Hataraku Maou-sama! – 12

Kamazuki Suzuno

Archangel Sariel and Suzuno take Chiho and Emi to the top of the Tocho and he attempts to extract the sacred sword “better half” from Emi. Maou arrives on the scene and is ambushed by Suzuno; he removes his uniform so it isn’t ruined. Olba Meyer escapes from the hospital and convinces Urushihara to join back up with him as he brings the moon closer to the earth, increasing Sariel’s powers, but Urushihara, content to remain a NEET, betrays and captures Olba. The citywide panic caused by the moon infuses Moau with enormous amounts of magical power; enough for him to take his true form. Suzuno protects Chiho and the injured Emi while Maou defeats Sariel. A healed Ashiya arrives too late to do anything, but all is well.

We like the decision here to end the Sariel arc with one cool-down episode left in the chamber. Not stretching the decisive battle over two episodes means that not a single minute is wasted in this episode, and it never drags. Right out of the gate, Emi is getting the crap beat out of her by Sariel’s lasers. She’s in this pickle because she depends on sacred power, and precisely because her arch-nemesis is a demon, he is the only one who can save her and Chiho. The irony is as delicious as McDonald’s new dolled-up Quarter Pounders. Sariel is also confident that Maou will never follow through on helping Chiho simply because he’s her manager. Little does he know: Maou is all about proving doubters wrong.

Suzuno finally lets go of her official duties and does the right thing, admitting the Maou of here and now is a kind and virtuous man and she has no quarrel with such men, only those like Sariel who make people suffer for false peace. We love how the episode plays around with Uruchihara’s loyalties by first having him join Olba and then stabbing him in the back simply because he loves his new life more than his old one. We loved how none of Maou’s speech to Sariel included a confession of his love for Chiho, only his solemn vow to protect his underlings. Most of all, we appreciated how much the episode balanced the heavy stuff with some of the most – and best – comedic moments of the series.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Olba sneaks up on an already weak Ashiya and slugs him before leaving the hospital. Why? Guess he just felt like it!
  • Just when you think Ashiya is about to contribute…he arrives too late. Poor guy.
  • Suzuno’s embarrassment at having to fight Maou while he’s in nothing but his boxers is pretty priceless, as is Emi’s delayed reaction to the fact her blouse was wide open.
  • Suzuno’s big hammer is pretty cool, and she’s a fast fighter. Glad she chose the right side in the end.
  • Sariel won’t go down as the most dimensional, memorable villain, but we did like how he started out as a creepy SFC manager.
  • The battle takes place in Shinjuku, and part of the backdrop is the Washington Hotel where we’ve stayed. Always neat to see real places you’ve been to show up in anime.
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Hataraku Maou-sama! – 11

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Suzuno recalls her “inquisition work” executing “heretics” for the church in a flashback. After helping Maou prepare for a flea market with Emi and Chiho, she’s confronted by Sarue, who tells her to “do her job” quickly. Suzuno then tells Chiho about her mission, warning her to stay out of it, but Chiho protests, and Emi backs her up, as she isn’t ready to kill Maou at the moment. Suzuno storms off, and Emi and Chiho are attacked by Sarue, who has the ability to nullify Emi’s sacred sword. Suzuno appears and knocks Chiho out. Chiho’s mother calls Sadao, and thanks to Urushihara, he knows which way to go to save her.

Having only seen the slightest bits of his time as Overlord Satan on Ente Isla, our picture of Maou is tempered by all the time we’ve watched him in the real world, being a good, kind person. In that way, we’re like Chiho, Rika, and all the other humans who he’s interacted with; we judge him by what we’ve experienced of him, not by his past in some other world. Emi, as the hero who saved that world, still isn’t quite convinced, but she’s her own boss, and has the luxury of taking a wait-and-see attitude; part of that empathy was cultivated by the influence of Chiho. Suzuno, on the other hand, has superiors and a job to do. She’s been conditioned to put orders above all else, even her personal feelings. This rigidity butts heads with the more flexible Emi and with Chiho, who directly opposes her in her attitude towards Maou.

Now that she knows Suzuno’s true colors, she’s shocked and disappointed, but she isn’t going to lie down and let her kill the man she loves, even if he isn’t just a man. She’s willing to let the past be the past, and Emi doesn’t want to create peace the way The Church aims to; peace at the cost of others’ suffering. This doesnt resonate with Suzuno, however, because she’s paid her dues and her hands are stained, thanks to the church. She’s sacrificed her goodness and even bits of her soul, so it’s not surprising a sobbing high schooler won’t sway her from her duty. That duty isn’t just to kill Maou, but to erase any memory a human might have of him, or of Enta Isle. But something tells us she isn’t going to acccomplish her mission, just to return home, get a pat on the back from the Church, and then go on a bender.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • God, Ashiya’s been ill for an eternity, and this time, he’s out of commission at a time when Maou could use him.
  • Urushihara comes through in the clutch, placing transmitters on both Emi and Suzuno. It’s something Ashiya would never have thought to do, being a technophobe and all.
  • The standoff between Chiho and Suzuno is well-acted by both seiyus. We can appreciate Suzuno’s position, but we have to side with Chiho, as Emi does. A church without forgiveness is no church at all.
  • On that note we especially liked how Chiho asked Suzuno if she ever actually met Maou when he was Overlord Satan, or if she just believed everything she heard about him. Chiho’s love and trust in him is based on personal experiences; Suzuno’s suspicion and hatred is more church brainwashing.
  • Some old man opens his eyes in the same hospital room as Ashiya, to which we can only say: “uh-oh.”
  • We’re wondering if Maou left in the middle of his shift, and if there’ll be consequences to that.
  • Not sure what the flea market stuff was all about, but it reminded us that weird landlady exists…maybe she’ll help Maou too when he’s in a spot?

