When it comes to anime, I tend to like some of the more obscure stuff. Sure, I love my Akira, Ninja Scroll, and Attack on Titan, but series like Ping Pong Club can draw me in too with just how absurd they can be. My latest binge of The Devil is a Part-Timer! actually scratched both my itches for absurdity and some badassery.
Like most animes, The Devil is a Part-Timer! is based on a manga series (this one written by Satoshi Wagahara, with illustrations by Oniku aka “029”). The animated series debuted April 4, 2013, with Funimation releasing it on home video in 2014 and Netflix recently adding it to it’s service here in 2018 (which is when and where I discovered it).
The series opens on an epic war between humans and the demonic forces of evil lead by The Devil and his trusted generals Alciel, Malacoda, Adramelech, and Lucifer (yes, Satan and Lucifer are different characters here) in the mystical land of Ente Isla. When “The Hero” gets the upper hand on the Devil, he blindly opens a portal that he and his most loyal general Alciel jump through to escape defeat. This portal drops them in the middle of modern day Tokyo in human – and thus begins the wackiness that is The Devil is a Part-Timer!.
Quickly, the Devil surmises that to survive in this new strange land, where their dark powers are in limited supply, they must assume new identities and try to blend in. Satan assumes the name Sadao Mauo and his general Alciel, Shirō Ashiya. They find a modest room to rent, and the Devil takes up part-time work at a local fast food joint called MgRonalds (an obvious play on McDonald’s, which in turn made me constantly think of McDowell’s from Coming to America.)
The action scenes, like the opening along with the darker subplots with the church and their visuals that are intertwined throughout the series, put me in mind of the recent Castlevania anime. it’s a bit of an odd juxtaposition at first with the more wacky lighthearted modern day/real-world plots, but it works. It acts as a tonal balance to the forces of light and dark that are constantly at play between the characters.
This show likes to play and twist on preconceived notions of good and evil, both as a viewer and to the characters in the show. As you would imagine, the Devil who is the main character and “hero” of the show, who should be the embodiment of all that is evil, displays characteristics and emotions that directly conflict with how you expect the Devil to act. Same goes for the Church in Ente Isla. An organization you expect to be the epitome of piousness, has motivations colored in tones of grays and blacks than of stark white.
As the series progresses, Sadao (Satan) moves up in the ranks at MgRonald’s, and new characters are discovered that have also come through the portal which brings the conflict from Ente Isla to modern reality and in turn creates even more conflict for Sadao and Shiro’s new life there.
All in all I really enjoyed stumbling across The Devil is a Part-Timer! series and can easily recommend it. It is an anime, so do expect some of the common tropes like overly busty girls, but it only plays to some minor comedic scenes, and is rarely a major focus of the overall story. Given that the series came out in 2013, it is highly unlikely we will get a second season, which is a shame. I would happily continue watching the ongoing adventures of Shadao, Shiro, Chiho, Emi and the rest of the gang.