By Drew D. / February 24th, 2021
|Original Airing||October 5, 2019|
|Genre||School Life, Isekai, Slice of Life|
For some time now, I’ve had the pleasure of following the manga Mairimashita! Iruma-kun, a shounen that combines isekai with school life, slice of life elements, and droves of mischief and action. Similar to many popular manga of the sort, this one has received an initial anime adaptation with plans for a second season in the near future. I’ve enjoyed the manga thus far, for its ability to execute both school life and isekai in tandem, as well as for its plentiful humor. There is also an individuality to this manga, due to its imaginative world and, again, its humor, yet also for the author’s boldness to incorporate elements from other genres, which allows it to prominently stand out within the sea of shounen manga. Colorful characters, unique situations, and plenty of shenanigans, the manga shines in its ability to captivate its readers. The question however, is whether this first season of the anime adaptation is able to convey that same uniqueness and magic that make the manga so peculiarly satisfying.
Mairimashita! Iruma-kun, or Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, follows the lighthearted story of Suzuki Iruma, a fourteen-year-old boy whose past and present life is anything but average. Born to incompetent parents, Iruma was forced to learn how to fend for himself at an early age while staving off the dangers of survival and the questionable situations his parents would place him in. Our story begins when his parents announce that they have sold the now fourteen-year-old Iruma to the demon Sullivan, who brings him to the Netherworld. Despite imagining the worst when it comes to demons, to Iruma’s surprise, Sullivan instead announces that he has always wanted a grandson and that he would treat Iruma as his own: caring for him, doting on him, and of course, granting him the best education the demon world has to offer. And so, Iruma finds himself thrust into a new school life, in which he will attend the demon school Babyls and learn to navigate the seemingly endless peculiarities that make up daily demon world life.
The story of Mairimashita! Iruma-kun is filled with imagination and humor, as we delve into Iruma’s misadventures and witness his new life in the demon world. From meeting his first demon friends, to being placed into a class of misfits, we are shown how Iruma manages in his new and exciting life, all the while desperately trying to keep his identity as a human a secret. We learn fairly quickly that humans, to demons, are both myth and edible delicacy, making Iruma a potential target if he’s not careful. Fueled by fear and anxiety of being discovered, Iruma tries to stay out of the spotlight. He, of course, fails miserably, as he’s unable to keep himself from attracting attention and, conversely, becomes something of a school celebrity. Much of the humor plays off of this aspect, as we often see Iruma roped into his classmates’ or his own founded silliness, adventures, and conflicts, all the while utterly failing to keep from attracting attention. Yet, unbelievably, he’s able to continually convince those around him that he, too, is a demon. It’s fun, energetic, and lighthearted and the result is a story that has zero trouble making you laugh and wanting for more.
As for the anime’s ability to deliver said story, for the most part, season one remains true to its source, achieving that same level of humor and lightheartedness. The anime does an excellent job of depicting the same degree of energy and emotion and the results are commendable. We also see extras in season one, perhaps due to the manga’s space constraints, such as more in the ways of character background or connections made between story arcs. I like that we get these touches of deeper character depth. For instance, the unpleasantness Clara had to endure in finding friends, which makes her an even more lovable character when she becomes a fixture in Iruma’s story. I also appreciate the connections and allusions to the story arcs that are not as obvious in the manga. For example, Crocell Kerori’s jealousy at Iruma’s effortless attention-grabbing is further depicted in the anime and more strongly ties in to her story arc. It makes the buildup and payoff of their fated meeting all the better. Another example is Iruma’s initial discovery of a grand, locked-up classroom on the school grounds, which foreshadows another story arc that will be covered in the second season. Those extras are much appreciated, for they fill the gaps and make for a better flow between story arcs.
Unfortunately, this season’s adaptation isn’t perfect and I found some of the liberties taken to be unnecessary or, at worse, altering the intended tone of the manga. Perhaps to reach a broader audience, the adaptation is full of clichés seen in so many shounen anime out there already. One example is the additional or elongated action sequences. Although there is action and even the grand battle scene or two in the manga, it’s not often the main focus, and so it comes off as feeling forced. Another example is the over-the-top or exaggerated reactions and behaviors of the characters. Again, though present in the manga, as exaggeration is often used for humor or suspense, I felt that the anime takes it to such an extreme that it loses some of the original charm in the process. I find the biggest cliché offense to be the opening of season one; purely a study in going completely overboard, as just from that, I would have thought this were a pure action anime rather than the humorous, lighthearted school life production it’s meant to adapt. Finally, and not the most egregious of additions, there were a few musical numbers that weren’t present in the manga, having been randomly thrown in and that I could have done without. Overall, my complaints here have to do with how the season one adaptation falters in maintaining the charm and specifically the various tones of the manga and instead favors overdone tropes that only mar the manga’s individuality.
As for its visual production, the aesthetics for Mairimashita! Iruma-kun season one are fairly strong. I thought all of the characters were depicted accurately compared to the manga, maintaining their specific details and the parts of their personalities that shine through their designs. I also felt the backgrounds and environments of the anime serve well to emphasize the imaginative qualities of the manga. The animation itself is adequate, as it’s smooth and dynamic for the most part. They also do well in enhancing the more outstanding movements and sequences the manga can only imply. However, I did think the animation had its moments of stiffness, as if watching a low frame count animated gif on repeat. Fortunately, this was a rare fault and I never found it to be distracting. Other than that, the art is true to its source and the animation is appreciable, making for a visual effort that won’t disappoint even the most stubborn or loyal of Iruma-kun manga fans.
As for the audio, it’s definitely a mixed bag. The voice acting for several characters is commendable, as I felt they got the right actors to voice characters such as Sullivan and Iruma. Sullivan’s doting, carefree attitude shines through with that particular performance and succeeds in adding depth to the character. Iruma’s voice acting is fitting, as his innocence and naiveté are prominently conveyed through his voice. Unfortunately, and despite these few successes, I feel many of the voicing choices and efforts fall completely flat. Too many of them sound generic and only add to that cliché feel the anime suffers from thus far. The powerful types have those typical gravely voices, while the rest of the side characters are uninspired and fade into the background. We’ve all heard these voice styles before, as they’ve been done to death, and so the performances fail to bring anything new, nor manage to individualize the characters in any meaningful way. Lastly, the soundtrack, while possessing a musical style and tonality fitting for a demon world, is unremarkable. Other than that sorely obnoxious opening theme, I can only truly remember a single track that is used in various episodes. The others leave nary a lasting impact and I can only hope that this and some of the other audio missteps are addressed in the upcoming second season.
Mairimashita! Iruma-kun season one, while not a perfect adaptation, has plenty to offer. It does justice to the source story and ably incorporates that same level of humor seen in the manga. It also notably adapts those imaginative qualities that make the manga a favorite of many. I appreciate most of the extras in the ways of connecting story arcs and adding further connection and depth to its characters, however, the attempts that I believe were made to make the anime more mainstream only hurt the overall quality. Despite the various missteps, I believe the adaptation does enough right that any fan of the manga would appreciate watching it. And since the source story is so outstanding to begin with, newcomers, too, will find something to look forward to. So whether you’re a longtime follower of the manga or just a fan of lighthearted isekai fantasy and the school life genres, Mairimashita! Iruma-kun season one is an easy recommendation.
You can currently stream Mairimashita! Iruma-kun at Crunchyroll
IrumaIsekaiMairimashita!Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun魔入りました! 入間くん