Hataraku Maou-sama!

Title:Hataraku Maou-sama!
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
Keywords: , , ,
Notables: HIKASA Yoko
ONO Yuuki
In another dimension the Devil King Sadao is only one step away from conquering the world when he is beaten by Hero Emilia and forced to drift to the other world: modern-day Tokyo. As "conquering the world" are the only skills the Devil King possesses - and are obviously unnecessary in his new situation - he must work as a freeter to pay for his living expenses.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

Spring 2013 TV anime premiered on April 4, 2013.

Animated by White Fox.
13 TV episodes (~24min each).
See second season, Hataraku Maou-sama!!.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 8 7 7 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:2701#1552]
This comedy was rather original. Take your standard fantasy-medieval action characters with the hero and the demonic baddie and his cohort, get all three whisked away to our world where they are mostly powerless and wind up having to get jobs to get by in this world. What makes the comedy of this series work is that the hero, Emi, and the demon, Maoh, take their jobs seriously yet also find the issues from their home world, Ente Isla, coming along at points to complicate their situation. For reasons known only to Maoh, he wishes to take over our world through gaining a position of authority at a fast food restaurant chain and takes his job very seriously. His "enemy" Emi stalks him out while not working, thinking he's still up to no good from his deeds in Ente Isla despite the guy being more interested in his job than world conquest. The two are forced into teaming up at a couple points in the series when enemies from Ente Isla wreck havoc on Earth for reasons you would find from a typical medieval-fantasy series, yet having some comical banter and moments tossed in to keep things from getting too dark or serious. Maoh concerned more about being late for his job than the serious battle he is in against a baddie in the middle of the series still gives me a hoot whenever I see the episode.

While technically a comedy, Maoh-sama does sport fluid and solid animation in its battle sequences when Maoh and Emi cross paths with the mentioned enemy threats with destruction of parts of the city and aerial battles that the two engage in with the mentioned threats. Character designs are a bit on the plain side in terms of looks, but are reasonably detailed and sport as much vivid color as scenery shots.

The series does lack a proper ending considering Emi and Maoh are still stuck on Earth and have yet to accomplish their goals, leaving open the possibility of this series getting a second season. Getting quite a bit of fun out of Hataraku Maoh-sama, I'm hoping that I can see more of this in the future if a second animated season comes out.

Last updated Friday, June 28 2013. Created Friday, June 28 2013.
Watch Stretch [series:2701#628]
(Watch+ or Rent-)

(All episodes watched):

Any series with the word 'Maou' (demon) in its title sets off an alarm in my head, due to the at best mediocre quality of previous shows of that type. My impression has been that they tend to be sword and sorcery stories which attempt to exploit the public's interest in magic without investing much talent into character or plot development, or jokes. This one looked like the usual Maou crap at first, but when demon king Sadao and his general Alsiel are somehow transported to present-day Japan, it did a 180 degree turn and instantly became amusing and interesting. I would not say that the jokes are terribly funny, but the odd circumstances that pop up are definitely fun. One possible problem is that Sadao adjusts amazingly quickly to life in Japan, securing an apartment, appliances, and a job more readily than a genuine Japanese person probably could. He does have a limited supply of magic on his side, which can hypnotize people into doing his will, but I wonder where the show will go with so many problems solved in just one episode. He and Alsiel don't seem to give their transformation from frightening demons into ordinary looking people a second thought, either. For all the amusement, how do we explain that Sadao (who also goes by the name of Satan), seems a pretty responsible guy who bears no particular ill-will against the average person? He is so courteous and such a hard worker; if only there were more demons like this one in society! Maybe 'demons' in Japan aren't necessarily evil. But such a bizarre juxtaposition from the usual demon premise to everyday life in Japan couldn't help intriguing me. The arrival of yet another person from their original world promised to rev things up yet again in episode two. This was the first new series of the Spring 2013 season that I could be confident I'd be watching to the end.

I started off with high hopes for this show--it had more than just dumb humor, there is a touch of wit to it as well; that's a rare and precious thing. What's more, some sort of longterm plot seemed to be coming together, as additional persons from Isla Esla (or whatever) show up and Sadao's coworker girl is attracted to him. I think the comedy is much more fun than the action, as when a former subordinate of Sadao shows up on Earth and tries to kill him. That sort of conspiracy could easily happen in any sword and sorcery story, whether it was taking place in present-day Japan or not. It's the Japan angle which is unique to this show, so I wish it were played for all it was worth, rather than the usual dime-a-dozen action scenes. Another thing which doesn't make sense is the business where one minute characters are trying to kill each other, but after Sadao wins they decide to all be friends. The cleverness which I had noted early on seemed to wear off and was replaced by the not entirely exciting plot developments. What do I care about corruption in the state church back in Isla Esla? Perhaps the novelty had worn off, and this show trying to hedge its bets by being both comedy and magical action is a major reason why.

It seems that Sadao is now the good guy, and numerous bad people try to hurt him. Is there any point anymore to him being a demon at all? This show seems to have drifted away from what made it unique and become pretty much a standard issue teen romantic comedy. Whether Sadao's 'MgRonald's' franchise loses a good deal of business to a new 'Sentucky' fried chicken franchise seems to be the critical issue of episode nine. The political scheming hardly interests me at all; Is there ever going to be an explanation of why a demon lord in one world is an exemplary citizen in another? This show needs a critical question, like 'will Sadao reform his evil ways' (which already seems pretty obvious), or 'Will he fall in love with Hero'? or something like that. As it is, it just seems to be wandering about, with minor problems coming up and being solved in a way which allows a few halfway decent jokes. But if the show is going to rely on comedy, the jokes have got to be better than halfway decent; if it is going with drama, there has got to be a crisis and climax building, and I didn't see much sign of that until near the end. It just seems that Sadao's past as an evil warlord is little more than a joke itself for most of the show, but the jokes aren't funny enough to justify that. While watching the final episode it occurred to me that what ought to have been done at the start was for Sadao to have experienced some sort of partial amnesia as a result of crossing over to Earth. That would explain how he's able to be such a do-gooder over here: even demon lords aren't necessarily bad at heart. At some point he could regain his memory and there are all sorts of intriguing and moving ways in which he could make peace with his past. But instead the problem is just ignored. A halfway decent conclusion comes about in the next-to-last episode, and some plot strands are tied up after that. But my enthusiasm for this show waned somewhat towards the end and I think it was ultimately not as good as I had thought would be the case early on.

Last updated Friday, July 19 2013. Created Wednesday, April 10 2013.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Series Web Site http://maousama.jp/

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