Kyo Kara Maoh! Vol. 1
Released By: Geneon
Release Date: 4/19/05
The typical fantasy series gets a few tweaks and proves that there is still life to be found in this genre.
Yuri Shibuya is a boy in high school. He isn’t anything special in Japan but one day after breaking up a fight, he finds himself flushed… literally. The bullies are intending to shove his head into a toliet but instead, he gets flushed down the toliet and arrives in a mysterious new world and while he may have no idea where he is or what is going on, there are those in the kingdom who know exactly what is going on.
Before he was born, Yuri’s spirit was sent to Earth for safety and a couple of years later he was born. What he didn’t know was that he possesses the soul of the Demon King and he has been called back to his home country to rule over his people and help his loyal subjects.
Yuri is now thrown in the middle of a war between demons and humans, subjects who don’t quite trust him and after a bizarre series of accidents… a new male fiance.
This volume shows the first five episodes of this series and takes us all the way into our first major story as Yuri is now on a mission to obtain a weapon which may prevent a full scale war from breaking out between the demons and the humans.
The Good And The Bad
I really wasn’t sure what was going to be happening with this series when I first started watching it as the only experience I had with it was a short blurb that I read about it before I added it to my list of series to watch but soon into the first episode I found myself mildly entertained.
This is a series that has taken the typical fantasy story of a person from Earth being transported to a strange new world and having to figure out how to help a group of people that he’s never met before and then figure out how to get home and gives it a couple of new spins (none of which I can reveal in the review). The result is a mildly entertaining series that really shows serious potential for gaining steam.
So far there are more than a few good points going for this series including some very nice animation and a rather amusing and ecclectic cast of characters that I am having fun getting to know. Unfortunetly it’s this same cast of characters which provides most of the bad points.
My two biggest complaints about this series both deal directly with the characters. The first problem I have is that with five episodes being shown on this first volume, we are introduced to quite a large group of characters right away and it’s very difficult to keep track of everyone as it is but add in the fact that all of them (aside from Yuri) have very difficult names to remember and it becomes one big mess that you need a flow chart to understand half the time.
The writing hasn’t been terribly bad so far but I can’t help but say that I really wish that the core group of characters were widdled down already into something more manageable. It felt like every episode there was a new character to keep track of and most of the time you had no idea if it was worth it to remember their name because you had no idea if you were ever going to see them again and sadly that leads to some annoyance as there were a couple of characters that I wouldn’t have minded seeing again but after their few seconds of screen time they disappear never to be seen again on the volume.
Most of the music is fairly well done. While the opening and closing theme have some interesting punk music and terrible vocals, I can’t say that I heard much in the way of background music. Occasionally there was some simple background music that was so subdued you had to listen for it explicitly in order to know that it was even there, other than that I really can’t recall any to speak of which is unfortunate since I was really hoping to hear some more interesting background music since the series is held in such an interesting setting.
Dub vs. Sub
Both tracks were well done and I can’t say that I very much preferred one track over the other. I did find the voices on the sub track to fit a bit more with what I thought the characters would sound like as the characters on the English track always sounded much younger than they actually appeared but this is a fairly minor complaint. I thought it was interesting that even though this is a Geneon release, a scan of the English cast revealed no names that I was familiar with.
Only two extras are included with this volume including clean opening animation and character profiles going over all the characters that appear to have some significance to the story thus far. While I do wish that the character profiles had a bit more info contained on them I was grateful for what I got as it was very handy to go over them before I began writing this review.
I wasn’t overly impressed with this first volume. The characters seem charming enough and the story feels like it’s moving in the right direction but there was really nothing special to really pull me into the plot and it feels like every time I am getting attached to a character they disappear before I can even remember their name.
I am still going to give this title a reccomendation as it did entertain me while I watched it. It wasn’t fabulous and it probably won’t land on anyone’s top 10 list but it’s still worth a peek if you’re interested in fantasy anime along the lines of El Hazard.
Final Grade: 79% – C