With the dream of becoming a Grand Priest, Akuto is crushed when he learns his destiny is to instead become a Demon King.
What They Say
Episode 1: The Demon King is Born!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series written by Shotaro Mizuki, and art by Souichi Ito, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimo is a fun new magical, romance and action series that has eight light novels to draw from and a recent manga adaptation as well. With the anime production being done by ARtland, it's a show that has a rather good look with a lot of detail, solid character designs and a real sense of fanservice and CG work that plays out well across this first opening episode. Like any show that's essentially a harem show of sorts, we get a number of girls introduced in the first episode but they're kept more to the background towards the end which is nice.
The series revolves around a new transfer student to the Constant Magic Academy named Akuto Sai. Akuto's a rarity in that few people transfer between such schools but there are some that are doing so this year. Akuto has a lot of luck on his arrival, after an accidental beating, in that he meets another student named Junko Hattori. Junko's a bright, beautiful and athletic student there who takes her role seriously. She's a part of the Suhara religion and she ends up feeling close to Akuto from the start and forms a bond with him that they both feel right about. Her feelings stem largely from Akuto's stated goal of becoming a Grand Priest in the future. This is the hardest of professions to choose because of what it is involved in the training and she sees that as something to definitely reward and to try and help and be part of.
It doesn't take long for everything to go wrong though. New and transfer students go through the process of meeting the artificial spirit named Yatagarasu in order to check for any health issues as well as getting a prediction on future careers. While it's not a real future viewing, the school nurse Mitsuki informs Akuto that it's almost always correct and most people get what they're wishing for anyway. So he's terribly excited about this fact until Yatagarasu informs him that he will become the Demon King no matter what. Cue panic from everyone else on campus, in his classroom after Mitsuki smoothes things out and from anyone he comes into contact with. It doesn't help that another student named Hiroshi wants to basically suck up to him and push him further in that direction with bad suggestions.
There's some past to this as we get an offhand bit about a war a hundred years ago with a Demon King which leave Akuto even more confused and unsure of what all is going on. He wants to lead a great life of good but everything going on around him seems to be pushing him the other way. His new friendship and bond with Junko ends up going very badly once this is discovered and she's even intent on almost killing him as she views his predicted future as a betrayal, something she cannot stand. There are others waiting in the wings to take advantage of him though as we see another two or three girls appear in different ways towards the end where they're meeting him or plotting their own plans for him.
This opening episode really won me over pretty easily from the start. The quality of the animation looks good, though some of the CG blending doesn't flow as well as it could. It's the character designs that had me hooked combined with the vibrancy of the animation itself with its color choices. Akuto has a solid look about him with a few rough edges while Junko is pretty much standard school girl material with a bit of confidence to her to say the least. The action that takes place is nicely done, the magic effects are really fun and the flow of the episode in general, while rushed, pushes on us how Akuto feels as everything moves so fast around him.
Anime Network's stream of this gets a big thumbs up from me in general because they actually subtitle the opening and closing songs, which is something that has bothered me about other services. Even bigger thumbs up for the fully translated credits at the end which basically tells us that this is a full on Sentai release so expect the DVDs down the road. When it comes to the show itself, I went in knowing nothing and came out eagerly looking forward to the next episode. The ending sequence offers up a lot of potential, the characters are fun, the magic is amusing and intriguing and there's a great kind of nod and wink mentality to this that reminds me of Kyo Kara Maoh a lot. This show simply feels fun but with really good production values that will have me back every week without fail.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.