If you skipped the video because you weren’t sure what it was, correct your mistake now. It is the opening credit sequence (OP) of the show I want to gush about today: The Devil is a Part-Timer!, and I love the opening song, particularly the very beginning.
Unnecessary ending punctuation in the title aside (and let’s be honest, with addition of this gem of a show, series punctuated with exclamation marks are doing pretty good with me so far), The Devil is a Part-Timer! (or Hataraku Maō-sama!) has a lot of good things going for it, primarily a charming character that is both unexpected and delightful. And by character, I don’t mean a character in the show, I mean the overall nature of the show is to be relatable, immersive, and disarmingly funny. I struggled for a bit, trying to think up something to which I could compare it, but it really is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It would be a scandal for the show not to continue into a second season, but that’s news for another day.
For those of you who haven’t seen or heard much about this show, the title does a pretty good job of explaining the basic premise. Satan, fresh off a forced retreat at the hands of the Hero, leaves his home world of Ente Isla and arrives in modern day Japan, along with his loyal general Alciel. Transformed into humans, they lose their magic powers, but gain the typical array of human concerns, namely, the need to eat to stay alive. And so, Satan assumes a human name, Maou, and begins to work at…*cough*…MgRonald’s as a part-time associate. Along the way, the ensemble cast that so typically populates anime assembles, with other inhabitants of Ente Isla joing Maou and Ashiya (Alciel’s human name) in the human world, as well as a few humans native to earth.
Comedically, the show’s greatest strength is its use of situation to create humor. At its most basic level, it’s not a romance or a revenge story, but a simple story of some unusual people trying to survive in very normal circumstances. Facial expressions, character relationships, and typical human situations abound and the show’s writers find humor in all of the above. Ironically, the human element in a story about demons is quite strong. We humans, as it turns out, are quite funny, even as we try to live out our ordinary lives. Important particularly to my own assessment of the show, the humor is generally quite clean, focusing more on the absurdity of the situation and the various ways in which the demons and other inhabitants of Ente Isla try to fit in and survive in our world.
There is, I think, a certain poignancy behind this set up, in the contrast between the supernatural, war-torn world from which they come, the difficulty of survival there in the face of many opposing powers, and the struggle that many of us experience to survive in a world of minimum wages and part-time jobs. How does our way of life look to outsiders? It’s a question posed by another of this season’s anime, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, and according to The Devil is a Part-Timer! we can look pretty ridiculous in our rat race lives as we struggle to to make ends meet.
In part 2 of the review, look for a continuing discussion on the show’s merits, including what I hope will be an ongoing theme in every review: “Reasons to Watch.” Our time is valuable, so I want to present a few, concise reasons that The Devil is a Part-Timer! is worth your time. In the “Reasons to Watch,” I want to highlight why shows are good for your spirit and soul, as well as why they are good art. Hope you join me for the second part of the review.
For those of you who watched, what were your thoughts on the show’s first season? Good enough to warrant a second? Let me know in the comments!