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The eponymous characters, as they appear in the Light Novels
Hero: What is this, an evil ritual?
Demon Queen: No. It’s an economic study on the benefits of war as a large consumption market.
In a world of fantasy and magic, two opposing realms- the Human World and the Demon World- have been at war with each other for the last fifteen years. With both sides locked in a stalemate, one lone Hero goes on an epic quest into the heart of the Demon World to slay its ruler and bring peace to the world.That was until the Demon Queen, reigning Overlord of the Demon World, confronts him with a surprisingly well-researched and rational truth: that both sides are so deeply entrenched in the war effort that an abrupt end would cause more harm than good. Neither side stands to prosper from a victory (the losers will be enslaved while the winners will likely break out into civil war over the spoils), and extending the war indefinitely would just feed the greed and corruption festering in both nations.And so the Hero and the Demon Queen enter into an elaborate long con, secretly working together to manipulate both sides of the war effort to the point where it can be safely concluded with the least amount of negative repercussions to both sides. Hilarity Ensues.Maoyuu Maou Yuusha ("Evil Overlord and Hero") is a fantasy light novel series written by Touno Mamare. Originally posted as an original story on 2ch, the story had such a positive response that Mamare converted it into a light novel series. Currently, there are five novels (divided in 43 webnovels) and five manga adaptations:
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha ("Evil Overlord and Hero"): Running on Famitsu Comic Clear. The relatively more serious adaptation. This series is considered the "official" manga adaptation of the light novels, both published by Enterbrain.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha "Kono Watashi no Mono to Nare, Yuusha yo" "Kotowaru!" ("Become Mine, Hero!" "I Refuse!""): Running in Comp Ace. The more lighthearted adaptation, but the focus is the same as the original. While not the "official" manga adaptation, it is one of the more popular ones and is the preferred version by the author of the original novel.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha — Oka no Mukou e ("Beyond the Hill"): Running on Champion RED. This one is centered around interactions and romance, leaving most of the business management aside.
Maoyuu 4-Koma: Muitemasen yo, Maou-sama! ("I Can't Face You, Demon King!"): Running on the series official website. Total comedy; all characters are portrayed in the way of Character Exaggeration here.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha Gaiden: A Spin-Off running on Monthly Shonen Sirius. Centered around Witch Girl's adventures departed from the original party.
Almost Kiss: Hero and Demon Queen early in the story they got interrupted by the presence of the sisters. Another one happens at the end of episode 5, but this time they stop because the music playing in the festival ended.
Alternate Continuity: The manga adaptations tell the same story but certain events happen differently. For example, in most versions Gateway City was already occupied by the Humans with the same happening at Aurora Island by the Demons before Hero first meet the Demon Queen while in the Comic Clear version, those events happen after Hero left for the Demon Realm to search for Witch Girl. Also in the 4-koma and Oka no Mukou e, the Lady Knight was with the Hero before he left for the Demon world, while in other versions he already left before she arrived.
Blood Knight: The South Arctic General of the Fanged Beast Clan is a giant walrus who'd rather loot and fight than listen to the Demon Queen.
Book Dumb: The Hero himself, since he never had any education. He gets better later.
Breather Episode: Episode 7, which followed episode 6 when the humans retake Bright Light island. It largely focuses on the Love Triangle forming between the Hero, Lady Knight, and the Demon King.
Chapter 25 of the "Kono Watashi no Mono to Nare, Yuusha yo" manga has everyone going to a hot spring following the Demon Kings arc and the shadowy foreshadowing in the wrap up of said arc.
Call Back: At the very beginning of the story, the Demon Queen and the Hero discuss the fact that traditionally a demon lord would offer the hero half the world if they switched sides; both of them agree that nobody would ever fall for that. Many, many chapters later when the Demon Queen is possessed by past lords, they try to offer the hero half the world. He doesn't even let them finish the sentence.
This is very likely a reference to the original Dragon Quest where the Big Bad offers the hero the very same under identical circumstances.
Chick Magnet: Hero is the object of affection of Demon Queen, Female Knight, Female Mage, Fire Dragon Princess (who may be shifting to Young Merchant), and other lesser characters he has saved. Even Head Maid and Older Sister Maid are showing an interest.
