Review of Maoyu
As Christmas quickly creeps upon us, Baltimore seems to glow like a star atop our ceremonial tree. In fact, come December 6th, there’s the 41st annual lighting of the Washington Monument. From 5:30p to 7:30pm, come enjoy an evening of Choir Performances, Strolling Entertainment, and more. The Monumental Occasion kicks off with pre-event festivities hosted by Mix 106.5 in Mount Vernon. And while you got your eyes prepped to check out the holiday lights, check out this anime. This week, we’re taking on Maoyu.
At the core of most fantasy stories is the story of good versus evil. It’s a matter of perspective to be true, and that is really something that Maoyu plays on. As seen on Crunchyroll, the story is presented in the way that most fantasy novels end, with the Hero facing the great “Evil.” Now put a dramatic pause here. Too obvious?
Maoyu is a series that starts out playing on the fact that you think you know what will happen next. Literally, it does. That’s the first five minutes. The Maoyu as it was makes an offer to the Hero, and of course he refuses. But she presses it, explaining her plan out and he counters forming a kind of debate between the two. After some humorous politics transpire, they reach a kind of mutual (martial) agreement. This agreement between the two to create a new ending from their traditional roles and “find out what lies on the other side of the hill” is the pitch to the series.
One of the favorable things about the series is the amount of thought that goes into the characters. No one has names, only titles like Hero, Lady Knight, Merchant, etc. Now from games and stories, you can usually figure out what these characters are about. But this series is about breaking you out of that mindset as it shows what these characters are like when placed outside their traditional roles. Everyone begins to question what they’re doing, or their methods of doing things. It gives a glimpse of what happens after the “Ever After” and how the world isn’t always turning up roses. As the war rolls on, archetypes that you would view as “good” are shown to be evil and “evil” doesn’t seem as bad. Characterization runs deep as its intended because everyone is questioning roles as truth about all the bloodshed comes to surface.
The plot focuses mainly on Hero’s and Maoyu’s efforts and those connected to them. The plot goes into asking the questions like: What happens after the evil dies? Does the peace just happen when there’s no “evil” left? What happens to the people suffering from the war? These are the questions that Maoyu, Hero, and everyone try to solve while keeping up fronts and disguises not to escalate things. Between Hero and Maoyu, they play the opposite sides of the respective war with Hero dealing greatly with the Demon Clans and Maoyu the human side. While you’re watching their comedic interactions, you also get to view how two different cultures can come to coexist outside the bloodshed. The way things are portrayed in the series is like a documentary about how these “fantasy worlds” can do something different rather than Good beats Evil. But of course, we can’t forget about Hero and Maoyu’s love story. While this seems like a primary point in the series, it’s actually a secondary point. Maoyu and Hero barely get much time to spend together with all the running around they do. When they do get to interact, it’s cute, romantic, and generally a setup for something to occur or a time skip. That’s not to say that even as it is, it doesn’t have a story of its own. What happened after the original agreement gives you a view of that. Their shy love lets you follow the story easily. After all, the agreement is much like them taking their vows for one another. All they do seems at least in some small way out of love for each other.
While presenting a beautiful scene for a love story, the art isn’t overmuch for the purpose that it needs to serve. The art is actually much softer than the series’ shonen manga counterpart. The beautiful artwork and lovely acting is almost enough to make you miss the seriousness of the story that is presented to us. The concepts and misconceptions of war are presented along with some idealistic ways that war can be settled, economy can be improved, and people can coexist (in a fantasy basis). And with potatoes no less, go figure. Maoyu’s story concept does a wonderful job of breaking viewers out of the thought of traditional roles and making them think of something new. For that, it deserves applause as being something refreshing and breaking from the norm.