If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord
Working an inbetween job, Dale the adventurer happens upon a young devil girl, Latina, with a broken horn while making camp for the night. Due to her circumstances, he decides to take her in and raise her on his own. In the devil world, a broken horn means she's a marked criminal, although Dale fails to see how a girl that young could possibly be involved in anything that would require such a punishment.
For good and bad, the initial concept of this show reminded me more than just a bit of Bunny Drop, another show about a sorta-adoptive father taking care of a young girl of around six years who has the misfortune of having lost everyone around her until the male lead decides to take her in.
As a concept, the show is certainly an endearing one. It's nice that If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord doesn't seem to think twice of having a guy being the sole (in theory) caretaker of a child -- and a girl, even -- without making too much of a fuss about it. Granted, aside from the aforementioned Bunny Drop, that was also the case with Sweetness and Lightning, but you could also say that Dale's and Latina's relationship is a bit more like Shinkurou's relationship with Murasaki in Kure-Nai.
The fantasy element does in a way lend itself to the brutality that made Latina an orphan to begin with, and I guess you could consider it a good excuse for how Dale could just take her in like he did without having to deal with all the issues Daikichi (of Bunny Drop fame) had to deal with when he took in Rin. Which is not to say Dale won't be facing any problems with her, but excessive paperwork isn't one, at least.
I once said that Rin was a remarkable easy kid to deal with, but even she has nothing on Latina. She goes from being an orphan who doesn't speak a word of the language to a productive member of society at a remarkable speed. The show literally spends the first couple of episodes pointing out what a quick learner she is, and the roughnecks frequenting the tavern where Dale rents the top room warms up to her almost immediately. She knows healing magic from the get-go, which impresses the local kids, who points out that using magic is not something a lot of people can do. She does start out a bit helpless, which is only to be expected given her situation, but everyone who aren't child slave kidnappers or hugely racist school teachers all love her unconditionally from the get-go. She's threading dangerously close to Mary Sue territory is what I'm saying.
Part of that can be attributed to the fact that she's also a devil, and the devil race in this show are treating like a more secluded, mysterious race. What we do learn is that they're a lot longer-lived than regular humans like Dale, so while Latina looks like she might be five or six years old when the show starts, she's actually closer to eight. Dale and Latina do meet another race of the demon people later in the show, where we learn a bit more about them. For instance, the show points out that her hair color is unusual, even though it looks like a fairly normal light brown type. We also learn that hair color is what indicates a demon person's magical proficiency; the stronger the color, the more powerful the magic, though in this case, "strong color" means one of the colors found in the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple and... maybe cyan? Or a deeper shade of indigo? We learn that the demon race doesn't manage to produce children nearly as easily as humans do, and when they do, the children are usually raised by their mothers, at least in one of the demon regions. The show kind of points out that devil couples generally don't live together, but due to the difficulties with having children, fathers are still incredibly happy about being, well... fathers, which is why devils generally carry keepsakes from the parent that aren't allowed to take part in said child rearing. I would have liked some more information about this, as I'm not entirely sure whether this was to make Dale's actions somehow more special for being a man who raises a child... by himself. That said, the short introduction we get of the other demon lords during their short chat with Glaros -- a demon girl bard of sorts that Dale and Latina meet on the way to Dale's home -- teaches us that things vary from demon race to demon race... aside from average life span and child-conceiving difficulties. Hell, even the reason why Dale can communicate a little bit with Latina from the start is that the magic language is apparently also the language of demons, and that the demon lords are basically chosen by God to rule each region, which so far is only a rule we learn so that we can understand that you can't aquire that title like a human would. As in when the second demon lord killed the first demon lord, the second demon lord didn't just inherit the first demon lord's power or lands or anything else. Make of that what you will.
Anyway... this unconditional love, that's the effect Latina has on people, and while that is indeed endearing for the most part -- particularly when it comes to most of the regulars in the show -- it does make Dale unbearably annoying at times. His screechy rants and fits are annoying enough, but he gets downright sinister on rare occasions when it comes to anything that might get between them. If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord even has the temerity to try to portray Dale as having been a dark-mooded loner before he met Latina, and that he has somehow changed a lot since she came into his life. While I'm not big on moody loners as main leads -- ask me why I thought Final Fantasy VII was such a disappointing experience for me despite its (at the time) fantastic graphics and sheer scale -- I think I would actually prefer that over the loud, childish spaz that is current Dale.
I thought that was annoying enough, but then came the story arc where he and Latina went to visit his family and If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord thought it was a great idea to portray almost all of them as massive assholes. Seriously, 90% of their dialogue is them taking the piss out of him, whether he's present or not, just in case you thought their welcoming ceremony was weirdly hostile. There's also Joseph and Ute, a beast race couple where, oddly enough, the females look more beast-like than the males. Although I guess there's a possibility that Joseph is a half-beast; the show doesn't really tell, but you can clearly see male beast people who doesn't have Joseph's clearly humanoid facial traits. I'd say human, but demon people could probably easily pass for humans too if not for their horns.
