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Review of Japanese Anime Series: 'The Devil Is A Part Timer!'
About The Devil Is A Part-Timer!:
The Devil Is A Part-Timer! aka Hataraku Mao-Sama is a thirteen-episode long series which aired from April 4, 2013 until June 27, 2013. It is adapted from Satoshi Wagahara's ongoing light novel series of the same name. In 2012, two manga series of the same name were published as well and are still ongoing at the moment. However, it is unknown if there is going to be a new season of the anime series at the moment.
This series is enveloped in the supernatural and uses the plot device of the battle between light and darkness. However, the main focus isn't necessarily on good vs. evil or angels vs. demons. Instead, the series focuses on a very comedic twist that most wouldn't see coming. Most viewers may get a “WTF” look on their faces before bursting into laughter after watching the first few episodes. This is perhaps one of the best comedic anime series for Spring 2013. All the main to major characters are forced into a relationship similar to the NBC sitcom Friends.
Despite the storyline and comedy, there are elements to this series in which many people can relate to. In short, this is an anime series for almost all ages. Children to adults can both enjoy this series.
The Devil Is A Part-Timer! takes place in two worlds: Earth and Ente Isla; the story takes place mostly on Earth in modern-day Japan. Ente Isla, while not much focus is placed on this world, does play a very important part to the plot. The story starts off in Ente Isla in which Demon Lord Sadao is confronted by a group of heroes led by Emilia Justina when the latter storms the former's fortress. A battle ensures as Emilia's group emerges victorious. When Sadao is on the losing end, he is about to get killed by Emilia. Before Emilia can finish off Sadao, the latter escapes through a dimensional portal thanks to Alciel who is one of his generals. Sadao and Alciel manage to escape into our world and end up in modern-day Tokyo, Japan.
From there, the humor begins and slowly starts to pick up. They find themselves in a foreign land in which the people speak a foreign language. Using whatever is left of their magic powers, Sadao and Alciel learn the ways of this world let alone Japan and to take on human appearances. Because that world lacks magic powers, both of them are trying to do whatever it takes to get their powers back. At the same time, they have to learn how to live and survive in this modern world. They manage to rent an apartment; Sadao takes on the alias of Sadao Mao while Alciel takes on the alias of Shiro Ashiya.
While there is somewhat of a direct plot, The Devil Is A Part-Timer! steps into the slice-of-life genre. The slice-of-life aspect is very important as Sadao takes on a part-time job at a fast food restaurant to make ends meat while Ashiya's role gets reduced from general to “homemaker.” While wanting to go back to Ente Isla and reclaim his empire, Sadao starts to have second thoughts as he bonds with his co-workers and enjoying life in Tokyo. On many levels, Sadao is going through a cultural shift.
However, it is revealed that Emilia managed to follow Sadao through the portal. Like Sadao, Emilia has also lost her powers. She had to take on a form of a Japanese woman to blend in with society. Emilia takes on the alias of Emi Yusa. She too is trying to find a way back to Ente Isla. For that reason, she agrees to a “truce” with Sadao and Ashiya. Also like Sadao, Emilia has to find a job as well and ends up being a salarywoman.
The story does a good job on focusing on the comedy while maintaining some serious aspects. If you enjoy a story that has comedy and supernatural, The Devil Is A Part-Timer! is definitely one to check out. Things get more comedic when other people end up arriving from Ente Isla. It's one of those stories in which the “hero” gets knocked down and slowly gets back up. In Sadao's case, he plans to climb the economic ladder. It's definitely a character-driven story.
Eventually, Sadao and Ashiya learn how to get their powers back; they end up using up their powers for altruistic purposes much to the shock of Emi. At the same time, Emi becomes shocked at Sadao and Ashiya's definition of evil such as a corporate pyramid scheme.
The Devil Is A Part-Timer! has quite the interesting cast of characters. Each character is diverse in their own way. When you consider what the characters have become like after arriving from Ente Isla, things get very crazily funny as the series progresses. With The Devil Is A Part-Timer! being a character-driven series, it's important to have very good characters. I found the characters to be quite entertaining in their own ways.
