Hataraku no Maou-sama – 10

Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -9 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -19 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -35

Memo to Suisei no Gargantia – that’s how you do a swimsuit episode.

And we’re not going to get a 2nd one next week, either.

Fanservice eps are a minefield for anime, to say the least.  For every one that actually contributes something besides crass commercial pandering there are a dozen that don’t, and at worst they can derail a series with surprisingly devastating efficiency.  On the one extreme you have the Outlaw Star and Gurren Lagann examples, and on the other the aforementioned Suisei no Gargantia – and it’s towards that end of the scale that most service episodes sadly end up ranking.

While not quite on the level of Outlaw Star or TTGL this week’s Hataraku Maou-sama is happily much closer to that extreme than the other.  There are several reasons for this, but I think the most important is that the premise both made sense given the ongoing plot and contributed something to the plot going forward.  As well, it managed to avoid the common trap of coming off as crass and exploitative, which like so much that Hataraku makes look easy isn’t as easy as it looks.  Everyone knows what’s happening with a swimsuit episode, so there’s no point in pretending otherwise – the key, I think, is to intentionally play up the ridiculousness of it and mine some character humor from the situation.

Essentially, this is another example of Hataraku at its core: not really doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but doing what has been done before extremely well.  It exists somewhere in an elusive middle-ground between cliche and parody, not reaching the level of outright satirizing the tropes it portrays but ingeniously tweaking them to make them feel fresh.  No trope could be more trope-y than the fanservice episode, but it feels fresh here because there’s so much life in these characters and watching them interact is always a pleasant experience.

Among the gags I loved this week were the “Here’s your one-pound burgers!” bit, which made me laugh at one of the oldest cliches in anime, one girl stressing out over another’s bust size.  And truly, Chiho is almost freakishly big – but this (for me at least) doesn’t offend because the series makes fun of itself for that fact, embracing the absurdity of it.  I also loved the reptile bit, where Chiho and Emi were stressing over why they don’t like scaly creatures in a very “Desshou?” way – except that Chiho was stressing over a tiny suburban lizard and Emi over a giant dragon basilisk threatening thousands of people. There’s also Maou’s continued denseness over Chiho’s flirting with him – which again is about as cliche as you can get in anime.  It’s become almost meta at this point, because Maou is so utterly straightforward about it – there’s no posing in his reactions, he’s completely normal as he ignores her true intentions.  The thinking here is that he knows he has no future with a human woman and is doing everything he can to spare her, and as with his job at MgRonald’s, when Maou truly sets his mind to something he’s very, very good at it.

If you’ve worked in the business, you know that Maou’s manager lending him out to another store was an important moment – especially as they were expecting a huge day.  Managers lending rising stars out to other managers is an important rite-of-passage – a show of confidence, a test and a way of showing off how good their staff is all at once.  The last thing you want to do is screw up in such a situation, but this is Maou – he’s basically a food-service savant.  It leads to some interesting developments, especially with Urushihara’s revelation that the new haunted house and reptile exhibits are likely to generate a bumper crop of harvestable fear.  Ashiel wants to go and help but he’s back to living in the bathroom, which I suppose pretty much confirms that he’s far from over whatever Suzuno’s noodles are doing to him.  My big question is, why is it that Ashiel is the only one getting sick when Lucifer and Sadao are eating the same udon noodles?  And for that matter, what’s Suzuno’s plan now that the noodles have expired?  Perhaps taking out Ashiel was her goal all along, to weaken Maou’s defenses, but that still doesn’t explain why the others aren’t sick.

There really don’t seem to be any coincidences in this series, so I have to think that the escaped monkey at Fushima Park being named “Sadao” was more than just an excuse for the girls to have some fun at Maou’s expense.  He stole the janitor’s keys on purpose, presumably, so that whoever opened the crocodile cage could force Maou into action – but again, the interesting question is why.  Was the hope that he’d do exactly what he did, and the aim merely to get him to expose himself – or was there a deeper purpose behind it?  We also have the extremely unsurprising revelation that James from Sentucky is indeed…  What – an angel?  He showed his true colors – white feathers – which implies it might be that, rather than his being a demon.  And that makes his likely ambush of Emi at the konbini all the more interesting. 

Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -7 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -8 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -10
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -11 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -12 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -13
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -14 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -15 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -16
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -17 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -18 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -20
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -21 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -22 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -23
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -24 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -25 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -26
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -27 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -28 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -29
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -29 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -31 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -32
Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -33 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -34 Hataraku Maou-sama - 10 -36
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

15 comments

  1. u

    Actually it was a basilisk, not a dragon. Kind of easy to spot, what with all the petrified warriors.

    As for Angels, it's a plot point that the adaptation won't get to (remember, this is book 2 of a currently 9 book franchise). There's a lot going, and Emi's mom Laylah is mostly behind MOST of it.

