Hataraku Maou-sama! – 13 (Fin)

Yusa Emi, Maou Sadao

Chiho has a dream about Maou returning to Ente Isla, but he tells her he used all his power fixing the city. Suzuno and Chiho cover for Maou running out during his shift. Emi believes Maou is up to something, and Chiho is worried it relates to leaving, so they follow him until they’re caught. He and Ashiya are working side jobs to pay for the transmitters he used to locate them and save their lives. Urushihara falls victim to a scammer who duped him out of 128,000 yen in merchandise. Emi lets Maou know about the “cooling off period” he can use to make the scammer take the stuff back.

With the last Big Bad dealt with (though he inexplicably ends up in the MgRonald freezer), this episode puts its feet up and kicks back with a series of lightweight stories. Both Chiho and Emi dream of Maou leaving and conquering, respectively, in truth Maou can’t go anywhere for the foreseeable future, having once again exhausted his demon powers in the service of good, rather than evil. Meanwhile, he and Ashiya have to keep working menial jobs to pay the bills, an enterprise that is almost underwhelmed by Urushihara’s carelessness with e-commerce.

Emi continues to not trust Maou even after he practically saved all of Tokyo and her own life for not the first time, but we can’t really blame her. While the event never had much impact beyond her pent-up animosity towards Maou and his cohorts, the fact remains her father was killed and village destroyed by armies under Maou’s command. It doesn’t matter to her how many degrees of separation; he was in charge of the ones who did that. Nevertheless, the pleasant cease-fire continues, with her offering him advice that gets him out of a financial pickle, and even gives him an umbrella to replace the one she took and threw out: his first, but not last, act of kindness that led to their unlikely friendship.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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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.

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.