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.
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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! – 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! – 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)