Corrupt Church: While many of its followers (in particular, villagers and nuns) are quite benign and devout, the desires of power, avarice and control have infected much of the Central Church of the Light Spirit, causing it to work in league with the power brokers in nobility. They gang up on the Crimson Scholar, labeling her a 'heretic' not because of any true theological issues, but because her inventions and innovations that brought bounty to the Southern Triad has weakened the Triad's need to be dependent on the Central Nation and, thus, do whatever they are told. By the end of the anime version of the story, Knight's convent of the Lakeside Church, where she is prioress, break off from the Central Church.
And they're working with the Blue Demon Tribe, whose hat is Social Darwinism, to perpetuate the war so that both factions can remain in power forever. It shows how little they're motivated by self-righteousness and order and more by... other things.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: The humans (as the Merchant Union) and demons who fund the war. In spite of this, the Demon King is able to persuade the Merchant Union to help her plans, since this will open up new markets to them.
Cruel to Be Kind: In episode 2, after finding two runaway girls, the Head Maid tells the Demon King and Hero that she always reported runaway serfs in the past. The Demon King orders her to feed them and clothe them anyway. Later the Head Maid tells the girls that she despises insects. The Hero thinks she's being incredibly cruel to them, but after a few dialogue exchanges, he begins to see that the Head Maid is actually trying to help them, and hires them to be live-in maids to help around the mansion.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of the Holy Spirit is reminiscent of medieval Catholicism. Corruption in the Central Church thankfully doesn't sit well with the followers of the actual teachings of the faith, and they hold a line against the Central Nations.
The small army led by the Female Knight easily defeated the numerically superior, well-fortified demons holding Aurora Island. Even a seeming moment of trouble facing the demon general is just her way of toying with him before manhandling him.
The Warrior Youngster, using the Demon Queen's teachings, successfully defends against a 2,000-man cavalry from White Night Nation with only 400 troops from Iron Nation.
The first human army sent to recapture Aurora Island is massacred, with only 15 of the original 200 ships managing to escape.
The Demon Queen as well, or at least when we first see her.
Plenty of monsters fit this bill. Much like humans, most don't want the war but will fight to defend what they perceive as their land or duty to protect. Much of the story is getting both sides to see the other is Not So Different.
Decapitated Army: Discussed deconstructively — As the Demon Queen points out, a war will not truly end just because the authority figure on one side is killed. His/her killer would be an assassin, not a hero, and such an action is rendered moot if he/she is easily replaceable.
Deconstructor Fleet: The series is a deconstruction of the fantasy genre in general, since it points out that The Hero killing the Evil Overlord does not necessarily end the world's problems. In fact, the true way of achieving world peace is not through brute force, but through a combination of military, economic, diplomatic, political and social reforms.
Interestingly, the relationship between Demon Queen and Hero RECONSTRUCTS the idea of an Arranged Marriage.
Doing In the Wizard: When others discuss the "blessing of the earth", the Demon Queen talks about soil nutrients. Sometimes inverted where she gives a pseudo-magical explanation for things she understands scientifically. The setting in itself is just as supernatural as any other typical Medieval European Fantasy world, though.
Even Evil Has Standards: The Beast clan is one of the most blood thirsty of the Demon clans, believing might is right. They would gladly take up a fight but not use something as lowly as assassination to achieve their goals.
The Winter Night King, despite being the Token Evil Teammate of the Southern Nations, still shows a flash of guilt in the anime when reminded that they had sacrificed the Hero's life before muttering that "he was just a soldier".
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The entire cast are referred to only by their roles, eg. Hero, Demon Queen, Lady Knight, Head Maid, Big Sister Maid, Little Sister Maid...etc. This is an Enforced trope since the author states everyone does have names, but they are not important to the story and are thus given Placeholder names instead.
Exact Words: The accords of the Kulurtai, the great meeting of demon clans, hold that any demon clan can join the Grand Clans if they have enough persons in their clan and are supported by two current members, objections by other clans cannot stop the process. And as the original definition of "demon" is "one who lives underground" the humans of Gateway City, fulfilling the numbers requirement and currently living underground quite prosperously, invoke the right to join. They are granted the right.
