The Devil Is A Part-Timer!, Vol. 1

By Satoshi Wagahara and 029. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen Press.

Of the five titles I’m reading in April from Yen On, this is the odd one out, as it’s the only one that does not involve gaming in some way, shape or form. Instead this is a straight up fantasy/comedy, and reads as the most “traditional” of the lot. Our hero is our villain, who is forced to come to Japan and abandon his fantasy world, pursued by his nemesis, the hero, who seeks to destroy him. That said, Japan is not as laced with magic as they would like, so our hero is forced to bide his time and save his strength, instead deciding to try to use his part-time job as a stepping stone to world domination. Which is fine, except his part-time job is with McDonald’s… sorry, McRonald’s.

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The main reason to read this title is the comedy – it’s very funny, in ways that come out of the personalities of the characters, which is one of the best kinds of humor. Maou is intelligent and capable, but has taken to life as a lowly paid wage slave in Japan a little *too* well, as everyone immediately notices. His Demon General/Househusband Ashiya is in turns nagging him about eating properly and returning to their world, but can also be an emotional drama queen at the worst time. Chiho is a normal lovestruck girl you’d see in any anime romance series, which is why it’s so funny that she’s stuck in the middle of all this. As for Emi, when doing research on this title I found a TVTropes quote about her that noted “She’s generally hated on /a”, which is always a true sign that I will love a character. She was wonderfully fun and emotional.

We do not get too many flashbacks to Maou’s time as the demon lord, notably. This is deliberate, I imagine, given that he is supposed to be the destroyer of many, many lives… including Emi’s father. We do see a bit pf her past, mostly as she is forged into a weapon used to take out the Demon King… and then tossed aside so that the real evil guy can get on with his behind the scenes manipulation. When she confronts Maou with his deeds, his response is to half-heartedly apologize, indicating he hadn’t really thought much about what he was doing. This is really dissonant, and I’m not sure how much of it is deliberate. We’ll see if it comes up again in future books.

There’s also many cool battles, and our hero and villain show that they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with if they team up and if the hero can stop screaming at him for long enough. I don’t expect Emi’s essential tsundere character to end anytime soon, as that’s her type, but I do think that a lot of her rage in the latter half of the book is more due to finding out that the entire life she lived was based on a lie than anything else… it will be interesting to see how she handles her black-and-white morality getting grey tones.

Mostly, though, this book is just plain fun. If you like comedic fantasy/romance, and don’t mind that some of the characters (everyone but Maou, basically) are stereotypes, this is definitely a book to pick up.

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