Today we’ll talk about The Misfit of Demon King Academy in another analysis of how stories can keep us interested in ridiculously overpowered characters.
Note: Limited spoiler territory beyond this point, though mostly only general premises and plot patterns.
The titular character, demon king Anos Voldigoad, was a seemingly invincible ruler two millenia ago. By sacrificing his life, he established an era of peace across the land that lasted through the present day. Upon his reincarnation, he find that his descendants have grown weak, spoiled, and prejudiced against those of “lesser” blood. Anos then decides to set things straight with his incomprehensibly powerful magic abilities. The story feels like pure wish fulfillment at first glance but much deeper narrative fulfillment lies underneath.
Anos seems to have a solution for every problem but he continues to pull new tricks out of his sleeve. Rather than being ass-pulls, these interesting solutions build upon Anos’s previously demonstrated abilities and help establish the full depths of the setting’s magic system. We learn how things work even as Anos seems to break all the rules. By the end of the season, the climax feels surprising yet inevitable in a satisfying narrative payoff.
Anos displays concern for everyone involved, going to great lengths to help them solve their own emotional and interpersonal problems. Even his enemies benefit from their defeats at his hand, as he intended. But he doesn’t fix their inner problems with a wave of his hand; instead, Anos creates the circumstances in which the supporting cast can make the hard decisions for themselves. We experience the catharsis of each character’s personal reconciliation.
Finally, Anos has his explicit mission of bringing equality to the world by tearing down the existing, prejudiced social order. We also see more and more tantalizing hints of the dark forces working against him, leaving us eager to see how deep the conspiracy goes. That brings its own interesting mysteries and surprises.
Between the world-building, the character development, the plot twists, Anos’s charisma, and his habit of saving the cat, Misfit takes an otherwise droll premise and makes an engrossing tale out of it.
In the next installment, we’ll look to KonoSuba as a point of contrast and learn how it succeeds by defying many conventions while embracing others.