Do We Think This Means You’ve Won?
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, Slice of Life, Magical Girl
- Airing Date : July 2019 – September 2019
- Producers : J.C.Staff
Machikado Mazoku (The Demon Girl Next Door) Introduction and Story
High school freshman Yuko Yoshida awakens one day to find that she has grown a pair of small, curly horns and a long, black pointed tail after encountering a distant ancestor in a dream. She learns from her mother that she is a descendent of a dark clan of demons cursed to a life of poverty and weakness by their mortal enemies, the magical girls. In order to lift the curse, she must get the blood of a magical girl and spread it over her family’s statue which contains the spirit of that same ancestor.
Unfortunately for the newly-named "Shadow Mistress" Yuko, while there is a magical girl nearby—in her same class, in fact—the pink-haired Momo Chiyoda is no pushover, especially compared to Yuko’s fumbling attempts to attack. Thus begins a surprisingly lighthearted and silly relationship where Momo agrees to train Yuko, who she (and others) start calling "Shamiko" for the rest of the series, so she can put up more of a fight.
1. Fun Premise & Humor
There have been a lot of interesting takes on the magical girl genre throughout the years, from serious deconstructive works like Madoka Magica to playful comedies like Nurse Witch Komugi. Machikado Mazoku definitely falls into a silly interpretation and stands out with its “villainous” protagonist severely lacking in power level befriending their supposed enemy.
The modern setting that frequently drives home the mundanity of certain things mixed with the magical girl and demon powers, like Shamiko’s dad being magically sealed within a cardboard box, pokes fun at the genre even more and gives the series a unique sense of humor.
2. Cute Character Designs
Something that stood out to us immediately were the character designs in Machikado Mazoku, especially for the two mains Shamiko and Momo. Mai Otsuka’s work here feels reminiscent of her similarly excellent designs for Non Non Biyori but allowed some more playfulness with its modern magical setting. Needless to say, kawaii-factor is high in this series.
Shamiko’s diminutive horns and expressive demon tail make her a joy to watch and we also thought her embarrassing ‘Crisis Management Form’ was used well in integrating character design into the story. Likewise, both of Momo’s usual forms feel simultaneously distinctive and familiar in evoking the classic Magical Girl feeling. Her various other casual outfits in the series were also appreciated with their added variety and cuteness.
3. Stellar Soundwork
Both the opening "Machikado Tangent" and ending "Yoimachi Cantare" were performed by the voice actresses. These are solid and do a great job showcasing the series’ moods with the OP feeling very soft and sweet but still energetic, and the ending embracing the frantic energy often exhibited in over-the-top comedic moments. We like the voice work as well, with quality all around.
Another aspect that we particularly enjoyed in Machikado Mazoku were the sound effects that often seemed to take inspiration from retro video games, which seem to be another subtle influence on the whole show as seen in the opening animation and elsewhere. While perhaps not super critical to the whole experience, it was a memorable part of the series we definitely appreciated.
1. Somewhat Lackluster Side Characters
Machikado Mazoku largely relies on its two main characters to move each episode along, arguably at the expense of its side characters. That’s not to say that this seriously harms the overall experience, but we do think this was one of the weaknesses of this series. Momo and Shamiko’s classmates Anri Sata and Ogura Shion feel particularly underdeveloped as does orange-flavored magical girl Mikan Hinatsuki, albeit to a lesser extent.
2. Possible Lack of Resolution
We’re saying "possible" here because another season, OVA, and/or movie could already be in the works for all we know, but as things stand, Machikado Mazoku does not have a real conclusion to the story. Even if that true ending never comes, we still think the series is very much worth watching. As with a lot of other comedies, the overarching plot is less important than its character interactions and execution and Machikado Mazoku is no exception.
In sum, Machikado Mazoku is a fun comedy that feels fresh and enjoyable thanks to its unique premise, well-designed characters, nice production values, and engaging humor that will particularly appeal to fans already well-versed in common anime tropes and situations.
In closing, we’d like to invite you to discuss the series or share any other thoughts in the comments section below this article and to check out more reviews and other awesome anime stuff all around Honey’s! Until next time, don’t think this means we’re done!