The Misfit of Demon King Academy
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 9 of
The Misfit of Demon King Academy ?
“In which our heroes go on a school trip.”
Looking back on this episode, one thing is immediately clear: a stupidly large amount of things happen to our heroes. Let's run down the list.
1) We see a flashback to Anos' first attempt to broker peace with the hero.
2) The class as a whole learns about having inter-academy exams with the Hero Academy.
3) Anos and friends do a training battle.
4) Anos and Melheis have a conversation about the oddities in the latter's betrayal.
5) Anos gives Lay a new sword.
6) Anos and the crew teleport to the human capital.
7) Anos goes on a pseudo-date with Sasha.
8) Anos and Sasha meet Eleanor and learn about human revisionist history/the soul of the hero.
9) Anos fights and easily defeats a student claiming to be a reincarnation of the hero Kanon.
10) Anos learns that, after his death by Kanon's hands, Kanon himself was murdered… by humans!
This is an insane amount of ground to cover in a single episode. Three or four of these scenes could have been singled out, lengthened, and turned into a full episode with little problem. However, this was not the case.
This is a clear example how pacing can affect the story you are telling. To the creators of The Misfit of Demon King Academy, the most important things are the climactic moments—be that Misha and Sasha mending their relationship while Anos battles the god of time or Lay and Anos battling a 2000-year-old brain-washed demon emperor while trying to save Lay's mother. These moments get entire episodes to themselves. However, the episodes after these climaxes are basically info-dumps—events that need to be shown to the audience so that the next climax will make sense.
What's surprising is that, despite all that happens, this episode doesn't seem particularly rushed. Each character gets a moment or two to shine and the important information is laid out to us clearly and succinctly—and boy are there some tantalizing mysteries set up.
The biggest one is, of course, the nature of the Hero Academy itself. It's not surprising that in the human version of history Kanon killed the Demon King and put up the wall to save the world—it's far easier to move on when you can declare victory, after all. What is surprising is the existence of a class trying to gather the seven souls of the hero in one place.
The purpose of Demon King Academy is to find the reincarnation of the Demon King to return him to rule. This makes sense. He was their King, his “children” still rule to this day, and he only died in the first place to save all of demon kind. He would be simply returning to his rightful place.
But the hero, on the other hand, was not a ruler. He was a soldier tasked with killing the Demon King. Gathering his reincarnation(s) in the current era is akin to building up a nuclear arsenal during peace time. Someone clearly thinks that the resurrection of the Demon King will restart the war from 2000 years past—and who knows, if it is Avos who takes the throne and not Anos, that could very well be the case.
The episode itself implies that it is Jerga, the teacher of the hero Kanon, who is behind the Hero Academy and its special class “Jerga Kanon.” After all, he is the one who had been so blinded by rage at the death of his family that he believed genocide was the only path to peace. And while he was mortally wounded in the flashback, the framework of the episode suggests that he is the owner of the strange disembodied voice vowing eternal revenge.
The other highlight of this episode is Sasha's return to the spotlight after disappearing for a few episodes. While Misha usually takes the role of sidekick to Anos, this time it is Sasha who gets the job. Together, they explore the human city and later the academy.
Their time in the market is very date-like. Anos, a person who has no need to sugarcoat his words, is surprised at Sasha's assertion that his compliments are insincere. He explains that he finds her beautiful and heavily implies that he wants her in all meanings of the word. This, expectedly, causes her demon eyes to go crazy, causing an earthquake. What comes out of this conversation is Anos basically telling Sasha that the power of her eyes can be equal to his. It is similar to the conversation he had with Misha about her powers of creation a few episodes before. It's important to him that his friends know they can, if not surpass, then at least match his powers in their areas of expertise. They need to have the motivation to get stronger and not simply assume he will solve every problem they come across. There are times when they will need to fight without him.
The other great character bit involving Sasha comes when Eleanor reveals that, in the human's history books, it's the hero killed the demon king and built the wall. Sasha objects violently to this assertion. It's not just that Eleanor has been taught one thing all her life and Sasha another; Sasha personally knows the person who died to build the wall—the same person who altered time itself to save her and her sister, who represents not only a god in her mind but also a man she is in love with. It's no surprise that she reacts with such righteous indignation.
In all, this is a jam-packed episode of The Misfit of Demon King Academy. While it has a clear goal of getting us to the next climax as quickly as possible, it still manages to lay out the information it needs to while having a bit of time to spend on the characters. In a perfect world where this series has 24 episodes, I would wish for this episode to be split in two and given a bit more room to breathe. However, as it stands now, it certainly does its best to make use of the time it's got.
• I like that even as Anos is beating down his friends in training, they are actually out-thinking him. Their pattern of attacks aims to direct his focus to on one of them at a time, allowing the other three to do things like share their power and build a castle with a giant gun.
• Like with Sasha getting reinvigorated by her talk with Anos, Misa and Lay seem to be on the path to improving themselves as well. Misa, dramatically weaker than the other three, needs to find a way of fighting that plays to her strengths—like she does by cloaking her friends and the castle canon from Anos with fog. Lay, on the other hand, chooses a sword that is, for the moment, beyond his skill. As a person who has never faced true competition beyond Anos, this looks to be a way for him to challenge himself.
• The practice dummy that Anos makes for Lay is clearly Melheis. Looks like I'm not the only one who doesn't think that Melheis is actually on Anos' side.
• The new teacher seems to be far less racist. Sure, she's surprised at Anos' knowledge but doesn't talk down to him in any way.
• Anyone interested in taking bets on whether the Anos fanclub makes it in time or not?
• Misha totally decides to go with Misa just so that her sister can have some alone time with Anos.
• It's an interesting idea that the hero's greatest weapon is that he can be revived easily again and again while the demon king's soul only has to be destroyed once.
• While we still don't know if Lay is the reincarnation of Kanon or Shin, it's interesting to think that Lay's lack of magic could simply be because he is the reincarnation of only part of Kanon's multifaceted soul—i.e., the sword fighting aspect of the hero.
The Misfit of Demon King Academy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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