- Mangaka : Tourou
- Publisher : Seven Seas
- Genre : Comedy, Fantasy
- Published : October 19, 2021
Heroes defeating the demon lord is an all-too-common scenario in fantasy adventure manga. But in recent years, monsters are also slowly creeping into the limelight as series like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime! and So I'm a Spider, So What? have started to get attention. Still, these series tend to feature humans being forced to assume the identity of monsters; there’s rarely a series empathizing with the hardship of being a demon lord. That’s actually logical, since those guys tend to be the most evil among the evils. Nevertheless, Monster Guild: The Dark Lord’s (No-Good) Comeback! takes us on an adventure in the eyes of a pure-bred monster.
Being an all-powerful monster, the Dark Lord is very confident with his ability to dominate anyone and everyone. However, he bites the dust as he meets his match in an undying hero - a hero who just won’t stay dead, to be precise. But the Dark Lord fortunately manages to split a sliver of his soul and gets another chance at life… with a power level nowhere near his original might. In his attempt to return to his throne, he makes humbling discoveries about himself and being an almighty ruler.
1. Representative of Our Society
At first glance, Monster Guild seems like a high fantasy adventure about someone who aims to obtain peerless power. Well, that’s true, but not in the way you’d expect it to be. Ever since his fall from grace, the Dark Lord has been nowhere near efficient in battles. In fact, he’s fallen so far that he is weaker than a slime. However, he eventually starts to see things in a different light. Back when he was all-powerful, he had never thought of camaraderie or even the logistics of ruling. He just insisted on doing what he thought was suitable for him without considering others. Interestingly, this is a good parallel to our society. Those in the higher strata are often ignorant of what those in the lower strata experience. Only if they experience and mingle with those in the lower strata will they truly know what matters, and that’s the only time they actually make changes that matter for those in the lower strata.
2. Breaking Down Stereotypes
Even though it’s fantasy, we still have our established stereotypes for each creature. A good example of this is an orc being dumb and lusting over elves. Surprisingly, Monster Guild addresses that in a comedic and light manner. This manga takes what the readers commonly know about creatures and settings in usual fantasy series and gives them unexpected spins. Thanks to its brilliant execution, this becomes the core of the manga’s comedy, which brings us to our last point.
3. Hitting When It’s Least Expected
As we’ve stated above, this manga takes all of your expectations and shatters them to pieces. The comedy tag isn’t just a joke; the story has a plethora of attempts to make its readers laugh, although honestly, not all of them stick well. What it’s great at, however, is throwing in absurd situations when it is least expected. For example, the slime, the Dark Lord’s first companion, suddenly delivers a brutal bloodfest when they are about to be hunted. Similarly, there’s a sudden wholesome workout session when we’re expecting a serious meeting with the instructor. The second surprise is on us for expecting something serious out of this manga, but nonetheless, this series has really funny bits.
To say the least, Monster Guild is filled with surprises. It’s easy to brush it off as another try-hard fantasy series if you’re only using its title and premise as a basis, but it’s actually pretty good. It shatters the readers’ expectations, which makes it funny, but also shows serious discoveries, which makes it painfully realistic and relatable. While there are some jokes that fall flat, Monster Guild is definitely a manga you should at least give a try. Literally, don’t judge a book by its cover, or title, or synopsis. Once you’ve read this (or if you already have read this), we’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comment section below.