Jahy-sama: I Want to Believe

umrguy42
umrguy42
Sep 5 · 10 min read

The Great Jahy, second in command of the Dark Realm, is living the high life until she gets absolutely wrecked by a magical girl. Blasted to the human world in the form of a little girl, she vows to restore her power and the Dark Realm. However, it’s hard out there for a demon girl, as Jahy is about to find out. But while Jahy-sama won’t be discouraged, will we be with the show’s direction? Or can a seiyuu super squad save this story?

This article is a part of AniTAY’s Summer 2021 Early Impressions series, where our authors offer their initial thoughts on the new, prominent, and exciting anime from this season!

An image of the Great Jahy in all her power in the Dark Realm

A Familiar Premise

When we first meet Jahy, we learn that she’s second-in-command of “the Dark Realm”, and through additional flashbacks, we learn that she was a ruthless, sadistic, and cruel boss. However, her reign is suddenly cut short when a magical girl sweeps in, and with barely a word, simply obliterates the giant mana crystal that is the source of power for the Dark Realm and its inhabitants.

Without her magic source, Jahy is left near-powerless, in the body of a small girl, in the human world. She’s stuck with a small mana crystal that has just enough power to let her assume her adult form for a few hours at a time in order to work and earn a little money to live on. Her goal is to find the mana crystals that are scattered around Earth so she can regain her power and restore the Dark Realm. Along the way, she’ll run into former subordinates, acquaintances, and her magical girl nemesis.

If the description above sounds like a number of other shows such as The Devil is a Part-Timer, with a dash of Gabriel Dropout and The Demon Girl Next Door thrown in, well, you’re not alone. I’ve not read the source material, so just seeing the brief synopsis on sites like MyAnimeList, I nearly gave this show a miss, until I saw the voice cast.

A Perfect Voice Cast?

The initial list of the voice cast for the series as listed on MyAnimeList
When the name I know least is Yui Ogura, and I’m still familiar with her name… that’s a cast list I like.

HanaKana (Angel Beats, Cells at Work, everything else ever), Yoko Hikasa (K-On!, New Game!, also everything else ever), and Ai Kayano (KonoSuba, Sword Art Online: Alicization, seriously, how do you pick just one or two roles for these ladies?!) as the supporting cast, alongside Mikako Komatsu (Nisekoi, Re:CREATORS) and Sumire Uesaka (Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions, So I’m a Spider, So What?). That’s hefty seiyuu firepower, right there. Throw in Naomi Oozora (Gabriel Dropout, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out) as the lead role? Yes please.

Jahy collapsed in the forest in the rain
Jahy collapsed in the forest in the rain
“Life IS pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Oozora brings the same over-the-top boastful over-confidence from her role as Satania in Gabriel Dropout, along with the “never heard of an indoor voice EVER” of Uzaki-chan. It’s the right fit for a character who wants to think and act like she’s on top of the world, only to be running into the cold, cruel wall of reality way too often.

Druj loves Jahy’s cruelty towards her.
Druj loves Jahy’s cruelty towards her.
They say HanaKana’s more the sadist-type in real life, apparently.

Kana Hanazawa voices Druj, one of Jahy’s subordinates, who all too commonly in the Dark Realm was a target for Jahy’s cruelty… which Druj was all too happy to accept. Hanazawa brings a perfect blend of blissful idiocy, and delight in masochism, that makes Druj the perfect foil for Jahy. Add in HanaKana’s ability to go from deliriously happy to menacing yandere with the flip of a switch, and I can’t think of anyone else in the role now.

Left: Ai Kayano’s Manager-san. Right: Her sister, Jahy’s landlady (Yoko Hikasa)

For the humans, Ai Kayano is bringing her best motherly “ara ara” energy, while Yoko Hikasa plays her sister, Jahy’s landlady, who’s perpetually trying to collect the back rent she’s due from Jahy. It’s too soon to speak to the others in that listing above , but I have no doubts that they too will be killing it in their roles.

The Production

The show’s animation has been excellent overall. Over the years, studio SILVER LINK has already produced a number of female-centered comedies with high quality visuals such as Non Non Biyori, BOFURI, and My Next Life as a Villainess, and is no stranger to magical girls and action, either, such as in Prisma Illya, and BOFURI again. A show like Jahy-sama therefore, is clearly right in their wheelhouse, and SILVER LINK definitely delivers.

Episode 3 animation of a “Jahy in space” omake (extra scene) from the books
Episode 3 gave us this animation of one of the manga’s omake, too.

The main character designs are nicely differentiated. Manager-san is definitely on the t h i c c side, but it fits in with her personality type, particularly the mothering energy she often shows to Jahy. Druj brings the moe, while the landlady looks like they took an angry Yagami Ko from New Game! and plunked her in (admittedly, that may be bias on my part given that both characters are voiced by Yoko Hikasa).

