If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord. – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Dale is a well-known and highly skilled adventurer despite being so young. One day, he’s on a quest and goes deep into the woods and finds a little devil girl named Latina, who is just skin and bones. Latina is branded with the mark of a sinner, but Dale decides he can’t just leave Latina there and decides to become her guardian. Thinking to himself, “Latina is too cute, I don’t want to work,” he ends up doting over her before he even realizes it. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord. focuses on Latina, a young devil girl abandoned in the woods. She’s found by Dale, a youthful adventurer, who adopts her and raises her as if she’s his own child. The premise is sweet, endearing and brimming with potential for bubbly, isn’t she so adorable, slice of life content, as well as a little adventure thanks to its fantasy setting. Unfortunately the series doesn’t quite live up to its potential, hamstrung by Dale’s doting and ultimately annoying personality, hamfisted efforts to touch on darker subject matter and a number of goofs that feel insidious once you’re aware of where the original source material ultimately ended up going.
Linny: Dale’s obsession with Latina is a huge part of the series with almost every episode having him constantly screaming out her name in joy, relief, agony and loneliness. After a while, it starts to feel repetitive and grating due to how over the top and one note it plays out. It doesn’t help that the original novels ultimately see Dale and Latina ending up together romantically, despite the two having a parent and child like relationship. While the anime doesn’t have any hope of reaching that ending, knowing where their relationship is headed gives Dale’s doting obsession an uneasy and upsetting tinge. Despite Dale being touted in the summary as a very competent and skilled adventurer, we more often see him gushing and fussing over Latina. It makes him feel one dimensional with his role as Latina’s guardian feeling more like Latina’s hysterical number one fan. The few times we see Dale in combat, it’s against low level beasts and the bland animation fails to make it his attacks look impressive. Moments like this should make Dale look like a true bad ass, but instead he comes across as a bland, by the books, middle of the pack, average adventurer.
Tom: For as uncomfortable as the story might ultimately get (although the anime is unlikely to reach that ending with just twelve episodes.) that’s not the greatest of this anime’s troubles. As Linny described above, Dale is annoying. Not only is he a one-dimensional character, but he’s unfathomably uninteresting. Dale never does anything but dote and pout and fawn over Latina. In fact it’s only when Dale is almost entirely absent from proceedings that If It’s for my Daughter actually shines. Latina centric story-lines are where the most fun can be had. Watching little Latina make friends, help at the bar, or learn everyday stuff is where the series feels most engaging. The further Dale is off the screen the stronger and more engaging the series gets.
Linny: Not everything about Latina is a boon however. Though the show makes a big deal of how Latina being a devil must be hidden for fear of great adversity and discrimination, for the first three episodes, it feels like empty lip service. People barely react negatively on discovering her true race and in fact, everyone seems to quickly and almost immediately grow fond of her. The show then tries to make it a big serious plot point in episode 4 when a teacher at her new school discovers her horns and starts to verbally and physically abuse her. However, literally every single classmate, even the ones who are only starting to get to know Latina, immediately take Latina’s side without a single one ever showing a shred of hatred towards her. In fact, even the school staff quickly drag the teacher away and Dale then goes on to have the teacher banished and fired from her position at the school. Then the show tries to drive up the drama by having Latina be very affected by her teacher’s tirade, going so far as to harm herself. It would have been a powerful and touching moment were it not for the fact that literally every single other person in her class, town and life have shown nothing but utter love and support for her and her reaction seems exaggerated for the sheer sake of drama. It makes it feel like the show wants to be heavy but just doesn’t have the story telling skills to establish and sell its more serious notes. Instead, it ends up feeling like a half baked attempt at drama due to how quickly the teacher is dismissed and how vast and absolute Latina’s support system is.
Tom: Ultimately If It’s for My Daughter is too simplistic for its own good. The writing doesn’t have the chops to deal with such weighty topics like discrimination on an honest level, watering the issue down until it’s so diluted that it more so screams ‘bonus points please!’, simply wanting recognition for touching on such a delicate subject. It would be better if the series never even tried to broach tougher topics. Trouble is since the best moments are just Latina going about her day, working at the bar, or making friends and that’s not enough to build an entire series on. Dale’s inclusion is more often annoying, and with weighty topics being far and away outside of the series’ ability that leaves If It’s for My Daughter with a one note offering: Latina herself. For as charming as she is, this little girl can’t possibly carry the entire twelve episode run by herself. Adding in where the series will ultimately end up (Dale transforming from doting father to Latina’s lover) and I can’t see myself keeping with the recommendation I’d offered in our original preview.
Linny: It’s clear that the show doesn’t have the heart to ever truly get seriously tense because, besides the teacher debacle in episode 4, it then tries to do a kidnapping plot line in episode 5 but the attempted kidnapping ends before it even begins. It’s like the show wants to be more than cute fluffy moments but then doesn’t have the guts to ever truly dive into a darker topic. All this combined with the bland art makes If It’s For My Daughter feel like a show aiming hard for the moe lovers, or those who can enjoy a show simply based on the cutesy look and behaviour of a character. Given the eventual nuptial ending the story is headed for in its light novel form, it’s likely to drive away even some of those same moe fans. At the end of the day, unless you are immediately and completely taken in by the fluffy looks of the show/Latina, you can consider this an easy pass.
If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.