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New Anime Series: Hataraku Mao-sama! (The Devil is a Part Timer)
Before we Begin...
Before we begin the review, ten days ago (at the time of this writing), Noboru Yamaguchi-senpai, the author behind the famous "Familiar of Zero" light novels and subsequent passed away well before his time. Yamaguchi-senpai, it was honor reading your work, and may your spirit continue to be felt both here and in the world that lies beyond. May the Kami Guide You.
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
The trend for great series based on light novels rather than manga is growing, and it's no wonder. With novels such as The Familiar of Zero and Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya becoming a series unto themselves (twenty novels for "Familiar," and eleven so far for "Haruhi"), there is no lack of material, as long as the voice artists are willing to be part of the series for the length of the series. Well, The Devil is a Part Timer is another series that has had rising popularity in Japan, with the original series winning the Silver Denkeki Novel prize, and six subsequent novels.
Well, now Part-Timer is an anime as well.
If you're not familiar with the plot, here's the premise for this series: The evil overlord Satan himself loses a battle against humans in another world (called Elsa Isle) and finds himself cast into modern day Japan. Having lost most of his powers, he takes up a part time job at a local McDonald's parody, biding his time until he can figure out a way to get his powers back and take over both worlds.
My Impressions (May contain spoilers)
So far, only two episodes have been streamed, but it looks pretty good. Since, I can't read Japanese yet, I have also yet to read the light novels, but the cast seems fairly well rounded. The part that I enjoy is that the devil isn't a jerk. Yeah, he's hell-bent on world domination, but he's also a nice guy. When the Hero, who also lost her mystical powers upon following him through the portal, loses her purse and the keys to her apartment, he lets her stay the night at his flat - even though he knows her only purpose on Earth is to kill him (and had already tried to, with hilarious results). When his young and clumsy co-worker Chiho makes simple mistakes at work, he's always there to offer her his encouragement and support. This kind of throws the audience for a loop when the Bad Guy is actually the Good Guy.
Also, Chiho is a great character to have in the series, and plays off of an excellent dynamic. She has kind of a mixed deredere/dandere. She's not really shy, and she's also very friendly, but you can tell she feels embarrassed around our hero (the devil) and is a little jealous of the girl he's seen around (the hero). Plus every anime needs one moe high-schooler with large breasts. I know it's not a popular opinion but it's kind of an unwritten rule, and I don't make the rules. She fits the moe stereotype down to a テ (That's te).
Something else interesting to note: The previously mentioned award for the first novel was a contest held by "Dengeki Daioh," which also was the magazine that ran Azumanga Daioh. Two of the lead roles were Chiho (called "Chiyo-chan" by her friends) and Sakaki, who were best friends in the series. Chiho's last name in "Devil?"
You guessed it... Sakaki.
Probably a coincidence, but still fun to point out.
Anyway, on the fanservice scale, this is about a Haruhi. It's not very crude, but there are some awkward moments. Also, aside from one scene so far, there isn't really a whole lot of skin, outside Chiho's ridiculously short school uniform. There is some strong language, and some violent scenes though. But still, It's a fun show to watch and so far is enjoyable. If you live in the United States, you should be able to watch it on FUNimation. It's simulcast every Friday at 3.30pm EST.