This is review number two hundred and twelve. This anime is part of the Spring 2013 lineup. Writers block is a really annoying thing. It’s like being poisoned in an FF game and you can’t be bothered to use antidote so you just let the poison pass. It feels weird not posting new content for this long. I hope this slump is temporary. Anyways, the anime I’ll be reviewing is Hataraku Maou-sama or The Devil is a Part Timer. This is easily one of the best anime of the lineup so far. I’ve seen some mildly great ones but this show is simply amazing. It’s a thirteen episode anime with a great premise and even greater characters. Let’s read on. Story
The anime is about The Demon Lord, who lead an army of demons to conquer the lands of humans and to keep the world of Ente Isla all to himself, that is forced to take a tactical retreat after The Hero defeated him in a confrontation. He vowed to come back stronger than ever and left Ente Isla via a portal. He then found himself on Earth where his demon lord powers are tapped out and he is stuck in the body of a human. Along with one of his trusted generals, he is forced to lead the life of a normal human to try and survive. He didn’t expect to fully love his job at a fast food chain called MgRonald though and he also didn’t expect that the hero he vowed to get revenge on is on Earth as well trying to finish the job of slaying him for the good of Ente Isla.
Taking the Pants Off
Hataraku Maou-sama is a pretty interesting anime. The idea of a menacing demon lord forced to live on Earth and become an employee of a fast food chain certainly has a lot of promise in it. The anime itself isn’t really the most unique piece there is but it stands out because of how well the familiar tropes are nicely executed. I’ve seen enough promising Light Novel adapted anime that doesn’t really reach its full potential. This show is one of the best examples of a great adaptation of one. It’s a funny show with a simple story and really impressionable characters. If the idea of a demon overlord working at a MgRonald doesn’t catch your attention then I’m sure the lighthearted and comedic approach of the show coupled with the elements of a Shounen anime turned upside down is guaranteed to leave an impression on you as you watch it.
The premise of the anime is actually pretty intriguing. A powerful demon lord named Sadao, who was in the middle of a campaign to take over the world, is now a happy and content human with a stable job at a MgRonalds. The anime started out with a really promising story about war and demons but slowly became about Sadao and one of his generals fumbling their way around Earth and being overly conscious with money because they need it to survive. The anime is very comedic in a very refreshing way and the modernistic approach to a simple concept of good versus evil is a really nice touch. After the first episode, I was instantly hooked and the rest of the episodes just kept entertaining me. The wonderful thing about this anime is really just the familiarity of its setup being flawlessly executed. Almost everything in this anime is generic. From the characters to the progression of the story, nothing really stands out as remarkable but it is unbelievably entertaining though. Granted, the anime has clichés all over but none of that mattered when you see a group of funny characters trying to desperately save money or an episode about the everyday musings of a person with a deep love for his job. Cliché is never really a bad thing and it all depends of how you use them. It’s actually the familiar characters and story that made this anime pretty great.
The show has a pretty simple plot. The premise was nicely established on the first episode and the anime smoothly progressed from there. After sometime, the person that tried to kill him in Ente Isla is actually on Earth too. The Hero named Emi Yusa has went through the same ordeals as Sadao and is now working at a call center to survive on Earth. Emi is convinced that Sadao, the man that caused a war to break out and lead demons to kill thousands of humans, is planning something evil and she must keep an eye out for any of his evil tricks. Sadao is nothing more than a guy who enjoys his job and lives comfortably at a six tatami mat apartment along with one of his generals though. Emi isn’t convinced. The anime is really pretty straight forward after this. It’s mostly about Sadao’s normal everyday life on Earth where Emi is keeping close eyes on him and encountering some supernatural occurrences from time to time.
The anime is made up of two plot points though they are certainly interlinked. It’s not really the most complex story there is and everything really just relies on the generic elements being executed perfectly. The first one is about Sadao’s normal life. He is the demon lord on Ente Isla but he is just a typical fast food worker on Earth. This plot point is mostly concerned about rather unique lifestyle of Sadao where he lives in a small apartment with a fellow demon, has a girl stalking him waiting to stab a sword straight through him, and his seemingly colorful life at MgRonalds. The anime is very character centered so there’s not a lot of progression on this part of the anime. Majority of the episodes are just about the characters doing some activities together and it always ends up in hilarity. From dating a high school girl to living off on left over burgers and fries, the amazing characters really give life to a rather dull plot point. This plot point is usually just concerned about the content of the episode. Different everyday scenarios of the whacky characters are the main goal of this plot point that has a non-episodic setup. The first plot point may not seem much but it does help make the second plot point more intriguing.
