The Devil Is A Part-Timer!, Vol. 5

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

As the series has gone on, the astute reader may have realized that Enta Isla is not simply a place where fantasy devils and angels lived, but a place where an actual War in Heaven broke out and humans were caught in the middle. In other words, where I’d mentioned before that the series was a bit like A Certain Magical Index in the way that it used religious themes for its own ends, I apparently didn’t know the half of it. Here we see Angels descending to Japan to try to discipline one of their own, and Maou gets caught in the middle because a) it’s his series, and b) Chiho ends up hospitalized due to a series of unfortunate coincidences extending back to the start of the series.


Of course, the main people who get character building here are not Maou and Chiho, but rather Emi and Suzuno. Emi is forced to deal with the fact that her mother is in Japan, her father may be alive, and her very EXISTENCE is an affront to Heaven. And Suzuno, who had already had a bit of a crisis of faith in the second book, is now having to deal with the fact that the Angels who inhabit Heaven may not be all that angelic, and in fact may simply be equivalent to just another gang. Again, using Western religious imagery as the impetus for fantasy plotting is not unique to Japan, but it works particularly well here as we come to realize that there really aren’t good and bad guys here, just a bunch of people struggling for power and worship. That said, I do still want to find out one day why Maou was so horrible pre-series.

To be honest, though, the real joy of this book isn’t really the plot revelations or the depth of character. It’s not even the action sequences, or the sight of a busty teenage girl in pink pyjamas flying though the air and firing beams of energy. No, it’s the entire cast spending the first third of the book discussing digital TV and what makes really good udon. Devil Is a Part-Timer has good backstory, don’t get me wrong, but the best reason to read it is still the tiny minutiae of life in Japan as being lived by a bunch of fantasy heroes. Rika’s stunned reaction when none of her companions know who Toshiba is; Maou’s middle management skills saving the day once again and coming up even in the oddest situations and possibly best of all, Suzuno’s obsession with the delicious cheap udon they get at once shop. It’s simply fun to read.

I could say that about the series as a whole. Everyone’s likeable by now – Emi gets less tsundere by the book, though she’s still got a ways to go – and the prose is smooth and clear, one of the best of Yen On’s light novel efforts. It’s still in the top tier of light novels currently being released.

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