Maybe the reason why I'm not so fond of If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord is because it has a tendency to make up its mind for its audience, and then very nonaggressively, but still pointedly tell them how they should think. You don't get to think Latina is cute on her own. You are told. Repeatedly. And if you aren't one of the people who don't think she's cute, then you're probably one of those people who would just loooove to sell her into slavery, aren't you? Or maybe you'd like to lift her up by one of her pigtails and shout abuse directly at her face, you monster?! The weirdest way the show is more neutral in regard to her is with Rudy, who at worst confronts her a little bit aggressively when he first meets her, and earns himself a comic-relief dropkick for his troubles by Chloe, one of the girls in the village... plus a beating, but hey... he made Latina afraid, so he had that coming. And, in fairness, both the boys she beat up were at least allowed to call her out on resorting to violence every time she made a mountain out of a molehill much in the same way that the other kids called out Rudy for being a bit too forceful with people when dealing with them, so I don't really have any issues with any of this.
My point is that people tend to fall into two camps: the one that worships the ground she walks on or the irrational hate sinks that will get their just desserts for hating her or her kind. Granted, part of the reason why people fall into the first camp is because she's a child, so I can understand the reasoning for that, at least. Consider this for a second. That irritation you might be feeling towards me right now as you read that last paragraph? That's the sort of thing the show seems to want everyone to feel towards anyone who doesn't immediately adore Latina and hold on to that adoration throughout the whole show, seeing her -- maybe not effortlessly, but at least relatively easily -- master everything the show throws at her.
It should also be worth mentioning that there is another thing If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord has in common with Bunny Drop, and that is a certain choice both franchises made regarding its two main leads. Yes, I'm going to lay this out here right now: Dale will eventually end up getting together with Latina, and if there's something to be taken from the whole debacle, at least this anime isn't just suddenly whipping this out on you near the end. There are some rather obvious clues that Latina is not seeing Dale as a father near the end of this season, mostly through Latina getting annoyed at adult women being "close" to Dale while lamenting her own lack of adult features. Granted, I'm not necessarily taking away Latina's legitimacy for developing a crush on Dale any more than I question why Rin might've developed a crush on Daikichi, but the reason why people reacted so badly to Daikichi deciding to indulge her in this is because he was basically her parent figure! The only reason why -- I'm guessing -- people will find this more offputting in Bunny Drop is because Daikichi were the major influence in Rin's life. Compared to that, Dale does spend his share of time with her, but the workload imposed on him is much less than Daikichi's, mostly because Latina's support network is so much bigger. You could actually argue that Rita and Kenneth -- Kenneth especially -- spends more time raising Latina than Dale does, or at least gives her something to do while Dale is away. The kids are the ones that introduce her to the concept of school and later, Dale's family also teach her various things. And that's not even taking away the fact that a lot of the regulars at the bar Latina lives in also grows very fond of her and go various amount of lengths in their efforts at looking after her and protecting her. I'm certainly not taking away from the fact that Dale is the one who decided to take her away from her dire situation and gave her the opportunity to expand her horizons, but those differences are what might make it a bit easier for the audience to digest their eventual relationship reassigment.
I know I sound a bit complainy here, but the show is by and large pleasant. The relentless "Latina is the cutest" onslaught can get a bit tiring, but most of the stuff she does lends itself very nicely to the slice-and-life flair that works best for If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord. The title might seem a bit off at first for the kind of genre it is, but will come more into play later, if you'll permit me this mild spoiler. Don't worry, I don't know the details, and since this show strikes me more like a novel/manga ad then a show that will be allowed to continue unto completion, it's probably also going to be as far as I'll get. It's a shame, because this show clearly has a defined world that may or may not be better portrayed in the novel series when it comes to its build and its lore.
I suspect the creators of the show might not have had much faith in it either, if this is the extent of animation quality on display. The characters, Dale and Latina included, suffer from a lot of derpface throughout this season, and even that aside, the show does have this cheap, low-effort look to it. I have seen worse, don't get me wrong, but If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord kind of hearkens me back to when me and Tim watched Magical Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, which was also a ramshackle production from beginning to end. This is, unfortunately, more of a rule than an exception in today's anime production climate, so I don't want to be too harsh on the show because of this, but you aren't going to be able to avoid noticing it. It's almost a plus that the show isn't very action heavy, as there's only so much you can do with the generous amount of cel slides and animation loops being moved around.
And really, I did find Latina adorable. I just wish the show would shut up about it from time to time.
An alright, could-have-been-better slice of life designed to appeal to.... uh, maybe I shouldn't follow that train of thought any further. Anyway, I'm pretty sure you can enjoy this, even if you aren't one for excessive cuteness. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Dale is a mercenary, so in at least one part of the show, you do get to see him and his team attack and kill people from a different faction.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, both subbed and dubbed version available.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
If It's For My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord © 2019 Maho Film, Shirogane no Yoseiki o Mimamoru Committee.
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