Hataraku Maou-sama – 04

Hataraku - 04-2 Hataraku - 04-20 Hataraku - 04-29

Things are changing quite a bit with Hataraku Maou-sama.

I don’t think it’s a surprise, but we’re at the point now where we’re going to find out if this series can be as effective a drama as it was a straight-up comedy.  Mind you, there’s still some humor there, but things are getting quite a bit more serious – which was always a strong possibility, given the premise. My early answer would be “almost” – I haven’t enjoyed these last two eps as much as the first two, but they’ve still been quite good.  I think the foundation has been laid well-enough with character and plot that Hataraku will still be engaging even when it’s primarily focused on telling what looks like a modestly complicated story.

One reason I haven’t been quite as enthralled with these episodes, to be honest, is that Emi’s importance has continued to grow.  I don’t dislike her but I simply don’t find her as likeable or interesting as the other leads.  We got plenty of backstory (which was inevitable) this week, and it’s not as if I don’t understand why she acts the way she does towards Sadao – it’s perfectly justified.  It’s just that watching her act that way is pretty boring compared to what’s happening the rest of the time.  It’s all stuff we’ve seen in anime a thousand times before.

Speaking of inevitable, there were no surprises in Emi’s backstory – it was pretty much as it had to be.  Satan razed her village and killed her father during his rampage of terror, and she was the only one who could fight back – given her special powers as the child of an Angel mother and a Human father.  Predictable or not, it does sort of force the viewer to confront the reality that Sadao – who is pretty undeniably an extremely likeable and considerate guy as we’ve known him – is actually responsible for some terrible things.  It’s nothing we didn’t already know but it’s easy to forget – and it’s nice to see that Hataraku isn’t pulling its punches on this the way Maoyuu Maou Yuusha and other series have done.  The Devil is bad, and he has a lot to answer for.

Given that the disconnect between the Sadao we see and the Satan that was – and Emi dealing with it – is the primary underpinning of the series, this was certainly an important episode in setting up the rest of the series.  It remains to be seen just how much charm their relationship will have, but it’s not going away so I hope it can hold up its end.  What’s undeniable is that Sadao is playing the role of the nice guy with impeccable consistency and he seems 100% genuine – he did indeed save everyone at the cave-in, and he even shows concern for Emi afterwards despite the fact that she has nothing worse than a little boo-boo.  Ashiya, meanwhile – like Samon from Zetsuen no Tempest he seems incapable of not being funny, no matter what else is happening – is devastated by his inability to protect his Lord, both from Emi and from the disaster than struck the underground shopping mall in Shinjuku.

In the aftermath, Emi and her work pal Rika (Nishi Asuka) have a very interesting conversation as Emi stays overnight at Rika’s apartment.  They discuss the Kobe earthquake after Emi overhears Rika’s Kansai-ben in a call from her family, and Rika goes on to speak in some detail about the disaster.  She also makes a comment about how everyone has an angel and devil inside them, arguing about what they should do, and that sometimes people even become angels or devils.  The whole thing was quite conspicuous to the point of suggesting a much deeper connection, and I’m beginning to suspect there’s no coincidence to anything that’s happening in Sadao and Emi’s new lives. 

That impression is further solidified by the revelation that it was the spell Sadao cast on the two cops in Shinjuku when he first arrived that impacted Chiho – the daughter of one of them – and made her a conduit for the Idea Link.  It strengthens even more when the boys’ landlady stops by – just as Chiho is fleeing in tears after finding Emi inside (having fallen down the stairs after paying Sadao back his 1000¥).  The emotion in the room was strictly a result of Emi’s distress as Satan’s continued kindness to her, but Chiho doesn’t know that – and the landlady reveals herself to be someone with a great deal of knowledge of all concerned.  She strongly implies that it’s the powerful emotions Chiho is feeling that are causing the earthquakes – either directly or indirectly – and urges him to go after her.

