What if one day you woke up and were a demon? Yuko experiences this dilemma in The Demon Girl Next Door. She tries to get a hold of her new form and is tasked with defeating the local magical girl… but not everything is as it seems.
The Demon Girl Next Door is a supernatural and magical girl anime directed by Hiroaki Sakurai. It is based on Izumo Itō’s manga parody series, is also known as “Street Corner Demon”, and is filled with comedic moments from beginning to end.
As a warning, this recommendation discusses some spoilers for the first 19 episodes of The Demon Girl Next Door.
The Demon Girl Next Door, builds off the usual story, where someone wakes up and is different from who they were when they went to sleep. One day, Yuko Yoshida (voiced by Konomi Kohara) comes to the frightening realization that she has a tail and horns. She learns that she is the descendant of a demon cursed to live in poverty by an opposing clan.
In order to restore the clan’s honor, her mother, Seiko Yoshida tasks her with defeating the local magical girl of the town, Momo Chiyoda. This is easier said than done. Yuko is assisted by her ancestor, Lilith, who is trapped in a totem, and occasionally by her sister, Ryoko Yoshida.
However, Yuko is beset with a dilemma after Momo (voiced by Akari Kito) saves her from certain death. This is made even worse when she realizes that Momo attends the same high school as her! Luckily, she is helped by her school friends Anri Sata (voiced by Sayaka Senbongi) and Sion Ogura (voiced by Ayaka Suwa). Some call her “Shamiko” or by her full name “Shadow Master Yuko.”
Sion is into the occult as much as Yoshiko Tsushima in Love Live!! Sunshine! who believes she is a “fallen angel” named “Yohane” and Rie Maruyama in Cue! who calls itself a demon from hell named “Ellis.”
The series shares many similarities with The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!, where a powerful demon named Jahy lives in a ratty apartment and tries to gain all of the mana crystals to restore her powers. Yuko also lives on the edge of poverty with her sister Ryoko (voiced by Hitomi Ohwada) and mother, Seiko Yoshida (voiced by Sayaka Ohara).
Similar to the aforementioned series, in The Demon Girl Next Door Yuko becomes friends with Momo and her friend from another town, Mikan Hinatsuki (voiced by Tomoyo Takayanagi). In a unique twist, Mikan has been afflicted by a “guardian spirit” that attacks whenever Mikan’s heart is racing, resulting in those around her to experience calamities. This is akin to the misfortune that the magical girl faces when she uses the mana crystals in The Great Jahy.
Later in the series, it is comically revealed that Yuko and Ryoko’s father, Joshua (voiced by Hideyuki Umezu) was sealed inside a cardboard citrus box by another magical girl. It turns out that the family uses this box every day to cook their meals on a hibachi!
That magical girl is named Sakura Chiyoda (voiced by Hisako Kanemoto) and the stepsister of Momo. She disappeared ten years ago after she manipulated a sacred seal to ensure she stayed in good health. It later becomes Momo, Mikan, and Yuko’s mission to find her. And she does appear in one of the show’s most recent episodes. Mikan, on the other hand, has a familiar named Ugallu.
In another parallel with The Great Jahy, for some time Yuko begins working at a cafe run by a demon tapir named Shirosawa (voiced by Takashi Matsuyama) which has a chef and waitress named Lico (voiced by Ayassa Ito). Although Yuko goes there to garner information about Sakura, she becomes poisoned by the food, which makes her a work zombie, until she is saved by her more-than-a-friend Momo.
On the one hand, the series has plot lines focused on mindscapes, reminding me of scenes in The Owl House, Steven Universe, and Inside Job where characters travel inside the minds of other characters, either on purpose or by accident.
In fact, Sakura, another magical girl, helps Yuko out of her nightmare in the fifth and sixth episodes of the show’s most recent season, appearing as a mirage of sorts. The audience also learns that Sakura sacrifices herself so that Yuko could live; a noble sacrifice.
This series also features main characters with cool magical transformations. This is coupled with comedy, which is integral to the show.
This is not an off-the-wall comedy like the hilarious three-season slice-of-life yuri comedy, YuruYuri, for which the protagonist complains about her lack of presence, even resulting in her becoming translucent at times. Neither is it like romantic comedies such as the currently airing Kaguya-sama: Love Is War and Love After Domination, or a recently-ended isekai comedy with transgender themes, Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout.
