With first impressions of all of the hyped shows out of the way, it is time to talk about one of the lesser-known shows this season – Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist, an adaptation of a fantasy manga first published in 2009.
Our protagonist, William Twining, is a genius student with a dismissive attitude towards anything supernatural, regarding himself as a hardline realist. Unfortunately for him, he is the descendant of King Solomon and possesses the power to choose the new ruler of the underworld. Not surprisingly, he becomes the target of demons that seek to use him to increase their own rank.
Knowing that the manga artist for Devils and Realist had also worked on Uta no Prince-sama, it is not surprising that the main appeal of this show lies with its cast of bishonen. As of the third episode, the few female characters seen in the opening and closing credits have not appeared in the show. In comparison with the shirtlessness and triceps of Free!, the fanservice is more typical, consisting of pretty boys in elaborate and impractical outfits with little regard for the personal space of others.
The emphasis on fanservice takes precedence over anything else in Devils and Realist, for better or worse. The plot about a power struggle between different factions of demons as well as an order of exorcists is not particularly memorable but is serviceable for introducing a large number of characters.
As with most anime, comedic elements are also present in Devils and Realist, with most of it derived from the main character’s disbelief of the otherworldly beings and events around him. The first demon he encounters, the demon duke Dantalion, could serve as a natural foil to him, given their similar backgrounds. Both are nobility within their respective realms and have loyal butlers whose jobs include delivering exposition for the viewers. Disappointingly, Dantalion is underused for that purpose, as the show is more interested in giving screen time for the bishie-of-the-week to be introduced, get into a fight scene, then join the main character’s harem.
Though the character designs of Devils and Realist may be great eye candy for fans of that material, it isn’t enough to make up for the formulaic elements of the show. There isn’t much of an attempt to make the plot more than a generic blend of fantasy, comedy, and drama. The characters are little more than archetypes with gimmicks in place of personalities. Barring anything surprising, I don’t expect Devils and Realist to be anything other than a forgettable experience.