos faces, however, is not this trap—it's his own mind. With the whole Avos Dilhevia conspiracy that erased Anos from history, corrupted his generals, and replaced him with another demon king, Anos is jumping at shadows. After all, when you're looking for conspiracies, it's easy enough to see them everywhere.
What he's missing for most of the episode is that the suspicious things about the tournament don't necessarily have to be connected to Avos Dilhevia. After all, his teacher, Emilia, is a stanch royalist who wants Anos to be taken down a peg. Her family even runs a sword society based on pure blood superiority.
This makes it easy enough to see why Anos is set to face the defending champion, Emilia's brother, in the first round. To the royalist faction, it's impossible to believe that Anos, a mere half-blood student, could win against the strongest of them. Their ego is their blind spot, so that's probably the extent of their trap.
It's completely possible that Avos Dilhevia has no hand in what is going on whatsoever. Regardless, he certainly looks to benefit from it. Anos has put himself into a no-win scenario—though he doesn't quite realize it. If he fights, he's walking headlong into a trap he doesn't fully understand. If he doesn't, he's massively damaging not only the unionist cause but his own claim to the throne.
Yet, even as that becomes clear, it's not the reason Anos joins the tournament in the eleventh hour. As Anos said in the battle against Ivis: he is the Demon King just by being himself. No one can take that title or give it to him. If people can't see that he is the Demon King, that's their problem, not his.
What gets him into the fight is something far more personal. It's clear that Anos enjoys having parents—people who love and support him not because he's the Demon King but because he's their son. So when they put all their hopes and dreams behind him—believing not that he is the Demon King but that he can become the next one—he finds it impossible not to rise to the occasion.
Of course, his parents aren't the only ones to see beyond his power—which leads us to the other main focus of the episode. Misha sees Anos as her friend first and foremost, though she is clearly bothered by the unequal aspects of their friendship. Anos has done so much for Misha. He lavishes her with gifts and not only saved her very existence but gave her back a relationship with her sister as well. How can she not feel inferior when the best she can do is make him dinner?
As she puts it, Anos can do anything—and do it better than her. Even the things she is best at he can easily outdo her in. However, as Anos reminds her, she is still growing. After all, unlike her, Anos is at the peak of his power—with decades of wartime experience to bolster his skills. Misha, on the other hand, is a 15-year-old kid. She's nowhere near maxing out her potential.
And in explaining this, Anos conveys to the audience he is not all powerful. As strong as he may seem to us, he is not the best in every aspect of magic—only destruction magic. Even Misha can grow to be better at him with creation magic and with her demon eyes. Of course, this leaves the looming implication: if Misha can be stronger than Anos in some areas, who's to say Avos Dilhevia can't be as well?
The final important aspect of the episode looms throughout in the background—the thing that Misa, Melheis Boran, and Lay all have in common: a connection to the spirits
For Misa, her connection is that her mother was a spirit—making her a half-spirit. However, while many half-spirits seem to have complications due to their half-breed nature, Misa seems to be perfectly fine—which is an interesting mystery in and of itself.
For Melheis, his connection with the spirits is that he was trapped in spirit territory for 100 years. While he simply glosses over it, it's silly to assume he never encountered anyone else (i.e., a spirit) over that time—especially as he had to use some powerful magic to get back into demon territory. Now, in the present, Ivis learns that Melheis has a mysterious benefactor—perhaps Avos Dilhevia isn't the only one to turn a Demon Emperor traitor.
Lastly we have Lay. Judging by his mother's translucent state, her disease, and his knowledge that half-spirits often get sick due to their powers, it's likely that she is a half-spirit. If this is true, it leaves him with a terrible weakness to be exploited.
While he may not care about his “pureblood status”, it's vital he keep up the masquerade. Should such a secret get out, could his mother, a half-spirit, stay in the best hospital the demons have? Doubtful. On the other hand, rather than threatening him, you could also claim you have the cure. What would he do then? Kill even his new friend in a sword tournament perhaps?
All in all, this episode gives us three different possibilities for who is laying a trap for Anos in the tournament: the Royalty faction, Avos Dilhevia, or the spirits. But the thing is, it could be any of the three or any combinations thereof. And while there is merit to not foolishly rushing in, Anos' choice here is probably the right one—even if he made it for no other reason than he loves the new family he has been gifted with.
• What exactly is Sasha doing to prepare for the tournament that leaves Misha alone? I assume with Ivis “dead” she's become the next bigwig in the family but we haven't seen any of the noble families doing anything more than watching so far.
• I like how Misha's character is still evolving. While she's happy her relationship with her sister has been mended and is keen to spend time with her, she also wants to spend time with Anos alone and further their relationship in her own way.
• It's the details that make a fantasy world seem real and lived in. The idea that creation magic models would be a prime form of art in this caste society makes total sense given that they require both the high power and skill that only nobles are supposed to have.
• The show is still calling the two guys Lay and Anos one-shotted last episode “Demon Emperors” so I guess they are...
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