Hataraku Maou-sama – 11

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From one extreme last week to the other this.

I’ve said this before, but I think I like Hataraku Maou-sama better when the focus is on the comedy and not the larger plot.  It’s a pretty good plot, actually – very good in fact – and these dramatic episodes certainly aren’t bad.  But the writing seems to have a surer hand with slice-of-life and character-based situation comedy than with dramatic speeches and soul-searching revelations (though the action sequences are quite good).  As a result there were a couple of moments in this ep that were about as off-pitch as anything Hataraku has thrown at us in 11 episodes.

We’re in a similar situation with Hataraku as with Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge – two episodes left, ongoing source material, leaving the open question of what sort of ending we’re going to get, and with how much anime-original material.  The big difference is that Hataraku seems a very good bet for a second season (pre-sales suggesting 7-8K BD/DVD sales, strong LN sales spike).  Of course there’s no way of knowing if the Production Committee expected that, but from what the LN folks are saying it appears as if White Fox is adapting this at a very deliberate pace, suggesting that they might have had high hopes (and Katanagatari is the only series they’ve produced that didn’t have at least two cours, with obviously unusual circumstances).

If indeed we get an anime-original end I feel pretty good, as the anime-original eps (like last week’s) have been excellent so far.  My problem with this one isn’t so much the course of the plot as the execution – which is rare indeed for this show.  There were no surprises among the revelations – at least until the very last one.  Certainly we just about knew Sentucky James was the Angel, and the attacker who accosted Emi at the konbini.  It’s been obvious for a while that Suzuno was an assassin working for the inquisition, probably with links to Orba – this week just fleshed that out a little.  The growing theme here has been the undercutting of the series’ original premise that Satan and his army were evil, fighting against the forces of good in the Church – increasingly the Church’s true colors are being revealed.  The obvious implication is that maybe Sadao hasn’t changed his stripes – maybe he was the nice guy all along.

The best part of the three-way (I don’t mean that) between Suzuno, Emi and Chiho was when Chiho (who would have thought she’d be a kuropan girl?) pointed out the above to Suzuno.  The rest of it though felt pretty rote; Suzuno spouting Church doctrine, Chiho making a canned speech about friendship.  Emi’s rationale for backing Chiho was pretty anti-climactic too – “I don’t want to build a world where friends make friends cry.”  The whole matter was so by-the-book that for me it had the effect of trivializing the larger plot, which is too bad because I think the series has set that up beautifully.  Frankly I wish this confrontation could have gone a little deeper, and I wish Chiho especially had shown a little more angry resolve and a little less tearful despair.

There wasn’t much with the guys this week, but we finally get to see Ashiya go to the hospital – and to that I say about time, because it’s started to become a real torture watching him roil and groan in agony every week.  Urushihara actually proved himself useful this time around – he planted a transmitter in Emi’s bag, and he dug up info indicating that SFC and its manager were suspicious (though I think Maou should have figured that out himself).  We also got a major dump of crap from Miki Shiba – goods with instructions to sell them at the flea market, and a bunch of food and drinks.  Given the certainty that she’s also of non-human origin and the general lack of coincidences in this show, that will surely have deeper significance.  Maybe the guava juice is an antidote for whatever poison Suzuno is using?

The ep wasn’t completely devoid of comedy.  I appreciated the “KuroHippo” delivery van, though I suspect non-Edoites won’t get the joke.  I loved it when Chiho used Maou’s resolve to teach her how to maintenance and repair the soft-serve machine as proof of his good intentions.  I was also surprised – mostly that I hadn’t noticed before – to see that Ente Isla appears to be based on Florence, Italy.  And finally, we had that one big reveal – Orba Meyer is in the same hospital as Ashiya, with the implication that he’s been comatose since we last saw him (and that the police have somehow connected him to Ashiya).  I think it’s safe to say the fan is being prepared for the shit to hit it next week.

Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -8 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -9 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -10
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -11 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -12 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -13
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -14 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -15 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -16
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -17 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -19 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -20
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -21 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -22 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -23
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -24 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -25 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -26
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -27 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -28 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -30
Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -31 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -32 Hataraku Maou-sama - 11 -33


  1. u

    This is Book 2 material though. The so-called original content for the finale, as revealed in the episode summaries from the magazines, seems to be them putting back the important scene from book 1 as a closer for the series. Hint: it involves an umbrella.

