Hataraku Maou-sama – 02

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No letdown in sight here.

There’s a word in Japanese, “Jouzu” (上手) which, like so many words, doesn’t translate perfectly into English.  It means some combination of “skilled”, “competent”, “expert” and the like – and it’s the word that springs to mind when I consider Hataraku Maou-sama.  This is a series that just gets it right – there’s a tremendous sense of surety to everything it does.  It looks great, it has great music, a skilled cast, and the dialogue (definitely a strength of White Fox adaptations) is as razor-sharp as you’ll find.  The balance between humor and seriousness is spot-on for the kind of show this is trying to be.

Living the life of a part-timer/student in Tokyo myself, needless to say there’s been a lot in the first two episodes of Hataraku that’s resonated with me.  The first moment in this ep that really made me laugh was when Emi confronted Sadao and he asked “Is that the knife they sell at the 100¥ shop in Setagaya?”  The 100¥ shop is the holy temple of the part-timer, and we make many pilgrimages there.  It doesn’t take Satan long to figure out that The Hero is in the same boat he is – shipwrecked on Earth with a finite (and small) amount of residual magic.  In fact she can’t even use it to kill him, because if she does she won’t have enough to return home (and that’s assuming it’s true she has enough to begin with, which I have my doubts about).

Emi isn’t my favorite cast member so far, as she seems to be following a pretty traditional tsundere route.  Nevertheless the banter between she and Maou is frequently pretty funny, and I loved the way she dissolved into tears when Sadao and Ashiya didn’t open the door right away. As the old saying goes, “Hell is full of interesting people”, and there’s no question that Satan and Alsiel would be the much more interesting folks to hang out with.  But it’s the hero’s role to be the somewhat straight-laced tsukkomi most of the time.  Emi, at least, is living better than Sadao – her job is a nice, clean phone support tech for “Docodemo” and she’s living in a much nicer apartment than Sadao and Ashiya’s 6-tatami bachelor dive.

The plot is moving along nicely along with the character chart.  Turns out that earthquake in the premiere wasn’t merely there for effect – I thought it might be a comment on how Tokyoites casually dismiss all but the major quakes these days.  There’s another one this week, seemingly a tiddler – but it turns out that Chiho’s house was shaken up rather badly.  A mysterious text later received by Satan threatens that “The earthquakes will continue” – the question of who’s behind them and what their purpose is in targeting Chiho remans a mystery for now.  But they’re obviously connected to whoever it was that sniped at Sadao and Emi with magic energy bullets – flattening his precious Dullalan’s tire in the process.  Are they targeting Satan, or Yusa – or both?

The best part of Hatataku Maou-sama so far is certainly the comedy and the domestic bliss between Sadao and Ashiya.  This ep was full of hilarious moments, like Ashiya’s reaction when Emi pulled the knife on Sadao – which turned out to be because the konjac (truly vile stuff) was boiling over.  I also loved Emi’s co-worker bemoaning that the customers needed a dose of RTFM, Sadao refusing to get back in line for on-sale eggs because it was against the rules, Emi stopping for TP on the way home, Satan basing his plan for world domination on making it to full-timer…  We’ve obviously seen this fish-out-of-water premise done before, but rarely this well – with this series it’s all in the execution, and so far it’s just about flawless.  Jouzu, desu ne?

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Hataraku - 02-13 Hataraku - 02-15 Hataraku - 02-16
Hataraku - 02-17 Hataraku - 02-19 Hataraku - 02-20
Hataraku - 02-21 Hataraku - 02-23 Hataraku - 02-24
Hataraku - 02-25 Hataraku - 02-26 Hataraku - 02-27

OP: “ZERO!!” by Minami Kuribayashi

Hataraku - 02-28 Hataraku - 02-29 Hataraku - 02-30
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21 comments

  1. v

    Colour me impressed with this episode. For me who the seiyuu is going to be was a big factor in continue watching an anime. However, this anime seems to do everything with such nuance, I don't even seem to mind who is there. And for a long while, I often wonder why Youko Hikasa gets so many roles because all these times I've seen, I wasn't exactly impressed with her. Somehow this season is going to change my view.

    The big factor in this anime is how charming and endearing every characters are here and it seems it has that foreshadowing element to keep you guessing what will happen next. The biggest surprise for me is Naoto Hosoda as a director since all his work wasn't too consistent. here he finally flex his directing muscle very well. He came a long way

  2. i

    Hikasa Yoko has always annoyed me as well because all of her roles were stereotypical characters but this is the first time she plays a stereotypical character well (though I give more credit to the author and White Fox for that).