  2. i

    Chiho and Emi's faces were hilarious in each of their WTF moments. As always Hataraku is Solider than steel.

  3. s

    Hahahaha tell me why i knew you were going to say that enzo in regards to Suisei's swimsuit episode; while i dont think it was as tasteless as people make it out to seem (save for the transvestites), I absolutely agree that this episode is the perfect demonstration on how to splice just the right amount of fanservice and comedy to the create the utmost enjoyment and that Suisei and other shows in general should see this as an example on how its done right.

  4. m

    Perhaps Ashiya is just..gluten intolerant!?! My first thought when watching that scene.

  5. R

    I agree that the execution of Hataraku is brilliant that it makes cliches look interesting, and I like how you describe the show — Hataraku makes look easy isn't as easy as it looks. What a fitting comment…and a compliment, indeed.

    However, I don't enjoy this episode as much as I did last week, and there are two things here. First, it's about the fanservice. I am fine with the scene with Emi and Chiho in the locker room — at least it adds a little bit to the characters — but find it unnecessary with the whole monkey jumping on Chiho sequence. Maybe I am just not as open-minded to fanservice, but I don't find it funny or meaningful. Second, it's about the whole Maou saving the world from crocodiles invading story. I understand what it's trying to say, but the plot is a bit too convenient, and it's not as interesting as in the previous scenario. Having said that though, I am interested in finding out why an angel would attack another angel, well, half-angel, though.

  6. H

    My explanation of Ashiya's weakness to being possibly poisoned is that Lucifer pretty much never eats their food, and Maou seems to eat far less of it than Ashiya. Maou also is presumably eating other food at work (the reason that Suzuno gave him that huge bento, to keep up).

    I did think they went a little too over the top (literally and figuratively) with Chiho's bikini. It looked a size small.

  7. e

    About your latter paragraph there is actually a grain of truth beyond fanservice purposes: unless you can buy top and bottom separately from a matching set ( a much blessed custom in some chain stores but not as common as one could think or wish ) it's not uncommon for a busty girl to have to choose between A) a set normally designed for a bottom-bigger-than-top body type or B) not buying a swimsuit at all C) wearing a mismatching two-piece beachwear mindset and pretend that's the innermost desire of her inner suddenly quirky fashionista.
    If she bravely goes for A) the size choice boils down to a secured bum with a squished rack vs comfortable top with usually alarmingly loose panties. Pick your poison – forgive me Ashiya :,) – .

  8. e

    Chiho is not freakishly big, it's just that on top of magical anime cup size fluctation they draw her torso freakishly thin compared to her breasts most of the time XPPPP (this screenshot being a happy exception http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1DAeaLfoa-8/UbE9Uh3STrI/AAAAAAADJLE/46DMul3HR94/s320/Hataraku+Maou-sama+-+10+-5.jpg ). *Thus spoketh a healthy DD-E cup carrier also on behalf of a couple of her petite yet endowed close acquaintances*.
    Embrace those burgers, don't fear them X,DDD. Btw that pic is pretty mouth-watering. And that olive on top… <3. Close competition with Macross F tuna buns. All my delish hopes and dreams.

    I second the food intolerance for Ashiya. If anything beacuse if that ends up being the true cause it makes for a nice red herring.

  9. e

    P.S.: I'm pretty much dating myself but the crocodiles almost made me hope for a Paul Hogan moment :,).

  10. l

    This show has slowly (but steadily) become my favorite of this season. Never would've thought that at the beginning of the season, though I suppose every other series being lame helped a bit. Loved this episode. The 1-pounders, the haunted house, Suzuno's outfit, the dead eyes, Sadao-chan. Can't believe I'm saying this about a fanservice ep.

    Also, your paragraph about this series successfully walking that fine line between trope and satire was quite well written, Enzo. Also learned a new word; trope-y. Probably my second favorite word of the week, behind Wakamoto's cyclone.

    This ep gets 4 tropey-cyclones (out of 5), btw.

  11. f

    this is only planned for 13 episodes, right? This show has been one of my personal favorites for this season, but we're sitting here at episode 10 and there's not alot happening right now. Every episode has been witty and funny, but I haven't been getting the sense of the inevitable buildup towards the main conflict of the storyline since around episode 5.

  12. It is, but with LN sales soaring and good presale numbers for the BDs, I expect a second season. As White Fox has been adapting quite slowly compared to most LN adaptations, it almost appears as if they might have thought so from the beginning.

  13. f

    hopefully that's the case. It would be a shame for this series to be reduced to a typical slice of life comedy without even entertaining the original premise of the show

  14. m

    haha the reason why the others didn't get sick is because ashiel overate, nothing to do with the noodles spoiling though that may contribute in some way

  15. I think the really funny element is they knew they were probably poisoned and ate them anyway to try and save money…

Leave a Comment