An isekai anime from the Fall 2022 anime season called Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun! does a lot of things at once. The "school life" subgenre, the excitement of seeing the world through Iruma Suzuki's eyes, the strength of friendship, and the perplexing dual nature of demons in the Netherworld are all topics covered in this anime. Deep down, Iruma's classmates are monsters, and occasionally, they truly show it.
The most of the time, these demons act and feel like people despite having horns on their heads. But because they are beings with a dual nature by nature, they are all half-other. Demons were once complete beasts, as the royal Asmodeus Alice demonstrates in the ninth episode of Season 3 with his vicious new battle maneuver against the Dorodoro brothers.
Understanding Asmodeus Alice's Dark Nature
Asmodeus Alice and his brawny rival Sabnock Sabro have already formed a combat team to compete in the Harvest Trial with brute force, as opposed to other teams relying on trickery, seduction or shelter to get ahead. However, Alice and Sabnock tend to get in each other's way, and the battle-hardened Dorodoro brothers are a formidable challenge. Alice cannot easily outperform the Dorodoro brothers to capture high-scoring ingredients in the jungle, so he reveals his secret weapon: pills that force his evil cycle to awaken.
All demons have an evil cycle where they revert to their true, original nature and become stronger at the expense of their kindness and rational thought. Normally, evil cycles awaken when a demon is sufficiently stressed, but Alice can use Baram's unique pills to become evil on command. He shocks the Dorodoro brothers with his sudden evil cycle in Episode 9, going wild and easily vanquishing the tough fruit bird that the two teams needed to harvest.
Alice even tries attacking the Dorodoro brothers directly at the risk of disqualification, only for Sabnock to speak the safety word, "Iruma," and snap Alice out of it. Even disciplined demons like Alice need a partner when using their evil cycle on command, so the partner can end it with the safety word and prevent disaster. All this helps Alice and Sabnock bridge the gap with their battle-hardened opponents, and it's a unique strategy that no other demon can employ in the Harvest Festival. For now, Alice and Sabnock have the edge with their half-other powers, but they haven't won the festival yet. They must follow through, and at this rate, they might not. Brute force can only accomplish so much in the jungle.
How the half-other anime trope was inverted in Asmodeus Alice
Alice's pill-induced rampage forcefully reminds Iruma-kun! fans that despite their goofy personalities and fun hobbies, such as Clara's toys and games, they are monsters of the Netherworld deep down, and no goofball prank can change that fact. Aside from Iruma Suzuki, every last Babyls student is a young demon, and even if Iruma-kun! sanitizes them for comedy's sake, there's no denying the core of evil found in all of them. Demons used to be total brutes who fit the classic image of a hellish monster, only for Demon King Derkila to usher in an age of peace and kindness, human-style. That turned all demons into half-others -- monsters with gentle exteriors.
This makes demons like Alice the opposite of most anime half-others, as this trope typically involves a human gaining monstrous power and learning to handle it. Recent examples include Denji as Chainsaw Man in the Chainsaw Man anime, along with the Titan Shifter Eren Yeager and the half-ghoul Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul. Those characters fought to preserve their humanity when dark powers got mixed in, but Alice was born a monster.
It's Alice's job to tame his true nature and act responsibly as a citizen of Derkila's peaceful Netherworld, and he will gladly infuse human-style discipline, kindness and nobility into his soul to set a good example for others. Now Alice is ready to return to his roots to access enormous power -- but only if he has a safety valve to keep things in check. That safety valve is, symbolically enough, the thought of Iruma Suzuki himself, who represents Alice's human half.