Takuya SatoMitsuki SaigaTetsuya KakiharaWelcome to Demon School Iruma-kun
Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun (season 1)
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2019: W
Also known as: Mairimashita! Iruma-kun (season 1)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2019
Director: Makoto Moriwaki
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Osamu Nishi
Actor: Ayaka Asai, Ayumu Murase, Daisuke Ono, Gakuto Kajiwara, Genki Okawa, Haruna Asami, Junichi Suwabe, Kaede Hondo, Mitsuki Saiga, Nao Toyama, Ryohei Kimura, Saori Hayami, Shun'ichi Toki, Takaya Kuroda, Takuto Yoshinaga, Takuya Sato, Tetsuya Kakihara, Yoshitaka Yamaya
Keywords: Welcome to Demon School Iruma-kun, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Episodes 1-23
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=21927
Website category: Anime 2019
Review date: 26 February 2024
Mairimashita Iruma-kun
It's a bouncy, fun, kiddie-friendly anime that aired at prime time (5:35 in the afternoon) on NHK, which is sort of Japan's equivalent of the BBC. Most anime airs after midnight. I'm terribly fond of it. Natsuki and Misaki often watched it too. It's not a deep or complicated show, but it's always entertaining.
Iruma-kun is an extraordinarily nice fourteen-year-old boy with the world's worst parents. Having worked him as a slave ever since he was a toddler and never having let him go to school, they sell him to a demon in hell. What's more, that's probably the nicest thing they ever did. Iruma-kun's new owner is a horned goofball called Sullivan who wants to adopt a boy who'll call him grandad. (Iruma is a pushover and incapable of saying "no" to anyone.) The next thing Iruma knows, he's living in a mansion, eating like a prince and even being sent to school.
The only teensy-weensy problem is that the school song says "HUMANS ARE OUR FOOD!!!" and that Iruma will probably get eaten if anyone learns he's human.
It's a comedy. The central gag is that Iruma just wants to be ignored and safe, but he's such a bleeding heart that he can't stop himself from helping people and accidentally making himself look like an awesome badass. There are demons who think he's their ultimate rival. Admittedly, he does have danger-avoiding superpowers, due to having been forced into all kinds of exploitative situations by his parents, but he has no offensive combat skills at all. Technically, he fits the mould of an isekai hero, but he's actually a naively innocent comedy shounen hero, rendered in colourful cartoon art.
The show's light and silly enough that it's a surprise to find it growing a plot in the second half. The Battler arc gives us a baddie with an evil masterplan, which is quite well done and exciting... but all that gets sorted out with several episodes still to go. After that, we're back to the show's usual goofy comedy, i.e. a "devil idol" two-parter and then an Asmodeus-Clara duel. (I actually preferred both of those to the Battler arc, although I'd enjoyed it all.)
Oddly, the show's cast isn't as strong as you'd think. There are lots of jokes and I laughed frequently, but they're often about the worldbuilding, demonic twists on school anime cliches and so on. The show's also good at Japanese worldplay. It has puns and double readings that are genuinely clever and/or funny, from the title and and the kanji in Iruma's name to, say, the school festival prizes in ep.20 and the idol jokes in ep.21. They don't translate into English, though. The core cast, though, take less of the spotlight than you'd think. Iruma's very firmly the lead, of course, but after that the show's almost more of an ensemble piece, with classmates, teachers and more. There's one character I love, but the rest of the cast tends to be merely fun and likeable.
1. AZAZEL AMERI - absolutely adorable. She's the huge (ogre-sized) Student Council President. She's strict, much-admired, brilliant at pretty much everything and probably the strongest girl in the school. Her father is the security chief of Demon Border Control. Her public image (which she lives up to) is of someone who's infallible and perfect. However, she's also a massive dork who's fascinated by shoujo manga and yet can't read human writing. My favourite things in this show are Ameri's facial expressions when Iruma's about to read manga to her.
2. CLARA, the total nutcase. Energy: maximum. Mental activity: none. She's as shallow as a sheet of paper. I'm terribly fond of her, but I'm surprised the show didn't use her more. She's one of its core trio (with Iruma and his other best friend, Asmodeus), but she's usually just a loud background character who makes you laugh without actually doing that much. Occasionally, though, a Clara-focused episode will show unexpected depths. Ep.3 shows what she was like before meeting Iruma, i.e. a girl who knows she's an idiot and thinks she has to buy friends. In ep.8, she signs up for succubus classes in order to wow Iruma, which is a bit like a fish taking bicycle lessons. (She might well stand a chance with Iruma, one day, but right now she's got the grace and elegance of a live rat with a firework up its arse.)
3. KUROMU, the demon idol introduced in ep.21. She's a bit part, but she has the show's most interesting characterisation. Most of the cast have one dimension. Ameri has three. Clara does too, sometimes, if you look closely. Kuromu, though, has at least five, being an unusual combination of sympathetic, touching, jealous, petty and self-parodically vain.
4. ASMODEUS ALICE. He's a nice chap and fun to have around, but he's a one-joke character. On first appearance, he was the top-ranking student of Iruma's year and an arrogant dick. On challenging Iruma to a duel and losing, though, he decides that he's obliged to become his beloved Iruma's servant/slave/doormat. He worships Iruma. He defends him fiercely from all insults and thinks only of making the world esteem Iruma as highly as he does. He's not necessarily in love with Iruma (and indeed one could imagine him and Clara ending up together, since they'll become an inseparable double act), but you'd be slightly surprised if he wasn't. Especially in ep.20.
Asmodeus would be a good symbol of the show, actually. He's a pretty thin character with a static motivation after his first episode (although his fear of his mother showing up is amusing), but you'll like him anyway and be pleased that he's around. Everything here is likeable, really. There's no fanservice and even the succubus scenes are family friendly. The sexiest girl from Iruma's class (Elizabetta) is so sensible, calm and unobtrusive that I was surprised to realise halfway through that she was technically the Sexy One. She doesn't dress or act provocatively, except briefly in silhouette in the end credits. (The only self-consciously sexy student is Dosanko, which is funny because she's a one-eyed walking cone.)
The show's only weak point is its musical numbers. I'm not talking about the theme songs, which are fun, but about the occasions when people burst into song (e.g. Clara's family or the idol concert). Those are never memorable, although the school song sounds exactly right.
I'd definitely recommend this one. Don't expect an intellectual challenge, but the show's both fun and cleverer than it looks. The premise is rock-solid. I've come to hate the "YOU CAN'T TELL ANYONE!!!" trope (e.g. in PreCure), yet here it works. If I were Iruma, I wouldn't want to be eaten either. The show also doesn't forget Iruma's background, which informs his thinking, his abilities and what he regards as normal. It's mandatory for shounen heroes to show mighty determination, but that's cooler than usual here (e.g. ep.16) because of how it grows from Iruma's characterisation and backstory.
The show's completed three seasons so far and we're waiting for announcements about the fourth. Fingers crossed.