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Series / The Hero Yoshihiko and the Devil King's Castle

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A Low Budget Action-Adventure Series (low budget not visible in this picture)

"Back off the Buddha!"

Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro is the story of Yoshihiko, who has been given the quest to find the legendary miracle herb that will save his village from a terrible plague, as well as find his father, who has gone before him. He is then tasked by the great Buddha to destroy the Demon King, who has started said plague... and stuff. Or so the story is supposed to go.

It's really a low-budget show, with two 12 episodes seasons, parodying RPGs, especially Dragon Quest (it's an officially sanctioned love letter to the game series). The hero Yoshihiko is himself based on Dragon Quest V's hero. A second season entitled The Hero Yoshihiko and the Key of Evil Spirits aired in 2012 while a third season The Hero Yoshihiko and the Chosen Seven aired in 2016.

The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: By season 3 the whole thing about Murasaki thinking Yoshihiko killed her father is pretty much forgotten.
  • A-Cup Angst: Murasaki. When pushed to saturation it can lead to Blank White Eyes, which in live action looks really disturbing.
  • Affectionate Parody: The whole show is this towards JRPGs in general, but more specifically Dragon Quest. The plot of the show also deliberately subverts many elements of The Hero's Journey: for example, the epic quest that Yoshihiko sets out to do in the first episode (find his dad and the miracle herb) is solved for him by the end of the episode when he accidentally bumps into his dad on the side of the road.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: A random bandit's parent shows up and embarrasses said kid.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Despite often flirting with women, Danjo becomes extremely flamboyant once he loses his spirit.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Implied with an Alien Invasion in the second season finale.
  • Art Shift:
    • The show switches to a (bad) anime style during some boss fights where costumes won't cut it.
    • They also switch to 8-bit sprites towards the end of each season. Subverted in season 3 when they go right back to live action at the last minute, revealing a proper CGI One-Winged Angel just as it dies.
  • As Lethal as It Needs to Be: Yoshihiko's sword, the Sword of Beckoning, will render any humans it cuts unconscious without harming them, while still being able to actually harm and slay monsters.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Yoshihiko must defeat the Big Bad Destark this way, but doing so requires pulling a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Back from the Dead: All the main characters (including Yoshihiko's sister) are brought back from the dead when Yoshihiko's descendant refuses to become a hero, despite the village elder pleading him to.
  • Bag of Spilling: The whole party goes back to level 0 after being brought back from the dead, because the Buddha forgot to save.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Believe it or not, Yoshihiko. The Tournament Arc has one guy hire some child actors to play his orphaned siblings, which enrages Yoshihiko so much he hurls the guy out of the ring! WITH ONE HAND!!
  • Big Bad: The Demon King in the first season and the Dark God Destark in the second.
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: The third season OP, with Jam Project doing the theme and Dragon Ball Z-worthy effects out the wazoo... then the show starts, and it's low-budget business as usual.
  • Big "NO!": The Demon King upon his demise.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: One of Melub's spells gives people a pair of these. It's one of the few spells he remembers after returning to level 0 in the second season.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: One season 3 episode has our heroes seek out an assortment of shrines to different deities all named for assorted TV networks in Japan. The one for TV Tokyo, the channel their show is still on, turns out to be the most useless one.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending of season 3. In the final battle against the demon king, Danjo, Murasaki and Melub are killed and cannot be revived anymore, but Yoshihiko manages to kill the demon king with the help of various other Yoshihikos. In the end, Hotoke decides to send Yoshihiko back to the beginning of his quest in Season 1 Episode 1 where he recruits his party without any knowledge of the final battle. He still knows what will happen, but maybe some other things will change. He then says that they might return for a special 6 hour drama.
  • Blob Monster: True to form, Slimes are here to serve as cannon fodder for the heroes.
  • Brick Joke: One episode has Yoshihiko give up his spirit to power a Sword of Plot Advancement, reducing him to a Lovable Sex Maniac fixated on butts. They turn him back to normal and eventually settle on Murasaki, who's turned into a Kawaiiko who's got everyone mesmerized... cue Yoshihiko surreptitiously reaching for her butt.
  • The Cameo: One of the monsters in the second last episode of season 3 is Jibanyan!
  • Cast from Hit Points: That special sword in the first season that requires draining a party member's "spirit".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The penguin that Yoshihiko saves during his fighting tournament match helps Yoshihiko in defeating Destark
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Yoshihiko, to the point where he feels the need to help a bandit, who just attempted to attack the party, complete his chores.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The second season OP has a lovely part with all the lead characters shopped into monochrome and one extra color — Yoshihiko is green, Murasaki is purple, Melub is gold, Hisa is pink, the Buddha is bronze, and Danjo is reddish.
