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Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today we’ll be embarking on a new leg in a familiar journey, as we check out the second season premiere of The Demon Girl Next Door. Though it was billed as an irreverent genre-savvy comedy, Demon Girl’s first season proved to be far more than that, exploring and critiquing the assumptions of its demon/magical girl dichotomy with uncommon acuity. Though they couldn’t be further apart tonally, Demon Girl actually ended up echoing many of Madoka Magica’s thoughts regarding how magical and demon girls map to society’s compartmentalization of women into either “spotlessly righteous” or “irredeemably fallen” categories, each a cage with its own attendant injustices.

In spite of dabbling in such pointed social commentary, Demon Girl has maintained an irrepressibly positive tone throughout, echoing the indefatigable spirit of its anti-heroine Shamiko. Condemned as a demon girl to be perpetually vilified and defeated, Shamiko has turned lemons into lemonade at every turn, and ultimately become close friends with her “nemesis” Momo. The lessons of a lifetime of vilification – learning to forgive and find pride in yourself, accepting failure as a necessary precursor to success, and so on – have actually equipped her with the ideal tools to mentor her self-hating counterpart, whose own upbringing taught her that if she is less than perfect, she is nothing. Together, the two of them seek a future where magical and demon girls can coexist happily, if only to lessen the complications of their own eventual marriage. Let’s see what madness they get up to in season two!

Episode 1

We open on a bizarre recreation of last season’s final confrontation, with Momo and Shamiko squaring off on… a remote highway surrounded by palm trees? What are they doing

Ah, it’s the river Euphrates. Didn’t realize the underworld had such a temperate climate, but you learn something new every day

“Today is the day we celebrate your descent into darkness!” Shamiko is already having dreams about the day she makes Momo her vassal. No breaks on this train

Oh my god, we’re actually picking up moments after last season’s finale, with Shamiko still asking Momo why she dressed up for a date. Once again, Momo’s slight-yet-distinct expressions are fantastic, as we see her biting her cheek in embarrassment at being called out like this. Shamiko will probably never defeat Momo in battle, but she might be able to make Momo die of embarrassment one of these days

Momo thanks Shamiko for inviting her, which only terrifies Shamiko further. She still clearly doesn’t understand Momo has decided they’re already dating

The recently titled Daddy Box features prominently in our new OP

This OP is also brimming with what seem like other magical entities, ranging from humanoids to lots of fairy-like animal creatures. I’m guessing this means we’ll be parting the veil created by Sakura Chiyoda, and getting acquainted with the wider magical/demonic community of the town. I’d worry this would undercut the show’s strongest element (the relationship between Momo and Shamiko), but given how gracefully Mikan ended up being integrated into the narrative, I’m not particularly concerned

Also quite intrigued by this apparent antagonist in a witch doctor costume

“Yet Another Showdown! The Magical Girl Has A Brand New Appearance!?”

Shamiko working on improving her handwriting so she can write a prettier letter of challenge to Momo. Just nemesis things

Also love that the teacher just refers to her as Shadow Mistress. She respects Shamiko’s demonic identity, but presumably thinks “Shamiko” would be too informal

Apparently her teacher’s name is “Mrs. Azaze,” which is clearly riffing off the biblical demon Azazel. So perhaps she’s a demon girl as well?

Glad to see this production’s policy of characters voicing their own sound effects remains intact

Ah, I see. It was actually Mikan that helped Momo get dressed for her “date.” Should’ve guessed that Momo couldn’t put together a flattering ensemble by herself

I appreciate the consistency of these two’s nervous tells; Shamiko’s tail is an obvious indicator of her emotions, while Momo tends to tug her hair when she feels nervous

And once again, Momo’s reaction to learning this isn’t actually a date demonstrates how in spite of possessing a narrower visual vocabulary of expression than most characters, she can still articulate a full range of emotion. As someone who also tends to not be particularly dramatic in his expression of emotions, I appreciate Demon Girl celebrating how a limited palette of expressions in no way connotes a limited palette of emotions, and actually finding great comedy in the ways Momo expresses herself

