Comedy That Transcends Cultural Barriers
The Devil is a Part-Timer or Hataraku Maou-sama! is a rare type of comedy anime that manages to get Western humor right while still feeling Japanese. This is true of both the sub and the dub, but today I’m going to be just talking about the dub as that’s my general preference as most of you know by now. The Devil is a Part-Timer, or Devil as I’ll refer to it from now on, was one of the better shows to come out of the Spring season in 2013. Did the show leave me impressed by the end of its 13 episode run, or did it run out of steam for me?
Devil cold opens with an unexpected fantasy setting. The animation and direction here is top-notch and doesn’t at all match the expectations that the show’s poster image displays. This subversion of expectation will become a running theme of the anime as time goes on, turning familiar tropes on their heads while still following the general pattern most would expect.
The Devil’s armies ravage the poor humans and all seems bleak until The Heroes appear and drive The Devil into a corner. On the verge of defeat, The Devil takes flight into another world with his right hand man, Alciel in order to regroup and conquer the land of Ente Isla once and for all. There is only one problem, in this new world Satan finds himself human and in a world without magic in modern day Japan. What’s The Devil to do? Get a job at the local MgRonald’s of course and conquer both lands!
That’s the basic plot. Of course things get complicated as Emilia The Hero also follows Satan into this new world in order to defeat him once and for all… until she realizes he isn’t that bad of a guy. This in turn brings about all sorts of shenanigans as the characters interact with people from this new world and those from the old.
Satan, or Sadou Maou as he is referred to once he becomes human, is surprisingly nice. Emilia assumes he must be evil, along with the audience, but he never does anything all that bad. This can feel a bit weird, but it works well for the show and adds to the narrative for anyone who is actually familiar with Devil lore and mythology from various cultures. That’s more than I want to get into here, but even from a Biblical perspective, this is the case and makes Sadou’s character that much more believable.
As I mentioned previously, the show’s humor is pretty flexible. In the first episode their is a fairly Japanese joke about the pronunciation of Katsudon being misunderstood as “Catsdoom.” In the same episode, there is a more American joke referring to the Super Size Me documentary. In this respect the show manages to find a pretty ideal balance of Japanese and more Western humor that connects well with its audience.
This brings me to the biggest flaw of the show. Having seen the anime a total of four times now, with various different people, the show almost never had us laughing out loud or much at all. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally somebody chuckled or snickered a bit, but even Clannad got more of a reaction with its jokes than Devil did. Jokes in this show give you internal satisfaction rather than manifesting outwardly which is odd because the jokes are funny and they are clever. Of course, this could be just my experience but seeing that this was the reaction literally EVERY time, it’s worth mentioning.
Despite this, of the 8 or so people I’ve seen this with, all of them would highly recommend the show for both its humor and even the intrigue that the story manages to provide. For a comedy show, the “plot” is actually quite decent and manages to keep viewers interested while still providing a vehicle for jokes.
While the story certainly keeps things interesting, the last episode of the anime falls flat in a major way. Following up a major battle arc, this status-quo episode feels “meh” to end on. It’s starts off alright, but quickly becomes unimpressive with the actual focal point. It does have a fist in the sky tag line moment to end on, followed up with an epilogue, but that isn’t enough to save the final episode here.
Speaking of epilogue, this show teases a sequel here and if it had one, this wouldn’t be an issue. Since the last episode is pretty uneventful outside of a few key scenes, the sequel bait makes sense. The show was also fairly popular and successful, granted after its airing season, but the chances of a sequel seemed good then. However, it’s 2017 now and it isn’t looking like season 2 is going to ever happen. If it did, I would recommend it, but as it stands, the tease for it only drags down the quality of season 1.
There isn’t much more to get into on this one without spoiling everything. The characters are each amusing and have fetching designs. In the music department I don’t have a whole lot to say either. The OP is nothing special outside of the first few moments with a great duality shot, but past that, nothing of real note. The ED is trash for most of the show and once it does improve, it is only just minor. Lastly, the animation is solid for the kind of show this is, especially when it does the Fantasy scenes, no complaints here.
With all that taken into consideration, I give The Devil is a Part-Timer a score of 8/10 with the recommendation to watch it. The anime earns at least that much. A one time watch will yield enjoyment for almost anybody but beyond that, the show is really only worth owning if it was highly enjoyed. It doesn’t work well with multiple rewatches either, which is a hit to the recommendation on top of everything else. If you are looking for a comedy series on the shorter side, than Devil should satisfy.
The Devil is a Part-Timer is available from Funimation on Blu-ray & DVD (combo). In addition, you can stream the first 2 episodes there for free by clicking the link above, or HERE. You can also stream the show on Hulu subbed. Of course the show is available for purchase over at Righstuf for $33.74, or a bit less if you are a member. Righstuf is my preferred place to pick up anime as they usually have the best price and excellent service (not paid to say that by the way, my actual thoughts here), but you can also get it from the distributor or other online outlets.
For alternate views/opinions all leave Glass Reflection’s review of the anime and Bob’s review of the anime below. Some spoilers in those though, fair warning.
Not Affiliated With Arkada, Just Like His Videos
Again, Not Affiliated With Bob Either.
What are your thoughts on The Devil is a Part-Timer? Love it or hate it, let me know in the comments below. Please leave a like and share this article if you enjoyed it since that lets me know I’m doing a good job here. Consider subscribing to my blog to keep up with the latest happenings here and thanks for stopping by!