What’s it about? Takuma Sakamoto is a shut-in who’s poured all his time into creating an unbeatable character in the MMORPG Cross Reverie. When two adventurers, Shera and Rem, enact a ritual to summon and enslave a powerful helper, Takuma is sucked into the game in the body—and with the powers—of his character Demon Lord Diablo; however, because his character is able to reflect all magic, the girls’ enslavement spell bounces off of him and hits them instead.
CONTENT WARNING: NSFW screenshots; discussion of misogyny, sexual assault, enslavement
You know those beautiful multi-tiered cakes that have been carefully constructed, with each layer standing on the support of the one beneath it until it reaches the height of a small child? This is like that, except the cake is made of shit and the binding is misogyny. Let me take you on a guided tour, because this is why I get paid the Nerd Buckz.
The base layer is the increasingly popular light novel genre of enslavement fantasy. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain to anyone reading this that it is wrong to own another person.
More than that, these fantasies tend to be isekai stories in the currently popular mode, where the socially awkward reader-insert is thrown into another world that makes him all-powerful and then gives him a girl who has no choice but to fawn all over him and is physically unable to leave him even if she wanted. At a time where young women are murdered for the high crime of not being interested in a guy and red pill forums muse earnestly over the idea that sexual availability of ideal women is a limited, endangered resource, this kind of fantasy story is hard to laugh off.
Which brings us to the next layer, irritating in its own right but bolstered by the slimy ideology underpinning it: this is yet another exhausting self-insert where the protagonist doesn’t have to actually work to understand other people. It’s not his fault he’s been an isolated nerd, obviously. Nothing at all to do with his personality. (Spoilers: Before getting sucked into the game, we see him obliterating adventurers simply because they’re in happy romantic relationships; it might be his personality).
But once he’s in the game, his dedication to online gaming makes him ultra-unstoppably powerful, able to suss out female characters’ problems because they follow a predictable gaming script and safe from having to actually converse with people because whenever he talks it automatically comes out in the “cool, tough demon king voice.”
Then there are said female characters, Shera and Rem. You’ll be relieved to know they’re already squabbling over who gets custody of our very desirable protagonist. They argue constantly over everything and seem to have no warm regard for one another “becuz bitches amirite.”
Shera also has bouncy enormo-boobs that precede her in just about every establishing shot, and the dinner scene makes sure to put a big ol’ phallic object in her mouth for your editing pleasure. For the most part though, she’s a side character.
Poor Rem has it worse, because she’s the plot-important one. The back half of the episode involves an extended “torture” session because Our Hero has realized Rem has a Dark Secret, the sort that will cause a lot of problems later but could be solved by early communication. That’s almost a decent joke, except that Sakamoto’s solution is to pin her down to the bed and rub her ears, which of course sends her into weeping sexual ecstasy. The entire framing is “it’s not assault because she came” to the extreme.
Which leads me to the gloppy, self-congratulatory icing binding this whole sorry mess together. The writing is just self-aware enough to know it stands on an indefensible precipice, and so is attempting to cover the ass it has left flapping in the breeze with wafer-thin excuses.
He didn’t enslave them on purpose, it was an accident! (But y’know, now that they are enslaved he’s happy to stare at their boobs and take advantage of them.)
He didn’t want to assault her, that’s why he touched her ears! He was thinking of his cat! (And very coincidentally the camera frames Ren’s reactions just like a sex scene, including her repeatedly begging him to stop before the moaning starts. And gosh, she’s just so grateful to him afterward; really, it’s for the best that he assaulted her.)
He’s really on board with getting these gosh-darn collars off of them, honest! He just doesn’t know how! (And I’m sure there’s no chance that these women will decide they actually like being his slaves, thereby freeing him of any guilt while perpetuating the fantasy and also the rhetoric that what women really want is to be dominated by a strong man.)
There’s other crap dolloped on for flair—a literal wall of text pretending that I, they, or anyone watching actually gives a flying fuck about how the mechanics of this MMO function; the only other male character who appears being a petty whining jerkwad that Sakamoto gets to stomp without breaking a sweat—but at a certain point numbness begins to set in and the brain stops rejecting new input just to preserve itself.
Anyway, this is a televised anime merrily marching its way into production while stories about healthy queer relationships and mental health issues struggle to get made. Enjoy your day.