Tag Archives: Harem

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord

Type: Helpful PSA or Lewd Cartoon?

Synopsis: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Pros:  How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is about a shut-in computer nerd that gets sucked into a facsimile of his favorite video game. He was accidentally “summoned” by two cute anime girls that double as his personal slaves and grow to love him both emotionally and sexually. The narrative is all too familiar and does nothing to dispel the stigma of Isekai anime as male power fantasy. In our story, the protagonist is the strongest character in the game, he is basically invincible, and everything he says is re-translated into something intimidating/heroic. But the biggest issue is the anime’s portrayal of women.

The story both infatilizes and sexualizes each female character almost to the point of absurdity. Rem, who by all accounts should be the second most powerful character as she houses a demon lord within her, is literally an svelte cat girl who is obviously meant to invoke someone much younger. Not only does she look young, but she has no way to access her powers, and must rely on the protagonist to remove her power through tactile sexual penetration. Putting aside fiction’s general problem with women with power, Rem has no agency in this story. Her biggest decision was summoning the protagonist. The story also revels in scenes where Rem is in pain, which reveals a lot about the author’s sadomasochistic tastes. Then there’s Shera. Shera is the story’s main source of fan service. Where Rem is underdeveloped, Shera is overdeveloped. She is an adolescents, or immature man’s, ideal woman. Bubbly, large breasted, scantly clad, and abundantly amorous. Shera is the story’s biggest missed opportunity. Her entire story arc centered on her decision to break off the the shackles of her culture’s expectations of her to forge her own path. Although she struggles, oftentimes comically, her desire to become an adventurer instead of becoming a queen to bear hears was admirable. Or, at least it would be, if her actions weren’t negated by the story. Because after Shera shares her convictions with the cast and audience, she is immediately brainwashed and kidnapped by her finance, who is also her brother, who tries to break her by having a monster sexually assault her. She only escapes because the protagonist rescues her, and the story even has the gall to make Shera cry for her brother/rapist.

Is How Not to Summon a Demon Lord a sexist show? Yes. This story demonstrates a very problematic view of male and female roles and dynamics. It shows women as weak, childish, sexy, and often times all three. The ultimate example is Klem. THE most powerful being in the story. The ruler of all demons. Who is really a prepubescent girl who loves cookies, yet still wears next to nothing. Her demon form even has large breast in the design, and the protagonist could still hold her off single highhandedly! I know that here is a tendency to give anime the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the sexualization of women. But the excuses of “it’s a different culture,” or “westerners are too prudish,” were trite a decade ago, and cannot detract from what this show truly is: a power fantasy with clearly unequal social hierarchies and unrealistic and problematic sexual relationships.

Cons: [Exhale]…So yeah.

Watch it?: I mean, it was really easy to watch. It binged it in two days. And the show never pretends to be something else. You know upfront what your getting. But the more I thought about it, the creepier it got. (2/5)

MVP: The voice actors

The stuff they had to act through. God bless ’em.

Best Episode: “The Demon Lord Act” (cat ears).

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Student Council’s Discretion Lv.2

Type: Student Council Anime Lv. 2 (really)

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Synopsis: There’s this school that decides on who will rule their student body based on popularity. So naturally everyone in student government is a pretty girl. One seat is open to the person with the highest grades, allowing a pervy dude a seat at the table. Last season, it was revealed that the pervy dude secretly does all the council’s work to allow the girls to goof off. This was done to repay them for helping him out of his depression during his freshman year. Now, all the girls all leaving him, but he has 10 more episodes to help them contribute absolutely nothing to the student body.

Pros: Fun fact, this season actually premiered in 2012, the first year of this very review site. But since it was coming out weekly during that time, I decided to hold off watching it until it was finished. Ah…better late than never? The anime is 10 episodes ( well, it’s really 9 episodes and 1 prequel). The plot is that the student council, or at least all the female members, are leaving. Two are graduating, and two are moving. This puts the protagonist Ken in an awkward position. As revealed in season 1, the only reason he joined the student council was to make sure the girls had fun. His whole “harem master” character is just an act based on the only archetype in fiction who supposedly makes all the girls around him happy (it’s later revealed that he’s actually quite popular in school). It’s dumb, but endearing, and put a lot of his actions in a different perspective. The show itself is still funny, full of parody and references. The emotional arc is the impending student council separation, but it’s never overdone. Each of the girls get a private moment with Ken to tie up loose ends. We even learn about the people involved in Ken’s “cheating” scandal during middle school, which kinda makes you question what exactly was meant by “cheating.” Overall, a good send off for a show that’s a lot more clever than you’d think.

Cons: The show has the classic harem problem of too many girls, too little time. The show has the 4 main female protagonists, but it also has a bunch of supporting characters that take up a lot of time. I may have thought that Ken’s moments with the student council was short and sweet, but other may view it as throwaway and anticlimactic. Speaking of Ken, we get to meet his former love interests, his step-sister Ringo and childhood friend Asuka. They were the girls that Ken “two-timed,” but they describe it so vaguely that I would have liked a proper flashback to their relationship. I know he feels that he broke their hearts, but it’s two years later and they seem pretty happy about it. And finally, I kinda would have liked to see whose going to replace the student council and keep Ken company. But I guess that’s a whole other story.

