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! – 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! – 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.

Hataraku Maou-sama! – 07

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Maou’s new neighbor introduces herself as Kamazuki Suzuno and offers to cook him a meal. Emeralda sends Emi a package full of elixir disguised as vitamin drinks that will help restore her powers. While stalking Maou, Emi notices Suzuno in his apartment and investigates, and is eventually invited in. She warns Suzuno not to get too close to Maou. Maou has his first shift as supervisor, but Chiho is distraught when she sees the homemade bento Suzuno made him. Emi is attacked at a convenience store by an unknown assailant with the ability to nullify her sacred sword, but is saved by the clerk.

And then there were six. What started with just Maou and Ashiya transported to earth has now grown threefold with the addition of Urushihara and most recently Suzuno. While Urushihara started out as the bad guy and then became a web-surfing bum, Suzuno’s true motives remain elusive. She came from Ente Isla, but even Emi isn’t sure whether she’s a human or a demon, or what exactly she wants. All she knows is, she’s quickly inserted herself into Maou. Things take another turn for the suspicious when Emi is attacked not long after metting Suzuno, though her attacker was a guy.

While sweltering in the summer heat, Emi wonders if she’s looking at the Maou and Ashiya situation all wrong: maybe they really don’t mean any harm and simply want to live out their lives as law-abiding humans. Part of her wants that to be true, but she still can’t be sure. And even if she was, parties beyond her and Maou are inserting themselves into their lives, and aren’t going to let anyone have normal lives. They’ll attack without warning in conspicuous places, and they may come with kind greetings and homemade elaborate lunches. But the fact is, they’re all threats to the status quo that both Emi and Maou would rather simply enjoy indefinitely.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Suzuno is voiced by Itou Kanae, AKA Saten Ruiko, SAO’s Yui, Ohana, and others. Her approach with Suzuno is feminine yet mature, balancing her small stature with immense underlying strength.
  • Asakura Azumi voices Emeralda, a bit too airy and feathery for our tastes.
  • Chiho considers the homemade two-level bento (with heart rice inside) a challenge to her position as Maou’s betrothed.
  • We don’t know who voiced the convenience store clerk, but he had a cool accent.

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.

8_great
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.