Hataraku Maou-sama! (Thoughts and Impressions)

RAN RAN RU

Oh boy, I’m finally back from a whole month of summer not posting (seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?!). So what’s a good way to kick-start a new blogging mood? Simple: talk about the most kickass anime I’ve watched recently. That’s right, The Devil is a McDonalds Employee… er, I mean, The Devil Is a Part-Timer!

Before I actually begin, I need to mention that I have a big problem with the official English title. Why? Well, first off, はたらく hataraku simply means “to work,” not “part-time work.” Otherwise, it would have been something like “Maou-sama no Arubaito!” (アルバイト arubaito being the Japanese term for “part time job”). See, after watching this anime, I’ve concluded that our lovable demon lord (and main protagonist) does *not* consider McRonalds a part-time job. In fact, I feel that a part of his character is that he considers it a serious full-time job in the human world. This guy takes his job more seriously than a surgeon – it’s not part-time, FUNimation.

Not as bad as Shingeki no Kyojin being called “Attack on Titan” (do the Japanese not know their own kanji?!), but it rustles my jimmies nevertheless.

Demon lord gets paid minimum wage

The basic concept of the story isn’t exactly a unique one. How many times have we seen the premise of a main protagonist being transported to a completely (and literally) foreign universe? Fushigi Yuugi personally comes to my mind. However, in that case, it was about a girl from the real world being trapped in a fantasy-based world. Here, we have a demon lord, Sadao Maou (a.k.a. Satan Jacob) and one of his generals, Shirou Ashiya (Alciel), natives of fantasy setting Ente Isla, finding themselves trapped in real world Japan without their powers.

Dat testosterone

And, you know what? I actually started this series knowing 0% of what it’s actually supposed to be like. I watched it off a suggestion with absolutely no prior input. See the above screenshot? Yeah, the first five minutes of the first episode made me think this was going to be some super-serious medieval anime. “So why do they call it the “Working Demon Lord”?

Oh phooey, the real world

Oh.

I soon figured it out. I actually think the best way to get into this series is not knowing what the hell it is beforehand. It made it even more hilarious when our demon duo were acting like a bunch of delusional (can you say, “chuunibyou“?) foreigners going through extreme culture shock in Japan because you’re brought into it after assuming the rest of the series would be as serious as the prologue.

Just… it caught me off guard, and I ended up busting a gut. The “real world” culture shock is where much of the comedy comes from in the earlier episodes – those first few episodes are, hands down, the funniest moments I had within the Spring 2013 line-up.

YES, RIDER KICK RIDER PUNCH KAMEHAMEHA SHIT GETS REAL

But, aside from the first few episodes, the comedy in general is really well-done. The execution of the comedy is probably what I liked best about this anime. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like everything else about the show. It does things well during the more serious moments, and I really liked the action.

The action isn’t the best ever – once you’ve watched Samurai Champloo, you begin to become more careful ever claiming such a thing – but it really emulated the style of action anime that I grew up with during the 90s. The battles aren’t amazing, and in this show they don’t seem to be the main focus (at least, so far within these 13 episodes), but whenever there was a fight scene, I got into the hotblood and was rooting for the protagonists.

Awesome Girls

Emi and Chiho are… “two thumbs up” =D

The romance aspect of the show is cute, I suppose, but in my opinion isn’t worth mentioning much. I do love the character interaction though, the chemistry between the cast is pretty cool, and again, it’s done in a style that, to me, seems to harken back to the 90s-styled anime that I grew up with. Not anything like Sword Art Online (sorry to anyone that likes SAO – personally not my cup of tea). I absolutely love the dialogue of this show, it brings a smile to my face. And knowing me, you know that I love being happy. 😛

There’s a lot left open for a second season (I know this is based on a light novel series that I should probably read as well), the background story and details revealed in these 13 episodes leave behind lot of curiosity. I really do think it did a good job as a animated light novel adaptation here, as it’s clearly able to stand on its own, despite ending at such a weird episode. I’m looking forward to more, White Fox.

It's like 90s badassery without the 90s

P.S. The OST is *wonderful*. Here’s the opening on YouTube (it’s the third updated sequence, so spoilers!):

4 thoughts on “Hataraku Maou-sama! (Thoughts and Impressions)”

  1. One thing I think deserves to be mentioned about Maou-Sama is that it doesn’t explain its fantasy setting with walls of exposition and pointless explanation dialogue. It’s quite refreshing.

  2. @Wahfuu: Mostly in this case, I don’t think it’s needed anyway. Slowly learning about how their world works adds to the curiosity.

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