A familiar setting of two beings from light and darkness being drawn to one another but with a twist. That is what one can expect from this anime. Find out what I mean as we take a look at Machikado Mazoku.
Alternate Title: The Demon Girl Next Door
Genres: Comedy, Magic, Romance, Supernatural, Yuri
Themes: Demon Girl, Magical Girl
Number of episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Yūko Yoshida is a 15-year-old girl who awakens one morning with demonic power, and is tasked with defeating a local magical girl. She has horns and a tail, but truthfully less power than an ordinary girl. She struggles to lift the “curse of a 40,000 yen (about US$365) per month living.
The gist of the show is a cute demon girl trying to do all she can for her family by breaking the curse. This means beating the local magical girl and drawing blood from her. Easier said than done because of her below average human abilities and her “mortal enemy” having super strength along with some other magical powers (though she prefers using them as little as possible). She is also not very bright. She is not dumb, rather she can be easily tricked or coerced. HOWEVER, unlike some viewers initially thought this does not mean she gets bullied or has terrible luck.
There are several other cute girls before Shamiko who’d far worse luck and/or bullying such as Rin (Bakuon!!), Anne (Anne Happy!) and Satanichia (Satanichia Dropout) to name a few. While Shamiko has a few cases of poor luck she never truly suffers apart from her first encounter with the magical girl. Every other instance feels like she lost and won at the same time. The one small arguable exception might be the laptop segment but that is more a classic cartoon comedy setup with a modern twist. Every other time it looks like she lost but not really. Even her few victories have a catch.
With that out of the way let us continue with what makes the show one of the best of the Summer 2019 season. First of all the humor. It is a little difficult to explain but I will try. The main dynamic between Shamiko and Momo (the magical girl) is that of an energetic/determined girl and an monotone girl. Shamiko has many ways of expressing herself whereas Momo delivers all her lines in a “robo anime character” flat tone but with a dash of energy. 95% of the show Momo has one face but there are a few times here and there where she shows other expressions while not deviating much from her default face. The same goes for the tone of her voice. Sometimes it goes up a bit but never too much to differentiate from her default monotone goodness. This is where the seiyu deserve a ton of praise for their performances, Konomi Kohara as Shamiko and Akari Kitou as Momo.
The other big player is Shamiko’s ancestor Lilith. She is trapped in a pocket dimension but communicates with Shamiko through her dreams or other means as the show progresses. She observes the outside world through a small statue. The things that happen to that little statue…oh my goodness. Lilith herself is a sexy scheming dark lord but shows great care and patience for Shamiko despite her natural, accidental and intellectual setbacks. While she is surprisingly wise she is not devoid of making silly mistakes herself. Ah yes. About her costume. Be sure to remember it. The payoff is worth it, specifically for people of culture. Oh yes indeed.
Other ladies such as Shamiko’s cheeky but caring friend Anri, their other mysterious friend Sion who plays a game of “Where’s Sion” until eventually getting the spotlight, Shamiko’s family and others all have their delightful quirks. Even the narrator is great cheering Shamiko on every time she utters her catchphrase “Don’t think you’ve won!” or something like that.
Most of the comedy succeeds thanks in part to the delivery and execution of jokes and gags. Some lines have an echo effect/inner voice/3rd voice here and there. For example when Shamiko is fuming her puffing and pouting are shown, heard and spoken inside her head. It does make subs hard to follow the first time but nothing serious. The rest of the humor should be familiar to Girls’ Club aficionados or fans of moe comedy so these viewers.
Besides the comedy there is an underlying seriousness to both heroines as bits and pieces are revealed throughout the show until the big two part finale. Something else to commend the show for is how it balances the comedy and drama when the latter pops up. It is woven so well into the narrative that it does not feel the least bit intrusive/distracting.
The animation is colorful and expressive like the cast. A lot going on but never overwhelming. The soundtrack is solid with some tunes I really enjoyed (more than the OP and ED, which are good).
Now for the other big reason why the show is so good. Everything I said above is window dressing to the main plot of the show. That being the developing romance between Shamiko and Momo. It has a lighthearted foe-yay setup with rivals being obsessed with each other to the point of wanting to be together. It is a relationship where both girls help each other grow stronger physically and emotionally. The twist here is the following: In most magical girl shows where the heroine develops a strong bond with an obsessed dark rival who frequently pops out of nowhere, here it is the magical girl who pops out of nowhere to meet the dark rival. Another twist (minor spoiler) is the demon girl being very nice and the magical girl a twisted ne’er do well. She is a defender of justice of course but on various occasions her thoughts and ideas come off as villainous. As for their attraction, Momo has a not so subtle crush turned love for Shamiko and Shamiko has a “heart knows what the brain does not” . Put simply she loves Momo too but her brain does not compute her feelings as romantic in nature. It is like she is oblivious yet not really. It is in the middle.
Overall Machikado Mazoku is one of the best anime of 2019. I have said that a lot about Summer 2019 anime but that is how good the season was, especially for yuri fans. Great cast, voice performances, cool dramatic development and of course a precious blossoming romance. Highly recommended to fans of comedies that feel similar to the humor in Girls’ Club shows but with its own added spice.
PS: OG needs a Machikado X Dumbbell crossover.