Genre(s): Comedy, Demons, Fantasy, Shoujo, Supernatural
Notable Seiyuu(s): Terashima Takuma, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, Kakihara Tetsuya, Fukuyama Jun
OP: “Believe My Dice” by devils and realist (the seiyuus)
ED: “a shadow’s love song” by devils and realist
Summary: The story revolves around William, an aristocratic family’s progeny with rare intellect. One day, his uncle lost his possessions after his business failed. Fearing that his family’s name has been tarnished, William returns home and searches with his family’s butler for anything that can be converted into cash. A search of the premises yields an underground room left by an ancestor. In the room is a magical seal, and William unintentionally summons a devil. The summoned devil tells William his name Dantalion, and reveals that William is the designator who can choose the acting ruler of the demon world. (Source: ANN)
The good old Victorian genre, how I’ve missed you since my days of fawning over shoujo manga or incredibly fancy dresses. A good friend of mine is really into Victorian-era series, so I decided to check this out with her in mind. Nonetheless, I’m a little bit of a fan myself, and Makai Ouji seems to be everything that I like in a series: fancy animation, pretty art style, fantasy themed, and of course, the bishies. I don’t know if I had my expectations met after watching the first episode, however – just judging from the minute or so before the opening sequence, I can see this series as being fujoshi bait as well. I guess Makai Ouji is giving Free! a run for their money, huh? This seems to be that one token series that I gush about in the first impressions, and then it’s never heard from again despite it’s animation or super-fantastical plot. I’m hoping it’ll turn out great, but we’ll just have to see.
Let’s get down to business – William Twining is your typical Victorian prince character; he’s wealthy, blond, and has a butler following at his heels, devoting his life to his young master. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I can easily compare William to Pandora Hearts’ Oz Bezarius; their appearances are almost uncannily the same, while Kevin, the butler, has the same dark hair and demeanor as Gilbert Nightray. It might be coincidence, it might be a humorous homage, but whatever the case is, I’m starting to see the demon Dantalion as Alice/Black Rabbit (what with the color scheme and all) and that might be going a bit too far. Nonetheless, what makes Makai Ouji different from Victorian series such as Pandora Hearts and Kuroshitsuji is that unlike the main protagonists of the latter series, Makai Ouji’s got a bit more humor. William is more – for lack of a better word – fortunate that Oz or Ciel, and while I appreciate the fact that they use humor, I feel as if the stakes are less high and there’s less plot devices to work with.
William, as our protagonist, is our “chosen one,” a role that he naturally does not understand and seemingly tries to reject. It’s weird, though, because as I’m writing this, some minute detail or some spoken piece of dialogue stands out and reminds me of some other show, and perhaps that’s what makes Makai Ouji special – it brings together qualities from different genres and series. The seemingly grim and serious facade of a Victorian-era show is stripped away, leaving something rather whimsical and fantasy-driven in its wake. They aren’t scared to throw in fanservice either, what with the implications of shounen-ai not-so-discreetly tossed about. The fight scene between Dantalion and the other human-turned-demon (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten) was great and just so stereotypical for a fantasy series that I enjoyed it immensely. No matter how much I try to talk myself out of it, I keep on thinking that the battle reminds me from a scene in last season’s Karneval, but I may just be seeing things.
Is Makai Ouji worth the watch? If you’re looking for something similar to the aforementioned Pandora Hearts and Kuroshitsuji, you may be in for a surprise, because that’s not the route that this series seems to take. Even so, it’s great fun, and at reaching the end of this review, I realized that I probably enjoyed this episode a lot more than I thought I did after watching it. This may just turn out to be fluffy fangirl bait, and that’s all okay, because while we’re waiting for Free! to come out with its next episode, we’ll have Makai Ouji to keep us satisfied, right? That William guy is a lot cuter than I’d like to admit, to be honest. (Actually…so are a lot of the other characters in this show. Did you see William’s classmate, the short one with the red(?) hair? He’s got thick eyebrows! I guess that means we’re definitely in England!)
Also, one last shoutout to the Goat-Butler who serves Dantalion. Badass action goats for the win, right?
Rating: I was expecting something darker, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Makai Ouji took a lighter approach with the entire plot. While this may turn out to be the one thing that kills it all, it may turn out to be the one thing that makes it successful as well. But then again, we’ve got fancy character designs, awesome fighting scenes, and lots of shipping, so I guess I’m satisfied for now. 9/10.