Wow! When Shirosawa and Lico showed up on Shamiko’s doorstep this week, I wasn’t expecting for The Demon Girl Next Door to go that hard with the big reveals and plot developments. Hot damn, though, did the show go there. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got all of your magical friends and family (and your boss from work) together in the same place, putting their heads together. Or, at the very least, it’s what happens when you have a genius little sister like Ryoko, who is probably the smartest person in the show by a country mile.
Seriously, I cannot stress enough just how goddamned good this anime is at pacing out its reveals and drip-fed information, and how much it makes big payoffs like “Raid! The Pink Plan to Retake Shamiko!” work so well. It would have been so easy for the show to settle for the joke being that Shirosawa shamelessly ripped off the design for Miss Tama Sakura from Momo’s sister’s magical girl outfit—not only is it a funny punchline, it’s a great way to link a seemingly innocuous background joke into the main story, as TDGND is wont to do.
But no, this show isn’t content for a simple joke—instead, as Detective Ryoko discovers, the timing of Shirosawa’s encounter with the magical cat that inspired the mascot perfectly aligns with Sakura Chiyoda’s last known appearance, and it just so happened to occur right across from the hospital that young Shamiko was convalescing in as a wee lass. That means that if Shamiko can just dig deep into her own memory and remember the fateful conversation she had with Cat!Sakura, the gang might just be able to unravel the mystery of her disappearance at long last.
Another bit that I loved wasn’t so much of a “reveal” as it was a “No duh, James, you dummy” moment. Shamiko’s dream powers are a perfect method for following the breadcrumbs of this week’s mystery, and I honestly don’t know how I didn’t make the connection before that the whole demon lineage that our heroine hails from is rooted in the myth of the succubus. She’s got dream powers, overly sexual demon attire, horns, that cute little heart-shaped bobble at the end of her tail—the works!
The dream stuff isn’t just a cute nod to demon myths or a convenient plot device, either. It once again allows the show to cut to the heart of some genuinely well-written thematic material concerning the trauma that all of these girls have gone through in their lives. The anime never gets too grim about it, thank god, but Shamiko’s subconscious fear of needles and IV drips comes from a very real and sad place, and it reminds you of what Daddy Box and Sakura made their pact to protect in the first place. You might understandably be too distracted by the literally perfect joke that is Shamiko sneaking past her dream monsters by using Daddy Box like Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid to notice how much heavy lifting the scene is doing, but it’s all there.
And on top of it all, we even get the long-awaited appearance of Sakura herself to cap the episode off? I may be new to these here parts as a Demon Girl Next Door Fan, but I think its fair to say that we’ve never eaten this good. What a great episode.
The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2 is currently streaming on
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.