The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Vol. 14

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

As hinted in my previous review, this does not give us the next installment of the main series, but is another series of short stories that are interspersed throughout the series’ timeline. Most of them, with the exception of the last one, were published in magazines, something that happens quite frequently in Japan but is not always collected into a volume, and even when it is sometimes is not picked up in North America (hi, Index). As you can imagine, the stories here range from merely OK to quite good. None of them are too serious and none of them really advance the plot, but they’re fun and make you smile. Ashiya’s reaction to winning a pressure cooker in a contest is as hilarious as you’d expect given his frugality. Maou finds buying a new phone to be a lot more difficult than he expected, as he has memories attached to the old, broken one. And Maou also bikes a lot, so needs new pants, in possibly the slightest story here.

Three stories do get a little more depth, though. In the first, which takes place between the first and second books, Chiho meets up with Emi, Albert and Emeralda for sushi and they discuss Maou’s past, why he hasn’t erased her memories, and Chiho’s own feelings for Maou. This is well done but also feels a bit unrealistic in terms of Emi’s personality – it feels like Vol. 13 Emi is overlaid with Vol. 1 Emi so that she doesn’t explode in rage. The funniest bits are probably Albert and Emeralda experiencing conveyor belt sushi and revealing their hideously large appetites to us. Another story deals with Kisaki’s past, as when the manager of the Sentucky Fried Chicken across the street comes into McRonald’s (with Sariel in tow, of course), Kisaki literally throws her out, and has to face disciplinary action. The revelation that they have a past is not exactly surprising, but it’s fun. I really liked the revelation that she’s stalling her career a bit because she’s debating asking Maou to join her in her dream. I suspect that ain’t happening, though.

The best story is the last one, the only one written especially for the book, which shows us Emilia’s life after arriving in Japan for the first time. Naturally, she’s chased all over the place by cops, particularly when she tries to live in a park and drink from the central fountain. She ends up at a familiar apartment building, though it’s empty at the moment, and the moment she broke into it I knew exactly what would happen, but that didn’t make this less funny or endearing. I am somewhat relieved that she did not drive her realtor namesake into an institution or get her fired, as I was expecting one or the other. It also helps to emphasize how, when not driven to kill by the likes of Olba, Emi is really a sweet, kind person at heart. Even when she’s being a samurai ghost.

So this is not essential in terms of plot, but is a nice, fun read with more of the characters you know. Next volume should get back to the plot, and has a Christmas theme – will it come out by Christmas Day?

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