But they’re so different.
The fantastic soundtrack continues to persist. Regardless of any complaints, the most delightful, and surprising aspect of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha’s adaptation is its great soundtrack and its consistent, aesthetically-great animation/art. I really wasn’t planning on spending every entry comparing Maoyuu to a very similar show revolving around a merchant and a wolf, but that’s a little impossible. So, I’ll give in to that.
Maou’s ridiculously adorable. The Hero’s affable in that he’s not a self-righteous prick [a traditional, celebrated hero archetype kinda is]. But even with that, it’s difficult to escape the comparisons to Holo and Lawrence. The integral facet that disassociates the two series apart would be their structures — Spice and Wolf moves at a slow pace, it feels like a slice-of-life that progresses slowly temporally, but the episodes go by so quickly. Maoyuu’s a bit different — we’re given certain time skips, some are minimal, while others are fairly significant; I don’t mind this type of storytelling, but I do fear that it may attenuate the characterization.
For example, this is the second episode. But, we’re already being given some “heavy” content — a cathartic, lachrymose moment typically doesn’t occur until a least several episodes in; we’re given one on the second episode. Although it appears that the event was done to advance the plot [to introduce two new characters], it feels as if their introduction would have been that much more meaningful if we were given a longer time to know Maou and the Hero. Their romance is already present. I’m the fanboy that loves early romance — it skips the silly tension. But it’s a little strange to see two ambivalent forces join together so aptly, and so quickly with a fervent love. I’m a fan of cutesy scenes — the scenes where Maou does cute shit is adorable. But, it doesn’t seem meaningful.
I’m a Spice and Wolf fanboy, and every single entry pertaining to Maou will probably show prominent vestiges of such. I’m a bit of a conservative romantic, I like quickly-developed romances, but more than that, I love meaningful romances. Spice and Wolf was great in that we didn’t get a sense of simple romantic love — Lawrence traveled with Holo as more of a companion that very gradually turned into a romantic prospect. Juxtaposed with that, Maou and Yuusha have essentially started to embrace each other. I found Holo’s being reserved and composed much cuter than Maou’s proactive ambitions in courting the hero. I’m not quite condemning the series for making Maou proactive, it’s just that I prefer Spice and Wolf in that regard. When we compare the structures of both shows [quickly progressing with a storyline versus simple progression at a slow pace] and the heroines [primarily reserved and composed versus apt to blush], we should already ascertain that at the core, these two shows are very different.
But, as I said during my last entry, it’s simply impossible to disassociate the two. We have Holo’s voice actor playing the voice of Maou, and we have a comparable central pairing living during a medieval era. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha makes use of a memorable soundtrack and a fantastic, consistent art scheme better than Spice and Wolf does. Of course I’m more apt to say that I like the Holo-Lawrence relationship better, but it’s too far to come to a conclusive end [although quite bluntly, I probably will not change this vehemence]. The thing that Spice and Wolf does better than Maoyuu Maou Yuusha in all regard would be its sense of immersion.
It may be a little cold to simply say that Maoyuu’s developing of the medieval mood is centered primarily on physical reminders [e.g: clothing, food items, typical moods]. But the quick-paced environment really doesn’t immerse the viewer into the series to the extents that Spice and Wolf did. In Spice and Wolf, we were given a travelling pair — at each junction, something indicative of the period was given: the religious fervor during the time period, the integration of smugglers, and the presence of conspirators were all minute aspects that made the show what it was. Maoyuu’s probably going to be more reminiscent of a missionary-style of travel, where the pair travels to select locations in order to catalyze a beneficial reaction [for their coveted result]. But, their statuses are sure to influence the results — we have a demon king travelling with a hero; or at the very least, we have a pair of travelling nobles. Holo and Lawrence were simple merchants.
Maoyuu’s plot is developing. I’m still a bit wary as to what Maou’s initial catalyst or motivation for her actions are — we’re given the detail that she wants to better the world, but her reason for doing so is still unknown. There’s a question as to why she needs the hero — she has a head maid, a maid who’s probably apt to act as a guard. She arranged to have her noble status made known; so far, the Hero has not done anything idiosyncratic. We’re not given why he was chosen specifically. We’ll probably see this developed in later episodes [although I'd guess it's more symbolic than anything -- the Hero representing man, and the demon king representing the demons working together in unison]. It’d be fantastic for Maou’s character if she simply lugged the Hero around as a prize and soloed everything, while using him for nothing more than his status [although I'm an optimist for the strange].
We were introduced to a new, possibly recurrent character this episode: the head maid. She was a little obnoxious — it’s not that I doubted her intentions, it’s just the flagrant, discordant, and brusque shift in mood that bothered me. Something as trite and cold as “I hate insects” [to two females, one of whom is a child] is just a cause for instant sympathy from the audience. While it did advance the plot, I did wish for it to be have been done more gracefully, or in a way much more spectacular than through simple “tough love.”
This is awful. I feel like I’m being too critical of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. It’s probably an affable show on its own merits, but it’ll be difficult to get the point of view of somebody who’s not a Spice and Wolf fanboy. Like take this conversation between me and InfiniteDestiny earlier today.
[3:29:57 PM] InfiniteDestiny: People on the forums are too obsessed with SW
[3:30:03 PM] InfiniteDestiny: its over, they should learn to accept that
[3:30:16 PM] MDZ: it will always be compared to swolf even if they’re different shows
[3:30:21 PM] InfiniteDestiny: Out with te old in with the new
[3:30:27 PM] MDZ: I like Maou’s OST
[3:30:31 PM] MDZ: and I think it has potential
[3:30:36 PM] InfiniteDestiny: SW was overrated is all, it was enjoyable
[3:30:38 PM] InfiniteDestiny: very enjoyable
[3:30:43 PM] MDZ: =3
[3:30:48 PM] InfiniteDestiny: but people’s sense of time attempt to make it vintage
[3:30:48 PM] MDZ: it’s an 8.3 on MAL
[3:30:51 PM] MDZ: that’s hardly overrated
[3:31:01 PM] InfiniteDestiny: i would say more like 8.01 is better
[3:31:05 PM] MDZ: =3
[3:31:06 PM] MDZ: guy
[3:31:08 PM] MDZ: talk to someone else
*definitely not done to spite InfiniteDestiny. But rather, to illustrate that mdz is a Spice and Wolf fanboy at heart.