Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kyou Kara Maou

Another old series I enjoyed watching was Kyou Kara Maou

This series is a comedy series, which ends up being surprisingly deep.  The story centers around a teenage boy named Shibuya Yuri.  And from the very beginning, it makes fun of many of the stereotypes in anime.  For example, it starts out with the stereotypical, ordinary Japanese schoolgirl who gets pulled into an alternate universe and must go on a quest to save the world.  Oh, Yuri is a pretty ordinary Japanese kid, but he’s a boy for one thing.  Then he’s pulled into the alternate universe by being flushed down the toilet!   The series could also be a harem-type series, with a cast of gorgeous male characters who surround the main female character, except again, Yuri is a boy, and the gorgeous male characters do their best to keep him out of trouble.

The story line goes like this.  On his way home from school one day Yuri interferes when a friend of his is being bullied and the bullies end up flushing him down the toilet and into the alternate world.  The alternate world is a feudal society with two main races of people, humans and demons.  Yuri, it turns out, is this world’s demon-king, or Maou.
Much of the early story revolves around Yuri getting used to being Maou and to using the powers he has at his disposal.  He looks different when using his powers in his Maou incarnation, with longer hair and demon eyes.  And during these early episodes his subjects are also getting used to him and his very human biases.  The main characters surrounding Yuri include Conrad (Yuri’s confidant, friend, godfather and chief protector), Wolfram (Yuri’s accidental fiancé and Conrad’s brother), Gwendal (Conrad and Wolfram’s older brother with a fetish for “cute” things), Gunter (Yuri’s teacher in the demon kingdom who has a serious crush on him) and Ken Murata (Yuri’s friend from back home who was being bullied).

Although this series is funny all the way through, it has a much deeper subplot which starts from the very first episode.   The subplot doesn’t become apparent until much further along, but basically, Yuri is a reincarnation of the very first Maou (Shin Ou) who united the demons and many of the humans and formed the current demon kingdom, and in the course of doing that, sealed away a very evil being who is now getting lose in the current age.  Yuri’s soul is one that belonged to a young woman who believed in and trusted the original Maou’s machinations, and who Conrad loved.  Complex story here, but although Yuri springs from the first Maou, he’s very much his own person and does things his way.  His friend Ken Murata turns out to be the first Maou’s best friend, the Holy Seer, who has lived through all these centuries waiting for Yuri to be born and ready, and waiting to help stop the evil being from escaping its confinement.  Murata occasionally finds himself caught between loyalty to the first Maou and to Yuri. 

Along the way as Yuri learns to be demon king, he befriends humans and demons alike and begins to heal centuries of hatred between the two races, building ally countries and gaining friends as he goes.  All his efforts are supported, albeit often unwillingly, by the four faithful at first and later by Murata also.  Kyou Kara Maou is a long series, 117 episodes and 5 OVAs, with plenty of plot twists and “aha” moments when something from a previous episode (sometimes a long time previous) suddenly slots neatly into the overall plot.   It’s a good series, with lots of laughs and strangeness and plenty of plot twists to keep me entertained and watching.  In the US unfortunately I don’t think the entire second season was released on DVD when Geneon quit doing anime.  If you can get hold of the bittorents though, it’s all
worth watching.    

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