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 10

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Maou’s manager Kisaki loans him to the MgRonald at Fushima Park, and Urushihara suggests he use the opportunity to harvest magic from those scared of the haunted house there. Chiho invites Emi to come with her to the park, along with Suzuno. After saying hi to Maou, they avail themselves of the park’s attractions, including the water park, haunted house, and reptile house. A series of events leads to the release of crocodiles in the pool, but Maou uses the magic he harvests from the scared patrons to subdue them, flummoxing Suzuno. On the way home, she sees a blue-haired hooded boy who sprouts white wings…

While we didn’t exactly ask for it, this episode nevertheless marked the introduction of Chiho’s massive boobs, usually covered up by her school or work uniforms, immediately followed by their comparison to the older, smaller-boobed Emi. But just because the younger, shorter girl’s boobs are bigger than the older, taller girl’s boobs doesn’t make it funny, mostly because this kind of thing is shockingly common in anime. At this point it would have been funnier if Emi had the bigger boobs. We did appreciate Suzuno picking out an old-fashioned bathing suit before switching to the standby one-piece. We also liked her ulterior motive for tagging along in the first place.

Not much of note happened this week. Not much happened last week either, but it was a far more interesting episode, for many reasons: a strong showing by Ashiya (largely absent and on the toilet this week, because haha pooping is also funny); a fresh perspective in Suzuki Rika (also not present here); the steady, realistic plot of attracting business (rather than just milling around an amusement park and having monkeys jump on one’s boobs), and partially just because last week the animators didn’t try to draw any animals, possibly aware that they weren’t very good at it. Which begs the question, why then feature so many animals this week?


Rating: 5 (Average)

Stray Observations:

  • We might’ve preferred if the episode stuck to Maou at the MgRonald the whole time. Maybe we just miss Working!!
  • We also miss Rika, but we know why she didn’t come along…because driven, ambitious people don’t waste time at amusement parks, unless they’re working there, amirite?
  • Chiho is right, Emi is cute…as exhibited when she bumps into someone and acts all cute.
  • Chiho is also cute, but her cuteness goes mostly unnoticed by a Sadao, who is particularly dense this week. Maybe it’s because he’s on the job…
  • Ordering shit on Amazon with money that’s not his when Ashiya is indisposed with food poisioning…yup, Urushihara is still pretty damn evil.
  • We knew it! Blue-haired kid has wings; he’s definitely not human. Maybe the perfume everyone smells on him is just the way ‘his kind’ smells? 
  • Regarding him, we’ll make a fresh prediction: he’ll get all up in Maou and Emi’s shit, and Suzuno will have to choose to remain loyal to the church or let her new friends be.

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 09

Kamakuzi Suzuno, Yusa Emi, Suzuki Rika, Ashiya Shirou

While preparing to assist Yusa with what she deems to be a “lover’s quarrel” with Maou, Suzuki Rika takes her and Suzuno to the same SFC Ashiya is investigating. He confronts Yusa when she insults Maou, and ends up telling Rika an epic, semi-fictional tale of his and Maou’s rise, fall, and impending redemption. Impressed and even a bit smitten with Ashiya and his friendship, they move to the MgRonalds, which is nearly empty despite the Sasahata Tanabata festival going on outside. After a few failed attempts to lure customers, a friend Maou made at community service delivers a bamboo tree for decorating, which along with the cute Chiho, build up the interest of the festival crowd and get MgRonalds buzzing again, further impressing Rika.

Taking place entirely within either the SFC or MgRonalds and consisting of quite a lot of sitting around talking and observing, this was a compact, no-frills, yet vibrant episode that we really enjoyed. By making the outsider Suzuki Rika the nucleus of the episode, its a way of taking stock of the lives Maou, Ashiya and Yusa have built and the people they’ve met, whom Rika, as an impartial third party, considers to be amazing, inspiring, and just the kind of passionate, driven, modest (and cute!) people she believes hanging around will enrich her life. This despite Yusa’s constant attempts to paint Maou as a villain, because let’s face it, he used to be. But as we said last week, this is a world with shades of grey, and Rika is open to hearing both sides of the story.

