The Misfit of Demon King Academy
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 8 of
The Misfit of Demon King Academy ?
“In which our hero gets 10 times stronger.”
For the most part, this episode is one big fight scene. First Anos battles Ley. Then he battles Melheis. In the end, Anos wins the tournament, all the good guys are alive, a blow has been struck against the false demon king, and Anos has three more of the Demon Emperors back on his side—or at least that's what's being presented to us.
The interesting thing lurking in the background in this episode is that things with Melheis don't quite add up. He claims, after his defeat, that he was only recently—i.e., within the last few days—turned into a servant of Avos Dilhevia. Before that, when he first met up with Avos, he was loyal. However, this timeline doesn't fit.
When he was fighting Anos ealier in the episode, Melheis claimed that he set everything up—that he was the one who got Anos nominated for the tournament in the first place, as well as the one that turned the arena into a trap.
However, Anos was chosen for the competition before he ever met Melheis—and therefore before the latter got his implant. Moreover, he had clearly saved the energy of Anos' world separating barrier for over a millennium—knowing it could be used as a trump card against Anos. And then there's all the preparation that went into the tournament trap: a magic seal hidden in the arena floor, a magic drainer, using Ley's mother as a hostage. It all seems a bit much to prepare in a day or two.
But that's not the oddest thing. Rather than having his soul forcefully merged with a demon loyal to Avos Dilhevia, Melheis was implanted with a curse—one much more easily fixed than what the other demon emperors have to go through. All this seems to imply that Melheis may not have been controlled at all—that he was and still is loyal to Avos Dilhevia or someone else entirely all on his own.
Or, everything could have gone down exactly as he said and his controlled self was lying with his inconsistent evil boasting. There's no way to tell as of yet but it does add a sense of drama to things going forward when you consider Anos may have a traitor at his side.
As much as this episode is one giant fight, it is also the end to the thematic arc of the past few episodes. In a general sense, this arc has been about the relationship between parents and children. Anos doesn't exactly have a normal relationship with his parents. After all, he was born with the mind of an adult and had a body to match a mere few months later. He didn't need them to raise him and care for him. All that was handled by his original parents two millennia ago. Yet, his new parents have nonetheless given Anos unconditional love and so he responds in kind.
Ley's situation is different—yet similar in the most important area. His birth parents kicked him out on the street, leaving him to be raised by the stranger that found him. It's likely that only when he started winning as a swordmaster that they accepted him in any way. So it makes sense that Ley never once refers to them as his family. To him, the woman who raised him is his true mother. She was the one that supported him, encouraged his dreams, and shared his pain.
That's the message of this arc. It's not blood that makes a “parent.” True parents are the ones who give unconditional love to those under their care—those who console you when you are down and give their all to make you happy.
And when it comes down to it, this is what the young Unionists truly want: the parental love and support that has been denied to them by the caste system they were born into. Both Anos and Ley have something that they can only dream of, but they may also be capable of giving all Unionists a chance to gain it in the end.
This flawed societal structure is also the reason that Ley's mother is sick. In modern demon society, the more of a pureblood you are, the higher your rank. This is because it is assumed that the more of the demon king's blood you have, the better you will be at all things—especially magic. And of course, the ruling class is also the wealthy class so the nobles likewise have the best magical artifacts and tutors. With the best gear and the best training, they feed into their own hype, making magical power the end-all-be-all of society.
Because of this, things that aren't magic have lost value in the minds of the populous. Frankly, no one cares how well-made a sword is if it isn't magical in some way—which is what is killing Ley's mother.
In The Misfit of Demon King Academy, spirits seem to be of a Shinto-esque variety. They are spawned from objects and concepts—be that an element like water or something more ethereal. In Ley's mother's case, the origin of her spirit half is the that of a master-crafted blade. Not something magical but rather the pure craftsmanship that comes when someone puts their heart and soul into making the blade. And as Anos' father struggled to make his son the best blade possible, his sword certainly meets those criteria.
After seeing Ley's mother's true spirit form in his battle against Melheis, Anos is able to understand why her power is waning: spirits are only as strong as the belief in them. Since no one cares about the craft of blade-making beyond the magical powers of the blade, she is getting weaker—a condition made worse by her half-blooded nature. Of course, that means all Anos has to do is restore people's faith in the value of a master-worked blade—which he does easily by winning the tournament and then praising his father's craftsmanship for the win in front of thousands.
But honestly, it's not the fighting, intrigue, themes, or lore that I most enjoyed about this episode: it's the character insight in its last two lines.
Triumphant again, Anos approaches Misha at the edge of the arena. She doesn't congratulate him, ask about his physical condition, or comment on the kiss Sasha gave him. Instead she asks him, “Did you have a good time?”
This shows she has a fundamental understanding of Anos that everyone else lacks. While his actions may seem kind, Anos is not an altruistic hero. His methods are brutal and his aims selfish. He cares about his own enjoyment more than anything else. This is why he reincarnated in the first place—he was bored of a world at endless war.
Therefore, Misha's question drives to the heart of the matter. She is asking her king—the closest thing her people have to a god—if what has unfolded was worthwhile in his eyes. It really is the only question that matters. So he takes a moment to think about it and decides that it has been. And for our heroes, that's the best possible outcome.
• An extra note about how I see Anos: Anos is a man who splits his world into things that are his and things that are not. Things that are his—be they items or people—he protects and cherishes. Things that are not, he at best ignores and at worst destroys utterly.
• The idea that he could kill the god of time at 1/10 his true power is legitimately shocking.
• Sasha's character design at the end was very cool. It's a shame that it's likely for this episode only.
• The fanclub girls are so damn thirsty—especially when they see Sasha kiss Anos.
• I'm surprised we still don't know whose soul is in Ley: the hero's, or Anos' knight's.
The Misfit of Demon King Academy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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