The Demon Girl Next Door – Anime Review
Synopsis: Yuko Yoshida is just an ordinary schoolgirl — until Lilith unleashes her dormant, devilish powers. Now, Yuko must defeat Momo Chiyoda, the shrine maiden of the Light Clan who just so happens to go to her school! (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The Demon Girl Next Door follows Yuko Yoshida as her demonic powers are awoken by her great ancestor Lilith, sending her to do battle and defeat the arch nemesis of the demon clan; Magical Girls. Or specifically, she must defeat a local magical girl, Momo, who turns out to be amazingly strong, whereas Yuko herself possesses below average strength even for a normal human girl. The show uses this very lopsided rivalry as its main source of comedy, trying to tickle audiences with Yuko’s sincerity bundled with her incompetence and Momo’s indifference to Yuko’s challenges and her easy victory every single time. However, Demon Girl starts to feel a bit repetitive and predictable because it’s absurdly clear Yuko will never defeat Momo in any of the crazy challenges she comes up with. This makes the gags revolving around said rivalry fall apart, losing their charm. Intead of offering surprising twists and unexpected laughs, audiences are forced to sit through something they feel like they’ve seen a million times already.
Tom: Because you so often know where the majority of Demon Girl’s gags are heading, the humor wears increasingly thin. It’s around Episode 4 that it really hits home just how much the series draws from a single well: Yuko’s embarrassingly woeful attempts to defeat Momo. To try and offset this, the series shoots its gags at you with rapid fire. It’s almost like Demon Girl is on fast forward, with characters spewing their lines out as fast possible, trying to cram in as many jokes as they can within twenty-three minutes. But because we’re so set on jam-packing the episode with humor, there’s no time for even the good, original jokes to hit. There’s no comedic-timing, and the rest of the production isn’t aimed at giving the oomph those punch lines deserve. That said, there’s thankfully more here than just joke after joke. The Demon Girl Next Door has heart to it, and a host lovable characters, from our lead Yuko Yoshida, or Shamiko as she comes to be known, to her strapped for cash mother, her adoring, supportive younger sister, her rival Momo, her great ancestor and constant instigator Lilith and more. It’s these characters, and the way each plays off the other, that helps to save the show and where much of the less overused humor comes from.
Linny: The side characters in Demon Girl are pleasantly impressive, offering up interactions and comedy beyond demon girl-magical girl showdowns. Watching Yuko struggle to hide her true identity and new rivalry from her younger sister; or their mother face off against the most absurd happenstances due to the curse on their demon clan makes for some funny moments. However, as the show is called The Demon Girl Next Door, you’ll find these characters get little airtime compared to Momo and Shamiko. They do feature somewhat regularly but there’s no denying that a major chunk of the plot is spent on Yuko and Momo’s relationship and once their comedy starts to stagnate, you’ll find yourself missing focus for the side characters all that much more.
Tom: Ultimately the true saving grace is The Demon Girl Next Door’s world building mechanics. Secretly the show has its own take on the whole Magical Girl/Demon/Dark Magic tropes, something it doesn’t really start to get into until around Episode 6. As we delve deeper into the series we learn more and more about the world, how magical girls work, how demons work, etc. and this culminates in an ending that offers several answers to the show’s ultimate mysteries, making it feel like we actually made some progress, even if The Demon Girl Next Door is based on an ongoing manga and the status quo has, truly, only shifted ever so slightly. But it’s this effort to enlighten us on the world of Demon Girl that proves the most interesting. When the side characters are left underutilized, and the comedy proves lukewarm, it’s that expanding, intricate world building that gives The Demon Girl Next Door just enough to edge it out as something worth your time. If you’re looking for a modest comedy, adorable leads, and a bit of mystery and world building to top it off, The Demon Girl Next Door fits that order. It’s hardly in the running for Anime of the Year, but it comes out as one of the Summer’s better titles none the less.
Linny: As much as we have been ganging up on The Demon Girl Next Door, I have to also agree that the show definitely has a few winning points. As Tom mentioned, the world building adds some great twists and depth that helps to extend Demon Girl’s appeal once the repetitive rivalry wears out its welcome and helps to suck viewers either deeper or right back in. Its cast are all generally likeable with none of them coming off especially offensive or troublesome. Even when it puts Yuko in a revealing outfit, it doesn’t offer gratuitously long and pandering shots. The show also ends in a lovely manner with an episode that manages to pack in some final twists and while we do not get any major status quo shake ups, it sends the characters off on a heartwarming note that feels like a fond farewell. It’s not likely to be a must watch anime for most but for anyone who enjoys sincere but bumbling leads and slice of life like vibes in their comedies, The Demon Girl Next Door is definitely worth a try.
The Demon Girl Next Door is available for streaming via HIDIVE.