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?
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Hataraku Maou-sama! – 06

Yusa Emi, Ashiya Shirou, Maou Sadao, Sasaki Chiho

Lucifer, with the new name “Urushihara,” moves into Castle Overlord with Maou and Ashiya. A messenger informs the high priests of Olba’s treachery, and that contrary to the church’s word, Hero Emilia lives. Ashiya scours the library for sites where he and Maou can replenish their power, but Urushihara comes up with a much more local place, which happens to be Chiho’s high school. Maou, Ashiya and Chiho investigate, soon followed by Emi who continues to watch Maou, but it turns out Urushihara just wanted them to retrieve his PS Vita. The same messenger from Ente Isla moves in as Maou’s new neighbor, whom he catches when she falls down the stairs.

This show is exceedingly good at maintaining a balance between telling a good story without getting to serious or too goofy or self-mocking. There’s a forthrightness to the storytelling, in which even a trope like the haunted classroom serves both as a potential source of demonic power for Maou, and ultimately, a punchline. While the forbidden classroom is indeed the site of a past gate, that gate is the one where Lucifer and Olba recently entered the human world, and where he left his video game. Urushihara has become as domesticated as Maou and Emi, but he still has the ability to manipulate people to do his bidding.

Sort of. He gets his PSV back, but Ashiya hands down rules limiting its use. If Maou is the “father” and breadwinner of this new demonic family that inhabits Castle Overlord, and Ashiya is the dutiful, miserly, naggy “mother”, then Urushihara is their kid: wasteful, impulsive, willful, and at least initially, manipulative, taking advantage of Maou’s wonderment over the power of the internet. Of course, Maou and Ashiya won’t get so easily fooled next time. The mystery investigation may have been a bust, but hey, at least Chiho got to help Maou out.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Chiho has taken the news of Maou and Emi’s identities in stride. Her feelings for Maou haven’t changed, and after all, he’s been nothing but kind and protective of her, so she’s hardly wrong-headed for doing so.
  • No amount of heroic acts by Satan will sway Emi’s ultimate opinion of him, it seems. Even though she claims she can return home at any time, she’s sticking around just to keep an eye on him.
  • We liked how everyone gave Emi grief over destroying that anatomical mannequin. Those bitches are expensive, and she broke the damn thing!
  • We could’ve done without the fat-shaming vis-a-vis the landlady. Poor taste, HMS!
  • The yukata-wearing messenger who moves in has an agenda all her own. We’ll see what she’ll decides to do about Emi, Maou, and his two generals.

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 03

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The day after Emi spends the night at Maou and Shiro’s, the guys are picked up by the cops when Maou’s bullet-ridden bike is found. After someone calls Emi at work threatening to kill both her and Maou, she goes to the cops to grudgingly sign off as their guanantor, and explains the situation. Chiho arranges a date with Maou in Shinjuku to discuss the earthquake, but Emi and Shiro tail them. Chiho tells Maou she’s heard voices and he realizes the other world is trying to contact him. A large earthquake strikes, ravaging the underground mall and trapping the four in rubble. Emi uses a spell to put Chiho to sleep after reassuring her, and Maou emerges in his true form, to attempt to free everyone.

We figured Chiho would get dragged deeper into this alternate world heroes-vs.-demons mess sooner or later, and she does this week, by hearing communiques in the aether intended for her ears, but which she can hear and understand nonetheless, likely do to her extended proximity to Maou. The title “Maou-sama goes on a Date” doesn’t do justice in an episode where a lot more goes on than a date. Both Yusa and Maou have a mutual enemy; he’s already taken shots at them. That means as much as Emi has been conditioned to loathe Maou and his general, a temporary alliance is in everyone’s best interests.

This is especially true if Emi wants to minimize harm to innocents, which she does, because she’s a hero. Here’s the thing: when it comes to Chiho, it would seem Maou’s a hero too. He’s talked of his return to glory once he regains his powers, but once he finally gets them back after the earthquake, his first thought is to help others, not further his own goals. Emi even considers pulling out her trump card to slay him in this opportune moment when they’re isolated, but doesn’t go through with it simply because, well, Maou just isn’t acting evil. In the other world, things were black-and-white, but here, so far, things are different.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Emi speaks passable English, but the true awesomeness was when she attempted to converse with her enemy while maintaining the pretense that she was chatting with another customer. She doesn’t entirely succeed, but it’s an excellent, well-written exchange that is simultaneously serious and funny…something this series is proving good at.
  • We enjoyed Emi’s comment to Shiro about how an empty fridge is a sign he’s failing as a general in this new world.
  • However, Shiro proves her wrong by breaking out a strategic fund to upgrade Maou’s wardrobe from his usual “Uniclo” (not that there’s anything wrong with Uniclo!) Chiho notices.
  • We love how Chiho doesn’t back down from Emi for a second, beliving her to be a jealus ex of Maou’s, which is actually the most logical presumption, from where she’s standing.
  • A hotel we’ve stayed at is in an establishing shot of Shinjuku.

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 02

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Hero Emilia, AKA Yusa Emi, confronts Maou and attacks him with a knife; they’re both taken to the Police, who assume it’s a lovers’ quarrel. The next evening, realizing her life is no different from Maou and Shiro’s, she stops by their place, and eventually starts stalking Maou, but he never commits any sins. They meet up another night, and she tells him she’ll leave him alone if he simply continues living a normal life in Sasazuka. They’re both attacked by a magic sniper, and Emi drops her purse as they flee, and she must spend the night at his place. In the night, Maou gets two texts about impending earthquakes, both from Chiho and from an unknown sender.

On Ente Isla in their home universe, Maou and Yuusha were bitter enemies endowed with immense magical power locked in mortal combat. However, now that neither of them have enough magic to fight each other, they’ve arrived at a truce. Right away the show continues having fun with the clash of the worlds, as Emi tries to fight her nemesis with a 100-yen steak knife. Turns out she’s just as domesticated as he and Shiro, with a cushier job answering phones at a customer care center and a much cushier apartment to boot. Initially, it sickens her that Maou is so pathetic, because if the one being she’s destined to slay is a loser, what does it make her?

We do like how rapidly and efficiently Maou and Emi’s relationship progresses from growling adversaries to reluctant companions. Enemies united by common hardship is not a new concept, and it really works nicely, because what else are they going to do in this modern Japanese society? Not that Emi is 10% with this; she even tears up for a minute, wondering what the heck she’s doing consorting with demons. Not to mention her sidekick either didn’t make it through the gate or chose to abandon her, so she’s been all alone in this world, and it’s doubtless comforting to know she’s not alone anymore.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Naturally, Chiho has the hots for Maou. Hey, he’s a dedicated, hard-working, kind, friendly guy. What’s not to like?
  • As such, the mere sight of Emi sets off Chiho’s alarm and considers the scarlet-haired beauty her competition.
  • It’s only been two episodes, but they may have made us realize that we just might prefer magical people in the real world like this one than ordinary people in a magical world.
  • The hero/overlord banter sounded very Chuunibyou-ish at times…only here they’re not just making shit up!
  • “You use the same detergent as I do.” Baw.

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