The last big reveal of the episode is the fact that there’s a new devil in town – Satan’s top general Lucifer (Shimono Hiro).  He’s in the guise of a teenaged boy and he’s obviously the one who’s been behind the attacks on Satan and Emilia, and he just as obviously sees Chiho – riven by hormonally-fuelled turmoil as she is – as the perfect vehicle for his offensive against the two of them.  What’s his motive for turning on his former master – is it simply disillusionment over what The Dark Lord has become?  We’ll see – and we’ll also see what role two humans from Ente Isla on their way to modern Tokyo themselves are going to play in all this.  The plot, as they say, thickens…

Hataraku - 04-9 Hataraku - 04-10 Hataraku - 04-11
Hataraku - 04-12 Hataraku - 04-13 Hataraku - 04-14
Hataraku - 04-15 Hataraku - 04-16 Hataraku - 04-17
Hataraku - 04-18 Hataraku - 04-19 Hataraku - 04-21
Hataraku - 04-22 Hataraku - 04-23 Hataraku - 04-24
Hataraku - 04-25 Hataraku - 04-26 Hataraku - 04-27
Hataraku - 04-28 Hataraku - 04-30 Hataraku - 04-31
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15 comments

  1. f

    I personally thought this episode helped Emilia's character a great deal. Sure, she still isn't the most interesting character of the bunch, being a standard tsundere-type, but finding out the specific reason for her behavior towards him was gratifying. In addition, the dialogue between her and Maou-sama at his apartment opened up the (obviously unavoidable) possibility that they will begin to get along with each other soon enough. Maou's imminent confrontation with Lucifer, the one who actually razed her village and killed her father, is bound to help in this matter.

  2. s

    Oh Ashiya…you are hilarious; his reaction as the landlord walked in was just priceless. Definetly my favorite character (Ashiya, Sadou, Chi-chan,Miki T, Rika, and lastly Emi). I do wonder why Sado was so keen on mentioning that Emi was wrong about him enjoying Chiho's company. Taking romance out of the equation, it's still odd that he would go out of his way to make that "correction". Does he not consider Chiho his friend? is she just another human to him that he just interacts with? Or did he not want to admit it to himself; that even though he happens to now value human life it doesnt mean that he has stooped "low enough" to enjoy human company? hmmm peculiar

  3. H

    I had been thinking about the possibility that there was a lot more to the "Maou Evil, rest of Ente Isla good" dichotomy throughout. Given that it was framed from the beginning as conquest, and loaded terms like naming him Satan, I was wondering if perhaps Maou wasn't actually as personally 'evil' as people were making him out to be, with most of the evil acts being carried out by others like Lucifer or Alsiel. That doesn't absolve Maou for responsibility of them, but it does help explain his apparently quick heel-face turn. And now that Maou has a different connection to his surroundings and people, his 'evil' is 'good'.

    I do kind of wish Emi would more easily accept that Maou is the way he is now, but I can also understand given the backstory we got how ingrained her image of Maou is, and how incongruous, or even impossible, it must seem to her.

  4. No manga spoilers, thank you very much.

  5. u

    Uhm the Manga is actually where we are right now in the anime. Indeed, the anime is set to overtake the manga.

    The light novels on the other hand are 5 volumes at this point.

  6. Correction, then – no LN spoilers, thank you very much.

  7. f

    I dont know if what Highway said exactly contitutes a spoiler because I'm not sure if the anime is ever going to cover it, but the scene that he's referring to was covered more in depth in the manga as part of emi's flashback that wasn't included in the anime to explain maou's disconnect with the 'evil' he has done.

    I don't know, I could be wrong though, and that the writers purposely left that part out.

  8. S

    I was actually talking about this to another aniblogger, but Sado's transformation isn't really a transformation per say.

    Let me first start with a segway.

    Consider most gamers. Would you say they are massive sadists, slaughtering people and animals by the bucketload, not considering what they have done?