While adult Jahy’s design is more sexualized in her demon form, it’s not grossly over-exaggerated, and Jahy herself (so far at least) has not been shown being particularly sexual. Her human adult form is similarly proportioned, being roughly the same as her demon form minus the wings, and with some subtle tweaks in her facial expressions that show that despite all her boasting, current Jahy is not the same arrogant and in-charge figure she was in the Dark Realm. Over the course of the first episode, I’d had concerns with the child Jahy design, given that she’s typically running around in what looks like primarily just an oversized t-shirt. I was worried it would be “oversexualized loli”, but instead they’ve been keeping her childlike in appearance and behavior, and in how others treat her.

I’ve particularly appreciated SILVER LINK’s work with animating the characters’ body language and facial expressions. The Manager’s pleasant and cheerful nature alternates clearly with her care for Jahy, but also hints at a core of steel inside her. With the Landlady, while we mostly see her yelling and fighting with Jahy, we’re also given hints that inside her is a caring streak possibly on par with her sister. Druj’s highs, lows, and masochistic glee are all portrayed on the screen as clearly as in HanaKana’s fantastic voicework. Most importantly, whether it’s demon Jahy, adult Jahy, or child Jahy, we are given a perfect match for Oozora’s voice acting with an expressivity capable of showing us Jahy’s cruelty while in the Dark Realm, to her affected arrogance in front of Druj, to those times when she’s simply overwhelmed by her current powerlessness.

For the show’s music, the OP and ED themes are fairly standard lively comedy anime fare, and I haven’t really noticed the background music during the episodes, which probably means it’s doing its job, but kind of rates as neutral there for me.

So, between the voice cast and the animation, the show gets a major plus. However, there IS one elephant in the room…

The Story

My biggest complaint so far is, I’m not entirely sure where this series wants to be going. To begin with, while the overall story arc is making some progress, after three episodes it feels like the show is in danger of getting bogged down.

The series starts out well, with the first episode establishing Jahy’s background in the Dark Realm, her new situation, and our introduction to the motherly Manager-san, and the manager’s sister, Jahy’s landlady. What we don’t see is any actual attempt to find more mana crystals. Overall though, this episode was almost exactly the right blend of story intro and comedy I was looking for and expecting.

In Episode 2, Jahy runs into her former subordinate Druj for the first time in the human world. Druj has hit the ground running, and is living the high life, finding mana crystals by the literal truckload. By contrast, later in this episode Jahy basically cosplays Dora the Explorer, and finally manages to find a single baseball-sized crystal in a bird’s nest.

Jahy in the forest resembling Dora the Explorer
I mean, seriously, just look at that getup.

The first half of the episode, when Jahy reunites with Druj, while it contains plenty of humor, and puts a good focus on how Jahy’s really feeling about what her situation in life has become, starts to drag on just a little too long. The second half, with Jahy’s expedition, by contrast, while lighter on the comedy front, is much tighter on the pacing, and gives the story the push it desperately needs to get to the next episode.

Yet again in Episode 3, Jahy has to keep up the charade to Druj that she is still the Great Jahy, and that all Druj’s accomplishments are beneath her. Meanwhile, the acquisition of the new crystal from the previous episode means that Jahy can work for longer in her adult form, bringing back that swaggering confidence and prideful boasting that had gone missing in the previous episode.

Jahy with her new mana crystal imagines Manager-san being subservient to her
Jahy with her new mana crystal imagines Manager-san being subservient to her

This episode is where I’ve become concerned about the series’ focus. What I particularly disliked is that having back-to-back episodes heavily focused on nothing but Jahy putting up a good front for Druj seems like a retread of the same ground, that didn’t pull nearly enough laughs to justify the lengths it was given. It wasn’t so much an issue by itself in the second episode, but coming back to the same story beats again right away in the next episode was just a little too much, and while it does have Druj noting her worries that Jahy might be changing inside, that concern felt like it was a bit too soon when coming from Druj.

Rather than helping to clarify where the story is meant to be taking us, after three episodes, I’m still uncertain — is it going to mostly ignore Jahy’s crystal hunt in favor of the laughs? Or are we going to see her make great strides in restoring the Dark Realm? Or, as Druj worries, are we going to see more changes in Jahy, as her forced reckoning with being powerless grants her a new appreciation for people and things she formerly considered beneath her?

Most comedy(ish) series like this, episode 3 would be a quarter of the way through a 12 episode season. At this point, they typically are getting ready to ramp up moving the story forward beyond their setup, if they haven’t already. But Jahy-sama is scheduled for 20 episodes. So I’m not sure if the repetitiveness and dragging the scenes with Druj on too long is an issue with stretching out the show over most of 2 seasons, with the source material itself, or just poor editing of the adaptation of the source to the screen.

At the end of the day, even a great cast may not be able to save a poor show. Like Druj, I want to believe that Jahy-sama has a great and glorious plan, and that the Great Jahy won’t be defeated in winning me over, so for now, despite my concerns, I’m still along for the ride. I just hope that maybe we get more of a real ‘arc’ of some kind in the show, and we’re not left with the same jokes/scenarios over and over.

Jahy cries in dismay “And what kind of cruel world is this that you cannot survive without money?”
So true.

Thanks to Dec for his help and suggestions in editing this article.

Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai! (The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!)
Based on: Manga
Produced by: SILVER LINK
Streaming on: Crunchyroll
Episodes watched: 3

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