Call this a breather ep or whatever you will, but this was definitely the most low-key episode of Hataraku Maou-sama for a while, and probably overall. That seemed inevitable with the first major arc out of the way and the series nearing the halfway point, and truth be told I was ready for the comedic aspects of the series to take center stage again. This wasn’t as uproariously funny as the first two episodes, but it was still full of excellent moments.
We started off the festivities with Maou going into full demon overlord mode at the local yakiniku restaurant, much to his wife’s embarrassment. Frankly, Maou seems to totally integrated into his human life that his personality has become indistinguishable from a quite normal human’s (the episode is littered with examples) so any time he gets to assert his true nature, Ashiya should probably encourage it. The rare treat of a real restaurant was a celebration of Maou’s getting promoted to Shift Manager at MgRonald’s – much deserved, no doubt – but the most interesting part of that was noted by Chiho (somewhat surprisingly). If Maou is a manager (only when the real manager is off, of course) doesn’t that technically mean he’s being a demon overlord for the duration of that shift?
The most obvious change to the old routine is that Lucifer has fully onboarded with the Tokyo cast. He’s calling himself Urushihara Hanzou, and he’s staying at the Demon Lord’s Castle (three guys in a six-tatami room – yikes). He’s supposedly staying inside because Maou ordered him to lay low, but one suspects Urushihara would have been happy to do so anyway – he seems to be a perfect fit for the NEET lifestyle. So now he happily sports his skater-boy look and lounges around the apartment surfing the net and wishing he had better specs so he could game – but given Sadao and Ashiya’s finances I’m surprised they bought him a computer at all. He every inch plays the part of Sadao’s bratty younger brother – which I suppose, in the larger context, isn’t really all that far off from what he’s supposed to be.
The plot of the episode is pretty lightweight, more or less an excuse to get the comedy started. Lucifer sends Satan and Ashiya to a school where an abandoned classroom is supposedly a place where a dimensional gate opened in the past, thus providing the possibility that Satan might be able to replenish his powers. It turns out that Lucifer has just send them there because that’s where he and Olba squatted when they came to Tokyo, he left his
PS Vita Pasta console there and he was too lazy to get it himself. That’s fine, as the spoof on the “seven school mysteries” trope was a good one. Emi has tagged along – she’s rapidly blurring the line between hero and stalker, and I still find her tsundere act to be the least entertaining element of the show – but it’s mostly Chiho and Maou that provide the laughs. Somehow I find the fact that Satan was getting frightened by lame ghost stories quite hilarious, and Chiho’s abject frustration at Sadao completely whiffing on every one of her hints that she’s into him is spot-on. Emi does provide one big laugh, when she uses her holy sword to brutally dismember an anatomical model, then tries to pass the blame off on Sadao (the bit where Chiho insisted Emilia wear indoor shoes in school was excellent as well, but I give Chiho the credit for that working).
There was some more or less serious development here, bookending the episode. At the beginning we see that the Church in Ente Isla is rife with corruption and secrecy, and they seem quite intent on Sadao and Emi not making it back alive because they know things they shouldn’t. And at the end, there’s a new character introduced – she’s apparently moving into Sadao and Ashiya’s apartment complex and she immediately (and rather violently) falls down the stairs and into his arms. No name yet, though she’s definitely voiced by Itou Kanae – and I assume she’s somehow connected with the totally extraneous bag of udon noodles (coincidentally, I had udon for dinner right before watching this episode) Chiho found outside the school after the test of courage. Mostly, though, plot took a backseat to comedy this week, and I’m good with that. Any ep with this much husband-wife time between Sadao and Ashiya is a winner, and the running gag with Landlady Miki Shiba’s Hawaiian swimsuit photo was top-shelf.