Revisiting one of my favorite anime, I’m again saddened that we’ll likely never see translations of the original Light Novels. I tend to enjoy stories that take tropes, and turn them on their ear, and Maoyu is one of those. But more than that, I think it takes a more unique tack than most stories.

The Hero goes to slay the Demon Lord, and it quickly derails when he’s trying to slice down the archnemesis and she keeps side-stepping the sword and saying hello in greeting, 🤣. It’s kind of a classic trope for a confrontation to the death to erupt from two such forces meeting. But it quickly flips over when faced with two key problems: if the war suddenly ends, it’ll be calamity for all and if either side wins, it spells doom for the other. Rather than fighting, they pledge each other to the other and seek the other side of the hill, that undiscovered country where both their dreams may be found–peace.

Thus the Demon Lord becomes the Crimson Scholar, finding ways for humanity to avoid the starvation and economic collapse the war’s end would cause; and the Hero becomes the Black Knight, cutting down foul human and demon alike to create a world where both sides may come together. But of course since peace isn’t challenging enough they must also face forces that would see the war continue in perpetuity for the sake of lining their own pockets.

I think that tropes are tropes for a reason. Like romantic comedies and action movies, both genres are full of tropes. The couple will end up together. The good guy will triumph over the villain. Yada, yada. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes tropes make for a nice cheesy goodness; there are reasons why the patterns repeat themselves, because we enjoy the journey not just the results. Yet that also means deviating from those established patterns in amusing ways, can be quite a pleasant result.