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Light Novel / Maoyu

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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. The series is composed of 8 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.
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  • 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. Can be officially bought and read here on BookWalker.
  • 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.

A Drama CD is also out as well and both the webnovels and light novels are currently being translated.

Prior to the official adaptations, a fan-made manga was also posted on Nico Nico Douga (you can watch it with English subtitles here).

An anime adaptation aired in the Winter 2013 Anime season, and can be watched on Crunchyroll if you live in North America, South America, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, or the Netherlands.

Compare to The Devil Is a Part-Timer!.

Tropes used in this series include:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Lady Knight cuts another sword into multiple pieces in episode 4 when training some students in swordplay.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The Demon Queen is a redhead in every media adaptation save the anime, where she's leaning on brown-haired.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Between the Demon Queen, the Lady Knight, the Female Mage, and the Fire Dragon Grand Princess, the Hero is quite the lady's man.
  • All Women Are Lustful: The Demon King, Lady Knight, Head Maid, and Fire Dragon Princess. On the villainous side, we have the Lily Knight Captain, who is also a Femme Fatale.
  • Almost Kiss: The Hero and Demon Queen.
    • Early in the story they were 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.
  • Arc Words: "The Other Side of the Hill."
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: With the Demon Queen and several human and demon nobles being a very notable exception.
  • Art Evolution: Over the course of the Akira Ishida manga, Demon Queen's bosom noticeably grows even larger than when the series started.
  • Audience Murmurs: During the Crimson Scholar's inquisition.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: A good number of leaders we see in the series, whether on the heroic or villainous side, earned those positions.
  • Badass Bookworm: Female Mage, after following Hero to the Demon Realm, travels about, finding out ways to increase her magical power. At one point, she read all of the Fairy Clan's secret arts before leaving to pursue rumors of even greater magic. She finds it. And when she reappears before Hero again, she wastes no time in teleporting an entire army of 2,000 demons away from the battlefield.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Hero does this at the end of episode 11.
  • Battle Butler:
    • The Head Maid lists bodyguard duties and leading armies among her responsibilities as a maid. Naturally, Butler is also this, as one of Hero's (and the previous Hero's) companions known as Archer.
    • The Archer eventually becomes this to the Winter Prince. In fact, his title Shitsuji translates to Director or Butler.
  • Betty and Veronica: Lady Knight is Betty, Demon Queen is Veronica, Hero is Archie and Fire Dragon Grand Princess is Cheryl.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Hero does this on a regular basis.
    • The Winter King does this to save the Crimson Scholar when the Church Messenger attempts to have her beheaded after the crowd turns against him in episode 9.
    • When the forces defending Gateway City are being crushed by the Holy Key Expedition, Demon Queen, Duke Silver Tiger, and Eastern Commander appear from behind the attacking army to reinforce their allies.
      • Later on, Warrior Youngster saves her from an assassination attempt by Commander.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the manga, the war between the Humans and Demons comes to an end at great cost in lives, human and demon alike. Hero, Demon Queen, and Lady Knight are nowhere to be found, having been teleported to an unknown land after passing through the doorway at the top of the stairs. However, the cycle of perpetual conflict between the surface and underworld has been ended, and at the very least, the foundations of a lasting peace had been laid.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Lady Knight, Fire Dragon Grand Princess and Demon Queen
  • 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. The One-Eyed Commander also counts, becoming obsessed with revenge after his humiliation and near-execution.
  • Book Dumb: The Hero himself, since he never had any education. He gets better later.
  • Brains Versus Brawn: The Hero is a Country Mouse who became a nigh-unstoppable One-Man Army thanks to being The Chosen One and his constant training. Meanwhile, the Demon Queen is a scholar who spent most of her days prior to ascending to the throne reading and performing experiments. When Hero confronts her at the start of the story, she admits that she's probably no match for him in a fight, instead asking for his attention and challenging his worldview with a presentation on the impact of the human-demon war from an economic standpoint.
  • 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 deal under identical circumstances.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: The church decides to test out their new guns on the frontline Blue Demon Tribe while they are fighting for their lives in combat with the Southern Union. Curb-Stomp Battle ensues as the usurper Demon King himself (and thousands of human soldiers) are slaughtered by waves of bullets. In order to retreat, Lady Knight is forced to use their Greek Fire tactic early.
  • Chastity Couple: The Hero and the Demon Queen are a borderline example of this, since their arrangement effectively makes them husband and wife in all but name, but both are incredibly awkward and innocent about romantic affection.
