How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Ω
While out testing some new magic alongside his party members Rem and Shera, Diablo is accidentally knocked out of the sky by a giant holy spell. Falling straight on a monster attacking a girl, he gets involved with Lumachina, the head priestess of the church. She implores him to help her in her quest to root out the corruption at the church...once she's done with the embarrassment of being seen naked by him.
Stig: Ooooh, the first season of How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord was fun. It was, in fact, so much fun that I couldn't help but sit, slack-jawed, through the entirety of it, even as I wrote the review. I kept wondering how someone could take slave collars, usually annoying side characters and somewhat stereotypical female character traits, and then isekai that crap to kingdom come and still make something that was so much fun.
Tim: How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord ended up being a lot of fun, as far as isekai shows go. It had three very likable leads, some nice action, a good mixture of goofy and serious when the need arised, and explored a lot of areas and locales in just a single 12-episode season. I was very much looking forward to Demon Lord Omega (which we'll be calling it as for the rest of this review for the sake of time). But, like how I felt when I finished Log Horizon with Stig a few years back before we dived into season two of that series, perhaps I should have kept my expectations much lower.
One disappointing thing about Demon Lord Omega right off the bat is its length; 10 episodes. Usually a show only has ten episodes in a season for two reasons: poor sales, or production issues. This also has the side effect of near every side character from season one reduced to either single episode appearances, small bits, or, in the case of "protector of women" Emile, a glorified extended cameo. The only side character who does much of anything, ironically, is one of the villains of last season, Alicia, who does help out the gang in the brief appaearances she has this season. (She at least has the excuse of being under house arrest following the events of season one.) While the end of the first season might have made it seem like she had turned over a new leaf, it's almost to the show's credit that, when we see her again, we learn that she hasn't completely shed her misantropic side. Said house arrest being served among the people who turned her into what she was in the first season might have had something to do with that, but it's nevertheless a nice touch seeing her still kinda hating on humans, but at least coming to an understanding that it miiiight not be worth starting an apocalypse as long as enough of the people she can come to like live in the world.
Instead, we're introduced to three new cast members that follow Diablo, Rem, and Shera on their journey this season. The first and most notable of the new heroines is Lumachinia, a high priestess with holy powers, which includes a pretty powerful healing ability. She's your typical sweetheart who loves to help those in need, and thanks to a humorous misunderstanding from Diablo, believes he is God himself. Not A God, but THE God, living an undercover life and both willing and able to help her root out the corruption in the religious order. It's pretty amusing, because the lifeline she keeps clinging to is that only God can see her "in the flesh" without turning the whole situation into an impromptu forced marriage. There's also something to be said about the humor in Diablo asking why Lumachina wants to confront her church leader staff, to which she proceeds to roll out a cavalcade of hilariously realistic acts of corruption and vice that wouldn't be out of place in our world.
Second up is Horn, a 12 year-old bunny girl traveler who fills the prerequisite thief role in your adventuring party. She lied about her age to become an adventurer, but as we quickly learn she's not...super great at it. She spends a lot of the season cowering, worrying, or trying to run away from danger. Well, at least until a deux ex machina moment near the end of the season that levels her up by proxy and gives her a rather cringeworthy ability. The way she does this is through a chalice with the spirit of a green-haired schoolgirl in it, which she receives from a dungeon Diablo and the others explore later in the series that Diablo himself created back when he played Cross Reverie, before he got "summoned" into this world. There's also a rather juvenile joke involving said chalice that we'll let you experience on your own if you haven't seen it yet.
Speaking of Diablo's dungeon, that's where we meet the third and final new girl of the season, his android maid Rose. She's incredibly devoted to Diablo and gets jealous at the drop of a hat around others. She's also quite blunt and not big on showing emotions to anyone but Diablo, although her sadistic side (when provoked) leads to a funny situation where she and Edelgard bond over shared interests. There are at least a few cute scenes with her and her "master" where she gets to show a softer, happier side that also served to portray just how much of a loner Diablo used to be back when he was still living a regular human life. (Tim: One scene, involving her getting a hair ornament, ranks as my favorite moment in the show. She's just SO cute when she gets it.) As a robot she needs to recharge, usually by standing near Diablo. But it doesn't work when he's asleep, which requires a...different method when this happens, involving her charging stations. Three guesses where those are, and if you can guess which three without thinking too hard about it, maybe a non-ecchi show would be in order next time, no?
