Mitsuki SaigaTetsuya KakiharaNozomi YamamotoWelcome to Demon School Iruma-kun
Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun (season 3)
Also known as: Mairimashita! Iruma-kun (season 3)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Makoto Moriwaki
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Osamu Nishi
Actor: Ayaka Asai, Ayumu Murase, Daisuke Ono, Gakuto Kajiwara, Genki Okawa, Hiroki Yasumoto, Junichi Suwabe, Junko Takeuchi, Kaede Hondo, Katsuyuki Konishi, Kentaro Kumagai, Kisho Taniyama, Mariko Kouda, Masami Iwasaki, Mitsuki Saiga, Nao Toyama, Nozomi Yamamoto, Ryohei Kimura, Ryota Ohsaka, Saori Hayami, Shinichiro Miki, Sho Nogami, 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 45-65
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 28 February 2024
Mairimashita Iruma-kun
This season is basically the Harvest Festival competition. Only a few of its episodes aren't part of that story arc. The stakes get raised at the start of the year by Kaleigo-sensei telling the Misfit Class that they've all got to attain Rank Dalet (i.e. 4) or get booted out of the classroom they fought so hard to get in Season 2.
The Harvest Festival is a school examination... which means a jungle battle for survival, since this is Demon School. Everyone has to collect as many rare magical ingredients as possible. Whoever collects the most will be the winner, unless you've forfeited or died. (Direct attacks on other students will get you disqualified, but the jungle has its own threats.) Nothing unremarkable so far. This is a shounen series and this is basically a tournament arc, except better because its rules ban direct student vs. student battles. The surprise was who gets the spotlight. Answer: everyone. Yes, the entire Misfit Class. That's Iruma Suzuki, Alice "Azz" Asmodeus, Clara Valac, Sabro Sabnock, Jazz M. Andro, Kerori Crocell, Lied Shax, Kamui Caim, Schneider Allocer, Elizabetta Ix, Picero Agares and Goemon Garp. (But not Soi Purson, for reasons we'll learn next season.) The show splits them into pairs, but that's still six protagonist-couples who all need their own training arcs, focus episodes and D-plots.
Will the show really explore all those different people and make them the heroes of their own stories? Answer: yes. Including the stupid-looking ones who resemble a background alien in Mos Eisley.
This is actually quite cool, if you remember to reset your expectations. It's temporarily become an ensemble show. Lie back, relax and get to know everyone. That's not a bad thing. Anyone you might have regarded as a main or favourite character, though, is going to recede into the crowd a bit. Ameri Azazel? I love her to pieces and she still gets the odd appearance, but she's not even a Harvest Festival participant. (She won it last year.) Iruma, Clara and Azz? They're just three of the twelve classmates. I don't know if I'd even call Iruma the protagonist any more, although I really liked the Iruma-centric episodes. (Both he and Clara get material that reminds us of the characters' origins and how far they've come since then.)
The team-ups are based on pre-Festival training and are:
1. IRUMA & LIED = why Lied? What's special about him? Nothing. He likes playing games and that's it. But they get paired up anyway and end up working together well and supporting each other through multiple crises. Lied couldn't stomach Barbatos Bachiko's irresponsible tuition, mind you, and scarpered.
2. AZZ & SABRO = the class's two toughest fighters and they learn to get on quite well, despite being poles apart personality-wise. Sabro is a macho, swaggering egomaniac who shouts all the time. Azz is a polite, by-the-book honour student who's more devoted to Iruma than anyone has ever been in the history of the world. (This doesn't necessarily mean he's gay, although it's certainly compatible with such a reading. He just really, really esteems Iruma.)
3. CLARA & ELIZABETTA = get succubus seduction training together. Elizabetta is a natural at this, although this means nothing because she's a nice girl in a family-friendly shounen series. Clara isn't a natural. Clara has the brains of a water flea on acid. She gets a special power that can only activate if she drags her victim inside her clothes, but it's not what you're thinking.
4. JAZZ & SCHNEIDER = Jazz isn't lovable. He's an incorrigible thief, albeit also a happy, friendly chap who works well with his classmates. Schneider looks like a Disney lion that's been electrocuted. Their trainer is an utter bastard who puts them through more hell than any other protagonist-couple.
5. KERORI & KAMUI = become villainous at one point, but they're good people. Hey, it's a tournament. Competition is encouraged.
6. PICERO & GOEMON = yes, even them. Picero's a lazy git who can't be bothered with anything, while Goemon is a faceless furry samurai. They achieve something startling and cool during the Harvest Festival (albeit mostly by accident) and were for me the biggest surprises of the season.
It's a laugh. It's got some lovely and super-cool moments, although also a lot of "we're following THEM...? Well, okay." Sometimes one senses a lack of narrative momentum. That's probably inevitable with such a broad attempted focus. The tone's still cuddly, fun and funny, but it's semi-implied that the Harvest Festival generates fatalities. We're told in ep.7 that the number of casualties has dropped dramatically, which isn't the same as "eliminated".
It does, though, have the year's worst anime theme song.
This certainly wasn't the show's best season. It's sacrificing narrative drive for the sake of breadth, which I'd call a worthwhile trade-off. It's good for a long-running series to have a phase like this. It ends by setting up Season 4 and some new baddies who definitely seem threatening. I'm fond of this show (and my children like it too).