Watch it?: Yes. It’s so fun watching people waste time (4/5)

MVP: Ken Sugisaki

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It’s all a scam! He’s not that pervy!

Best Episode: Ep.3 “The student council gets a job” (world president!?)

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KonoSuba

Type: “Every moment I live, is agony” -Kazuma Sato

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Synopsis: One day, a kid dies in an extremely hilarious way, as all child deaths tend to go. His spirit is given the chance to reincarnate in a fantasy world, but it turns out any world he lives in will suck. His closest friend is a goddess, who does nothing but build up huge debts and complain. His most powerful ally is a magician who only knows 1 spell that she can only use once. And this most loyal comrade is a beautiful knight…who has a masochism fetish. Only in 2016 could someone be sent to a magical world, be given a harem of beautiful women, and still have to live in a staple full of horse manure.

Pros: KonoSuba was hailed as the best comedy anime of 2016.  And it is. The core group and the show are funny. Go watch it.

Cons: First off, the show is really hard to talk about because it is chalk full of references, running gags, and subtle jokes. This show takes all the potential melodrama or a game/fantasy/light novel series and laughs in the face of it. The characters are selfish, cowardly, pervy, petty, and we love them for it! If I really tried, I could dissect the deep level of parody this show exhibits…Lucky for me I’m doing this for free and thus have no real quality requirement for these reviews. Take it or leave it suckers! (Please don’t leave it, this is all I have!!!!). So instead of detailing the good, let’s focus on the bad. The show is a slice-of-life comedy, with no real end. The show even admits it, calling the season’s 10 episodes a “tutorial.” Except for the first episode and meeting Darkness and Megumin, it’s literally just a bunch of stuff that happened. Some characters show up. Some characters are rushed through. I think the show was working within some limited time and budget constraints. The show would be perfect if it didn’t feel like you were only scratching the surface at a much larger story (though I am strongly tempted to read the light novels, a first for me). I also found Darkness and Megumin a bit one-dimensional in terms of comedy. More so Megumin, as her main joke was that she used up all her magic in a powerful spell, but she can only use it once a day. Noticeably, the show used her spell incantations to eat up some air time. Darkness, on the other hand, is technically a little more complex. She’s a noble knight who not so secretly fantasizes of being ravished and humiliated, or at least beat up by monsters. But she’s also used a fan service, being the stereotypical blonde knight with big boobs. The fan service is pretty good. A little boob centric to be original, though I do love the fact that no one ever mentions that Aqua is going commando. The show’s setting doesn’t change either, being set in city for beginner characters. Though, I suppose this is not different than a show being set in Tokyo or something.

Watch it: Kudos to Aqua’s voice actress, Sora Amamiya, for delivering possibly the best whining I have ever heard in an anime (4/5)

MVP: Aqua

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I never thought I’d say this, but this woman’s tears brought me so much joy

Best Episode: Hell, just watch all of it. (They are all gold).

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Monster Musume

Type: This will save Anime!

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Synopsis: It’s exactly what you think.

Pros: This anime is about a group of monster girls living in the same house with a human as part of a cultural exchange between humanity and monsters. According to the premise, Humans and Monsters are allowed to live with one another, as long as they do not harm one another. This premise actually justifies a lot of the classic harem troupes that pop up in the show. The girls all fall for the main character, Kimihito, because he views them as people first, and is neither disgusted nor overly fascinated by them being half-monster. The shows does a great job showcasing some of the discrimination or unwanted gawking these girls get just for being around “regular” humans. Some critics even argue that this is an allegory for people with handicaps, or even immigrants. What I’m saying is that the show is much smarter than people might initially think. The girls all live under the same roof because the government wants to use their house as a control group for a new marriage law they are trying to pass, which also justifies the Kimihito pursuing a relationship with each monster girl. The animation is also astounding, to a surprising degree. I’m guessing that the “Monster Girl Harem” gimmick convinced the studio to sink most money into the budget. Each of the girls move differently due to their unique designs, with particular care going to Miia, the lamia with a very active snake body. And eagled eyed viewers may notice that Kimihito becomes more handsome whenever he does something kinds or generous, almost as if we’re seeing him from the girl’s point of view. The show also condenses a lot in one episode, something using a two-segment model for story telling. The show even managed to make The MON squad interesting (I usually just skip their chapters in the manga).

Cons: This is ECCHI as F!@$. There is no getting around that. Though not as ecchi as the manga, but this may change in the DVD release. This may very well be softcore hentai from a certain perspective. Because each of the girls is a different type of monster, a lot of pervy stuff derives from their unique physiology. For example, Miia the Lamia sheds her skin like a regular snake, which cause her to make…sounds….when she sheds. Papi the Harpie lays eggs, which causes her to make…sounds….when she’s ready to lay. Cerea needs help cleaning her horse body, causing her to make….sounds…when someones scurbs her backside. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Of course, the regular boob centric jokes are here as well. So the show’s biggest obstacle is that it’s totally NSFW. But I still consider it one of the strongest Harem shows in a long while. (p.s. I also don’t think Mera is a particularly good addition to the crew).

Watch it?: A 5/5 in my heart (4/5)

MVP: Cerea

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I like shy knights

Best Episode: “Everyday Life Under Dangerous Circumstances” (Basically the entire show)

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