  • Chick Magnet: Hero is the object of affection of Demon Queen, Lady 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.
  • Church Militant: The Crusaders, and later the Holy Key Expeditionary Force. The Archbishop is specifically pointed out to be an extremist.
  • 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, Lady Knight's convent of the Lakeside Church, where she is prioress, break off from the Central Church.
    • It goes further than that. The Central Church is 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.
    • The Archibishop's end goal seem to be to gain the power of both the Hero and the Demon King, and restart the world so he becomes the supreme ruler; completely abandoning the church's followers and nobility supporters in this iteration of the world.
  • 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 supposedly reminiscent of medieval Catholicism (reality, as always, is more complicated, and the Middle Ages was an era not a single period). 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. Unlike Catholicism, the Church seems to prefer cremation to burial; this is because the Holy Spirit was once the shrine maiden of the Fire Spirit Clan.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle
    • The small army led by the Lady 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 Holy Key Expeditionary Force does this to both their supposed allies, the Blue Demon Clan, and the Southern Union, with the use of muskets. They do it again in the face of Gateway City's saturation attack, thanks to their improved efficiency at the hands of the Blue Ash King.
  • Cute Monster Girl
    • The Demon Queen. Very cute, and looks entirely human.
      • There's a wide diversity among demons and she undervalues her looks compared to those from more muscular tribes.
    • The fairies.
    • The tavern girl Hero runs into in episode 5.
    • Grand Princess Fire Dragon. Which is weird since her dad, Archduke Fire Dragon, is a dragon. She does have a flaming lizard's tail however.
      • In the anime she also lets out a little gout of flame when she talks.
  • Cypher Language: Lots of mysterious-looking lettering in the anime. It's a substitution code for the English alphabet. Here's a chart.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Hero when becoming The Dark Knight
  • 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 isn't 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 is a Reconstruction of the idea of an Arranged Marriage.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: The Inquisitor demands a lapidation. He gets one.
  • Depending on the Artist: All versions differ in art style. The original novel features detailed art and proportional anatomy, fitting for older audiences. The manga versions fit their storytelling, while the battle-oriented versions feature fluid art and dynamic sequences; the character interaction/romance versions features Generic Cuteness with focus on the women being more curvy and the men being statuesque; the 4-koma is in Super-Deformed style.
  • Dialogue: The light novels consist exclusively of scripted dialogue, as if it were a theatrical play.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Both the Hero and Lady Knight are technically the same Fantasy Character Classes with some difference.
  • 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 (like "offering sacrifices" to the earth) 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 Blue Ash King is horrified when the Church uses their foot soldiers as suicide bombers. Before that, Royal Prince Marshal clearly hides the fact that the White Knight Nation was supposed to ambush the Southern Union from the Blue Ash King.
    • 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 in the demon world", and "enough persons" was also defined when demon clans were a lot smaller in number; the human-majority residents of Gateway City, fulfilling the numbers requirement and currently living underground quite prosperously, invoke the right to join. They are granted the right.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: At first Hero couldn't believe that the buxom, polite redhead was really the Demon "King".
  • Fanservice: Usually dished out by the Demon Queen, Lady Knight or Fire Dragon Grand Princess.
  • A Father to His Men: The South Arctic General is genuinely distressed when his second-in-command is killed.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Most humans countries are based on the Holy Roman Empire nations.
    • The Demon World counterpart of Japan is split between the Oni (noble, aristocratic) and the Humanoid (simpler common-folk).
    • The Dragon Clan is predominantly China, with some Korean hints mixed in.
    • The Blue Demon Clan has an Arabian/Central Asian flavor.
    • A demon meeting is called a Khuruldai, the Mongolian word for congress.
  • Firearms Are Revolutionary: The introduction of firearms to a Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting is an enormous game changer for the human armies. It's much easier to train ranks of riflemen than archers or mages and the rifles possess enough stopping power to badly wound if not outright kill powerful demons with enough rounds. Even Hero, a Person of Mass Destruction, notes that he probably wouldn't win against the combined might of Central's army thanks to their teams of riflemen shooting him down.
  • Formula with a Twist: The series opens as Hero is about to confront Maou and end the war between humans and demons. However, Maou (who turns out to be a woman) convinces him that neither slaying her nor ending the war will actually fix most of the world's problems and that only the two of them, together, can hope to turn things around for the better. Thus, the story actually becomes a socio-political-economic thriller about how the advanced ideas Maou has envisioned will improve the world.
