Warning: This review contains spoilers for “The Devil is a Part-Timer!” If you have not read the book, do not read this post due to spoilers. However, if you have already read the book or you don’t mind spoilers, feel free to read this!
I’m back with another book review! This time, it’s the book “The Devil is a Part-Timer!” by Satoshi Wagahara. Here’s a summary of the book so that we get an understanding of what it’s about:
“After being soundly thrashed by the hero Emilia, the Devil King and his general beat a hasty retreat to a parallel universe…only to land plop in the middle of bustling, modern-day Tokyo! Lacking the magic necessary to return home, the two are forced to assume human identities and live average human lives until they can find a better solution. And to make ends meet, Satan finds gainful employment at a nearby fast food joint! With his devilish mind set on working his way up the management food chain, what will become of his thirst for conquest?!”
The Devil King (now known as Sadou Maou in his human disguise) and his assistant Great Demon General Alciel (now known as Shiro Ashiya in his human disguise) are humorous as they are, and they totally care for each other like they were best friends in a way. Shiro is the kind of ‘mom’ or ‘wife’ figure out of the two of them, constantly scolding Maou about not planning out living expenses or having an extremely unhealthy diet of living on Mg Ronalds leftovers (yes, the restaurant Maou works at is called MgRonalds, which is extremely similar to McDonalds). Considering that they used to be the high-and-mighty Devil King and his Second in Command, this is rather hilarious to even think of. Maou and Alciel’s struggles to simply survive in modern-day Tokyo are rather amusing to read, and they practically fight over this similarly to an ‘old married couple’ trope. I almost wish there were more fights between the two of them over things like this, though I imagine this would continue in later books in the series.
Emilia also is a rather strong character. She has this black-and-white morality in the beginning, but that eventually blurs to a grey as the plotline progresses in the book. She realizes that even Devil Kings can be actually decent people and that just because people are from a trustworthy organization (*cough, Olba, cough*) doesn’t mean that they have the best intentions for the good of all people. She struggles with this morality, even straight-out feeling horrified at accepting the Devil King’s horrible umbrella when it suddenly gets rainy. She ultimately learns that not everyone can be trusted and not everyone is a hundred-percent good or bad, and I think Emilia’s worldview has a convincing and well-written development throughout the book. Also, it’s incredibly amusing to find that even in Modern-Day Tokyo that she is still faring better than Maou and Alciel ever could, and even Emilia finds this embarrassing for the two of them.
Chiho Sasaki was an okay character compared to Emilia and Maou, but I was hoping she’d have a bit more character development to her. Although it was fun to see a sort of love-triangle sort of thing going on between Emilia, Chiho and Maou, I still wish there had been more added on to her character other than just being the hostage of Lucifer and Olba and having her be their source of magic (because Chiho had a bunch of negative emotions that Lucifer and Olba used to channel their power). Then again, this is only the first book in the series, so I’m hoping that (assuming I pick up the next book) Chiho will get some more development later on.
For the plotline, I really liked the pace of it during the first half of the book. It introduced the characters rather nicely and gave us the premise of the whole situation without it becoming a gigantic info-dump. However, the second half of the book completely dragged on and on, and I felt like the pace of the plot could have went a bit faster, especially with the huge fight scene with Maou and Emilia against Lucifer and Olba. I was also disappointed that the story didn’t quite focus on the idea of Maou working his way up the food chain. Seeing the summary, I thought the story might focus more on Maou’s crazy experiences on working at MgRonalds rather than him and Emilia finding out that Olba and the corrupted Church of Ente Isla deliberately setting up things to drive Emilia to defeat Maou and then dispose of her afterwards, so I was also a bit disappointed by that. Perhaps the following books will cover such a plotline, but I’d have to pick up the next book to find out more.
Speaking of Lucifer and Olba (the main villains in this book), I found the two being in the book to be kind of just there for the sake of having a villain. I didn’t think of them to be well-fleshed out and though the theme of corruption rang with Olba being the guy who planned out disposing of Emilia after she defeated Maou (and therefore Emilia ended up in Japan just like Maou did), it felt like it was added on for the sake of them being there, not like a huge plot twist. That part really disappointed me in the book regarding the characters.
In conclusion, I’m going to rate this book 3/5 stars, mainly due to the pace of the book’s plot lagging a bit, especially in the last half of the book, but also due to the lack of decent character development in Chiho and the not-so-great villains. However, the book is a fun spin on what happens in the ‘aftermath’ of a Devil King and his loyal assistant being beaten by the Hero, and so anyone who is interested in this sort of setting might want to give this a read.