Review for How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord - Season 2
I have to accept that my inner teenager is still alive and kicking; y’know, the pervert, the lecher who can appreciate a saucy bit of raunch. I am the hypocrite that will tut and roll my eyes at a blatant display of fan service, but who will be laughing like Sid James on the inside. That schizophrenia informed my review of How Not To Summon A Demon Lord a few years ago, a show that I proclaimed to both love to hate, and hate to love. You might think that kind of ambivalence might make me reluctant to see more, but when Crunchyroll announced that they would release the Omega sequel in the UK, I actually had it pre-ordered. I’ve turned into my dad. Do as I say, not as I do. But if you want to stick around for some shameless animated sexual exploitation, here’s my review of How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Omega, Season 2.
Takuma Sakamoto is a typical otaku player of the Cross Reverie MMORPG. He’s levelled up his character to the max, and he revels in the demonic persona of his Diablo character. That in the real world, he’s socially inept and dismissive of ‘normies’ means little when he’s killing it in Cross Reverie. Then one day his world changes, literally.
Now he really is Diablo, demon lord possessing great power, living in a world not too far removed from the game. He’s been summoned by a buxom elf named Shera and a cute Pantherian named Rem, to serve as their familiar as they quest in their dangerous world. Only their spell backfired, and now Diablo has two cute slave girls bound to him by more than just chains. And while he got to level 90-odd in Cross Reverie, this fantasy world that he’s now lost in hasn’t really progressed far beyond level 30. He has god level powers in a world of minnows, and he has two cute girls who have to obey his every whim. Now if only he could do something about that social ineptitude.
10 episodes of How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Season 2 are presented across two Blu-ray discs from Crunchyroll.
1. Head Priest
2. Head Paladin
3. Corrupt Ritual
4. Personal Domain
5. Black Dragon Clash
6. Demon Lord Army
7. Little Demon Lord
8. Visit to the Royal Capital
9. Storm the Church
10. Pretend God
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer. It’s a fine transfer of a recent show, clear and sharp with decent detail. The colours tend to the bright and primary, and there is no visible problem with compression, aliasing or banding. The animation is smooth, even if the character designs seem generic. This is one of the saucier shows to come out recently, so expect lots of animated nudity and sexualised scenes. If you’re in the mood for ecchi, you’ve come to the right place.
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord gets the choice between Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English and 2.0 Stereo Japanese, and this time the translated subtitles and signs only tracks are unlocked during playback. I stuck with the Japanese audio this time around and was happy enough with the experience, even if the character voices are somewhat generic and cookie-cutter. The subtitles are timed accurately and free of typos. The music drives the story well, but is rather forgettable, and in the case of the theme songs (which lack subtitles), skippable as well.
You get two discs in a BD Amaray style case with one disc on each inner face. There is inner sleeve art to enjoy, and the discs boot to static menus. Each episode is followed by a translated English credit roll.
Disc 2 has the extras...
Mini Anime Collection (12:09)
Promo Videos x2 (2:46)
It seems Crunchyroll do the bare minimum to get their shows onto disc.
I may have resolved my internal conflict when it comes to How Not To Summon a Demon Lord, or at least I wasn’t as conflicted about Season 2. It might just be that they’ve toned down the ‘offensive’ content to a less jarring level. At the very least, I didn’t feel guilty about laughing at the show this time. With that veneer of shock removed, it becomes clear that How Not To Summon A Demon Lord isn’t all that great, relying really on just the one joke to carry it through. It’s that the main character, Diablo, built like a hunk on the outside, is so socially inadequate on the inside, that any situation remotely sexual freezes him in his tracks, and has him break out in a cold sweat. It’s this alone which makes this harem anime palatable to mainstream audiences, where it could so easily just become soft porn.
In this second season, this one joke does begin to outstay its welcome, although it still works by pushing it to its logical extreme by introducing a confident woman who just blatantly wants to have sex with Diablo. It also subverts it at one point by introducing a mirror image antagonist for Diablo, a demon type who is backed up by a harem of supportive girls, but who unlike Diablo has obviously been ‘making use’ of his harem. This so awakens the inner normie hating geek in Diablo that his reaction is completely out of proportion to the threat. So the sexy silliness is still all present and correct, and as entertaining as before.
But How Not To Summon a Demon Lord does move things on as well. In the first season, Diablo was a big fish in a small pond, ridiculously overpowered against the foes that he faced, which was a big part of the comedy. In this second season, the wider world beckons, and now he’s a big fish in an ocean full of sharks. This begins when he encounters the Head Priest of the local religion, a girl named Lumachina, who Diablo rescues when she’s attacked in the nearby forest, her loyal bodyguard defeated. Diablo might be a demon lord, but his rescuing her gives her a blind spot, and she starts seeing him more as deity than demon. It turns out that she was attacked by one of her own Paladins, and there is something strange afoot with the church.
Diablo, Rem and Shera decide to accompany her to Zircon Tower, where the head Paladin is, to ask him to help her clean up the church, and get to the heart of the conspiracy against her as head priest. But when they get to Zircon Tower they learn that the rot in the church has preceded them, the church standing against the Lord of the City, and made all the more complicated by a third party, an army of an as yet unseen demon lord, moving against the city. They pick up a fifth member of the party here, a ‘bunny’ girl named Horn who grew up on the streets of this city, but who appreciates Diablo’s kindness. Inevitably the quest leads back to the capital, and the church, where those moving against the head priest must be dealt with.
Whereas the first season was more of a breeze for Diablo, in this second season, the challenges keep ramping up, to the point where he must set aside his instinct for acting alone and actually rely on others, work as part of a team, as well as facing the prospect of actually losing. One good choice in this season is that while the first season had quite the sizeable harem gather around Diablo, the second cuts that back to the initial core, with just Shera and Rem joining Diablo as they travel with Lumachina. That makes it a much more character driven story, and that balances out the harem silliness as well as the narrative pyrotechnics. As so often happens these days with anime, while the arc is complete in these ten episodes, it’s still left open-ended enough with the as yet unseen third demon lord to leave on a hopeful note for a third season. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t be sanguine about that prospect, but then again, I would never have expected this second season on the strength of the first.
Truth be told, I actually enjoyed this second season a little more, as it moved away from the shock value of the first season to instead tell a better story, while the characters felt a little more rounded, better developed. That’s all relative though, as How Not to Summon a Demon Lord still feels like just another one of a million generic isekai stories. I like it a little more to be sure, but not enough to warrant nudging the score up. And as mentioned, Crunchyroll do the bare minimum to get it out. Funimation used to do slipcovers, animated menus, re-versioned credit sequences, and home-grown extra features. I can’t believe I miss Funimation...
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Season 2 is available from Anime Online, United Publications, Anime Limited and all mainstream retailers.