    • In the many villages the group comes across, men are all dressed in blue while the women wear white.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Moreso than the RPG genre being parodied here. Villagers and commoners look like they would in a Jidaigeki, but the actual sets, our heroes and most other characters are all over the place. Danjo's Western knight's breastplate and the presence of a Buddha are particularly notable.
  • Damsel in Distress: In the second season, Hisa trying to strike out on her own instead of following some group around bites her in the ass hard in the final arc.
  • Fingore: One demon cons the heroes into retrieving its Ring of Power, and upon wearing it, grows ten times bigger... while the ring stays the same size.
  • Flynning: The actual fight scenes. No big-budget martial arts choreography here.
  • Invoked and enforced in season 3 for the high school shojo episode — Yoshihiko is told to be the Tsundere by Melub and Murasaki, who find out that the one competing with Yoshihiko for the Girl of the Week is secretly a Demon King monster. Unfortunately, exposing him as such just doesn't cut it — they have to expose him as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing instead.
  • Groin Attack: The final battle of the second season requires an Orb of Light, and our heroes find the man who has it, whereupon he states that there are actually two Orbs of Light with him. Yoshihiko makes the obvious connection, and rips them off of him.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Instead of say, an old man or a kid bouncing a ball to an Ironic Nursery Rhyme, we get an old man bouncing a ball one time. Melub points out how the bouncing ball on its own makes no sense.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Yoshihiko must defeat Destark at his weak spot, but doing so requires this trope. Luckily due to Buddha's incompetence, Yoshihiko ends up with a Disney Death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Several adversaries are dispatched by their own weapons, usually without the party's involvement, most notably the guy with the poisoned knife who licks it, and the guy with the poison mist, who foolishly tosses it into a headwind.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Yoshihiko berates his companions for not taking their search for the Demon King seriously after getting to his domain, even though, as pointed out by Murasaki, he himself spent the whole day enjoying his new apartment, and had previously abandoned his quest twice.
  • Inept Mage: Melub. It's not so much that he can't cast spells, more that his spells are either weak or (apparently) useless in combat. Subverted when Murasaki learns her first spell — not only does she not know what it is, but it has no effect on Yoshihiko, who's normally very susceptible to magic. This turns out to be because it was Kazing, the spell that raises someone from the dead at full strength, making her the only party member with a useful healing ability.
  • Informed Flaw: Oshina is nowhere near as hideous as Yoshihiko or the Mountain God would lead you to believe.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Actually a koala. Don't let it hug you...
    • Later in the season, they encounter a similarly vicious squirrel.
    • In episode 2 of season 2, there is a killer chihuahua. They still haven't learned from their previous experiences with small, fluffy, harmless-seeming animals...
    • Then in episode 9 of season 2, the same deal with a killer hamster.
    • Once again in episode 4 of season 3 with a killer taiko drum.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Ignoring the Flynning for a moment, Yoshihiko has this beautiful drawing strike that he pulls out when it's time to get serious.
  • Licking the Blade: Parodied in this scene, where a bandit threatens the group with a poison knife, licking the knife while showing off... and shortly after drops dead.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The modern Japan city where the final episodes take place has this effect on our heroes.
  • Mood Whiplash: As soon as the heroes get into a conflict with a bandit or a Big Bad Wanna Be, someone they know will interrupt the conflict. Sometimes a group will fight amongst themselves, such as a group of bandits who are from a union group and demand to leave at five.
  • Musical Episode: Season 3 episode 7. Just so you know which musical, it involves Yoshihiko being driven by magic to steal bread.
  • Not So Harmless: Yoshihiko's first Tournament Arc opponent is apparently a Small Name, Big Ego who couldn't possibly be as tough as he says he is... then the match starts and he breaks out a Flash Step.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: All over the place, of course. Like the flying carpet which looks more like a doormat.
  • Old Save Bonus: The Buddha tried to use this to recover the main characters' former strength from the quest against the Demon King, but the only save point available was midway through the Demon King final battle.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Most episodes will start off by the party encountering a bandit.
    • Up to 10, every episode will close with Hisa, Yoshihiko's sister, worrying about him at a distance (and getting involved with increasingly shady crowds).
    • In The Key of Evil Spirits, that gag has evolved into Hisa attempting to join Yoshihiko's party after learning a different martial art, only to be knocked out by a bandit and dragged away.
    • Mereb learning a new, ridiculous-seeming spell with varying degrees of practical use.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Season 3. Murasaki is the first to be "infected", at least on the surface, as she's mentally normal enough to deliver a What the Hell, Hero? when Yoshihiko opts to drop her from the party for their own safety.
  • Placebo Effect: Implied to be the reason why Yoshihiko appears to be more affected by Mereb's magic than he should.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The 7 Chosen People of season 3. When the final battle finally begins, all of their schedules and personal commitments back home leads to none of them showing up.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The bandits at episode two do this literally, working from nine to five.
