Episodes 1-2 – The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2

I knew absolutely nothing about The Demon Girl Next Door when I happened upon its 2nd season premiere for this Spring’s Preview Guide, but boy did it make one heck of an impression. Despite my complete lack of context and background knowledge, I was able to immediately jive with the show’s adorable aesthetic and equally loveable cast. It helped a ton that the show’s character writing and joke-craft was shockingly precise and efficient, meaning that I was able to learn pretty much everything I needed to enjoy the series simply by following along and laughing along with the cast.

Between then and now, though, I knew I’d probably have to catch up on the first series if I was going to do a proper job of reviewing its sequel, and while I didn’t have time to watch every episode of the anime , I was Able to binge the first two volumes of the manga, which just so happens to coincide with everything that (I assume) got covered in Season 1. I’m really glad I did, too, because Episode 2 of The Demon Girl Next Door‘s second season features a lot of backstory and payoff that I definitely wouldn’t have appreciated if I hadn’t taken the time to get to know Shamiko, Momo, Mikan, and the rest of the gang more properly.

When Mikan arrived on the scene and DGND started delving more into the complicated history that Momo’s stepsister Sakura shares with Shamiko’s family, I knew that we were bound to get a deeper dive into the magical girls’ background, and that’s where a lot of the focus lies in “Urban Exploration! The Troubled Mikan and the Excited Demon”. Sure, it’s mostly a character-focused exploration, giving us a glimpse at how Mikan met Momo and got roped into the world of magical girls herself, but it’s a compelling one. One of the things I’ve come to love about DGND is how it can so casually lay out the more complex and serious elements of its lore without ever losing sight of its breezy tone. If you actually sit down and consider Mikan’s backstory for a bit, it’s honestly a bit heartbreaking: Her father made a desperate wish to save their family’s factory (the same one where Daddy-Box’s current vessel was made), and it ended up ruining his daughter’s life. Poor little Mikan was so scared of her misfortune curse, and what it could possibly do to the ones that she loved; it wasn’t until an equally little (and adorable) Momo came to save her that Mikan was able to see a way out of her predicament.

It’s the exact kind of melodramatic fantasy that you’d expect to play out in any typical magical girl anime, but since this is The Demon Girl Next Doorthat means we also get to balance out the melancholy with Shamiko finding a magic fork in the dirt that she is just soexcited to have. Well, okay, it’s not technically a magic fork (though it still serves as a great payoff to the very first episode of season one, when Shamiko literally used a fork as her primary weapon against her “arch rival” Momo). Rather, it’s an ancient and powerful artifact that once belonged to Joshua, aka Daddy-Box, and Shamiko’s mother very helpfully clarifies that the Whatchamacallit Wand can be any vaguely cylindrical device that its wielder can imagine: a fork, an infinite-ammo rocket launcher , a larger fork, a laundry rack. you name it!

So, not only do we have even more tidbits of demon and magical girl lore to chew on, but Shamiko now has an ungodly powerful weapon that she can use to fulfill her ultimate destiny: That of a prop comedian. So what if her first ever bit goes down like the Hindenberg in front of all of her friends? Like the narrator reminds us, the comedy is more about confidence and timing than it is about the actual quality of the jokes. That might not be true all of the time, but The Demon Girl Next Door has confidence and timing to spare, and its jokes are pretty good, too, so I feel like this show is going to be one of the big winners of the season.


Odds and Ends

• We got a cute check-in with Anri and Ogura, too, and the girls actually play pretty well off of each other, though even Shamiko assures us that it will be the “first and last time” that the show indulges the two with their own show-within-a-show.

• One of my favorite running gags of this series is how Shamiko’s mother’s go-to solution for all of life’s problems is just to get embarrassingly drunk and mess around with her cardboard-box husband. That’s hashtag relatable, I’ll tell you what.

• Another great running gag is how amazingly intelligent and capable Ryo is, considering who she is related to. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the show depicting her As the one who could really take over the world with dark magic…if she ever wanted to.

• I mentioned the show’s Big Gay Energy a bit in my preview guide coverage, but Shamiko’s desire to make Momo laugh again has only sealed the deal on the ship. Plus, reading the manga has made the joke about Shamiko trying to recruit Momo as her “vassal” hit a lot harder. Join the forces of Darkness, Momo! They have much better food, at the very least!

The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2 is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitterhis blog, and his podcast.

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