The second plot point is about the state of Ente Isla and the trouble spilling over Earth. Sadao has left Ente Isla after being defeated but the war won’t be over unless he is slain by the hero, Emi Yusa. Various supernatural occurrences are actually tied with Ente Isla. From ghosts to magic, it’s stated that anything occult is brushed as something imaginary on Earth but they clearly exist on Ente Isla. Sadao is currently trying to find a way back home by investigating the various supernatural occurrences hoping it might lead him to a way back to Ente Isla. It looks like Sadao doesn’t need to do much because a lot of people from Ente Isla are out to cause trouble from him and everybody else. It’s a pretty easy setup to follow. This plot point had a more decent build up than the first one though. It usually takes a few episodes before something climactic happens and the story does its best to make sure the buildup is worth it. It is still character centered but there are often new status quo presented. The personal circumstances of the different characters are also used to strengthen this plot point. The payoff is pretty awesome because we are often treated to some awesome battles involving the characters. Certain things are still glossed over and certain elements are still massively predictable but it honestly doesn’t matter after you see the awesome demon lord be the awesome demon lord.
The characters in the anime are outstanding. They really made this show amazing. The familiar story made it easy for the characters to grow and their interaction to be more infectious. This also made the comedy of the anime pretty damn entertaining. The main characters are Sadao Maou and Emi Yusa. I love Sadou’s personality. He seem to possess the great personality of 90s Shounen characters but with a more modern wrapper. He is the typical main character than usually does stupid things that’ll get some good laughs and give certain characters a bad impression of him. When push comes to shove though, he slowly becomes this awesome person with a perceptive mind and a strong yet kind demeanor. This kind of personality is also present among great 90s characters. They always seem to be comic relief at majority of the show but you can also expect them to save the day when they are needed. These kinds of characters honestly died out some long time ago. Here is the familiar stereotype back but with a twist. Sadou is different because, while he does possess the awesome trait of a 90s hero, he looks like most typical main characters of today. He is just a normal person with no stand out appearance at first glance but always oddly seems to attract hot girls and he is completely oblivious about their advances. It’s honestly the best of both worlds. I love the fact that he is a threatening demon lord but somehow turned into a normal human with a content disposition regarding his life on Earth. Honestly, seeing him love his work is pretty fun to watch.
Emi Yusa is the other main character. She is the typical stubborn character that secretly likes Sadao. Nothing is ever hinted of her love though and the two mostly go about everyday life with a playful love-hate relationship. She is the hero that was supposed to slay Sadao but somehow hesitates now because of how docile Sadao looks on Earth. She has a wonderful personality because she just stubbornly rejects everything and keeps all her cute emotions to herself. I am a huge fan of the pairing though and the fact that they are mortal enemies makes their relationship all the more cuter. The rest of the cast is pretty amazing as well. They really made each episode worth watching and their interaction in the demon’s “stronghold” is pretty fun to watch. The rest of the Ente Isla characters living on Earth have their comedic stints that I really appreciate as well. Sadao’s general and roommate on the six tatami mat apartment is now a super thrifty person constantly going over their finances making sure it lasts before another payday. The unique design of having real life personalities while also accommodating their fantasy aspects, as being demons and such, was nicely executed in the show that you really can’t get enough of them.
Then there are the human characters living on Earth. They also share the same outstanding personalities as the rest of the cast. They are massively generic though but the anime did a good job of making sure they have an important role in the anime. Some of them are even tied in with the progression of the second plot point. The obvious stand out is Chiho Sasaki. She is the small girl with big breasts and a sugary sweet personality that would’ve come off as annoying in any other show. She is the one that loves Sadao yet her advancements are often ignored. She has large breasts though. I feel like I should repeat that. She provides us with the Rom-Com aspect of the anime though only to a slight degree since the main focus is leaning on more pure comedic aspect. The other human characters are pretty much plot devices but they still stand out whenever they have chance. From the gossipy workmate to the fast food chain manager, the anime did good job of including them into the story.
The Comedy aspect of the anime is really the best part of the anime. The characters have their own brand of comedy that relates to everyday life. It isn’t the kind of comedy that generates cheap laughs. I really admire the anime for being smart about it. There are none of the Ecchi related jokes, cartoonish over the top violence or overly specific parodies. The anime made sure the comedy remains sophisticated while it retains the stupidity that will make viewers laugh. The anime has a lot of situational comedies, cute arguments about the simplest of things (like money or pouring honey over cucumber), and a whole lot of blatant real world brands parodied just for fun. I’m sure just watching the first episode and seeing the characters do their thing is enough to convince people to watch the rest of the anime. The character interaction is familiar and very entertaining with a comedic structure that is really fun to watch. As I said before, the anime doesn’t do anything groundbreaking but the flawless execution of the elements made it pretty worthwhile.
