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! – 05

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Maou’s general Lucifer, aided by rogue High Priest Olba Meyer, intends to destroy both Emi and Maou, using the negative energy of the surrounding populace – and Chiho – to fuel his magic. He gravely injures Maou, but he has enough magic to teleport to a crowded area, where he too draws power from the people and stops a highway from collapsing. Emi summons her hero powers and clashes with Lucifer. Once he sets the rubble down, Maou joins the fight, beating Olba and Lucifer to a pulp. Emi’s allies Emeralda and Albert arrive, and they’re confused about Maou, but take Emi’s word for it and then depart. Maou and Emi explain everything to Chiho, who watched it all unfold. Maou fixes the damage to the city and wipes the public’s memories (except for Chiho’s).

Not only was this the most action-packed episode, it was also the funniest by far, and those two qualities actually complemented each other quite well, rather than clashing. Maou in particular calls out Olba (“cue-ball”) on his cliche’d villain bullshit, and while he, Emi, Ashiya and Chiho are put into considerable peril, they come back hard on their would-be usurpers and put them back in their place. When you go after the Hero and Demon Overlord, you best not miss. They did, and struck out.

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This was also one of the denser episodes not just of this series, but of the entire Spring, with an epic, cinematic feel and a lot of well-oiled moving parts humming along in perfect harmony and formidable speed. But in the midst of all the magic spectacle and comedy, the four core characters stay true to themselves throughout. Even while Maou’s keeping an overpass from falling on her, Emi is still reticent about working alongside him. Maou sticks to his guns about liking the world he’s in and working hard to protect it. Ashiya is a proud, loyal…dork. Best of all, Chiho remembers everything that happened this week, and she seems to be cool with it, which is what we’d expect of an open-minded, wide-eyed youth such as herself.

Maou and Emi look upon one another incredulously in the aftermath of all this action, after returning to their ordinary human forms. The question is raised: if the two of them could have summoned this power all along, why did neither of them try to off the other? Both are coy and elusive in their answer, but we can hazard a guess; while Maou still talks about restoring his empire and Emi muses about killing Maou, the fact is, it’s all just talk, and in the meantime, they seem to be enjoying their ordinary human lives…so why rock the boat?


Rating: 9 (Superior)

 

 

 

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 04

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Thanks to Maou, there are no casualties following the earthquake that caused the underground mall to cave it. Emi recalls how she was taken from her father to train to become the Hero, and how her village was destroyed and father killed by Maou’s general Lucifer. After spending time with Rika, the next morning she visits Maou to pay him back, and falls down the stairs. He helps her, and his kindness irks her, considering what he did in their world. Chiho walks in on the two of them together and misunderstands. Maou, Emi and Shiro chase her down, but she’s already been confronted by Lucifer, who wants to surpass Maou.

It must be something about the new world he finds himself in, but at the moment Maou is…just not acting all that evil. He rained death and destruction upon the world he comes from, earning the eternal hatred and loathing of all who survived his ruthless attacks. Emi, the daughter of an angel, has lived her entire life for one purpose; to face and defeat Maou. And now that they’re in a new world, nothing makes sense anymore. Maou is kind and heroic and cares for people, even Emi, and it’s driving her crazy. Being a hero is supposed to be her job, for one thing.

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Her friend Rika also suffered in the past; having been in Kobe during the horrible great earthquake there. In Emi she finds someone she can embrace and talk to without being pitied as a victim or otherwise judged. In Rika, Emi finds someone else dealing with a lot of pain over tragic events of the past. She’s convinced she can never forgive Maou for what he’s done, but you can tell she’s struggling with her certainty.

Meanwhile, Maou inadvertently got the spunky Chiho tangled up in all these supernatural affairs, and his general Lucifer is in this new world to usurp his former lord. If anything can bring the bad old Maou out, it’s insubordination by an underling. And since they have a common enemy, Emi will likely put aside her reservations about continuing to interact with Maou rather than killing him in order to save innocent lives around them, including Chiho.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We thought at first that Emi, like Kotoura, got herself into a spot when she went over to Rika’s place; but it doesn’t seem that Rika is a villain pretending to be a friend.
  • “May I unleash the Dullahan” is probably the geekiest way of asking to borrow a bike imaginable. So naturally, we’ll be using that line the first chance we get.
  • Emi’s the sole member of the “good guys” in the world at the moment, but two of her compatriots are on their way. They seemed to have a bit of trouble speaking their own language ;)
  • Maou’s landlady has a bit of a Witch of the Waste thing going on.
  • We don’t see much of Lucifer, but he’s the one directly responsible for Emi’s father’s death, and he seems like a bit of a cocky brat, so we look forward to Emi and Maou going at him with gusto.

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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