  • Gag Boobs: Up to Eleven when a flashback shows a cowgirl using breasts more than twice the size of the rest of her body to crush the Hero.
  • Gag Series: The Yonkoma manga where the Demon Queen is a Cute Clumsy Girl and the Hero plays the straight man.
  • 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.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Most of the ideas and inventions the Demon Queen wants to introduce are ahead of their time.
  • Global Currency: The human world uses gold coins as currency. This means countries can't control their own money supply, and can only use fiscal policy, like taxes, to influence the economy. We see the effects of this when Young Merchant causes hyperinflation in the Central economy. In contrast, demons barter with each other for goods and services, sometimes including gold sand in the deals.
  • The Glomp:
    • 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 (the Demon Queen's own) and fairies. Best exemplified by the Demon King but the Azure Demons are clearly "old school" in their desire to conquer.
  • Goroawase Number: 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").
  • 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.
  • Guile Hero:
    • The Demon Queen is presumably a Lady of Black Magic with all that entails but prefers using her brain power rather than dark powers.
    • 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.
  • Happily Ever After: The Hero, the Demon Queen and Lady Knight decide to retire in the end of the Light Novel series, seeing that the many people they came in contact with have absorbed and taken after their ideals, the trio leave together to travel to some faraway and quiet place.
  • 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. That said, it is never specified that she's a slave, but she does seem to have no other options as to employment.
  • 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 Demon Queen/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.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Chapter 25 of "Kono Watashi no Mono to Nare, Yuusha yo".
  • 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.
  • Insistent Terminology: Head Maid calls Serfs "Slaves", because that's exactly what they were. Notes on real-world serfdom. 
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo: "Be mine, Hero!" "I refuse!".
  • 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.
  • Lady and Knight: The Demon Queen and the Hero.
  • 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 it's saved countless lives due to it's hardiness and availability to the lower classes. The Archbishop is very Obviously Evil to the readers, although he's better at hiding it in-universe. Both the Hero and Royal Prince Marshal can see through him, though.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Hero, the Lady Knight and the South Arctic General.
  • 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 at the Khuruldai, orchestrated by Archduke Fire Dragon. The new clan consists of a lot of humans, because "demon" was defined as "one who lives underground" in the regulations.note 
    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.
    • In the anime, the Hero quickly realizes this is a Subverted Trope thanks to the 'discovery' of a body pillow painted with his favorite adventuring outfit that the Queen had been practice-kissing, meaning she had very good intel on his looks.
    • Later it's shown that the Demon Queen has been watching the Hero throughout his life via a crystal ball, after learning that he will be the hero destined to meet and kill the demon king. Funnily, the image had low resolution and was from a week ago, as the External Library' surveillance is not without limits.
  • 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, and are the only ones who can access it. As it turns out, Female Mage belongs to this clan... as does the Archbishop.
  • Marry Them All: By the end of the manga adaptation, we learn that the Lady Knight, Hero, and Maou live together peacefully, with one daughter and one son by each girl.
  • 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.
  • Meido: The Head Maid. Also a Battle Butler, which qualifies her as a Ninja Maid. She seems to have learned about what a maid is from Light Novels.
  • Moment Killer: The sisters unwittingly become one early in the story when Hero and Demon Queen are about to kiss in front of the fireplace.
  • Moral Myopia: The first half of the first chapter is presented as the Demon Queen calling the Hero out for this with a series of Armor Piercing Questions and a revelation or two about the sordid truth of the war.
  • 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" Remark:
    • 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.
  • Painting the Medium: The Witch Girl uses a spell to give her body a censorship blur when she bathes. In the manga, Hero notes that the effect manages to be more lewd than if she did without.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: In the original light novel, the Hero alludes to "siege-class" spells. Various adaptations also show him destroying large parts of the landscape by swinging his sword. Not an allusion in the manga,
  • Pet the Dog: Despite the Head Maid harshly treating the runaway Serf sisters, she decides to hire the girls as her helpers, ensuring the sisters will no longer live like poor serfs anymore.
  • Pensieve Flashback: As a visual medium, the anime introduced Demon Queen's magical projection lamp, to illustrate abstract concepts like crop rotation. It's easy to use: by touching the lamp, it will project whatever the user is thinking at the moment. In fact, it may be too easy to use, as close proximity to the Hero activates the lamp, projecting a memory of the Demon Queen imagining about the Hero body pillow she used for Kissing Warm-Up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Lady Knight realizes that the Hero and the Demon Queen belong to each other; she just doesn't want to be left behind again.