    I agree with Enzo that discovering mundane life is the a huge part of the appeal of the show and I hope segments like when Maou said he'd make bath houses 24/7 continue as it means that the author will keep on poking fun at Japanese society.

    As expected of White Fox, excellent execution.

  3. R

    I had the same feeling as you said when watching this episode — the BGM synchronized really well with what was going on screen, and I started laughing pretty much from the start when Emi took out a 100-Yen knife till the end of the episode. I liked both the dialogue and pacing, and I also liked how we got to know Sadao a bit more as a character — he's quite a kind-hearted and considerate Maou. While both Emi and Chiho are those stereotyped female characters, they are likable. The earthquake was so casually dropped in the last episode — who knows that it's something important to the plot…

    Hataraku Maou-sama is a really enjoyable show. It may not have the biggest ambition or the most creative idea, but it's done solidly well…I am thankful for the good laughs after a stressful day.

  4. S

    That was one nice synchronization of the BGM. It was simply brilliant, and played a big roll in making me laugh my ass off. Great episode. Brilliant review.

    P.s: I'm not a fan of tsunderes. Not at all. But still,I find Yusa pretty cute,actually.

  5. R

    Agreed. I am thinking that she played the tsundere role because of her strong determination to kill Sadao, but yet again she's also someone having a hard time adapting to a new environment and all by herself. The characterization is still a cliche, but the dialogue and dynamics between her and Sadao — and Ashiya, too — were just fun to watch.

  6. B

    One thing though, the animation (or at least character fidelity to model) took a big dive in this episode. Hopefully they can recovered from that.

    I've read the manga up to chapter 6, and they ARE moving at an impressive pace (in other adaptation, the stuff they covered in 2 episodes would've taken at least 6).

  7. R

    I haven't read the manga, so don't know about the pace. I don't find it rushed for these two episodes, and I guess the creators need to move fast because it only has one cour. Hope that the anime adaptation meets your expectation as a manga reader.

  8. R

    I don't think they move too fast. They covered two chapters in two episodes, compared to a lot of other adaptations that try to cram 3-4 chapters into one episode, this doesn't feel too rushed.

  9. Honestly, I didn't see a big nosedive in the animation this week, and I don't think I'm any less sensitive to that than the average guy.

  10. S

    Haha…same here. I've also read the manga. Sure, they omitted some parts, but still, it didn't feel rushed at all. More like the pace was pretty good, actually.

    And, I also didn't see any big dive in the animation as well.

  11. l

    Quite a few series with weird sounding "foreign" languages this season. There's this and also Gargantia. Also one more, I think, though I can't recall which.

    This will be third (and probably last) new show I keep for this season, along with Shingeki no Kyoujin and Gargantia. Everything else has disappointed or annoyed me beyond belief.

    Love how every argument Yuusha starts, she ends up sounding like an angry girlfriend. First was the 100 Yen knife, then her "tantrum" outside Maou's apartment and then at the fast food joint.

  12. S

    That'd be "Battleship Yamato 2199"(the one with the alien language).

  13. E

    I have read the manga too, since finding out that it's a manga adaptation. This anime is really better than the manga, so, yeah, applause for the director. There are two volumes published so far, though, that's pretty few material, so I wonder how will the director handle it.

  14. N

    It is a Light Novel adaptation, not a Manga one 😛 Manga is also just adapting the LN

  15. S

    Agreed. this is far better than the manga. Kudos to the director.

  16. C

    Isnt Jormungand really serious but can be quite comedic at times too?

  17. k

    Stereotypical or not, Emi has the best faces. Just saying.

  18. T

    I can agree to that!

  19. m

    what about the light novel? is no one going to compare it to the anime? would like to hear about it, since i'm really tempted to read the novel for the laughs

  20. T

    I'm really enjoying this show sofar, I can always forgive characters like Emi if they can have a hilarious enough relation the the characters around them (just look at biribiri) and I'm starting to see the show balance out its serious plot with its humor. once that balance is confirmed this just may be my favorite of the season since its my kind of show.

  21. A

    I'm loving this show so hard right now 😉

    Though, I'm a bit confused about something: Why is the name Sadao such a comedic/ridiculous name for Satan? Does it sound too much like Satan or am I missing something? -__-

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