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And Ashiya’s side is simply epic. The sprawling, dramatic story Rika tells would be impressive even if he were making shit up, but the funny thing is, he merely adapted pretty much what actually happened between him, Maou and Yusa into a form that an ordinary human like Rika could understand. He’s actually being pretty damn honest with Rika; more than even Yusa was prepared to be, and presenting his tale in a way Yusa never would have considered. He and Maou have fallen, but they’ve dusted themselves off and have gotten back on the ladder. And while it could be argued that Rika could be being a bit of a busybody, her advice for Ashiya to be proud of supporting Maou (not wallow in shame and self-pity) is proof she’s also a kind and decent person.

We especially liked that while her first impressions of Maou were less than inspiring, she seemed aware that she wasn’t catching him at his best, taking to heart the things both Ashiya and Yusa said about him. She trusted she’d see a glimmer of the former “Maou Inc.” owner eventually, and her patience pays off, in a scene where Maou raises the moral of his troops and brings in new business with his sheer will, charisma, and resourcefulness. It’s a lovely little final scene, though all the pleasantness is somewhat interrupted by some ominous purple energy coalescing outside, followed by a thousand-mile stare by Suzuno directed at Maou. To us this meant that while Rika is sold on Maou’s goodness – as we pretty much are – Suzuno still isn’t sold, and in any case has a mission to carry out.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • The blue-haired manager of SFC continues to make every female character he interacts with feel extremely uncomfortable. We’re still thinking he’s another dude from Ente Isla.
  • Ashiya’s stories were accompanied by a montage of raw, hard-scratched illustrations, a nice change of art style that adds to the drama.
  • This week Yusa and Suzuno were on the sidelines because of Rika, but both Ashiya the Strategist and Maou the Field General and Warlord, were in top form, doing exactly what they were always meant to do, only in a vastly different scale and setting.
  • We liked Rika’s blushing upon hearing Ashiya’s tale, followed by what could be embarrassment over falling for someone who cleans another guy’s underwear :)
  • We also liked how Chiho inadvertently started a commotion among the male patrons of the festival, but not instantly…word had to of the cute team member had to spread first.

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 08

Emi Yusa, Maou Sadao, Kamazuki Suzuno, Ashiya Shirou, Sasaki Chiho

Suzuno is continuing to cook for Sadao as Ashiya recovers from heatstroke, initially causing a misunderstanding with Chiho. Over breakfast, Suzuno voices her intention to get a job at some point, and Emi agrees to help her secure more modern garb. Chiho reiterates her love for Sadao. When Suzuno meets up with Emi, she reveals her true identity as Christia Bell, Chief Interrogator for the Church’s Investigation Commission. She wants to team up with Hero Emilia to kill Sadao, but Emi isn’t ready to trust her yet. SFC is stealing all of MgRonald’s business, so Sadao sends Ashiya on a mission.

There’s a lot going on in this busy, vibrant episode, but the two main plots involve Chiho and Sadao’s relationship (such as it is) and Suzuno’s true identity and mission. A lot of exposition is covered during otherwise slice-of-life moments that further underline how the motley group of heros and demons is growing closer and more like ordinary earthbound humans. Even Suzuno; it’s her turn to be the fish out of water. She studied Showa-period tv dramas in preparation for coming to Japan. But despite her fear of the ticket machine (a fear we shared when first faced with one) or utter wonder at television (wait, we thought she watched tv?) the fact remains she’s a tough costumer who seems to be biding her time.

Sasaki Chiho, Maou Sadao

She’s also rocking the boat, something even Emi may not want at this point. Emi had a personal vendetta against Sadao, but her hatred for him is definitely fading, and she can’t deny he’s changed his ways. Sure, he and Ashiya still spew nonsense about ruling the new world they’re in, but like Emi always promising to kill Sadao, at this point its more of an obligation to protocol than actual realistic goals. They’re trying to keep their former roles alive, but in this world, anyone can be either a hero or a demon as conditions dictate. Things aren’t so black-and-white here, something Suzuno will learn the more time she spends around Castle Overlord.

And then there’s the budding romance between Chiho and Sadao. There’s not much Sadao is contributing at this point, but he’s at least aware of her love for him, as she makes it clear to him. Before Emi told her about everything Sadao did back in his world, and before he even saved her life, she fell in love with him, because the only Sadao she knows is the one he’s been: warm, noble, kind, diligent, chivalrous. It’s her life and her choice. This means if anyone takes a shot at Sadao, they’ll be taking a shot at her too, which complicates matters.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Chiho had a lot of cute reactions in this episode. We especially liked her speeding off in Dullahan, and then later apologizing profusely to Sadao. Her reaction to the SFC manager was pretty great too.
  • About that blue-haired dude: could he be another person from Ente Isla? He seems a bit off.
  • Just as in, say, Index, all the religious-political crap is some of the least interesting material in the series. We’d rather see the gang enjoying a meager feast together than hear a bunch of whitebeards braying on about some such gobbledygook.