Final Impressions: If It’s for My Daughter, I Might Even Defeat a Demon Lord

Season Aired: Summer 2019

Number of Episodes: 12

Genre: Slice-of-life, fantasy

Thoughts: I will admit that I watched this show to spite my friend, who refused to even entertain the idea of watching it. Upon seeing the trailer, I was intrigued. Each season seems to have at least one show with a small precious child who must be protected. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid had Kanna, Cells at Work had the platelets, and here’s another show with the same formula. The difference is in the main character: he fawns over this precious child just like fans do in real life. The urge to protect the small child is even in the name: If It’s for My Daughter, I Might Even Defeat a Demon Lord. What is there not to like? What could possibly go wrong?

So now that the anime has ended, would you’ve even defeated a demon lord if it was for your daughter? Let’s find out.

Just a note— I have not read the light novel, so I cannot assess how well the anime has adapted the original source material.

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Story: Dale Reki is a hardened, albeit young, adventurer who’s ready to die every time he sets out into the world. His daily routine consists of killing monsters, getting paid, and going home to his small room right above the local tavern. But his world turns upside-down one day when he finds a young girl out in the woods.

This is Latina, a young demon girl, and, despite not knowing her name, let alone being able to hold a full conversation with her, Dale decides the best thing he can do is take her back home with him and raise her as his daughter. And, eventually, he’s reduced to this:

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If you were to ask me what this show is about, I’d have no idea what to tell you. Unlike some of the other anime that came out at the same time, such as Fire Force, there’s no overarching story, no broad conflict, and not even a villain to defeat. It’s just a cute girl doing cute things and everyone around her acknowledging how cute she is. To give you a sense of what I mean, there’s an episode early on where nothing happens. No new plot points, no new recurring characters, nothing. And that’s a trend throughout the show: there isn’t much continuity from episode to episode. There are no overarching plot points, and any that last for longer than a few episodes are rarely meaningful to the story as a whole. Save for one arc at the end, I would go so far as to say that not a lot happens from episode to episode. Even that arc had the potential for interesting worldbuilding and funny moments, but doesn’t take advantage of that opportunity in a meaningful way.

That said, it’s not like every episode was a bad one. There are some episodes around the middle of the show that are quite compelling and break from the show’s lighthearted nature. They examine Latina more in depth, not as a cute girl, but as a demon girl, different from all the humans who surround her, and her reaction to that knowledge. These moments were genuinely heartbreaking and offered a different take on the overall story. And in these moments, I think you really got to see the world of the story for what it was and what it could be. There’s a lot of potential in what the first season has already established, even if that potential wasn’t fully explored.

Ultimately, though, If It’s for My Daughter’s story is very weak overall, but each episode was still enjoyable and I kept coming back for the next one.As a slice of life, it’s designed to take its time, flesh out the world, and have fun while doing it. There might not be much of a story, at least in the anime, but it was never meant to have one in the first place. It’s clearly a show designed for wholesome fluff and gaiety. Maybe in the future, it can be more serious; certainly it laid a lot of groundwork, but that’s not the kind of show it is right now.

Characters: If you’re watching If It’s for My Daughter because you’re looking to see rich, dynamic characters, you’re watching the wrong show. In fact, if you’re watching for any reason other than Latina, you’re watching the wrong show. From the beginning, the series understood that cute sells and they did their best to drill it into their viewers that Latina is precious and must be protected. She’s mature, naive, talented, modest, and has the pouting face every tiny child must have. To give you a sense of how much the show emphasizes Latina’s cuteness, the cutaway shots that would go with commercial breaks always has a shot of Latina in a different outfit. Most importantly, everyone in the series loves her, even the rugged adventurers who frequent the pub. In fact, the ones that don’t literally get written out. If the show actually took itself seriously, I’d consider Latina a Mary Sue-like character who’s designed to be perfect — almost too perfect. Personally, I dislike these kinds of characters, but because of the show’s carefree nature, Latina actually becomes a pretty likable character. And even in its darker moments, we get to see a completely different side of Latina, one you can’t help but feel sorry for. She’s easily the most fleshed out character in the series,

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Surprisingly though, If It’s for My Daughter has a pretty solid supporting cast, and yes, I’m including Dale here as well. For all his whining about how cute Latina is, which makes up about 80% of his personality, Dale’s actually a decent character, if not a little underdeveloped. The show briefly touches on his backstory, giving him a little depth, but not enough to be meaningful, as his main role in the story is the viewer’s outlet for all their Latina-must-be-protected feelings. And lastly, Kenneth and Rita, the recurring bartender characters, have a lot of potential to grow. They act as the straight man and woman, keeping the viewer grounded in the world of the story. Honestly, they were some of my favorite characters, and should If It’s for My Daughter get a second season, I look forward to seeing their development.

Music: The soundtrack for If It’s for My Daughter doesn’t have any noteworthy tracks, but it does have a solid intro and ending. Although I don’t think either song stands out, they are not bad, and I personally enjoy anime that have openings and endings specifically written for them,  since many anime intros and endings aren’t actually related to the plot at all, instead opting to focus on certain themes discussed throughout the series.

Latina’s voice actor, Kanan Takao, sings the show’s intro, “I’m With You,” and Dale’s actor, Nobuhiko Okamoto, sings the ending, “This is Yuusha but Zannen.” At first glance, these could easily fade into the background of generic anime intros and endings, but on closer inspection, there’s more going on. In essence, these are character songs, as each one reflects the feelings of the singer. Latina’s song is, essentially, about gratitude and unwavering loyalty for the one she loves. Dale’s song reiterates how cute he thinks Latina is and how he doesn’t want to leave her alone. These feelings are also reflected in the tone of the songs. Latina’s song is earnest and dramatic, getting you hyped for the episode while also demonstrating her conviction and faith in her “father.” By contrast, Dale’s is upbeat and cartoonish, reflecting the almost comedic levels to which he fawns over Latina. It’s a subtle touch I didn’t fully understand at first, but I respect the amount of thought they gave to these pieces.

Final Thoughts: Unfortunately, If It’s for My Daughter is a painfully average anime. It does nothing wrong, but it also does nothing well. It’s not going to amaze you with rich storytelling or compelling characters. But it’s also not trying to do any of that. This is a feel-good show, plain and simple. You’re supposed to come in, turn your brain off for a little bit, fawn over Latina, and walk away feeling good about your life. And if that’s what you want in an anime, then If It’s for My Daughter is right up your alley. 

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