The Slimes That Bind Us – ‘How Not To Summon A Demon Lord’ Episode 7 Review

What’s the show? How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord, Episode 7.

So how far are you going to go to try and excuse the gratuitous fan service this episode? There’s two very distinct types of fan service in this episode—the light-hearted type that benefits our protagonist (and therefore the audience as his analogue) and the creepy type which is relevant to express the complete moral degradation of the villain who is inflicting the “fan service” upon the character.

And you intend to defend them both? The first type doesn’t need defending, it’s entirely for comedic effect—though comes with the added benefit of explaining how Diablo is able to continue making powerful potions despite the interface between in-game and real life being very different. The second type is defensible in that it’s indefensible, i.e. it’s not meant to be just for the sake of arousal.

Relatable feels.

Fan service that’s not meant to be sexy? Care to elaborate? Well first some context—Shera’s evil brother Keera comes to collect his sister despite having no intention of leaving with him—that is until he plays a brainwashing tune on his magical flute and she can’t help but oblige his wishes. As we discovered last week Keera’s intent is to have his sister give birth to an heir, which she obviously has no intent on doing as she wants to be free to live her own life. So Keera decides to ‘punish’ her by tying her up and unleashing a slime that wraps around her like tentacles and slowly melts off her clothing.

Poor Shera 😦

Sounds like typical fan service to me… The show paints what’s happening to Shera as an inherently bad thing—you’re meant to feel uncomfortable and feel sorry for Shera as she’s being assaulted by the slime that’s been unleashed by her leering brother. And the show doesn’t make light of what’s happening to her—she cries and objects and wails and then when Diablo comes to the rescue he doesn’t blush or ogle her unclothed body he simply covers her up in a cloak, comforts her and makes her feel safe.

And I want to keep watching you three forever and ever!

But surely just having this type of scene in an anime is meant to appeal to and arouse someone, you don’t have a “clothes melting slime” attack a main-character and it ~not~ be seen as fan service? It’s all about in how the scene is presented, the only other character in the scene is an evil, incestuous, would-be rapist who has kidnapped his sister and is assaulting her in this dehumanising way—and he’s enjoying every minute of it, if the audience is truly on Shera’s side and not just watching this show as passive voyeur this scene is meant to be gross and exploitative. Yes it’s still ~technically~ fan service, the same way that a damsel in distress in a Bond film would be tied up and have her clothes strategically torn to both highlight her sexuality as well as present the evilness of the villain.

This guy needs to get his ass kicked, and quick.

Wait… I thought you said it was “gross and exploitative” now you’re saying it’s “highlighting her sexuality”? It can be both believe it or not—if anything this show is proof that ~just~ because a show has a lot of fan service doesn’t mean it can’t be complicated and nuanced. Speaking of which…

*sigh* she’s perfect…

Yes? The character development in this episode on everyone’s part is just so damn good! It’s so well-written and naturalistic that even simple looks carry so much emotional impact. Even the brief flashback to Diablo’s in real life childhood where he thinks he’s made some friends over a shared interest in video-games only to find out that they were using him to get good in-game items is not only shockingly relatable (at least to this reviewer) but it’s done in such a subtle way and carries its impact through the rest of the episode. Not only that but there’s so many great moments early on between Shera and Diablo that lay the groundwork for a deeper relationship between the two and allows each of them to be vulnerable with each other in ways that neither would have anticipated before coming into each other’s lives.

Unexpected vulnerability from Diablo in this scene.

Well that’s g— And it’s not just Shera and Diablo, Rem gets a sweet scene as she convinces the crestfallen Diablo to come to help rescue Shera—cementing the importance of their three-way friendship and the life they have all share together. Unlike some shows where it feels like characters are together for their own selfish reasons, or even just because they’re thrown together by circumstance (which is how this show started) they now genuinely feel like a family who rely and depend and yes, even love each other. And as much as I enjoy the fan service moments in the show, ultimately it’s the characters that has me prematurely calling this my favourite anime of the Summer 2018 season!

Aside from this moment being so sweet it’s also such a well-framed shot.

Previous How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord Reviews:

Is It Wrong To Suck A Cat Girl’s Ear In Another World? – Episode 1 Review
The Grope Debate – Episode 2 Review
Listening Is A Heroic Trait Too – Episode 3 Review
Unlimited Power/Limited Stamina – Episode 4 Review
Reigning It In – Episode 5 Review
Sexually Liberated Elf – Episode 6 Review


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15 comments

      1. I get it, man. Keep an eye out in a month or so for a collab on BTT in which I’ll be defending certain kinds of fanservice myself!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeah, this episode was excellent, but in a much more subtle way than I’d ever expected. The only problem I had with it was Diablo getting all down about the situation despite *knowing* that Shera wasn’t acting of her own free will. I get that it was just something that touched a nerve, but that just strikes me as something that’d make him angry, not so much defeated. But I can also excuse it because that scene between him and Rem was *otherwise* perfect. Also, Shera is just the most precious thing ever. As to the fanservice, I agree about that second one being there to convey the absolute depravity of the villain. The first one was more or less the kind I just ignore. Though it was kinda funny how it snaps directly from his ogling to his having made the potions. And god the character work in this show is freaking sublime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was nice that he didn’t default to angry, not just so we could have the scene between him and Rem but because it makes his anger later more impactful (also shows he’s capable of more than one reactionary emotion). Glad you think the character work is so good too!

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      1. It wasn’t so much a problem if not jumping straight to anger. It just seemed like he was acting defeated for no real reason, since they go on to point out that he knew what was actually happening. I think the scene would’ve been perfectly fine if he just hadn’t thought of the possibility that she was being controlled. I like that he’s intelligent, but the correlation between what he knew and how he responded was a bit inconsistent for me. But again. The scene was otherwise great.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. “I get that it was just something that touched a nerve, but that just strikes me as something that’d make him angry, not so much defeated.”

      I’ve been thinking about that scene a lot (which is a sign of how well it was written, I think!). I’m glad you’ve never been in a situation where you felt like Diablo did. Unfortunately, I have. There are certain combinations of events that completely wipe out my confidence. It’s not a matter of intellect; I think Diablo could _understand_ that his experiences with Shera were authentic. But that’s not what the moment was about. It was about Diablo confronting how his young self had adapted to the pain of false friendship. His instinct — which is what it had become by this time — was to deflate and retreat.

      And yes, I’m psychoanalyzing Diablo. I still can’t believe this show has given us characters that withstand that kind of treatment!

      Anyway, not disagreeing with you; just sharing a different perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to agree. The character work this episode was excellent and the fan service didn’t get in the way of that. While I’m still wondering why slimes that eat clothes are a persistent thing in anime (and why of all the cloth in the tent the slime when after Shera), this episode was just pretty solid.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cactus Matt, I just want to thank you again for convincing me to keep watching this show! It’s become one of my favorites this season.

    And I loved the distinction you drew between the types of fan service in this episode. Good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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