After a few weeks of heavy serialization and lore drops, this week’s The Devil Is a Part-Timer! offers a weird but welcome respite in an episode that is mostly a return to form for the fantasy sitcom. It seems Gabriel, for some reason, gave up his quest to take back the shard of Yesod, but that doesn’t mean problems have stopped for our favorite demon leader.
Having a toddler fly through the roof of your apartment complex and destroy half the building is frowned upon, so repairs must be made. Sadly, building maintenance means that Castle Satan must be vacated for the time being. Making things worse, MgRonald’s is also closing for remodeling for a few weeks, so Maou is out of a job. This is just the out-of-left-field and forced return to form this show needed. Is it super contrived that both of these things happen simultaneously? Yes. Does it make for a hilarious scene where Maou comes home to deliver the news about his job, and both Ashiya and Urushihara are passed out on the floor in dismay? Also yes.
Luckily, they get a lifeline almost immediately when the landlady connects them to her niece, who conveniently needs workers at her beach shack. The best part, she wants to hire all three demons and will pay them 10,000 yen a day (about $75 a day) plus room and board. The change in scenery would typically indicate the coming of the mandatory beach episode in any other anime — though we still might get it next week — but this is The Devil Is a Part-Timer! and the show is here to do the devil’s business, so here it mostly just means a change of scenery and a chance to get back to basics.
Except not completely, since the news that they’ll finally have some disposable income is so good that Ashiya almost tears up, then immediately goes on a spending spree. He goes out to buy a suitcase and some beach clothes that he calls “an investment” for when they eventually travel around the world, conquering it. Should we worry about our little demon/househusband?
The idea of a high-ranking demon commander being as worried about the next paycheck as he used to be about an assassin taking out his boss, then crying with joy upon hearing of a high-paying gig, is what made this show painfully and hilariously relatable in the first place. It might be temporary until Gabriel returns, but it is a welcomed sight nonetheless.
Indeed, the best gag of the episode is when Team Satan gets to see the cottage they’ll stay in and find the solution to all their hot Japanese summer problems: a functioning AC. It is here that Urushihara almost tears up and proclaims he wants to be a shut-in and never leave the cottage. With record temperatures worldwide, who couldn’t relate to Lucifer, the fallen angel and lieutenant of Satan’s forces?
Of course, before we move on to the next story arc, there are some loose threads. We meet with Team Rocket’s James Sariel, the angel we saw last week talking to Gabriel. He confesses that they met and that Gabriel knows the location of Emi’s holy sword, but he is not working for Gabriel. Still, this puts Chiho on edge, and after helping out the past few weeks and being told by Ashiya that she could be a high-ranking member of Maou’s army, she is more determined than ever to be of use. She may not be as strong as demons or angels, but she manages to convince Emi to go along to the beach so she can stay close to Maou for the sake of Alas Ramus — who gets her first beach trip and it is adorable.
There is just one problem with these cute beach trips and dreams of cash raining down: The shack they’re supposed to work at is a complete wreck. There are cobwebs, broken chairs, and exposed portions in the ceiling; the whole place is about to fall apart. Maou figures out that if this place looks like this but they’re still getting paid well, it must mean the shack gets pretty full during beach season. He offers the owner, Amane, a deal: They’ll fill the place to capacity if she pays them a bonus. With newfound capitalist encouragement, team Satan is ready to work.
It is a delight to see Maou applying his demon army-building skills and fast food restaurant management skills to put everyone at work, even Urushihara. He even employs the girls, sending his mortal enemy Emi to buy some supplies — making sure she notes them as business expenses and not overdo it with the pricey stuff — and hiring Suzuno to build a big sand castle next to the shack. It remains to be seen how this will pay off in future episodes. It could be the start of the next stage of Satan’s army or simply some nice team building, but it is still the highlight of the episode, especially when Ashiya breaks down crying after seeing his master command his mortal enemy and seeing her dutifully obey. At this pace, next week could see Maou channel his inner Tom Cruise in “Cocktail.”
Before we turn to the fun, however, things turn ominous when Alas Ramus notices some light on the horizon. Maou recalls that a similar sight was a bad omen on Ente Isla, while Amane tells of a local legend called the Mouren Yassa (a very real legend in the town they’re in), spirits of the drowned that try to sink passing ships to make friends. Amane says she dislikes the trope of the dead coming back and only doing bad things and suggests Maou teach Alas not to discriminate against certain souls — completely normal and totally not sus conversation right there.
What does this mean? We don’t know, but they all get started by a fog horn from the nearby lighthouse, and Alas starts crying. The clear skies give way to a thick fog in the water and ominous music states playing as Amane proclaims, “it’s coming.” Then the episode ends with a giant shadowy figure appearing in the smoke, towering over the tall lighthouse. Could it be another angel? Cthulhu? An army of ghosts? More importantly, what does Amane know?
We won’t find out until next week, but this was a great episode that brought the story back to basics without feeling repetitive. Whether we’re back to world-building next week or if this is the “Cocktail” arc of the story, we finally get a light, fun episode of The Devil Is a Part-Timer! and that is worth celebrating.
Snacks & Sides
• We meet Chiho’s mom! And she approves of her crush on Maou!
• Maou learns of the beach job via a weird VHS tape sent by his landlady from Egypt, and we get the return of the show’s weird and insensitive jokes. This week it’s the landlady standing next to the pyramids dressed in caricature ancient Egyptian clothes, with a bunch of snakes wrapped around her.
• Maou creepily laughing in the break room at the start of the episode, only for the camera to turn and reveal he is gushing over pictures of his daughter, is a hilariously cute sight.
• The train station the team goes to in order to go to the beach is a real place. More importantly, the rice crackers Alas eats are very real, and they saved the station from bankruptcy back in the early 2000s. Who knew the company responsible for returning the show would be the Choshi City Travel Board and Choshi Railway?