  • Portmantitle: "Maoyuu" is not a proper word, that's why it is written in Hiragana, it's just Maou + Yuusha.
  • Powered Armor: The Machine Demon clan turns out to be this. Demon Queen believed at first that they were actual living machines, but Hero reveals they're little girls manipulating suits of armor.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The Hero later reunites with his former companions he left.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The Demon Queen, for starters. As the leader of the Lakeside Convent, Lady Knight is this as well. The leaders of the Southern Triad (sans, obviously, the White Knight King who was left out) and later the Southern Union are this.
    • Royal Prince Marshal himself is, despite being the younger brother of the Holy King and a leader of the Holy Key Expedition, an Anti-Villain, stating to Big Sis Maid that he couldn't back down because the Holy Kingdom has the duty to maintain order and the Central Kingdoms' peace of mind. However, with a little more persuasion from Hero, he ultimately agrees on negotiations over bloodshed. At the end, he's also the one who agrees to a ceasefire and peace treaty after Big Sis Maid brings the Ball of Light, which he accepts as the Church's Holy Relic they've been seeking.
  • Really One Hundred Years Old: The Demon Queen and Head Maid.
  • Reconcile the Bitter Foes: The Demon Queen's plan eventually hinges on achieving this.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • The Crimson Scholar (Big Sister Maid in magical disguise) won't bow down because she is human!
    • Royal Prince Marshal gives one to the people of Central in order to raise an enormous force for the Holy Key Expedition.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The leaders of the Southern Nations are not afraid to get hands on with improving their nations and gaining economic independence from Central. On Central's side, they have the Blue Ash King and Royal Prince Marshal, both of whom personally go on, first, the unsuccessful war on the Southern Triad, and later, the more successful Holy Key Expedition.
  • Rubber Face: The Demon King does it to Hero in episode 5 after he calls her "flabby".
  • Satan Is Good: The Demon Queen just wants to end the war in such a way that everybody wins.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • 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 convents.
  • She Is the King The Demon Queen's actual title is the Demon King.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Demon Queen has been waiting for Hero his whole life, and probably a lot longer.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hero introduces Young Merchant to the Dragon Princess, ostensibly to try and transfer her affections from him to the Young Merchant.
  • Shout-Out
    • From the very beginning: "Wouldn’t it be nice if as a Hero you could just say, 'I am the Law!' or 'I am God!' or maybe even 'I am Gundam!'"
    • In Chapter 1 of the Comp Ace version, we see the Dragon Lord (with a censor bar over his eyes) as an illustration of how the "We Can Rule Together" trope is a bad idea.
    • Also in Chapter 18, Kogarashi and Roberta are sighted as the Head Maid was explaining (wrongly) about all the maids' powers.
    • Maybe unintentional, but chapter 22 of Akira Ishida's version: "Those ancient cliche phrases already stamped on 'The Things Modern Demon Lord Shouldn't Say'!"
    • In chapter 23 of the Ishida version, where the Dragon Princess' speech is from the Bible, specifically Ecclesiastes 3 (better known as the lyrics of Turn! Turn! Turn!), only slightly modified, the difference is mainly from the re-translation from Japanese:
      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 actually were decried as evil at some point.note 
  • Spiritual Successor: To Spice and Wolf, down to the anime adaptation having mostly the same animation team and voice actors as the latter's adaptation, though to a more epic scale. It has been joked that Holo was flat-chested, and Spice And Wolf concerned itself largely with Microeconomics, while The Dark Lady is a lot more...sizable and deals in Macroeconomics.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Offered to the Hero in chapter 6 of the Comp Ace version.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The Warrior Youngster initially refuses to learn from the Lady Knight. She lists her credentials and then slices a sword in half in front of him. He shuts up.
  • 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.
    • It's pretty clear that the discord in the Holy Key Expedition is partially a result of this, as well as the clash between Royal Prince Marshal and the Archbishop's ideas over what the war is about. The nobles in the army see the serfs as idiots, and the Archbishop makes no effort in having an actual strategy, since all he wants is to capture Gateway City and push its Reset Button so he Take Over the World . It's up to Royal Prince Marshal, his Chief Strategist, and the Blue Ash King to devise plans to actually keep the expedition going.
  • Sword Beam: The Hero demonstrates this, and explains the technique by Saying Sound Effects Out Loud.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: The Hero and the Demon Queen. Played With however, in that Hero is actually more talented in both Sword and Sorcery than Demon Queen is. It's just that there's a limit to what he can do to change the world with raw power.
