June 2021 Anime Challenge: How Not to Summon a Demon Lord

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, or in Japanese Isekai Mao to Shokan Shojo no Dorei Majutsu is an anime adaptation of the light novel series written by Yukiya Murasaki and illustrated by Takahiro Tsurusaki. There is also a manga adaptation by Naota Fukuda that’s been published since 2015.

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord tells the story of Takuma Sakamoto, a hikikomori gamer who is mysteriously teleported to his favourite MMORPG, Cross Reverie, appearing as his own character avatar in the game, the demon lord Diablo. The two girls that summoned him the cat girl Rem and the elf Shera attempt to use a spell on him to make him their slave but due to the ability of Takuma’s magic ring, the spell bounce and they turn up with salve collars on their necks, becoming his servants instead. Part of the storyline is him travelling with the girls to find a way to get rid of the slave collars around their necks, while helping them with the personalissues that made them summoning him in the first place.

Week 1 June 07 – 13, 2021

Episode 1 – 3

Konnichiwa Minna, it is the first week of our How Not to Summon a Demon Lord challenge and this week we bring you an isekai recommendation.

The Twelve Kingdoms (aka Juuni Kokki)

In The Twelve Kingdoms or Juuni Kokki as it is also known, our heroine Yoko Nakajima, Nakajima Youko, is a good girl, her teachers like her and although she is not popular, she is not disliked either.

While at school, a tall white-haired man named Keiki appears, pledging his allegiance forever and demands she accepts him as her servant. Because she is polite, she meekly agrees. Suddenly, a bird demon descends upon the school, she flees to the roof where Keiki hands her a sword. Before she realises it, the demon is dead and she and two of her classmates are entering a portal into the world of The Twelve Kingdoms.

At first, Youko spends the first few episodes crying and feeling sorry for herself, but she soon starts out on a hero’s journey. As for her schoolmates, they each get their part to play in the tale, Yuka, a fantasy fan that believes she is destined for greatness, and Asano, who loses his mind to the madness of being whisked away to a world he cannot accept.

The world of Juuni Kokki is amazingly detailed, well-established, with a rich sense of history. A place where magic exists, but to the people who live there, it’s simply the way the world works. The creatures remind one of the Chinese/Japanese myths, such as the unicorns which act like immortal guides, moral compasses for the rulers of the land.

The anime takes the viewer on an expedition that explores Youko’s journey – from her longing to be back in Japan;, her powerlessness and denial; her transformation; and eventually the will to bring peace in a broken kingdom. Her adventures forge her into something nobler than she used to be, and she also shapes the world around her slowly into a better place.

The anime appeared in 2004 and is seen as a classic by many anime fanatiks. We hope you enjoyed our recommendation. Have fun with the How Not to Summon a Demon Lord challenge, next week we bring you more isekai recommendations.

Week 2 June 14 – 20, 2021

Welcome to our second week of our How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Challenge. This week we bring you another anime recommendation.

Log Horizon

Log Horizon is a Game/Isekai anime series, actually part of a sub-genre referred to as ‘Lost in Game’ which is about normal humans transported into a game and trapped there. Other isekai in the subgenre include the Hack-series (.Hack// Sign, .Hack//Roots) and Sword Art Online. In Log Horizon about thirty thousand gamers get trapped inside the very successful MMORPG Elder Tale when their computers run the newest expansion, Novasphere Pioneers, while they are still playing. They find out that they cannot log out and certain functions in-game do not work as they should. In the Hack anime, as with Sword Art Online, to die in the game meant you died in real life. In Log Horizon if you die in battle, you got resurrected at the Cathedral of the town where you last saved, but there is a twist there as well, but we will not spoil it for you. This is just one of the challenges that Shiroe, a brilliant yet socially awkward gamer and his friends face.

Shiroe, also nicknamed ‘Villain in Glasses’ (because he is very adept at strategy) starts a guild called ‘Log Horizon’ as part of a plan to create chaos for all those trapped in the game. He is a sorcerer class gamer and his sub-class is scribe meaning it enables him to draw maps and later on develops spells that are not part of the original game. Then there is Nyanta, a Catman Swashbuckler, who joins Shiroe in his quest to bring order to the chaos. He is the one that finds a solution for one of the biggest problems in the game world regarding food thanks to his sub-class chef. He has the adorable quirk of ending every sentence with ‘nya’, the Japanese equivalent of the word ‘meow’ and he appears as a quiet noble gentleman in the anime. These are but two individuals in a long list of great characters, and waiting to see what each one gets up to next proves that this anime is all but boring.

