Having read part of the manga, Spice and Wolf Season III has been my favourite show of the new season thus far. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha sees the return of the much-beloved duo of protagonists voiced by Ami Koshimizu and Jun Fukuyama, yet the departure from the world portrayed in manga and novels to screen has been rather surprising thus far. Upon first glance one might assume that the anime is made by one of the major animation companies, but it’s produced by ARMS, creator of such highly acclaimed anime such as Queen’s Blade or Night Shift Nurses, as well as what I dare say may be their first serious anime adaptation….by their standards anyway.
Taking into account the abruptness in which the hero, Yuusha, confronts the Demon Queen and is thrust into this world of perpetuating wars for the greater good, MMY is at its core a reinvention of the standard “good versus evil” trope. What MMY does well is address the fact that there is no absolute evil or justice: just as how both sides in a war think they’re right. In this case, so does Yuusha: he wants to end the war and stop the destruction of human life. Yet Maou awakens him to the oh-so-obvious consequence of the war ever ending: the complete decimation and oppression of the losing side. Maou also explains how economics comes into play for the war continuing, but as I am already sick of studying economics every 2 days or so, I shall leave you all to google that shit up for yourselves.
The series also seems to reinterpret the idea of what constitutes a ‘demon’, with perhaps the rather comical scene of Maou simply taking off her goddamned demon hairband, like she was an unused character from Queen’s Blade II. The show reinterprets what it means to be a queen by changing the royal hall into a royal corridor and completely removing Maou from her throne, literally. Whether this was for easier animation, I can’t say, but they also lowered the cut on Maou’s regal dress by quite a fair bit. Maou also looks much different from the original manga due to the change in her eyes, making her seem admittedly more moe and less royal. ARMS does well once again by adding filler in the first episode. Arguably it isn’t fair to call it filler, but introducing a magical fucking lamp that lets people see whatever the holder sees and having the two of them sit down to have fucking dinner is definitely unnecessary had it been a manga.
Adding cliche “moe schoolgirl” expressions actually makes Maou a more endearing character, as well as Yuusha, by forcing onto them tropes other than their already existent stoic hero and heroine stereotypes. It gives the show a sense of promise that I wouldn’t normally expect from ARMS. Maou and Yuusha are pretty serious in the manga. There isn’t any of the hilarious sexual tension or surreal gag humour with the detachable hairband. The scene where they make the contract isn’t even funny or exciting or interesting in the slightest, perhaps due to the nature of the chapter, so the anime adaptation, despite as cheesy as it might have been, breathed new life into the show. It gave the two characters actual personalities, rather than just ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’. It gave them expressions. Heck, it even made the anime seem like a serious story rather than just a simple reinterpretation of the good vs evil cliche. Perhaps the novel was a better representation of the series compared to the manga, but nonetheless you have to give ARMS credit where it is due.
By adding elements of comedy and fanservice straight from the get-go it attracts viewers into watching the show and sitting through the whole depressing segment about economics and evil. It also makes for more interesting interactions and a much more dynamic interaction between the duo, something the show will eventually revolve around, much like that of Horo and La—- fuck I want a Spice and Wolf season 3 so badly right now