  • Take a Third Option: The core of the plot is the Hero and the Demon Queen's efforts to find a win-win solution to end the war.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Inverted. The Demon Queen wins the Hero over to her side by explaining the consequences of her death... with a PowerPoint presentation. Also later when dealing with the Union and others.
  • The Paladin: The Hero and Lady Knight. The Hero keeps this aspect even after becoming the Black Knight.
  • There Is Only One Bed: In Hero's room. Thus Hilarity Ensues.
  • 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.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: After the Demon Queen/ Crimson Scholar left the village and gave Older Sister Maid the ring of illusion, the central church accuses the Crimson Scholar of heresy, claiming her farming method and knowledge are evil teachings contrary to the Light Spirit. To defuse the situation, the plan is to let Older Sister Maid pose as the Crimson Scholar and let herself be captured, and then, after she's taken out of the Winter Nation, the Hero will free her. However, it goes awry when Older Sister Maid, posing as the Crimson Scholar, is brought out to be humiliated in front of the populace. Instead of taking the abuse, she looses a defiant speech about how she was once a serf, but was able to see the light thanks to someone's kindness (the Crimson Scholar and Head Maid, but of course she omits that specific part) and realized her worth as a free human being who is blessed by The Spirit of Light, which she extends to the entire populace watching her, serfs included. She refuses to let anyone help her since she wants to stand on her own as a human being, and takes on the Head Maid's stance that everyone who doesn't take advantage of their gifts of freedom is a contemptible insect. Naturally, the inquisitor doesn't like it at all and commands his soldiers to behead her. Luckily, none other than the Winter Nation King, Lady Knight, and the entire gathered populace came to her protection.
  • Those Three Guys: The Noble, Warrior and Merchant youngsters.
  • 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 an 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. This comes from the original 2ch version, where the title doubles as the first line of dialogue and the body follows immediately after it (as is common among 2ch stories).
    • The anime episodes follow this as well, with a character saying the title of the current episode at some point.
  • Threesome Subtext: The Light Novel series decided not give a set-in-stone romantic conclusion to The Hero, The Demon Queen and Lady Knight's ordeal; instead it decided to end with all three of them retiring and traveling to some faraway place, together in full realization that The Demon Queen and Lady Knight love The Hero - leaving it to the reader to decide whether or not this is the case.
  • Top Wife: Demon Queen and Knight quickly become friends despite their mutual feelings for Hero. During one conversation with him, Knight accidentally says that they need to settle who's the wife and the mistress. On other occasions, when a situation makes it impossible or improbable for the girls to have him exclusively, they begin to bicker over who takes priority.
    Maou: I'll take the bed, and you take the floor.
    Knight: And Hero?
    Maou: The bed, of course.
    Knight: That's not even remotely fair!
  • To Win Without Fighting:
    • Demon Queen admits this may be impossible, given that they are up against Proud Warrior Races and noblemen who think We Have Reserves, but they must try. Hero manages to free Gateway City from the Crusaders this way, at least.
    • Big Sis Maid does this twice to Royal Prince Marshal. Although she calls this her own "battleground," no actual warfare is involved since she manages to peacefully negotiate with him instead.
  • 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.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played straight in the defense of Gateway City. The defenders lay out their strategy to defend the city and weaken the army's numbers to the audience, which takes the form of a saturation attack. Guess what the enemy was exactly prepared for, having foreseen this. Needless to say, around half of the city's defenders are slaughtered, and the only reason the attackers weren't able to press further was because of surprise reinforcements from Demon Queen and the Beast Clan forces from the Human Realm.
  • Verbal Judo:
    • Between the Demon Queen and the Young Merchant while they're discussing the compass, all while Head Maid serves as a combat commentator.
    • Big Sis Maid (now known as "Scholar" or, by her own statement, "Hero") and Royal Prince Marshal do this, twice. Big Sis Maid wins both times.
  • 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 that she 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.
    • During the battle between the Blue Demons and the Southern Triad, Central's Holy Key Expedition arrives... and proceeds to decimate both armies with their new guns. Needless to say, the main characters are absolutely horrified by the devastation.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The manga concludes with a series of vignettes showing what happened to the Hero, Lady Knight, and the Demon Queen after they disappeared through the doorway at the top of the heavenly stairs as well as the rest of the characters.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: With all the roadblocks to ending the war on a positive note, only an idealist could believe that it is possible. Therefore, Demon Queen could be called a Narrow Eyed Idealist.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the first episode, Hero believes himself to be 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!

Alternative Title(s): Maoyuu Maou Yuusha