The Devil Is A Part Timer (Cert 15)
2 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 296 minutes approx.
War has been raging in an alternate dimension between the Dark Forces of Satan and the humans, lead by the Hero Emilia Justina. As the Dark Lord tries to annex the island continent of Ente Isla he is thwarted by Emilia, but as he and his general Alciel retreat and disappear into vortex to bide their time. However the portal misses its target and the pair re-appears in a strange world, where the natives speak a different language and their magic no longer works.
They have in fact landed on earth in Sasazuka, modern day Japan and have taken on human forms. Using his gradually ebbing magic Satan is able to assimilate to his new surroundings and acquires new identities for him and Alciel – now known as Sadao Maō and Shiro Ashiya respectively –, accommodation, a bank account and while Shiro takes care of the domestic duties, Sadao finds himself part time employment at a MgRonald’s restaurant!
Perhaps if you have ever had a bad experience with the staff in one of these establishments this may be the reason way. It certainly would explain a lot! Joking aside creator Satoshi Wagahara clearly has an irreverent sense of humour to posit the Lord of the Underworld in such a common scenario for his series of light novels and the potential mileage seems vast from the idea alone. However without his magic Sadao seems to mellow pretty quickly and becomes another “banter by rote” robot employee with a polite and efficient manner about him. Then again, the fact such a job could tame the most ambitious and feared creature in existence is humorous in itself.
This is what makes this show something of a mixed bag – the concept is great but the execution quickly slips into the comfortable zone of the typical anime comedy conventions and with it any uniqueness slips further into the distance. Sadao’s co-worker at MgRonald’s is ditzy school girl Chiho Sasaki whom Sadao quickly eclipses at the job but earns her admiration and apparently her heart too. Of course she doesn’t know that Sadoa is literally the Devil Incarnate, no-one does for the moment, but this might change when Sadao bumps into a familiar face who could threaten his secret – Emilia! Only she is now Emi Yusa and works at a call centre; looks like heroes get inter-dimensional tough breaks too!
If the word “harem” is screaming at you from the back of your mind you are partially correct but somewhat off course too. Yes, Chiho begins to suspect Emi and Sadao are an item with the former’s constant presence at the latter’s one bedroom apartment and later on another female, Suzuno Kamazuki, arrives, a church inquisitor whose mission is to kill Sadao. Suzuno lives next door to Sadao and Shiro but with Japanese research based on the traditional aspect, she constantly sports a kimono and behaves in an old fashioned manner.
Rounding off this little group is Lucifer, a fallen angel who wanted to return to heaven but could only do so if he killed Satan. Having failed, Sadao takes him in and rechristens him Hanzo Urushihara, who becomes a hikikimori, raising the ire of Shiro by blowing the household budget on wasteful Internet purchases. In case you were thinking that Lucifer and Satan are one in the same, this isn’t exactly correct although it isn’t wholly incorrect either – depending on which religious texts you wish to consult – although the most popularly accepted answer is the former.
While there is no overreaching storyline aside from Sadao, Shiro and Emi wanting to return to their home dimension, the individual adventures are split between every day life, such as competing fast food restaurants and demonic invaders looking to slay Sadao – the second half of the series manages to combine both! Much of the humour comes from the interactions between the cast members all of whom have distinct personalities to make their reactions to situations worthy of a chuckle or two.
Despite the squabbling females and the usual misunderstandings there is no apparent loved triangle and if there was Sadao wouldn’t notice anyway. Emi certainly isn’t interested and even loathes having to fight alongside the beast she has vowed to kill but she gradually mellows as she finds Sadao’s earnest human form a more likeable alternative to the megalomaniac Devil King she one crossed swords with. Aside from Chiho’s large chest and one filler episode set at a water park, this series thankfully eschews fan service making a refreshing change for the ensemble comedy genre.
Animators White Fox, who gave us the sublime mind-bending Steins;Gate and the two action packed Jormungand series have shown their versatility in being able to find within the more mainstream boundaries of anime with this show. The artwork and character designs may not boast the same originality as the aforementioned predecessors otherwise there is nothing lazy about the overall presentation.
Now for a technical warning – if you tend to skip the opening credits, you’ll find the disc will leap to five minutes into the episode and not to the end of the credits; use the fast forward button instead.
There is no denying that the concept of The Devil Is A Part Timer is an alluring one and will prove to be quite the hook. For the first few episodes it does a great job of making sure that initial grip it has on the audience remains firm with the engaging characters. By following some well worn plot paths however, the central premise is a little compromised but it makes up for it with fun comedy and energetic action scenes.
A perfectly acceptable slice of light (dark?) entertainment served with a devilish smile! And if you are asked if you want fries with that, it’s probably best to say yes – just to be safe…
English Language 5.1
Japanese Language 2.0
Episode 1 commentary
Textless Opening Song “ZERO!!”
Textless Closing Song “Starchart”
Textless Closing Song “Moon Flower”
Episode 12 commentary
The Ente Isla Language with Jamie Marchi
Rating – *** ½
Man In Black