Last night I watched Kyou Kara Maou R in its entirety. I had seen the first four episodes previously; finally I found a raw version of episode 5. The quality wasn’t great, but I was pleased to discover that I could follow what was going on without subtitles, like I did back when I was anxious to see how KKM season 2 ended.
(There are also some errors in the fansub of episode 4 that I was able to recognize, such as Gwendal’s line, 「それはりすちゃんだ」, which means “That’s a squirrel”, not “Her name is Risu-chan”. I only picked up on this because I already knew that people tend not to recognize the animal Gwendal is trying to make. In this case, Greta thought it was a fox.)
The five episode OVA starts with the first part of a new adventure involving Small Cimaron’s king, Saralegui.
After that it goes into three stand-alone, humorous episodes whose only purpose seems to be to reintroduce Shinou to the world. There’s a worldwide festival held in Shin Makoku, unthinkable before Yuuri’s time as Maou; an ancient magical device that shows people their most dreaded future, with which Shinou decides to play a prank; and a story about on the level of season 2’s “Baby Panic”, in which pink bear bees spawn and give their love to dragons thanks to the power of Gwendal’s obsession with cute. Then we go back to the Sara story.
Episode 5 was hands down the most epic. Yuuri, Conrad, Wolfram and Josak head to Small Cimaron with Sara and Beries; Murata brings Shori to Shin Makoku on Shinou’s request, and they meet up with the retainers Yuuri left behind to try to find a way to save Yuuri from Sara; another function of Morgif is revealed; Beries demonstrates his powerful houjutsu, ultimately facing off with Adalbert (I LOVE ADALBERT!); and Sara finally reveals his evil powers and demands. If you’ve watched this show at all you can probably imagine how it ends, but it’s still worth seeing for yourself.
The humor is great, too. My favorite part has to be when Shori complained to Murata, “What am I, a battery charger?” XD
There were things I didn’t like about this OVA. A lot of the new music was boring, and some of what wasn’t boring was blatantly ripped off existing pieces. For example, the music played in episode 2 when people are arriving for the festival is essentially “Fireworks” by Nicholas Hooper, from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Plus, in that same episode they introduced some less-exciting Maou-mode music, much to my dismay. It was used again in episode 4, but, thankfully, in episode 5 they went back to the real deal.
Yuuri was still Yuuri, but he was unfortunately much more…uke. He blushed all the time, and in episode 5 he even grabbed Sara’s hand. I can’t speak for how he is in the novels, but in the anime he is very straight–you could argue he borders on homophobic. In the first few episodes he can’t get over how “fundamentally wrong” it is that it’s even possible for him to be engaged to Wolfram. Sure, he gets used to the open homosexuality around him after awhile, but I would hardly say he embraces it.
Yuuri’s reactions to Wolfram are part of the comedy of the franchise. He doesn’t reject Wolfram because he doesn’t like him–he obviously cares a great deal about Wolfram, to the point of risking his own life. He rejects Wolfram because he is not attracted to men. He’s a self-described “dirty baseball boy”…he’s not going to go around holding hands with men.
There is a running joke about who he’ll end up with romantically, and a sort of underlying belief/hope that he will come around eventually and get with Wolfram or Conrad or some other guy, but it seemed throughout the first two seasons that this dynamic was meant to be permanent and subtle, not that he is going to actually grow into being homosexual. The OVA refutes this, and it’s jarring.
Another thing that was far more subtle in the anime was Gunter’s crush on Yuuri. The OVA is ludicrous by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, Gunter’s pretty ridiculous in the anime, but the OVA not only crosses the line, it blasts through it like it was never there. He’s constantly having nosebleeds and muttering about seeing Yuuri naked. Again, it’s just jarring.
An OVA is by nature shorter and more concentrated than a drawn-out story, but there’s no need to exaggerate personality traits like this.
Ultimately, though, I did enjoy the OVA. It had all the good stuff: Yuuri’s policy of believing in people, the mazoku retainers’ endless loyalty, bravery, and asskickery, some good seibai, and an interesting new villain. It was a good way to curb my appetite for KKM while I await season 3…which has just started in Japan. Now I’m just hoping someone will pick up the North American license that was abandoned when Geneon stopped distributing anime, so I can own all of KKM on DVD.