  2. Which again implies a likely S2.

  3. R

    I definitely will look forward to a S2 and hope that it will still be picked up by White Fox with the same staff working on it.

  4. Sorry, TMI.

  5. C

    Yellow Umbrella? #himym

  6. R

    I was looking forward to your review to make sure that I didn't miss out anything. Glad that I didn't (teehee) — I wasn't feeling as engaged when watching this episode, and you just pointed out all the reasons. To be honest, while the execution and delivery of fanservice were as top notch and stylish, I don't think that it's necessary. If the creators wanted to cover the bigger plot, they could have scraped the last one and used the time to build it out better without losing the usual edge of the show. Just a thought…and I guess there maybe commercial reasons for making the last episode. As for this episode, I find that the writing wasn't as smart — it shows especially in the dialogue that makes me feel that the character interactions were not as interesting and their behaviour was forced. I agree with you that Hataraku is best when it's focused on the day-to-day lives of the characters and their interactions — I got the most laughs.

  7. R

    whoops…I meant the execution and delivery of fanservice of the last episode were good but didn't feel it necessary to include an episode like the last one.

  8. S

    Well, the whole idea of the Hero not killing the Dark Lord because he is doing good in the human world is farfetched to begin with… I am not surprised that Emi could only give a weak reason like "I don't want to make my friend cry".

    However I still enjoyed this episode more than the last one. Last episode was a standard beach filler, although the fanservice was done in a tasteful and funny way. I prefer episodes that advance the overall plot like this one.

  9. C

    I like that he GPS thing was foreshadowed episodes ago.

  10. M

    I think the umbrella thingy is also in the novels… or is it?

    I'm kinda disappointed that you're reviewing Majestic Prince over Oregairu. You're missing a lot of things, others already considered that series as on par with Hataraku and Gargantia. Yet you still chose Majestic…
    I guess I'm just, just so disappointed.

  11. H

    I think it's probably overcorrecting to think of Maou as 'the nice guy', especially all along. No matter what he's doing now, before he was the leader of an army / nation engaged in a war of conquest. I did say earlier that perhaps the show used loaded terms to cast Maou as the 'bad guy' and Emi as the 'good guy', and while I don't think it's brought Emi down in reputation – indeed she seems to be singularly above reproach in her actions during the war – I think the show's worked hard to cast Maou as someone who did bad things, now realizes he did bad things, and isn't doing bad things anymore. Conversely, it's worked at bringing the reputation of the church – individuals and organizationally – down. So I think that Maou's been working on redeeming himself, and Suzuno is just unable to reconcile those two Maous. Chiho's only seen the 'post-epiphany' Maou, and while Emi's seen both, she's less inclined to condemn current Maou based on the past, especially with her involvement with Chiho. I think that's an interesting question, too: How much has Chiho's admiration for Maou, coming from an earnest girl who is maybe inexperienced, but perceptive, influenced Emi's attitude about Maou?

  12. e

    You're joking about the kuropan aren't you? :p Not that I believe Chiho wouldn't wear black lingerie, but in this specific case that's just cel shading shadow rendering.
    Anyway, good job in spotting the Santa maria del Fiore's cupola clone. The rest of the buildng and architecture in Ente Isla are more a mish-mash of period and styles: bell roofs, carvings, city walls… they seem to range from generic Medieval-to-Renaissance to borderline central Eastern Europe (bell church towers with a bell to onion shape are increasingly common as you travel there) .
    Aaand… what's Pixis from SnK doing in the hospital?
    And will Ashiya's suffering finally end? Such visceral power – forgive me Ashiya :,), part II – .
    I agree the execution could have been better this week, but it still was an enjoyable episode. Chiho's endearingly if at times unintentionally humorous heartfelt defense and Emi's balanced assesment on the matter made for a rather satisfying watcher here, and I had to giggle at Maou's dealing with Chiho's mother and his reactions to her questions.

  13. m

    i still think the girls in this series make for very weak characters. chiho just gets on my nerves… if the show is all about the guys i would have loved this a lot more

  14. P

    WTF is doing Team Rocket there?

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