Instead, there is situational comedy either based around interactions between Yuko, her family and school friends, and family, or with her magical girl friends, Mikan and Momo. As a person who loves to eat sliced oranges as a snack, I have to give props to Mikan, whose family owns a fruit company, for constantly, and somehow, finding fruit. She slices up oranges and lemons and chomps on them when they hang out or brings fruit to eat while she is on the go. Are there any other characters who do this? I can’t even think of one.
Even more hilarious is the fact that Mikan’s hair color fits directly with her love of citrus, as it has the same color as an orange-dyed orange. It also connects with her bubbly, excitable personality and her orange-themed magical transformation.
The same can be said for Momo whose hair color is pink, a color often associated with “innocence and uncomplicated childhood“, who has incredible strength and can quickly transform.
Unlike some other series, Momo has no interest in remaining a magical girl, feeling that having such power is too much responsibility for her. Yuko attempts to take advantage of this and recruit Momo as her “vassal.” While Momo turns this down, she remains on friendly terms and there are hints in the season 2 introduction that she may go down that route in the future. All the while Yuko continues to declare “don’t think this means you won” after Momo “defeats” Yuko in some way.
This is series is not unique in flipping generally understood values, like magical girls seen as “good” and demons as “bad.” In fact, the 2017 supernatural slice-of-life and comedy anime, Gabriel DropOut, has angels act like demons, and demons act like angels. Helluva Boss has the demons act like jerks but be relatable and care about each other, while the angels are utter jerks who only care about themselves.
It is even a bit funny that Yuko’s magical girl-esque transformation is called “crisis management”. It gives her a somewhat scantily clad uniform akin to the lead in The Great Jahy, but it only slightly improves her abilities. This is different than Jahy, as it only helps her a little bit. Due to this, however, Momo helps train her on how to hone her abilities and improve herself. Instead of magical girls and demons fighting one another, they are both on the same side, working together for common goals.
In the process, the series plays on the common magical girl elements, often associated with female interests like romance, femininity, and child-rearing, with cute appearances of characters resembling idol singers or princesses. When they are in their transformations, Momo, Yuko, and Mikan clearly transform into versions of themselves that seem more mature and prettier, with magical powers. However, Momo and Yuko have items that allow them to use their powers outside of their transformations.
Most powerfully, and apart from any other character in the series, Yuko has the ability to enter other people’s minds. She does it often with a wand that sometimes transforms into silly items like a pen, a super-heavy trident, or anything else that does not help her in the slightest. She is also very expressive, with her demon tail telling as much about her emotions as the cat ears of Blake Belladonna in RWBY say about what she is thinking from minute to minute.
Yuko’s demon features are often exploited by other characters, who hold her back by her tail, making it hard for her to move, or hold her horns like handles. This is even more painful than someone grabbing onto her tail.
I further found it funny that Yuko’s younger sister, Ryoko, is more skilled with technology than her. In fact, she is just as skilled with technology as the underclassman angel Tapris in Gabriel DropOut.
At the same time, her ancestor, Lilith (voiced by Minami Takahashi), can be bought out of her totem into small forms which are like dolls. Hilariously, Momo can easily control her movements, angering Lilith, who is trapped inside the totem. She can only leave to occupy Yuko’s body from time to time, which slightly changes Yuko’s personality and even her tail in the process. Similar to many characters, she has a weakness for alcohol, which makes it easy to subdue her.
Although there is a goal for magical girls to have romance that leads to marriage, it is unlikely this would happen in The Demon Girl Next Door. No notable male characters appear in the series. Although Yuko and Momo seem to have some feelings for each other, it is unlikely that Yuko and Momo would marry one another.
In later episodes, they will likely become even closer. After all, in the most recent episode, she became Yuko’s vassal (temporarily) and came over the the “dark side”, nicknamed “Darkness Peach” by Mikan, to save her from a nightmare. In an unexpected twist, she becomes a dual-class holder whose physical class is light while her spiritual class is light. They both agree to work together to protect the city.
Rather, these characters could be shown ambiguously together and walking off into the sunset akin to the end of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. It is even less likely that there would any possible marriage, like that hinted between office worker, Kobayashi, and a dragon girl, Tohru, in the final episode of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
All in all, The Demon Girl Next Door is a must-see, especially for those interested in demons, magical girls, and supernatural comedies.
The series is currently streaming on HIDIVE. The next episode will air on May 26, 2022.
Author: Burkely Hermann
Burkely is an indexer of declassified documents by day and a fan fic writer by night. He recently earned a MLIS with a concentration in Digital Curation from the University of Maryland. He currently voraciously watches animated series and reads too many webcomics to count on Webtoon. He loves swimming, hiking, and searching his family roots in his spare time.
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