One of the keys to the appeal of How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord has always been the dopey demon dude himself. He's a cool, good-looking reincarnated-gamer powerhouse who also brings along a host of relatable neuroses to be expected from said life as a shut-in gamer. And yet even with those, he shows time and again that he's a decent person who demonstrably cares about other people. I went into this plenty back when I reviewed the first season of this show, but basically, Diablo actually has all the appeals of a full character, a real person we can just relate to rather than being a generic cipher like so many other self-insert isekai protagonists. Things have been a bit rocky over the course of Omega so far as we've retread parts of Diablo's characterization under the auspices of reintroducing him to us and his new party members, but with things seemingly caught up quite well last week, this week's episode is all about really showing off the Diablo we know and love.
To help do that, Demon Lord Omega knows it needs a foil, and the show just happened to have one handy it had introduced a couple weeks ago: Varakness, the world's worst wife guy! He's basically the Anti-Diablo in every way possible. He's genuinely confident and cocky, yet not truly independent in that he's acting on orders from his own boss Demon Lord, and he's got no concept of consent with regards to any ladies he tries to rope into his harem. In this case, that's Laminitus, who's had her own ups and downs in the plot so far to wind up where she is in this conflict, and while I can definitely appreciate Varakness's desire for a woman willing to shoot him straight through the chest, the whole fight is purely setup so we can appreciate Diablo returning to the scene.
After all the effectively-unnecessary complications of Diablo's personality being conflicted and coming out in harsh treatment of his party members, it's nice to have that resolved and him back to the good-natured goof we all know and love. The show even finds better spins for the material it was forcing drama with earlier. In this case, his lonely gamer past gives him a frame of reference to really empathize with Rose and not want to leave her behind. It's not the easier approach of Diablo wanting to bring Rose along simply because he likes having her around; They're instead demonstrating the inherent humanity of this all-powerful Demon Lord in having him treat even this built-in video game maid as a real, respectable person. There's definitely something to be tied back to Diablo projecting his enjoyment of a real relationship with Rose in his previous life back when she was merely an in-game object, and that's before we even touch on Rose's faith in her master driving her to want him to treat her as an object. But what would a new addition to Diablo's harem be without another kink for the guy to exasperatedly learn to navigate?
The idea of Diablo's recognizable decency gets followed up on at the end of the episode as well. It's something Horn articulates in her own terms from her time spent on the adventure, that even with her own weaker ability contributions, she still had fun with Diablo's crew and felt something in the honorable way they treated each other. It's a bit trite, sure, but it feels genuine enough compared to more rote fantasy-adventure stories out there, especially as we've seen the entertaining elements of the time together ourselves. Horn is pointedly contrasting her impressions against his time spent with her previous, crappy gang of adventurers/thieves, which provides another chance for Diablo to enter and show empathy for how a new party member feels.
That brings us back to the subject of this episode's central clash between Diablo and Varakness. So on the surface it certainly presents like a standard good vs. evil battle, even including a funny aside element of Diablo being spurred into thrashing this guy because he's galled at the amount of affection he's publicly displaying with his wives. Diablo's the guy who can barely handle a girl coming onto him in the privacy of his own bedroom, of course he'd be incensed by this level of shamelessness. But tying into the overall storytelling idea here, we have the whole battle being turned by the arrival of Diablo and the party members who have faith in him, down to him curbstomping Varakness and all his wives with shocking ease. We can make all the jokes we want about Diablo having a ‘harem’, and it's a legitimate point, but the structure of the group is contrasted with the literal harem that Varakness revels in: Diablo's group is a Party, they're together because they want to be, and they know when to trust in their leader, unlike Varakness who lets each of his wives get slaughtered in front of him before trying to fight on his own only to lose.
The dedication to showcasing how great and awesome Diablo really is does leave me with a few misgivings about this episode. Varakness was a compelling enough villain that they'd set up enough that it's a little disappointing to have him so easily and immediately taken out by our hero. Though at least he has the good graces to strip Varakness down to his skivvies for our viewing before vaporizing him, so thanks for that, Diablo. And they end up just kind of breezing over the remaining elements of Laminitus's story for the moment, which is annoying given how interesting the initial setup of her leadership versus the church with the exploitation of the city in the middle of that was. Hopefully they aren't completely leaving that behind, as I get it might have been hard to cram in-between the other intents of this episode. As-is, this is another solid entry for Demon Lord Omega, doing right by its main character who made the show work in the first place.
Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates anime, action figures, and additional ancillary artistry. He can be found staying up way too late posting screencaps on his Twitter.