  • Recycled Plot:
    • The second season has a gag involving a Gonk much like the first one did.
    • The second season recycles a lot of ideas from the first, down to the final arc taking place in modern Japan. Not so much in the third season — they just have one scene in a modern apartment.
  • Red Herring: The penguin monster was built up as the main villain in the second season. Turns out he was the penguin Yoshihiko saved and turned out to be Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Running Gag:
    • The protagonist's inability to see the big apparition of Buddha in the sky. Also, every time Melub tells the party he has acquired a new spell.
    • Murasaki's attempted assassination of Yoshihiko.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: While Melub and Murasaki are extremely uncomfortable with Yoshihiko's perverted true self, Danjo is just distressed that he's focusing on asses and not breasts.
  • The Smart Guy: Melub, supposedly, being the party wizard. He's as dumb as the others, though, even if he displays some moments of Genre savviness to comment on whatever's happening around them.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The spelling for Mereb varies in between sources, examples being Merubu, Merebu, Melub, Merub...
  • Stable Time Loop: The end of season 3. Our heroes are sent back in time to when Yoshihiko first got his sword, and learn that it was really part of a prank so that the Jerkass villagers could send Yoshihiko off to his doom. Except the sword in the stone is a completely different one. Yoshihiko ends up putting the Beckoning Sword back into the stone (making sure he gets that one in the series premiere) while taking the original sword to the final battle. It goes a long way into explaining how the Beckoning Sword just flops out loosely — he's strong enough to pull out the real sword by now, while the Beckoning Sword ended up a loose fit in its place.
  • Stealth Pun: The Big Bad of the second season, Destark, is a Demon God who's also crowned himself Emperor. He's a penguin. So that makes him an Emperor Penguin!
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Played for Laughs with the Beckoning Sword, indicating that this show is going to be hilarious. The sword just falls off from the stone when Yoshihiko grabs it.
  • Terrible Artist: Murasaki has a picture of the guy who killed her father, drawn by someone who witnessed the crime.
    Danjo: You couldn't have found a better artist for this?
    Murasaki: He's the best artist in my village.
    Danjo: What a village...
  • That Came Out Wrong: One Irrelevant Sidequest has our heroes seeking the robe of an angel. Which leads up to Yoshihiko asking the angel to turn over her clothes.
  • These Questions Three...: One episode has a stereotypical bridgekeeper, who cuts to the case by giving out heroes just one question each. Of special note, Danjo gets the "what is your name" one and Yoshihiko gets "what is your quest".
  • Tomato Surprise: Episode 6. Yoshihiko falls in love with a beautiful woman, who's cursed with something that prevents her from falling in love, and Yoshihiko sets out to undo it. It turns out the curse is what turned her from a typical old geezer into a hot woman, while preventing her from falling in love on the side.
  • Too Dumb to Fool:
    • In The Demon King's Castle, Yoshihiko is given a choice of seven swords, only one of which is the true Hero's Sword, to see if he's a true hero. All of them are rusted and poorly-maintained except one, which makes the choice obvious until the rest of the party gets hung up on whether that was deliberate, to disguise the true artifact... but then Yoshihiko just takes the well-maintained one anyway, without a moment's deliberation, and turns out to be right.
    • In The Key of Evil Spirits, the heroes meet a teacher who brainwashes people by explaining how a kanji is written. Yoshihiko is immune to his ability because he doesn't understand his explanations (something even a Japanese second grader could).
  • Too Dumb to Live:
  • The bandit who licked his highly poisoned knife to look intimidating. Shame he only had about 5 seconds to realize how stupid that was before it killed him.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Hisa's Running Gag for season 3 — she finds a magic staff that turns her into a different celebrity cameo each time.
  • Welcome to Corneria: As per an RPG parody, the party arrives to towns where the people will only repeat a single line over and over.
  • Wham Shot: After our heroes get the flying carpet, we're taken to the Demon King's lair... which is depicted as modern-looking buildings. The final battle is in modern Japan!
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Melub's spells range from: changing a person's nose to that of a pig; to giving someone an irresistible urge for sweets; to making a person slightly cold, among other useless spells. Only Yoshihiko is impressed. They do become of some use during the course of their adventure.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When our heroes are apparently affected by a Lotus-Eater Machine, Yoshihiko tries to snap them out of it, and Murasaki points out that he's abandoned their quest dozens of times.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Riceballs are the only food Yoshihiko knows how to make. It's revealed in a flashback that he would make them for his sister Hisa all the time when they were children, as a treatment for fever or as a birthday gift.
  • You Killed My Father: Murasaki's primary motivation for joining the party. Her suspect is Yoshihiko, though.


Video Example(s):


Poison Knife Bandit

Yoshihiko and his adventuring party encounter a thief on their travels who threatens them with a highly poisonous knife. He is built up to be a big threat only to be humiliated twice and then ends up killing himself by licking his own knife. He dies shortly after realizing how much he fucked up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / FakeUltimateMook

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