Gainaxing: Particularly obvious in the anime. The first thing the Hero sees of the Demon King is her bouncing melons. We then proceed to watch them bounce every time she moves, especially while trying to persuade Hero since he keeps trying to run away from her.
The Demon King gives one to the Hero in the first episode.
Lady Knight does this to Hero when he shows up at the front line base in episode 6. The Demon King is not happy about that.
Good All Along: The Demon clans are a varied bunch, including the knowledge-loving, reasonable inhabitants of the External Library (Demon Queen's own) and fairies. Best exemplified by Demon King but the Azure Demons are clearly "old school" in their desire to conquer.
Grey and Grey Morality: There are no "good" or "bad" species, just individuals who may or may not been born with horns, wings and/or tail choosing their own destinies.
The Hero implies later on that she's likely not particularly dangerous in terms of personal power. He's quite right, but while she's possessed by the spirits of the previous Demon Lords, it's a different story.
Happiness in Slavery: The demon girl working in the tavern in episode 5 seems to be content with her lot in life, telling Hero that because the humans own the town, she's just doing whatever she can to survive.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The Church Messenger demands the crowd stone Crimson Scholar after she gives a speech about freedom and rights. They stone him and his guards instead (though they escape with their lives).
Hollow World: Instead of being a different Another Dimension like everyone thought, the Demon world is actually the inner layer of the human world.
Hope Spot: In the Comp Ace Manga Just when it seems Maoh/Red Eyes will successfully bring a ceasefire between the humans and demons and finally start to bring peace to both worlds, the Blue/Azure demon tribe sets in motion to have her removed from her position as the demon lord, obviously to replace her with a demon lord that will not only refuse to call for a ceasefire but continue the war on their terms.
Horned Humanoid: Many demons have horns. Subverted in the case of the Demon King, who's apparent horns are just part of a costume she doesn't even wear that often.
In Another Man's Shoes: Invoked in episode 2. When the Demon King is teaching a couple of noble children, the older runaway girl from earlier in the episode is in the room with them. She tries to teach them about how the economy plays a role in the war effort, such as food availability. Two of the nobles scoffs at the idea of starving people, saying that peasants wouldn't need to worry about that because their lords would protect and feed them. Which causes the girl to comment that they must never have starved before.
Invincible Hero: The Hero is supposedly able to fight entire armies on his own. The rest of the people from his old team aren't all that far behind. True to the series' nature, however, this trope is also deconstructed, because his powers made him feel alienated from other people, and with his schooling under the Demon Queen's tutelage, he has since become more of a pacifist.
Furthermore, in keeping with the show's overarching message that brute force doesn't work, the Hero often becomes depressed due to feeling like he can't accomplish anything noteworthy for the Demon Queen's plans, as all he knows is how to fight. Gradually though, he does see Character Development and realizes he can be useful in ways that don't require his fighting abilities.
Jack-of-All-Trades: Ability-wise, the Hero is similar to the main characters in early Dragon Quest games; he's an amazing swordsman, a decent healer that his party could go without a dedicated one, and seems to know some attack magic. On top of all that, he can teleport himself and other across the continent. He also has a vague similarity in looks to the Dragon Quest III hero, especially in the webcomic.
Lap Pillow: The Demon Queen asks the Hero to use hers.
Layman's Terms: In episode 12, Witch Girl tries to relay the Crimson Scholar's plan to create a Smallpox vaccine, but the listeners ask her to speak plainly.
Light Is Not Good: Some of the church members aren't exactly using their powers for the good of mankind, such as when they declare potatoes to be a demonic item, despite the fact that its saved countless lives due to its hardiness and availability to the lower classes.
Light Novel Within a Light Novel: Witch Girl is the author of a series of novels titled "Pleasant Serial Killers". Hero and Demon Queen are both fans. Oddly enough, the characters in it have actual names.
Long Title: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha "Kono Watashi no Mono to Nare, Yuusha yo" "Kotowaru!"; the title of the first Light Novel, and actually the official title of the Comp Ace manga adaptation, which is from a excerpt of a dialogue between the Hero and the Demon Queen.
