Anime Reporter sinks its teeth into The Devil is a Part Timer (episodes 01-13), the satirically-satanic anime adaptation of Satoshi Wagahara’s light novel.
The tale starts off with a bit of a history lesson on the world of Ente Isla, a world filled with magic which has been concerned by the Devil lord, Satan, and his four equally demonic generals. When the world seemed all but within his grasp, a human hero rose up and inspired people to fight back, effectively turning around the entire war. Three of Satan’s four generals were eventually defeated and when the enraged forces of humanity came knocking on his castle door, Satan was forced to make a risky retreat to another dimension with his remaining general, Alciel.
Now the fun begins. Satan and Alciel find themselves on Earth, a world where technology is prevalent but there seems to be no magic whatsoever. This is mainly what accounts for Satan’s transformation from an eight foot, horned and hooved behemoth into a fairly scrawny teenage boy.
Satan (a.k.a. Sadao Maou) and Alciel have a lot of adjustments to make, living in modern day Japan. Not only do they need to pick up an entirely new language and adapt to a new culture, but they have to shake off the powerful lifestyle they’re used to and embark upon a new form of evil; part-time work. That’s right, even the Dark Lord eventually has to bow down towards the awesome power of capitalism and get some cash together until he can find a way to get his magical powers back and rule the world once more. Satan finds work in a local MgRonald restaurant, flipping burgers and greeting puny humans with a smile while Alciel is tasked with research on ways to restore their magic and get home. Much to Alciel’s growing discomfort, Satan proves to have a flare for the fast food industry and becomes more and more involved in his new human life.
Alas, tis not all meant to be a new peaceful existence for the two however, for they soon learn that the hero Emilia, who all but destroyed his empire on Ente Isla, has followed the pair to Earth and is looking for his head. That said, she’s been similarly downgraded by her journey to our world and is also working part-time in a call centre to pay the bills. The trio clash on more than one occasion, while also trying to make an honest attempt at life on Earth. When the ‘all-out fight to the death’ option proves to be fruitless, they settle for a wholly uneasy truce, while keeping a few wary eyes on each other and more or less getting on with their earthly lives.
The uneasy truce is soon turned into a truly abysmal alliance once it becomes clear that somebody out there knows where Emilia and Satan are really from and sets about trying to murder them both. Emilia wants to believe that even Satan can be redeemed but can’t seem to come to terms with trusting the Devil. Meanwhile, Satan seems more concerned about MgRonald’s waning business due to the competing restaurant opening across the street and trying to spare the feelings of his rather smitten co-worker. The phrase “gone native” doesn’t even begin to cover what’s going on in that guy’s head.
This show is clever, extremely sharp in its humour and serves as a sterling example of an inventive premise coupled with superb execution. Jokes and plot points alike are treated with extreme care and attention to detail and executed smoothly enough that nothing feels stilted or overly expositional. The English and Japanese voice casts are truly stellar, handling a complex balance of drama and humour, even conveying clearly through an entirely fictional language. Special mention has to go to Josh Grelle (who also voices Armin in Attack on Titan), who manages to convey a thoughtful, strangely likeable version of the Prince of Darkness (or is that Dracula?).
Simply put, The Devil is a Part-Timer! is a hell of a lot of fun with a detailed and well-executed plot. Characters are varied but very interesting with a blend of subtle and more cartoonish humour. Action and fight scenes are pretty common but they’re far from the focus of this series. This show is everything that Highschool DxD could have been if DxD’s script had featured a more developed script rather than one which primarily reads [close up on boobs. Boobs. Boobs!] with some dialogue and fight scenes scattered at random.
The Devil is a Part-Timer! is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray from Manga Entertainment. For more info on releases, hit up the Manga UK website, but whatever you do, definitely check out this series.
Plot Development: 8.5
85% – “Bite-size but brilliant!” – As the series rounds off with thirteen episodes, there is a definite feeling that more could be done. That said, the story arc covered in these episodes is well developed and wonderfully executed. Most definitely worthy of any shonen-fan’s collection.