Maoyuu Maou Yuusha 05 – Living in another world
February 6, 2013 1 Comment
As Maoyuu Maou Yuusha has progressed it has become increasingly clear that while the war between the demon and human worlds helps to maintain the balance of power, it is also a cause of many hardships and strife. Numerous kingdoms and groups are all attempting to make as much from this war as possible, with the conflict used as justification for their policies and attitudes. We have already seen the naked ambition of Seinen Shounin with regards to the knowledge, and by extension power that Maou possess, however, now we are seeing the ambitions of Economic Alliance of Free Merchants and Southern Independent Cities and their wish to control trade routes on land and at sea. But, to do so they need to retake Bright Island from the demons that hold it, and true to form they are also helping to supply various armies and fleets in order to bring their dream of a fast trade route to fruition. The Alliance aren’t the only ones who benefit from this war however, with other countries and nations maintaining a strong military and political presence due to their role in providing arms and men for the war effort. They are however away from the fighting and arguably exist in another world where they can sit back and see what happens rather than take part in any form of fighting directly.
Throughout history we have seen how war has created strong leaders, they are the ones with the abilities to move a population and make what at first seem impossible tasks more manageable. But, these leaders are absolutely reliant on the continuation of war to maintain their authority and position in power, and when it stops they tend to lose that power and are largely forgotten about during post-war reconstruction. An example of a wartime leader can be found in Winston Churchill, famous for his oratory and viewed as a successful wartime leader during the Battle of Britain and invasion of Normandy. However, despite a significant amount of public support for him, he was invariably defeated in the 1945 election chiefly because there was a desire for post-war reform, and many considered that while he made a good wartime leader he was not the right man for post-war reconstruction. This is a relatively recent example of how conflict can create well-known leaders, but the same can be said for earlier figures. The Crusades to take and re-take Jerusalem and the Holy Land created numerous military leaders who ultimately failed when they were beaten or had to return back to their kingdoms (at least from the historical and archaeological sources available). Furthermore the role of religion in war has been central for at least a thousand years, with war between nations often focussing on differences between religion rather than the need for new territory.
By taking part in war under the auspice of the Catholic Church, armies were given significantly more political clout along with the military and financial power than the church held. However, without war or conflict against some particularly barbaric, heathen society (at least according to the church) this sort of power was arguably meaningless, and the position of the church could become increasingly weak. The same can be said for other religions, although the Catholic Church has a particularly interesting and often bloody history when it comes to conflict and warfare. With this in mind it is easy to see why The Holy Capital, The Church and other nations that are allied with them in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha are devising new plans to continue the conflict with the demon realm. As Seinen Shounin points out, without the continued conflict with the demons The Holy Capital and Churches power as a unifying force would wane which would effect their economy and overall position within the human world. They are a country and organisation that is utterly dependant on the continuation of this conflict to maintain their current power, status and prestige. However, if the war was too bloody and dangerous they may also loose their power because countries and other nations may ultimately rebel against them, and question the current meaning of the war. To maintain this balance of power The Holy Capital and Church need to keep the profitability of this conflict high enough to make other central nations happy while also providing enough supplies to those closest to the actual conflict to keep them going. At the same time they need to start a new crusade or smaller war to remind people that they are still at war with The Demon Realm.
Byakuya Ou talks about the failed of winter King in repelling the demons from their world and in classic rhetoric suggests that they were trying to steal their ‘world of light’, thus positioning the human world as a place of light and by extension ‘good’, while the demons are from the shadows and are therefore dangerous and destructive. Such confidence and naivety ultimately leads to the destruction of this invasion fleet, and the death of Winter King. Byakuya Ou’s attitude with regards to this failure is a particularly interesting one and further suggests an arrogance that comes from not understanding the basics of war coupled with the power and prestige that war has brought to him and his kingdom. Despite their losses he ultimately blames Winter King, and utterly dismisses the death of 6,000 soldiers along with 200 ships, arguing that they can easily be replaced with newer ones. Furthermore, he is quick to point out that Winter Kingdom has made connections with Lakeside Convent, The Alliance and Kurenai no Gakushi (Maouand further claiming that Winter Kingdom is keeping the riches that these new alliances have produced for themselves, while still asking for money and food from neighbouring kingdoms. Byakuya Ou saw retaking Bright Island as a chance to increase his prestige and power, but is quick to blame others for the failure, thus demonstrating that the human world is far from a unified whole that Yuusha portrays it as at the very beginning of the series.