Loophole Abuse: The creation of a new primary demon clan to up Demon Queen's number of supporters, orchestrated by Archduke Fire Dragon. The new clan consists entirely of humans.
Archduke Fire Dragon: Nowhere in the constitution does it say that humans can't be demons.
Love at First Sight: The Demon Queen is quite clearly smitten with the Hero the first time she sets eyes on him. It takes a little longer on the latter's part, but by the end of their first meeting he's devoted to her as well.
Actually subverted later on, where it's shown that the Demon Queen has been watching the Hero throughout his life after learning that he would be her destiny via a crystal ball.
Love Triangle: Between the Hero, Demon King, and Lady Knight. Gets interesting in the second half of episode 7, after both women find each other attempting to sneak into the Hero's room at night. After rejecting Head Maid's suggestion that she go in there, she then pushes both of them into his room. In the end, both women share the bed on either side of Hero, much to his chagrin.
Magic Knight: The Hero is an excellent swordsman, but also has some very useful magic. As is Lady Knight.
Magical Library: The Demon Queen's clan apparently are native to the External Library that holds knowledge from worlds gone and yet to come.
Mayfly-December Romance: A Genre Savvy Hero confesses to the Head Maid that the main reason he is keeping the Demon Queen to arm's length is the slow aging of their race compared to his.
Medieval Stasis: The enemy of the series, and what the main characters are trying to get past.
Medium Awareness: In the 4-koma, the Hero states that this universe's Demon Queen is very different from the others. After discussing it, he demands that she switches with one. Immediately.
The Multiverse: According to the Demon Queen, the Hero's world isn't the first to be attacked and conquered by demon tribes.
Nameless Narrative: The closest any character, big or small, comes to having a proper name is the Demon Queen's title, Ruby Eyes.
No Sense of Personal Space: The Demon King gets uncomfortably close to the Hero when they first meet several times. Not that he's turned off by it entirely however...
Not So Different: The Demon King explains various scenarios regarding the ongoing war between the humans and the demons, and how things would play out if one side or the other were to emerge victorious, or if the war ended suddenly. The Hero begins to realize that she doesn't want those worst-case scenarios to happen any more than he would.
In one of the chapters Female Mage calls Demon King "Hero of the Demon World" and Hero "Demon King of the Human World".
Obstructive Bureaucrat: In episode 2, the village elder refuses to try out the Demon King's idea for a 4-stage planting cycle which she feels would increase crop yields. However, after teaching various noble children, she goes to his house again, this time armed with something she says would change his mind (which we don't get to see unfortunately).
Off the Rails: The 4komas begin to go in this direction after Hero leaves to search for Mage Girl: Demon Queen stows away with him rather than stay at home.
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In episode 7, Hero and Lady Knight discuss how things are going. They both are vague enough that it could mean several things, until they both bring up different topics, Hero with the war progress, and Lady Knight regarding the Demon King's relationship with him.
One-Man Army: Hero and his companions, Lady Knight, Archer, and Witch Girl, are all capable of taking out armies single-handedly. But Hero comes to realize that this isn't enough to bring peace and ends up following the Demon Queen.
Our Demons Are Different: The Demon Queen and Head Maid's race looks exactly like human but it's played straight with the other demon tribes.
Pun: The promotional site for the upcoming anime adaptation has a special download once a month (a Demon Queen pin-up wallpaper) every 29th, the "Useless Meat" Day. Why the 29th? Well, 2 and 9 are ni and kyuu in Japanese, that sounds like niku ("meat").
Head Maid for the Demon Queen and Hero's plans, then the Lady Knight to the Crimson Scholar's real identity and also the Young Merchant.
Played for Laughs in episode 7 while Lady Knight and the Demon King are sharing a bed with Hero. Both women claim to have embarrassing secrets with him, but won't say it in front of him. They then agree to tell each other later when he's not around.
Saintly Church: The Lakeside Convent functions as one, or at least it does while Lady Knight is the prioress. They have all but emptied their coffers bringing education and the potato crop to the Southern Triad through building covents.