Demon Lord Omega is more or less a road trip season, with Diablo and the girls going to a desert town, Diablo's old dungeon, and then finally a temple/church. For ambiguity, the first half gives us a nice balance with Fanis Laminitus, the town mayor, and templar leader Batutta. Lumachina does insist that Batutta is a just man who only wants what's best. And then when we meet Batutta. It seems like she might be on the money about that, when he points out that the church kinda has to charge money for their services because Laminitus taxes them through the ass (not literally, mind you). Things aren't quite that simple, but Laminitus, for all her seeming selfishness, doesn't really get much closure as story arcs go, even after Diablo takes care of business there. Moving on from there, we meet a vastly less ambiguous villain in the super corrupt church dude Vishos. You are not going to spend much time wondering where he stands, because he is more or less in a constant state of sneering villainy.
There's also a few minor other villains, like another harem leader and actual demon lord (albeit a much weaker one than Krebskulm) named Varakness. We are introduced to him when he appears in front of Laminitus with the intent of adding her to his harem, stating that he likes strong women, if only so he can break them. And yes they do indeed end up fighting his army, his harem and eventually himself. At least insofar that you could charitably call Diablo's match against him a "fight".
World building, sadly, seems to be scaled back in Demon Lord Omega. In the first season we learned a lot about Shera's family line, and a bit about Rem's, but in this season aside from Rose, we learn near nothing new about any of our three core leads. This is especially disappointing for Rem, who in season one birthed a powerful demon lord and is now mostly regulated to petty arguments with Shera. (Her "baby", Krebsklum, is regulated to a filler episode halfway through the season.) Until the ending of the season, Shera is in the same boat, though she at least gets a new, more powerful bow to work with. Despite this, the two of them sadly spend little time doing much other than serve as damsels for Diablo to save. Thankfully Diablo mostly retains his charming personality from the first season, where his demon lord personality serves as a cover for how he's steadily growing fonder of his troupe of girl(friends?), and the girls for their part seem to enjoy just rolling with it.
Because Diablo and his team spend a lot more time travelling this season, you'd think this would be a chance to see more places and expand upon this world. Nope; at the end, most of it is irrelevant in hindsight. Travel is done more to put the characters on stage rather than expand upon the world of Cross Reverie, and it's a frustrating thing to watch.
Also scaled back is the animation quality. Demon Lord Omega switched studios for season two, and the result is not great. While the characters themselves look fine, as do the backgrounds, everything feels more stiff. Battles are fewer, too many of them going from energetic spectacles to Diablo merely standing still and unleashing huge spells. Even the fight against Batutta seems a good deal cheaper than the one he had against Galford in season one, and overall the CG feels a bit less impressive looking. It's not Log Horizon season difference quality, but it's still noticeable. (At least the new characters fit right in with the series' aesthetic.) And don't even get us started on the music of choice for this season's opening and ending theme. It's an interesting one, that's for sure. Very era specific. (Tim: I kept thinking of the 1993 song EZ Do Dance when I listened to the opening and ending, which isn't that big a stretch since one of the members of TRF, who composed that song, did the opening and ending themes of this season.)
Also, since we couldn't fit it anywhere into the rest of the review, we want to note episode four. Or rather, one specific scene in the episode. And that would be the idol scene. We do admit to getting a small giggle from seeing Rem, Shera, Lumachinia, and Horn becoming temporary idols, singing and dancing on stage for a bunch of snow yetis in a dungeon as Diablo serves as their "manager". No, we are NOT making any of this up, we guarantee you.
Stig: I was looking forward to this show. Which is to say I still liked How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Ω, but I didn't expect it to be so stymied. There is a certain spirit of halfassedness hanging over this season, and it bears mentioning that it followed a pretty well-animated and remarkably fun show. If not for that fact, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Ω might've been a pleasant surprise, depending on one's expectations. Unfortunately, the first season of How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord is the show that set the expectations this time around, and Omega doesn't quite measure up to that. Sadly.
Tim: Part of me wishes Demon Lord Omega had those two extra episodes to focus on the colorful cast of characters Stig and I grew to like in season one. (Yes, even Emile I eventually found amusing.) Instead, character development and side character screen time takes a back seat to yet another religion based fantasy story, which might as well be its own genre of storytelling in Japan between all the RPGs and anime that do this at this point. Hopefully if a season three does get made, we can focus more on the characters from season one not named Diablo, Rem, or Shera.
Recommended Audience: The show keeps up the tradition of being quite forward about its cheesecake, but the second season also features a sex dungeon. (It makes sense in context, kinda.) Outside of that, we get the regular ol' Shera trying to come on to Diablo bits, and Rem (if present) complains about wanting to be let in on it, too.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (10/10)
How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Ω © 2021 Yukiya Murasaki / Kodansha / Isekai Maou Ou Seisaku Iinkai
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