You just can’t stay away from stupid too long, can you, MMY?
Honestly, I don’t know how this show is doing in Japan, but I can’t see it doing too well. It just lacks a clear target. Usually shows are made to appeal to someone, even if that someone is content with simply some boobs and shallow wish-fulfilment romance. MMY surely beats that road, but it still has long talky sections which can’t pass as anything but boring to someone who’s waiting for da gals and that, honestly, are not too exciting for me either (though I find the parts with “da gals” definitely worse).
One thing I have to praise this show for is that the macroscopic events taking place in the world work together, and seem believable to me. These days I’m reading a huge book about the history of Britain (having just arrived in the UK and having a desire to understand better its politics and culture), and I’m currently at the Hundred Years War. The flow of the human-demon war in MMY feels much like the ones I read of in that book. There are quick turns when someone else comes in power, for example, as kings could be both incompetent tyrants or skilled administrators and clever strategists; technical advantage is decisive and sometimes weighs decisively in someone’s favour, even if it’s a relatively simple thing – the English Longbow being a prime example. Faith, dedication, greed, cowardice, all play a role in determining the actions of those who are in power, and thus reflect on the war. And it seems obvious to me that MMY draws heavily from lots of examples that can be found in medieval history. Gate City is reminiscent of Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades – a melting pot which passed quickly between hands and ended up blurring those very beliefs that had motivated such fierce conflict about its ownership. There are lots of histories like the one of the Winter King, a young, talented prince succeeding to a seemingly weak king and turning the tides of a conflict. And while this episode is not nearly as heavy on war as the previous one, the mood given off by its first half is definitely the same: the impression of being watching not the actions of single isolated characters, but the flow of the world and History itself – the one with a capital H. The downside to this is that it means we get very little from the characters themselves. If you ever watched it, consider, for a comparison, Game of Thrones, a show which lays down a believable medieval conflict as well, mixing up fantasy elements into it. In Game of Thrones, the events playing out are surely big, and most of what happens to the various characters is just a fragment of the big picture. But this doesn’t mean that the show doesn’t take its sweet time to make us care for those characters, flesh them out, give them personalities. Which is also a requirement since it then proceeds to break our heart by killing them off. But whatever. MMY instead feels like an History Channel documentary, at its best. At its worst, well…
There comes the rant. The second half. Oh, not that we hadn’t been warned in some way from a pointlessly fanservice-y scene at the very beginning – Hero training with Knight, and then proceeding to help her wash off her sweat throwing buckets of water at her which make her shirt more and more transparent, before she simply takes it off entirelyand wears only a towel. Then in the next scene she’s dressed as a nun. Weeeeird.
But where the show really starts to fall apart is after Demon King and her cronies visit the artisan who’s built the first model of a printing press (seriously, Demon King is a walking Renaissance. Also, her discussion with Older Sister Maid about education was quite good and the highlight of the episode). It’s night, and Demon King and Knight are separately heading towards Hero’s bedroom. While wearing nightgowns. They meet in front of his door, and the entire scene made me facepalm very, very hard. They basically fight over who gets to sleep with him. The weird thing here is that Hero has repeatedly referred to Demon King as a partner, and they’ve been together for years now, so it seemed pretty clear that they were a couple. But this is never called into question: the entire scene is the two of them fighting over Hero, and resolves with them just sleeping both in the bed, with the object of their dispute right in the middle. Because that’s what adult women do: fight over a man but are happy to share him with any rival while holding hands. And of course, the man has no saying about what he prefers, nor is he accounted responsible for not taking a clear stand on the subject, because hey, he’s a man, how could he possibly willingly give up a girl who has the hots for him? The more, the merrier, right?
At least have the guts of stopping being so fucking prudish and have a threesome, y’all.
Should I mention that the episode ends with a king plotting generic revenge with a disgruntled general and with the most classical, trite, unrealistic, clichéd evil laugh ever? Ah, it’s probably better if I don’t.