Maoyuu Maou Yuusha 01 – Yuusha, Maou, Economics and a Dakimakura
January 5, 2013 10 Comments
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is a rather fascinating story that attempts to delve into the economic, social and cultural realities of warfare and the affect that they have on the wider population of numerous kingdoms, or in countries. The only other series that explored the affects of economy on kingdoms and those who rule them so far has to be Ookami to Kyoushinryou (Spice and Wolf), interestingly enough the Maoyuu Maou Yuusha reunites Holo and Lawrence in the form of their voice actors, although Fukuyama Jun is now stuck in my mind as The Dark Flame Master thanks to Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai. What is particularly interesting about Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is its setup, with Yuusha on a quest to destroy the terrible Maou and rid the world of ‘his’ corruption and destruction. Such a story sounds like something out of any classic fantasy, with elements of King Arthur and his noble quest, or even Lord of the Rings and its world where good and evil are apparently easily defined.
Such a world is easily defined or chopped up into manageable pieces, with Yuusha as the force for good and Maou as the force for evil and destruction, the problem with such a world view is that it is overly simplistic and doesn’t really look at the realities of the world and the people who live in it. Watching Yuusha burst into Maou’s castle and rush up in an attempt to kill ‘him’, only to discover that Maou is actually a woman helps to demonstrate the inadequacy of such tales. To Yuusha, Maou is pure evil and must therefore be destroyed, but upon finding that she has no apparent desire to fight and is more interested in engaging him in conversation we see how little he has really thought about his goals and duty. To Yuusha his whole life has been about the destruction of something that he has been told is evil and must therefore be the root of all the pain and suffering in his world. In a real sense Yuusha is the unthinking hero, someone who doesn’t question why he is fighting, who he is fighting for, and what the goals are for his battle with Maou. Furthermore, he doesn’t even consider the consequences of his fight, and why the war that he is supposed to be ending has been going on for such a long time.
Maou is actually a rather entertaining character, and is clearly more of an intellectual than a fighter. Her reaction to the presence of Yuusha is wonderful to see and it clearly makes him falter, especially considering how forceful Maou actually is. The way she approaches Yuusha, along with her attitude towards, and knowledge of the war and everything that surrounds it are fascinating and intriguing. Also, the way she acts completely goes against the image that one might have of a Demon King, someone who in both eastern and western traditions could bring untold destruction onto humanity, wiping out entire civilisations if he so wishes. That she is clearly more interested in the economics and realities of war than actually waging it further reinforces how little she conforms to the stereotype of a Demon King. Maou is fully aware of her position and how it is viewed by those around her, she understands that while she may know about economics and the reasons for war that being the Maou is itself a disadvantage. No one is likely to listen to Maou because in the public and popular imagination she is clearly a devil bent on total world domination or the annihilation of the human race. Her self-aware attitude is shown in stark contrast to the naïve and innocent Yuusha, a character who hasn’t questioned his fate and doesn’t even think about why war exists.
War may be a horrible thing and bring untold destruction and devastation to many, something that a quick read of the history of WWI and WWII (along with numerous other wars of course) can demonstrate, but there are always those who profit from it. Warfare creates strong leaders and pulls together populations in a way that could not happen during peace times, furthermore there are always those in countries far from the war that will profit from the selling of arms, food and other supplies to those who need it. If we look at it from this perspective it appears that war is almost an inevitable consequence of human society and the desires and needs of the human population, along with the greed of those who make a living from such provisions. To Yuusha war is horrible; he also blames the demons for causing the war and strife that follows. In this Yuusha demonstrates how naïve and innocent he is of the world, with many of the problems that he blames on the demons simply the cause of humanities greed and apparent inability to look after their resources. Rather than invasion destroying forests and making land unusable for example it is the result of humans wanting to cut down every tree for charcoal and having no concept of sustainability or the importance of forests as a part of their countries ecology.
In Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, demons and by extension the Maou are easy scapegoats that humanity uses to blame for all of their problems rather than take responsibility. However, while this may be the case, the very act of war between the demon world and humans allows kingdoms to exist and prosper. War is clearly devastating for those on the front lines, however, as Maou explains, this war allows for countries to feed themselves through the money that central government provides for their war effort. Furthermore, because of the war, central kingdom maintains a strong control over industry and distribution, with the war effort driving this industry and the wider economies of other outlying kingdoms. But, as Maou further explains, despite the vast growth in wealth there is no extra food or goods being made, with the various economic commodities staying the same as before the war began. It is because of the war that these commodities can be moved around and those who lack food, clothing or money are forgotten about due to the perceived ever-present threat of demon invasion. In the world of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, humanity and the demon society can only exist as they are because of the war, without it economies would collapse and kingdoms would implode.
Through Maou’s explanation we see that Yuusha’s vision of the world is little more than a mirage, a thin-veneer that is easily destroyed once he begins to think about the world and his position in it. He may be a legendary hero, but he is also disposable, a figure that kings and those who rule with them use in order to destroy the Maou, but throw away once he has outlived his usefulness. Furthermore, he, along with his companions were the only ones dispatched to destroy Maou instead of a full army as you would expect given the apparent danger that Maou poses. But, instead of a full army, they send a single figure, a lone hero who can kill Maou, but then be abandoned with his deeds covered up by those in power. His position as Yuusha has no meaning, and if he had killed Maou it would have been hushed up, with another demon taking her place and continuing this mutually beneficial, if farcical war. Yuusha’s realisation that his quest to destroy Maou is meaningless further demonstrates how easily stories about glorious and heroic deeds can be manipulated and used by politicians and those in power for their own needs. Maou, however, suggests another way, a way of stopping the war and bringing peace to the worlds of humans and demons alike without destroying their economies and societies. By manipulating and changing the way people look at the world and do things from the inside she hopes to slowly change how kingdoms view warfare along with breaking up kingdoms dependence of central kingdom for money and food. By joining together with Yuusha she is actively attempting to change how people think through her understanding of economics, along with the interconnected nature of society, culture and power.