We are also shown another side to the war, one that until now has been conspicuous in its absence, that of the treatment of the conquered by the victor. Gate City remains the human worlds on foothold in the demon world, mirroring the demons current ownership of Bright Island, and as we see, they are happy to use and abuse the conquered demons, seeing it as their natural rights as the victors. Mazoku Musume (The purple demon girl) talks about not being able to stop the rowdy soldiers because the demons lost and are therefore subject to the whims of those who won. What is particular interesting is Yuusha’s reaction to this news, and his subsequent questioning of the entire purpose of the war and what it might accomplish. When we first met him he was naïve and innocent, a warrior with immense power, but one that has never really lived in, or understood the human world. In many respects he still doesn’t understand the human world, he is far too pure and too far away to really understand the workings of human society and culture. But he has changed, and begins to wonder if what is happening in Gate City would happen throughout the demon world if the humans win, or visa verse with regards to the demons ultimately winning. As he points out to Mazoku Musume, he might belong to Maou, but he didn’t lose, in fact they are equal and need one another to push forward their plan to stop the war. Winning a war doesn’t give people the right to use and abuse those whom they have conquered, but in this respect Yuusha reinforces how little he really understands human, and perhaps demon society. He is innocent and righteous, but because of this he doesn’t really understand the workings of an army and its leadership. This is rather interesting when we consider his reactions to Maou and assertions of the damage and destruction that The Demons have caused in the human world.
Maou on the other hand easily counters his accusations by explaining the inevitability of having bad farmland when you abuse your landscape and country, thus demonstrating how little Yuusha really understands his own world. In this case Yuusha is seeing the direct consequences of invasion, and instead of it being marauding demons it is instead the crusader army, one that in his mind at least was meant to bring justice. The conqueror often does what they like, seeing it as taking what is rightfully theirs, it doesn’t matter if their actions are morally wrong, it is the feeling of something being owed for their participation in the conflict that may ultimately drive these sorts of actions. Yuusha on the other hand demonstrates the ideal; an end to war that doesn’t result in the destruction, enslavement or abuse of the conquered. But his ideal doesn’t really exist, apart from in his mind and in his relationship with Maou, it is therefore little more than a dream, a good dream perhaps, but still a dream. What is interesting about this relationship is how unnatural, while also normal it is; both Yuusha and Maou effectively live in their own world, one where such a long and destructive conflict can be stopped through largely simplistic means (at least on paper). The realities of war and the destruction and pain that it causes however goes against the dreams and demonstrates that despite their good intentions they are effectively living in another world, one that is separate from humans and demons. As Maou points out in her conversation with Onna Kishi, it is easy to imagine the butterfly effect that her will and plans has caused in the human world.
She likely knew that such an effect would happen since she was ultimately going against the established order and ways of doing things in the human world, but perhaps didn’t think about it. The absence of Yuusha in her life has arguably forced her to reconsider what she is doing and question the good that her current plans have brought to Winter Village and the wider human world. By talking with Onna Kishi and finally admitting that she is the Maou that Yuusha and Onna Kishi had sworn to destroy, Maou is moving forward and recognising that she needs other people close to her in order for her plan to succeed. Of course, like in episode four, Yuusha has been working from the shadows and explained everything to Onna Kishi before she met with Maou. In a way his actions demonstrate his inability to work next to Maou, he is a warrior and a strong one, but he doesn’t understand the intricacies of economics or their impact on broader society, partly because he doesn’t really understand the human world in the first place. To help Maou he perhaps feels that he must work from the shadows as ‘Kuro Kishi’ and use his strength and magic to push forward her agenda in his own way, something that arguably alienates him even further from the human world. Between them Maou and Yuusha are therefore living in another world, one where everything is rather simple and can be dealt with through economics or simple strength. They are tied to the real world through their human contacts and the friends that they make, Maid Imouto and Maid Ane are particularly important as they present a clear path to the real world that Maou can hold on to.
However, it is the bond between Maou and Yuusha that is ultimately the most important and as we have seen in this and the last episode, without Yuusha around Maou begins to doubt her own abilities and reason for existing. While Maid Ane, Maid Imouto and Onna Kishi tie these characters to the real world, it is the bond between them that allows them to push forwards with their plans and ultimately gives them strength. Although, Yuusha is still too innocent or perhaps naïve to notice that mentioning how he helped loads of girls and women might not be the best thing when he is current being beaten by Yuusha’s dakimakura. Their relationship is rather an innocent and entertaining one though since the comedy and inability to really say what they are thinking contrasts with the serious nature of what they are trying to achieve. They are immensely important to each other, and the their insecurities become apparent when they are together. But this final scene further reinforces how alone they are a they dance together while everyone else is enjoying the New Years Dance under warm light, while Maou and Yuusha dance in a much colder, almost ethereal light. It is a scene that reinforces how important they are to each other while also demonstrating how alone they both are, and perhaps how little they really know about the worlds that they are trying to save.