Well it seems Maou really is a jack of all trades. Not only is she knowledgeable about agriculture and science, she is also apparently well-versed with weapons and military tactics. Some of this stuff is a little ridiculous though. After all this time at war, no-one thought to put fire on their arrows? I find that a little hard to believe. Regardless, Maou’s proposed tactic for assaulting the Ice General’s fortress is still pretty impressive. Seeing as the demons appear to have the advantage at sea, she has the human army construct a massive bridge of ice to bypass a potentially devastating naval battle. I’m not sure just how far Aurora Island is from the southern tip of the continent, but it must be quite a feat to put together such a large stretch of ice. Undoubtedly, the demons didn’t think that such a task was possible, or perhaps they didn’t even think of it at all. Thus, the bridge would provide the humans with both the element of surprise as well as a straight shot at the island. Of course, taking the fortress is a whole different story, but sometimes establishing a beachhead can be the most difficult part of the battle.
On the other hand, we have Yuusha still jumping around and keeping people at bay. He had previously been keeping the demons in line, and now it looks like he’s moved on to the humans. His tactic of demoralizing and striking fear into the hearts of the soldiers was actually rather amusing. These are trained men we’re talking about; the best that the humans have to offer. Yet, all it takes to make them run away like scared children is a few dead bodies, a bunch of floating skulls, and a headless knight? Come on now. These guys have fought real live demons and won; they’re the best of the best. How can they let such trifles spook them? In any case, the revelation that the illusion was the work of Yuusha’s very own personal fairy squad made me laugh a little. I remember there being mention that he had befriended fairies after saving them, but I never thought I’d actually see the little critters following him around and doing his bidding. On that note, just what “category” do the fairies fall under? They’re obviously not human, but I wouldn’t quite say that they’re demons. What, then, did Yuusha save them from? It’s also possible that the fairies are distinct from both humans and demons, I suppose. It wouldn’t be all too surprising for there to be more than just humans and demons in the Maoyuu world. It’s just that the demons come in such a wide variety of forms that it’s tempting to call anything inhuman a demon. And even then, we have the very human-like Maou and Head Maid.
Which brings me back to a question I’ve asked before. What sets demons apart from humans? We know that demons can take all sorts of forms from giant squids to blue onis. But, they can also look perfectly human. What’s going on here? Is there some fundamental difference I’m missing? Because so far it seems to me that the only thing that sets demons apart from humans is their appearance. Without her fake horns, Maou herself has been passing as a human for years now without incident. Well, there was actually a moment in this episode when it looked like the former Archer might be on to her, but it turned out he was just being a huge pervert. Knight did comment at that point that Archer could have sensed Maou’s “demonic aura”, but that means just about as much as calling her a watermelon. Is it really all going to come down to some mysterious “aura” that only certain people can detect? At that point, you might as well consider the human-like demons as actual humans. There’s really no substantial difference besides some magical proficiency. And clearly, there are humans who are capable of using magic as well (see Yuusha and Mage Girl).
Anyhow, as engaging as the battle for Aurora Island was, there was also a very important development that was sort of slipped in very slickly. With the departure of the Crusade of the Holy Key, Gateway City is now without a human occupation force to “keep order”. What’s left are the townsfolk and a sizable population of demon war refugees. Normally, you might think that there would be some sort of upheaval by the demons, but apparently the humans have gotten along so well with them that Gateway City might actually become a place where both humans and demons can come together in peace. I don’t know about you, but this sure looks like the first signs of Maou’s dreams coming to fruition; a world without war.
The bad was the amount of bloodshed in this episode. I know, war is not without casualties, but this week’s Maoyuu really gave us our first glimpse at the grim, nitty-gritty reality of the conflict between the humans and demons. The naval battle from last episode was such a complete one-sided disaster that I wouldn’t even consider it a true battle. And yes, we see plenty of the indirect effects of the war on the poorer humans, but that’s not as immediate or as striking as seeing the waters of the sea become dyed with blood from the battle.