With so many great fandoms available to us, sometimes it is easy to be distracted. I also seem to get bogged down in one fandom (frequently Disney), leaving my other favorites to go on without me, but I always come back. That’s what this month has felt like for me, a glorious return to anime; both old favorites and new series. That’s how I stumbled on a nice little series called The Devil is a Part Timer (Hataraku Maou-sama!).
It is the story of Demon King Satan and the Hero of Humanity, who is determined to defeat him no matter what. The action begins in a parallel universe—Ente Isla—where magic flows freely. Satan and his four demon Generals are battling to conquer the humanity of Ente Isla. However, human forces, led by the Hero with a sacred sword, defeat the Generals and confront King Satan himself. Knowing he’s beat, Satan, with one of his generals in tow, opens a dimensional portal to escape. The Hero of Humanity follows before the portal closes. Unfortunately for Satan and the Hero, the portal leaves them in modern day Tokyo, a place with no real magical energy. What’s a demon to do? Get a job at a burger place, MgRonalds. Unfortunately, the Hero is also in Tokyo, where she begins to stalk Satan. And here the hijinks and comedy ensue.
What I really like about the series is the ambiguity of the stereotypical character tropes. The demons are more humorous than scary and they are usually using their fleeting demonic powers for good. Plus, the Hero is not blindly pious and good. By the end of the season, she really has doubts about her assignment to destroy Satan. Also, the series has some seriously funny moments, like Satan looking to dominate a burger joint or a general who is always late to the problem. Plus, who hasn’t felt ridiculous while working at a retail job? It humorously shows all the little foibles we all exhibit when we are trying to begin adult lives and be the best at the retail job we have. A good time is to be had.
Of course, everything has some drawbacks too. Sometimes, it’s just too anime for words. It’s a good example of Shonen writing: nothing too explicit, but lots of fan service. I seem to be drawn to the comedy and action of a good Shonen anime (directed toward boys), but the stereotypical elements—like big bosoms and giggling—always annoy me. Sometimes, the anime also seems to flounder in filler episodes. They are amusing, but do not seem to advance the story at all. Of course, the biggest problem is that there is only one season.
The Devil is a Part-Timer hits all the notes I look for in anime; a bit of comedy, action, and fun characters. It fits in perfectly with some of my favorites: Trigun, Inuyasha, and Black Cat. And there’s good news from the rumor mill; a 2nd season is announced for some time in 2017. Here’s to hoping. Now to catch up on some other series I’ve missed.