I give this cute comedy about a demon girl trying to fight a magical girl...a 69/100.
Ugh, I really wanted to like this one. I passed it up when it first aired, but after learning a bit more about it, I thought I'd finally give it a try after I finished some shows. But let me ask you: Have you ever watched a show that, even though it has a small number of episodes, took you months to finish in its entirety for whatever reason? But you couldn't bring yourself to drop it completely? The Demon Girl Next Door, Japanese title being Machikado Mazoku, is one of those shows for me. Basically, a girl named Yuko Yoshida finds out she's descended from a family that serves a demon, Lilith, and they've been constantly defeated by magical girls over centuries. When her demon powers awaken, her family wants her to take on a local magical girl, Momo Chiyoda, so they can break the curse that another magical girl put on them long ago. But Yuko is weak and tiny due to being sick and living in poverty, and Momo, seeing how pitiful she is, would much rather be friends with her, though decides to train her anyway.
This show is mainly a comedy, and comedy can be very subjective. A lot of the show's humor comes from pointing out, lampshading, and poking fun at typical magical girl tropes, along with rapid-fire dialogue that never seems to slow down, bordering on parody. Normally I tend to like this sort of stuff, but MachiMazo really pours it on really thick. I watched this in Japanese first, and even with the subtitles, I found the dialogue to be really hard to follow. All the characters speak really fast save for some, and it felt to me like the actors were struggling to get their lines out as quick as possible rather than talking naturally. Many of the same jokes are constantly reused over and over. Hey, Yuuko is so weak she can't punch anyone hard enough! Hey, Momo is a stoic magical girl who's super strong and thinks Yuuko's weak attempts at villainy are cute! Hey, Yuuko's sister Ryoko idolizes her big sister so much she constantly misunderstands everything she does! Hey, Yuuko's demon outfit is skimpy and revealing!
It doesn't really help that the story meanders a lot, and often times, it felt like the show was struggling to give the characters something to do throughout each episode. A lot of it just consists of misunderstandings between Yuko and Momo, the two leads, or just them messing around and not doing anything to progress the plot. The characters don't really fare much better, as they're all either generic or are just made up of one gimmick and nothing else, with Shion and Mikan being the worst offenders, as the former is defined by her weirdness and obsession with the occult, and the latter is defined by the fact that she has a curse that causes bad things to happen when she gets anxious or flustered. That's it. The final two episodes try to rectify this and inject some genuine storytelling that does work, but unfortunately it doesn't do enough to save the show, as it comes so late that by the time the series ends, the audience really doesn't have much of a reason to care anymore. The show really should have tried harder to flesh out and develop the characters more.
For what it's worth though, the animation, while nothing noteworthy, is pretty crisp and sleek-looking, and the music is fairly good, too. But again, they're both nothing special. One thing about the animation did bug me, though: For some reason, the tops of all the characters' hair are a different color than their usual hair color. For example, Yuko's hair is brown, but the top of it has purple shading, and Momo's hair is pink, with the top of it being yellow. Everyone else has this weird quirk too, and I don't know if this was deliberate, or part of the art style, or something else, but it really bugs me to no end. It really says something when I find myself liking shows like Sleepy Princess over this. Oh, and the series doesn't really end, as it sets up plot points that are not gonna go anywhere because the anime is just a commercial for the manga. In all honesty, I found this show kind of boring.
Not one of the better comedies or magical girl parodies out there. But if you want something sweet that'll make you laugh, knock yourself out with MachiMazo. It may not be for me, but I'm sure it's someone else's cup of tea.