The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Vol. 17

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

Even more than the last volume, this one gives off the feeling of an author who has been told precisely when his series will be ending. We have five more to go, including this one. As such, it’s far more concerned with the future of the main cast than previous books, as well as pointing blinking arrows at one of the main unanswered questions of the series: why is Maou so dedicated to working his way up the McRonald’s ladder? Shouldn’t he be more worried about Enta Isla? The ongoing battle against God gets shunted to the last fifth of the book (which is quite good, don’t get me wrong), leaving the bulk of it focusing heavily on Maou having the 23-year-old equivalent of a mid-life crisis. He still hasn’t answered Chiho, Emi continues to give him the most mixed signals imaginable, and he’s also reached a crisis point at his job: he failed the managerial exam. Like most huge corporations, they won’t tell him why. Does Maou have what it takes to lead?

It’s a bigger problem than you’d think. He can’t retake the exam for a year. And he has to be recommended again, which is a problem, as Kisaki, who graces the front cover, is being promoted. She’s not leaving the store per se, but she won’t be managing anymore, meaning she won’t be able to help guide Maou’s career. Indeed, she seems far more concerned about her own dream of opening an upscale coffee bar. That said… that dream might include Maou. As well as Sariel, surprisingly, who Kisaki points out is very good at managing money, hopelessly devoted to her, and won’t actually lay a hand on her – the perfect lackey. (This seems cruel, but Sariel is really too pathetic to sympathize with.) That said, Maou simply can’t accept right now – not with everything else in his life up in the air, including monstrous lizards invading Japan, injured chickens, and White Day chocolates needing to be purchased.

One theme of the entire series has been that Maou is excellent at leadership skills when they involve concrete things that need doing, but he’s very bad at reading the emotions and hearts of anyone he deals with. This is especially proven in the scene where he gives out the White Day chocolates – he thinks of everything, including getting chocolate for people who only gave it to him indirectly (coughEmiliacough), then proceeds to ask Emilia to help him go to the demon territories, which sounds to everyone (including her) like he’s taking her on a date and going back to his place. He is dull when it comes to love and romance. Which is why he hasn’t answered Chiho either. Fortunately for him, the crisis at the end of the book will likely make it OK to forget about that again for a bit. They really DO need to clear up Enta Isla first.

There’s even a bonus short story here, which was not in the Japanese volume, showing off Maou’s terrible fashion sense. Assuming Devil Is a Part-Timer fans have not spoiled themselves on what happens next, this should be a great pickup for them.

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