    But in reality, most of their mental thought process doesn't not go "Look at how I killed that guy", but rather "Look how I completed this challenge." or "I've gained exp (took another step) towards my next level."

    In the same way, while Sado was Satan, in the midst of doing all these heinous acts, by his own admission "I never thought of it like that"

    My postulate is that while Sado was still Satan, he simply thought of capturing, controlling, conquering, with no regards to anything or anyone. And being a demon, he was born a psychopath, meaning he had no conscience. As such, he was not built or fostered to consider the implications/harm that his actions inflicted on others.

    Upon becoming a human (and gaining a conscience in the process), he becomes kind and considerate, simply because now, he begins to include a thought for others before his actions.

    What I'm trying to say ultimately is that Satan was always Sado, but once he is stripped of the ability to cause great harm (his powers) and gains the ability to think for others (his conscience), he becomes a nice, considerate human being. And strip him of his conscience and give him power (heh, kinda like the powers of anonymity and bots the internet gives), he might turn back into Satan again.

    But still, Sado seems not to be inherently evil, rather that he could not conceive of good.

  9. x

    I think his behaviour as Maoh can be explained without him having to be a psychopath, or even evil.

    Your comparison with a game is probably quite apt. The way Enta Isla is set up in the beginning, it's portrayed as being incredibly clichéd.. essentially like a D&D game. In that context, the Maoh is merely playing his part; a part that's been ingrained in him since childhood, and a part that he apparently thoroughly enjoys. He's probably not really looking to conquer Ente Isla, but rather, he's looking for adversaries that he can pit his powers against. It's a game to him.

    The thing he's simply not considered until now is that the enjoyment might not be mutual. That the other side is actually suffering quite heavily from playing his games. He himself and those around him probably never had to suffer because of it, so he simply wasn't able to relate. Until now, that is.

    Well, either that, or he's really addled in the head.

  10. Even if it were a game to him, it's not a game to the people killed and their families, and we've been given no reason to believe Ente Isla is "virtual" or any less real than our world – just different. I don't really buy this just a game notion as a mitigating factor.

    Of course there might be others – maybe there really are two sides to this conflict, and the demons once settled Ente Isla until cruel humans forced them out. But I think it'd be fun to see the demon-human conflict presented in traditional fashion for once, and I think that would make Maou's current character arc much more interesting.

  11. S

    I'm not saying that Ente Isla is virtual, I'm just saying the psychology is very similar due to the lack of a conscience.

    Like… the soul of Sado is not an evil one, but fuse it with into a body with tendencies towards evil and that lacks the capacity for good, you'll have the greatest evil imaginable.

    Fuse in into the body of an angel, and he can be the most inspiring, and fearsome force of good yet to be seen

  12. j

    The sooner everyone learns Japanese, the better. I can't stand the way they speak their (fake or real language?) native tongue. It's beyond "bad."

  13. Z

    Nuuar! Alfig ver verheisik.

    Daa vitef. Poupacle mou pobleim veichtu actpent kechual.

    Verg taje oberd achteim?

    Aita jambu joupampas jobeyegtchiyenem futaja etkocbecta nihon, junafcas semjhish jukgaisx juks sona.

    Ejeu Emilia ensonvenc?

    Eipacisemuysak pupaksecechsu okaiyochta.

    Akigatakam! Ienskei!

  14. k

    I can't say I'm enamored with the non-comedy parts of the story… they're pretty hackneyed, but at least the presentation is okay enough, and I'm invested enough in some characters to continue watching. I just hope after this arc is done they'll get back to the fun and non-cliché stuff again. Preferrably with less cliché romance/romantic tension elements (yeah right).

    That aside, Ashiya continues to be awesome, he's by far my favorite character in this show. Too bad that he's bound to get sidelined in the future… :/

  15. C

    We don't really know the full back story of the demon world in this series. It could all have started as a "we were here first, this is our land so we are taking it back" kinda deal that just got out of hand.

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