Oh my god, Shamiko. Along with her thoughtful apologies, she’s also got her tail entirely twisted around Momo’s arm. The two are clearly getting significantly more comfortable both articulating their feelings verbally and being physically intimate with each other

Shamiko’s expectant look when Momo replies is so much. Didn’t expect this season to ramp up the romantic edge so significantly, but I suppose it’s a natural followup to Shamiko’s confession, and I’m all for it

Yeah, Shamiko’s now regularly using her tail to rope Momo in, as when she affixes these new berets to Momo’s hair. The tail has consistently served as an indicator of her true emotional state, and it’s sending out some pretty strong signals at the moment

Aha, I love this Mikan-shaped frustration steam cloud emanating from Mikan’s head. Choosing to have all this show’s visual flourishes and sound effects reflect their sources like this was a fantastic decision

“I’m looking for Banda Terrace, but all I see at the address is abandoned ruins.” “Uh, that’s actually where I live.”

Apparently, Banda Terrace has been set aside as a special accommodation for either light or dark creatures. It feels like after all the Sakura-related bombshells dropped in episode eleven, the author is now far more willing to acknowledge the ways magical and demon girls are already integrated into society, rather than continuing to play up the joke of their awkward intrusion into this otherwise-mundane reality

Poor Shamiko. Even Mikan’s shoulder strap dresses make her feel uncomfortably exposed, so I can only imagine how much she hates the Crisis Management Form

Mikan reveals that her history is actually much like Shamiko’s: her curse was far more intense in the past, and it was only Sakura Chiyoda’s help that reduced it to its current state. As Momo has repeatedly demonstrated, magical girls are in large part defined by their need to be perfect, existing as icons of righteousness and femininity for the world to admire. As such, I imagine many magical girls who aren’t utterly flawless wind up either failing or developing insecurity complexes like Momo, unless someone who breaks from convention like Sakura is there to support them

Given their common history, it seems like both Shamiko and Mikan should be able to help Momo internalize that key lesson of accepting you won’t be good at everything the first time, and not seeing failure as a condemnation of your own worth

“I’m starting to think the brave face Mikan puts on is an act, and she’s actually scared most of the time.” Yep, that pretty much defines the magical girl life

Apparently Sakura “specializes in dealing with curses and barriers.” I wonder what Momo’s specialty is

Shamiko using her tail to perform a “don’t worry about it” handwave is excellent content

Another distinct flavor of Momo deadpan as she reflects on Shamiko’s potential box-related trauma

“I’m not feeling lonely or anything, but I’m going to stay here for summer vacation, too!” The rare combo of denial, blush, and hair tug! Very convincing, Momo

It seems like we’re doing a reversal of Shamiko’s invasion of Momo’s home last season, with Momo now learning all the secrets of Shamiko’s domestic life

We’re actually pushing in a bit of a found family direction this time; now that Mikan and Momo are Shamiko’s neighbors, they can have regular meals together, dispelling the inherent isolation of the magical girl way of life

The production is clearly very proud of this beef “Kawhaaam!” sound effect, and they are absolutely right to be

Excellent sight gag when Ryo and Mikan go shopping, and we briefly see their shopping cart is stacked with small oranges, large oranges, orange juice, dried oranges, and lemons

Shamiko states that Momo’s weakness is “you try way too hard to make everything go perfectly all by yourself.” Yep, that’s the natural consequence of the expectations placed on magical girls

And Done

Ah, it’s good to be back. To be fair, it’s technically only been a few weeks since I last wrote about Demon Girl, but this episode’s housewarming conceit still made it feel like a homecoming celebration. At the same time, it’s clear that things are swiftly evolving on both a personal and societal level, with our leads’ relationship feeling more intimate than ever, and new reveals about the nature of magical/demon girl society emerging by the minute. Anime relationships have a tendency to embrace a sort of familiar stasis, but even just within this episode, we can clearly see both Shamiko and Momo taking new steps in expressing their feelings towards each other, whether it’s Momo’s extremely forward date behavior or Shamiko’s confident advice regarding Momo’s faults. Demon Girl is clearly not interested in retreating from last season’s bold finale – it’s a brand new paradigm this season, and I’m eager to explore it!

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