Another possible unintentional one in chapter 23 of the Ishida version, where the Dragon Princess' speech is quite similar to the to the Bible specifically Ecclesiastes 3 (better known as the lyrics of Turn! Turn! Turn!):
Princess: "There are times for birth, times for death. Times for starving, times for hunting. Times for killing, times for healing. There are times for tears, there are times for laughter... There are times for love, there are times for grudge. There are times for war, and there are times for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV): "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Turn! Turn! Turn!: "A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep... A time of love, a time of hate, A time of war, a time of peace."
Shown Their Work: Many of the Demon Queen's technological innovations are based on real-life ones like crop rotation, to the point where the exact system discussed was identical to that which played a crucial role in the British Agricultural Revolution. When discussing techniques for growing potatoes in barren lands, she selects dead fish as fertilizer ("sacrifice", as she terms them), which has real-life truth due to their high nitrogen content which helps fertilization in sandy soil. The supporting characters also have very in-depth knowledge of politics, macroeconomics, military tactics, organized religion, immigration, social welfare and human rights.
Also, potatoes really were decried as evil at some point.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Hero does this to the Demon King in episode 5 after being gone for a year. The first thing she does is start smacking with her pillow him due to his absence.
Stripperiffic: The outfit the Demon Queen wears for the initial confrontation with the Hero. Her regular clothing is far more practical.
Surrounded by Idiots: Much to her frustration, the Demon Queen feels like this after teaching some youngsters, especially three young boys from varying backgrounds (warrior, noble and merchant) who fail to understand the socioeconomic consequences of war.
The Unreveal: The Demon King tells Lady Knight who she really is in episode 5, since she wanted to be friends with her. At first Lady Knight seems as if she's going to cut her down, but then she seems to accept it. A Flash Back reveals that Lady Knight was already aware of the Demon King, because the Hero told her about it. And because she trusts Hero, she felt she could trust the Demon King too, although Lady Knight also reveals she's not giving up on him either.
Title Drop: The title of the first Light Novel and the actual title of the Comp Ace adaptation: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha - "Kono Watashi no Mono Tonare, Yuusha yo" "Kotowaru!", it's a excerpt of the exchange the Hero and the Demon Queen make to each other in their first meeting, which is: "Be mine, Hero" "I refuse!" depending on your translation.
The anime episodes follow this as well, with a character saying the title of the current episode at some point.
Translation Style Choices: So many, the characters have titles as names, with some having more than one way of reading it, and therefore more than one way of translating it; although the most prominent is the Demon Queen's japanese name, Maou (魔王) which can either mean Demon King, Demon Lord, Devil King or Devil, leaving no room for a feminine reading of the title; still most of the fandom/translators call her Demon Queen or Dark Lady, while others don't bother with translating and leave it as Maou.
War for Fun and Profit: The reason why the war in the Southern Kingdoms has lasted for 15 years. Both Humans and Demons who supply the war effort profit from it. The political changes the war has brought about have led to greater prosperity on both sides.
We Can Rule Together: The first time Demon Queen and Hero meet she asks him to join her, and only later explains what for. When he realizes she realizes means "We Can Save Together'', he agrees to join her. As an aside, she points out that it's traditional for a Demon King to offer splitting the world up with the Hero and both acknowledge how ridiculous such an offer is.
We Have Reserves: White Night King's motivation for sending the ill-fated first invasion to retake Aurora Island is because their losses would eventually be replaced anyways thanks to military aid from Central.
Wham Episode: Episode 8, when the Winter King is told to hand the Crimson Scholar over to the Church due to potatoes, a crop she introduced, being considered a demonic item.
Episode 12, when it's revealed that the Central Church and the Blue Demon tribe are working together, and have been from the very start, because both sides need the war perpetuated to main their power structures.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: With all the roadblocks to ending the war on a positive note, only an idealist could believe that is possible. Therefore, Demon Queen could be called a Narrow Eyed Idealist.
Wrong Genre Savvy: In the first episode, Hero believes himself to the hero and thus the one who slays the evil demon king For Great Justice. Demon Queen immediately points out that he is mistaken and explains why.
Wutai: The Ogre Demon clan is a demonic version of this. Their leader even dresses like a Miko!