White Fox is a pretty interesting studio. I cried a bit knowing that the made Jormugand so underwhelming but it looks like they are still the promising studio that gave us SteinsGate. I really love Hataraku Maou-sama simply because it feels like a really good anime adaptation. The complexity of the light novel seems to be a simple hurdle to overcome and the beauty of the medium was nicely translated to the anime. Making a decent adaptation is not a simple task but this show made it feel like such a thing isn’t a problem for White Fox. I hope they can make more satisfying anime such as this because rarely do an anime really hit you hard and make sure you leave home happy quite like Hataraku Maou-sama.
Sight and Sound
Character design is pretty simple. The characters all look massively generic. The generic appearance make it easy for us to familiarize with them though since simply looking at the small girl with big breasts can tell you that her role will be along the lines of a romantic girl crushing over the main character (See Kazumi Yoshida, Shakuna no Shana). I do admire how the anime nicely capture the appeal of the light novel design. The small details and the nice emphasis on the different colors on the characters really made them stand out despite the generic style. The detail work and the more defined skin tone made the characters great eye candy which is something I admire considering how stereotypical the characters look. The outfit also made sure they stand out as well. The anime is closely tied in with everyday life so the characters mostly wear work clothes but there is a certain novelty on how the characters look. Simple clothes like a fast food chain uniform or a school uniform adds more details to the characters that really made them look more appealing. It’s generic yet complex in its own little way.
The design of the characters on Ente Isla is also pretty great as well. Ente Isla has a more Fantasy style as oppose to the everyday musing of Earth so everything there is over the top Shounen. Sadao’s demon design is pretty awesome. He has a menacing look as the details of his overly muscled body is greatly displayed while you notice how fierce his face looks sporting a broken horn. The armor design of Emi is also pretty great. It isn’t featured much but it also possesses that familiarity the anime based everything on. The rest of the characters wear the typical style of clothing and the detail work is also pretty nice. From magicians wearing robes to demons with their awesome black wings, there is no shortage of greatly defined characters in this show.
The animation is pretty decent. The comedic content of the anime comes through nicely because of how well the animation portrays it. Simple movements like pedaling a bike to changing clothes have some pretty great animation to them that I personally appreciate. The details of the characters are often lost during certain scenes but it doesn’t really affect the overall appeal of the anime. The fight scenes are also pretty great. They are short and have long dialogues in them but the movements are truly Shounen with fights in the sky and quick exchanges of blows. The effects of destroying buildings and public places as well as having some innocent bystanders join the fray made the fight scenes pretty great. They are pretty linear though and, again, the various characters and their funny interactions make these scenes enjoyable.
The anime’s OP is “ZERO!!” by Minami Kuribayashi. It’s a pretty decent song but it’s clearly Minami’s voice that made it amazing. It feels like your standard OP song though and there is very little to note here. The song also tells about seizing the opportunity that doesn’t really stand out as much. The OP sequence features all the characters and, oddly, certain scenes from the show itself. The anime doesn’t have its own flashy OP. There are certain unique scenes but majority are taken from certain episodes of the anime which is something new for me and my long relationship with anime.
The anime’s ED is “Tsuki Hana” by nano.RIPE. It feels pretty damn amazing to hear this band perform anime songs. I am not a fan of the singer’s voice but I am a huge fan of the rhythm the band dishes out. This particular trait is prominent in this song. It’s a stylish acoustic song about falling in love. It’s a bright and highly addictive song. This band seems to be on the up and up. I can’t wait to see more of their awesome songs in more anime. The ED sequences features our big breasted side character, Chiho. The sequence often changes to display the talent of the studio and I honestly skip the ED so I can’t describe them much. They are all awesome scenes involving Chiho though. The standard one is Chiho in certain costumes in a highly artistic montage where she does some pretty cute things. Other times, I think it’s just a still shot of her with the camera panning in one direction. The artwork is mostly 029’s (029 is read as Oniku for some odd reason) prominent VN illustration designs.
7/10 “It’s an amazing character centered show with a unique premise of a menacing demon lord asking if you want fries on the side.”
This is one of the more enjoyable anime of the Spring 2013 lineup. I’ve seen quite a few of them but this one really just stands out pretty amazingly. The pacing got a bit slow towards the later parts but the anime made sure you enjoy the characters all the way. If you enjoy comedy anime then you’ll enjoy this anime. If you love the mix of Shounen with some subtle Slice of Life then try this one out. I recommend it.