What’s the show? How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord, Episode 2.
So last time you made the case for Diablo’s non-consensual antics towards his female ‘companions’. How much of this review are you going to spend defending his “antics” this time? Cutting right to the heart of the issue now are we?
Well, let’s face it, it’s half the reason people are even reading this review! Fair enough, can’t argue with that.
So what does Diablo do that could be considered ~problematic~ in this episode? Well the episode opens with Diablo waking up in bed with his left hand firmly planted on the breast of busty elf Shera who is sleeping beside him.
Oh, well that’s just an innocent mistake right? Eh~ well he kinda keeps groping her breast long after coming to the realisation of what he’s done—his inner monologue protests his left hand’s ‘actions’ and he even calls for his right hand to help stop his uncontrollable grope—only to find his right hand is copping a feel of Rem’s flat chest who is sleeping on his other side.
…Well. This ought to be fun… What?
Watching you try and justify these actions! For a moment, I almost thought “you know what, screw it, this is just harem shenanigans in a silly anime I don’t have to justify them” but that’s the easy way out. So you know what, I’m absolutely going to justify his actions—or more appropriately try and explain the in-universe context.
*grabs popcorn* So consider what kind of life Diablo—Takuma Sakamoto had before being ‘summoned’ to this other world, he was a shut-in who almost constantly played the video game Cross Reverie, now suddenly he’s in that world. What are the possible options for his new reality, either he’s in a dream—and let’s face it all rules are off in a dream, he’s in the video game itself—same situation, the rules are off. The third and probably the most accurate option—at least given what this show is telling us about this world—is that it’s an alternate universe that happens to share multitude similarities with the game world Takuma is most familiar with.
And what does that mean for your ‘no rules’ hypothesis? It still applies.
Excuse me? Please don’t tell me your condoning non-consensual touching in the context of this narrative? In the context of this narrative Diablo is “god”, this is a world made for him. And it just so happens though that he’s a kind, nervous, socially awkward god who just wants to help his new friends out of whatever problems they have. And so when he ends up getting involved in ‘inappropriate shenanigans’ with these girls it’s his privilege as a “god” to suffer little to no real world repercussions for his actions. You cannot equate real world logic to a series that in itself is so out of the norm from anything that anyone could quantify as reality. In video games the player is ‘god’ and in this world Diablo is ‘god’.
Sounds like a lot of ‘mansplaining’ and ‘male privilege’ to justify a few cheap thrills if you ask me… Have you been talking to my irlwaifu? What I’m saying is that if this series was a harem anime that took place anywhere in the real world, his actions—specifically the non-consensual ones could absolutely be put under a critical microscope and be called out for how harmful they are, but not only is this pure fantasy, it’s an idealised very specific fantasy for one character. There’s nothing to be gained from drawing parallels to reality when every encounter is orchestrated in hyper-unreality to garner a very specific reaction from the protagonist.
So are you saying a negative reaction from someone viewing these scenes is ‘wrong’? Now you’re just putting words in my mouth. The way everyone perceives media is different; my opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else’s—why does it feel like I’ve made this speech before recently…
Hmm… I don’t know if I agree with you but I see your point. Wouldn’t it be nice if every interaction with contrasting opinions ended like that?
So this review ended up a lot longer than intended and we’ve basically talked about what amounts to the first few minutes of the episode! Want to speed-run the rest? Sure, so after the ‘groping’ we end up at the Adventurer’s Guild where Shera and Diablo are going to have their level checked (there’s no need for Rem to do so as she tells us she’s level 40). Shera goes first, she’s level 30—apparently very good for someone with minimal experience in adventuring, Diablo goes next and it’s over 9000! Okay not really, but his level is too high for the ‘magic mirror’ to be able to assess. The Guildmaster, rabbit loli Sylvie tells Diablo he’s “too strong” for their Guild—only meaning he’s a higher in level than she is and wouldn’t he feel weird taking orders from someone weaker. Demonstrating that ego-less shut-in personality he says he has no problem with that and just want to be in a guild so he can help people.
That’s pretty altruistic, I’ll admit… wait what’s this about a “rabbit loli”? Shhh. So they take a quest to defeat a powerful monster in the woods, end up ambushed by some snooty elves, who are their to rescue Shera from the “slave trader” Diablo because she actually is a princess of an Elven country and is supposed to be marrying her brother(?) and having children. But she is defiant, saying she’s nobody’s slave and only lives her life for self and her companions! It’s a very rousing speech that I think perfectly highlights how strong and independent these female characters are—
—How long til’ she’s straddling Diablo in bed and confessing her love for him? About 5 minutes, but it’s her choice (probably).
What do you mean by “probably”? Well it’s a slightly worrying thought I had, but what if these girls are only sticking around with Diablo not because he’s a nice and understanding and helpful guy, but because the ‘slave spell’ that’s ended them up with a collar each around their neck is influencing their decision making abilities and free will.
Well that would be problematic, wouldn’t it?! You’d love that, wouldn’t you, just seeing all my hard work defending this show blow up in my face!
Maybe then you’d be honest with yourself and just come out and say the only reason you’ve put so much energy into defending this show is because you think the female characters are attractive and you like all the fan-service it has! It’s a factor! But I’m genuinely interested in the story here, the characters are enjoyable to spend time with, there are good bouts of energetic humour, it’s well animated and it’s just plain fun! Maybe I’m kinder on this show than I would be on one that’s lacking some of those elements, but maybe we all need to enjoy a little ‘fantasy’ from time to time…
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