What if a powerful, beautiful demon went from a revered and feared leader to a small, physically weak girl who is poor and destitute, living in a ratty apartment? That is the main premise of The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!, an anime that makes you sympathize with the “villain” rather than the “hero”.
The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!, otherwise known as Jahy-sama Won’t Be Discouraged!, is a slice-of-life, comedic anime directed by Mirai Minato, based on a manga written by Wakame Konbu. It is known for its comedy of errors, scrambling tropes, and just being fun.
The Great Jahy centers around Jahy, a brown-skinned demon who was once the second-in-command of the Dark Realm, but a magical girl destroyed the huge mana crystal, shattering it into thousands of pieces, and transporting herself and all the world’s inhabitants into the human world. As a result, Jahy lost her privilege, powers from the mana crystal, and lives in a run-down apartment. In order to survive, she works at the pub, Izakaya Maou, run by the sister of her apartment’s landlord, as a wage slave. Due to her weakened powers, she can only change into her “true form,” a taller woman with a scantily clad outfit, meaning she is often in a child-like state, and is only wearing a shirt. Even so, she remains determined to find the mana crystals by any means necessary so she can restore the Dark Realm.
Apart from Jahy, the Landlord, and Manager, The Great Jahy features the Druj, a former lieutenant of Jahy, a tomboyish girl named Saurva who continually tries to scheme against Jahy, and take her position as the Dark Realm’s second-in-command, to no avail, and a young elementary school girl, Kokoro, who tries to help her find mana crystals. Jahy, unlike other characters in anime, is not sexualized, even in her childlike form. She is just treated like any other person. The show’s considerate at how the cast comes across, with very little fan service.
One of the show’s strengths is how it scrambles often present anime tropes, like the master-servant relationship. For instance, Druj, who has taken the name Nana Dojima in the human world, is very successful as a corporate executive at a consulting company. While she lives in a swanky apartment in a high-rise, Jahy is jealous because she is poor and destitute, while her lieutenant is doing better than her! Not only is this true in terms of wealth, but the fact that Druj has thousands of mana crystals while Jahy struggles to find any.
A genius stroke of The Great Jahy is making the audience sympathize with Jahy instead of the Sailor Moon-esque Magical Girl even though Jahy’s committed abuse, treats people terribly, and was a mass murderer in the past. At first, the Magical Girl, who can transform into a high school girl named Kyoko Jingu, appears to be a jerk, stealing the mana crystal that Jahy worked so hard to get. Later, it is shown that the Magical Girl’s cursed with bad luck due to collecting the mana crystals and wants to destroy the crystals to save everyone else from bad luck, even trying to garner the favor of Kokoro, much to Jahy’s annoyance. This scrambling of the magical girl trope is not uncommon, as it was lampooned in last year’s SYFY series, Magical Girl Friendship Squad or its pilot series, Magical Girl Friendship Squad: Origins.
The Great Jahy scrambling of the master-servant relationship and themes of the magical girl genre, like youth, femininity, transformation, heroine elements, and even romance, to a lesser extent, is a major part of this anime. At the same time, situational comedy is a key theme. Whether it’s Jahy’s antics and the hilarity she encounters every day to the show’s writing, its voice acting, or its animation, every single episode has made me laugh for one reason or another, more than any other anime I have watched.
Although The Great Jahy only had a lukewarm reception at first on sites such as Anime News Network, critics such as Mercedez Clewis have been more positive. Similar to other shows currently airing, Jahy has an identity crisis. She is afraid the human world will change her and refuses to admit that she actually has fun working at the pub. Her interactions with her boss, landlord, Druj, and others, coupled with her determination, confidence, and vigor, make this anime always interesting and exciting to watch.
With The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! currently streaming on Crunchyroll on a weekly basis and having gone through half of its 20-episode order, now is the best time to catch up before episode 11 debuts on October 17, 2021.