This anime is well-woven, dealing with issues like homesickness, entrapment, social evolution as well as the normal social problems one gets when lost in a strange environment. It is enjoyable and addictive and by all standards, Log Horizon is a must-see, especially if you like sword and sorcery type stories with a twist. It is highly popular and as of now already have three seasons! We hope you enjoyed our recommendation. Have fun with the How Not to Summon a Demon Lord challenge, next week we bring you more isekai recommendations.

Week 3 June 21 – 27, 2021

Episode 7 – 9

Konnichiwa Minna, welcome to week 3 of the How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Isekai challenge and this week we bring you an isekai recommendation from one of our readers named Bree who suggested that we look into the anime Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu).

Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World

High school student Natsuki Subaru is on his way back from the convenience store when he is suddenly summoned to another world. There is no sign who summoned him. Soon he finds himself mugged by three hooligans in an alley, but a beautiful silver-haired girl and her kawaii spirit friend save him. He becomes entangled in their story, by trying to help them after he learned that the girl was pickpocketed. After some solid detective work from Subaru he tracks down the guilty party but ends up dead.

But that is just the beginning…

You see after dying, he actually wakes up hours before, and finds himself trying to help the girl again. He dies again and returns to the same time, hours before, thus finding out he has a useful ability he dubs ‘Return by Death’.

That is enough spoilers, you have to watch the anime since it has many layers to it. The anime can be a horror, psychological thriller, mystery, comedy, and a slice of life drama, depending on every time Subaru goes back in time and tries to make different choices. It is not your usual isekai nor time travel story… he is not an overpowered edge lord, Subaru is a weaker than normal young man, struggling desperately to be a hero. His story is a rarer gem. We hope you enjoyed our recommendation. Have fun with the How Not to Summon a Demon Lord challenge, next week we bring you more isekai recommendations.

Week 4 June 28 – July 04, 2021

Episode 10 – 12

It is our final week of the How Not to Summon a Demon Lord anime challenge and this week we recommend a classic isekai anime from almost 20 years ago…

Kyou Kara Maou!

We all know of tales where people are whisk away down a hole, ending up in another world, much like Alice in Wonderland. But unlike Alice finding herself in a psychedelic landscape with smoking caterpillars, playing cards, and mad tea parties, in Kyou Kara Maou! our hero is ‘flushed’ away to a world of fantasy that is all too real. And this is probably the first Isekai where the person that is spirited away enters another world through…. a toilet. While our protagonist, Yuuri Shibuya, tries to rescue a friend from bullies, they shove his head into a toilet and flush it. Suddenly he finds himself in another world- the land of Shin Makoku, where he finds out he is the Maou (Demon King) of the Mazoku (Demon Race). The Mazoku are not that different from humans, they look human but they live longer, with some having magical abilities. This new world, like many other isekai, looks much like medieval Europe.

A lot of the storyline centres around conflicts between Humans and Mazoku and how Yuuri tries to find peaceful solutions to problems. Sometimes when things get too strenuous, he blacks out and transforms into a magical version of himself (longer-haired and more mature) to resolve any adversities. After he returns to his human form, Yuuri has no recollection of what happened. Another story plot, and this one is quite funny, is that if you slap an inhabitant of Shin Makoku in the face, it serves as a marriage proposal. And as it so happens, a very straight Yuuki slaps a man, Wolfram Von Bielefelt, and they become engaged. There are quite a few funny scenes and the humour in the series is top-notch. It is easy to get emotionally attached to the characters in this anime. There is Gwendal von Voltaire, a stern man that loves cute things,  always worrying for Yuuri to extremes. Then there is Conrad Weller, Yuuri’s bodyguard and an excellent swordsman that has his hands full with Yuuri because he does not always listen to him. The former queen Cecilie von Spizberg is also quite funny as she tends to hit on Yuuri a lot and even stalks him in the royal bathing area. All of these characters bring a sense of comic relief and fun to the series.

Kyou Kara Maou! Is a rare gem anime from 2004 that deserves to be watched. We hope you enjoyed our recommendations this month, some of them are old and rare but you will find something new in them and some of them are popular but you may not have tried them. Have fun with the How Not to Summon a Demon Lord challenge, next month we will start a new challenge, and we hope you look forward to it.