Sadao Mao – Sadao is the titular protagonist of the series. While still retaining the rank of Demon King, Sadao is without his powers. Strangely enough, he adjusts quite well to modern-day Tokyo. To make money, Sadao takes a part-time job working the cashier at a MgRonald (a play on McDonald's) fast-food restaurant. Even without his powers, Sadao's charisma and leadership skills makes him many friends at the work place. The manager is so impressed that she gives him a full-time position and eventually promotes him to assistant manager. Much to the shock of Emi, Sadao takes great pride in his job at MgRonald's.
Emi Yusa – Emi, whose real name is Emilia, is the female protagonist of the series. She is the Heroine who defeated Sadao back in Ente Isla. To make sure that Sadao is dead, she follows him to modern-day Tokyo. Upon their second encounter in Tokyo, Emi tries to kill him. When the cops arrive, they're both mistaken for a quarreling couple. They agree not to try to kill each other which Sadao more than keeps his end of. Still, Emi has plenty of mistrust towards Sadao due to their past together on Ente Isla. As the story progresses, it becomes somewhat of a one-sided romantic interest as Emi slowly develops feelings for Sadao. After landing on Earth, Emi ends up being the tsundere of the cast. I thought it was comical for a Great Heroine to end up working at a call center.
Shiro Ashiya – Ashiya, in his own way, contributes to the comic relief of the series. Back on Ente Isla, Ashiya was one of Sadao's most powerful generals. On Earth, without having his powers, Ashiya is nothing. While Sadao is working at MgRonald's, Ashiya stays at the apartment and becomes the “home maker.” His personality changes to become a frugal penny-pincher. The relationship with Sadao becomes passive-aggressive. One one hand, Ashiya is constantly on Sadao's case on finances; on the other hand, Ashiya thinks of himself as a failure to Sadao.
Chiho Sasaki – Chiho, who is a normal human girl, becomes one of the most important major characters in the story. Due to some circumstances, she becomes able to understand the language of Ente Isla. Chiho gets acquainted with Sadao when he starts working at the MgRonald's. She's his faithful co-worker and friend. Also, she develops a crush on Sadao and sees Emi as competition. Understanding what happened in Ente Isla, she is torn between her friendship towards Sadao and her sister-like friendship to Emi.
Hanzo Urushihara – Hanzo, back in Ente Isla, was known as the fallen angel Lucifer and one of Sadao's most powerful generals. He appears after several episodes into the anime; for two episodes, he's introduced as an antagonist. Like Ashiya, Hanzo adds to the comic relief. After being defeated by Sadao, Hanzo stays with him and Ashiya. While Ashiya is the home maker, Hanzo ends up being both a “NEET” (Not In Education, Employment, or Training) and a “hikikomori” (a recluse that refuses to leave the room). While Ashiya is frugal, Hanzo is lavish. Comically, Hanzo is the reason they run out of cash due to him buying all sorts of “useless” items. However, without his power, Hanzo is valuable due to his skills in technology. He spends most of his time going online and playing video games. The relationship dynamic between Ashiya and Hanzo adds to the comedy.
Suzuno Kamazuki – Suzuno, known as Crestia Bell in Ente Isla, is perhaps Emi's only “ally.” Of all the characters, Suzuno ends up having the most trouble adjusting. While everybody else adjusts to modern-day Japan, Suzuno asks like a blast from the past.
The series has an interesting mix of main characters and support characters. If there's one reason to watch the series, do it because the characters are very entertaining.
The music soundtrack feels very uplifting despite being a series about angels and demons. By listening to the opening and ending theme, the anime is very light-hearted and focuses on both comedy and personal relationships of the characters. After watching a couple of episodes, I felt the music seemed to be rather appropriate.
This is perhaps one of the most original anime series that I have come across. Normally, you have people from different worlds still having their powers. But, you have a group of people without their powers. Instead of directly trying to regain their powers, they find ways of adjusting to modern-day life. It's not everyday you come across a story in which a demon king ends up being a manager of a fast food restaurant, a great heroine ends up working at a call center, or a former demon general ends up being a shut-in.