The Devil Is a Part-Timer!. Vol. 21

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

I suppose, if you know that what you’re writing is going to be an anticlimax, it’s best to just admit it straight up front. The massive battle against heaven, even from the start of the volume, is very underplayed, and when it comes, while there is some combat, it ends fairly easily for the good guys. In fact, the final battle is so anticlimactic that the book jumps back and forth between the “present” and three years into the future, showing us where Maou is now and what the rest of the cast are up to, while also teasing his romantic relationship. That said, here it’s made explicit WHY Maou has been hemming and hawing and putting off giving a clear yes or no to anyone’s confession: his demon side is literally allergic to love and causes him to feel extremely ill. Not exactly an original idea, but hey. All in all, it’s an OK ending to a series that should have ended a dozen books ago.

Fortunately for the reader who has been feeling a bit Chiho’ed out by the last couple of books, she’s not present for the War Against Heaven, though we do get Maou and company explaining everything to her parents. A lot of the book features scenes of the cast waiting for heaven to respond to their obvious aggression, and being somewhat disturbed that they are not doing so. And then there is the newest Sepirah child, there to signify the direction that all of heaven will take going forward… so it’s a bit of a shame that he looks like an exact copy of Urushihara, to the point where Maou dubs him Copyhara. There is also quite a lot of backstory and explanations are given for most of the supernatural end of things, but I’m going to be honest, I’ve never really paid attention to that part.

If that summary sounds vague, so does the whole book. The epilogue bits are a bit more interesting. There is a romantic pairing that caused me great pain to read about (no, not Maou’s), but I suppose as long as they’re happy. Speaking of Maou, and spoiling a bit here, yes, he’s together with Chiho, but she’s also trying to consider their future as a group. The problem is that a) thanks to Alas Ramus, he’s never going to be able to be far from Emi for the rest of his life (which, by the way, is a normal human lifespan now, because plot), and b) Emi clearly has some feelings for Maou, and is clearly never going to end up with another guy. Chiho proposing a poly relationship is… I’m gonna be honest, it feels like a fanfic solution. Even Maou is baffled by it, though given how Chiho and Emi run roughshod over his life in general, I guess he’ll accept it. Still, I can’t see the fanbase enjoying this.

Again, aside perhaps for that last part, this book isn’t too bad. But it’s a classic example of an author dragging out a story that should have ended around Book 7 or 8. In the end, it risked drowning under all of its own lore, and didn’t really give the fans the romance their wanted either.

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