After what was arguably the single worst episode of the show, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! finally gets back on track — sort of — with an episode that starts with a bear fight and ends with a fateful phone call. That’s right, Chekhov’s bear attacks, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, Emi kicks its ass with an angelic superpowered judo slam to the ground. It’s a scene worthy of Hajime no Ippo’s Takamura. The problem is that news of the fight spreads like wildfire, and soon enough, Emi becomes a local celebrity, dubbed by the media as the “Bear-Slayer.” For some reason, despite being literally called “The Hero” back in Ente Isla, Emi is now too shy to embrace her new monicker and threatens to kill Maou if she finds Alas Ramus calling her the Bear-Slayer.
In the meantime, Maou is still working all day at the farm, and in this week’s “Satan learns about the human world,” he realizes the importance of farming to human civilization. Indeed, continuing Maou’s reflections of his time as a demon lord (and if case you forgot, he used to be a demon lord), he learns from Chiho’s family just how connected the family farm is to the community, how the produce travels all across town, how members of the family contribute their ideas and innovations — like some solar panels that power the entire endeavor.
This is the backbone of the community, but Maou takes a step further and thinks to himself that it is farming and resources that are essential to building a civilization. Because magic was so abundant that demons on Ente Isla didn’t need to eat, they spent their days killing each other instead. Though it isn’t a focus of the episode, we do see Maou continue to advance in his spiritual journey of self-discovery. When we first meet the king of demons, he was mostly just frustrated over losing the war on Ente Isla, but now, it seems he’s starting to feel genuinely sorry and guilty for his role in killing a bunch of humans and destroying their homes. Maou is starting to see that even the best intentions don’t excuse an evil act, and he knows he will spend the rest of his days trying to atone for his sins.
This gets at one of the subplots this season, as Maou goes through his own Harley Quinn story of realizing he actually likes being the good guy. The problem is that this threatens to betray one of the core themes of The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, a show that was originally about challenging the audience’s perception of who the good and bad guys are. Making Maou fully become a good guy would mean the show is oversimplifying the theme and acknowledging that he used to undoubtedly be a bad guy.
The actual plot of the episode involves a serial farm thief who is attacking the neighboring farms and stealing their pricier produce to sell on the black market. In yet another winning episode for our NEET king, Urushihara deduces that the next target is the farm they are working on. Rather than target the vegetables, however, the thieves want a much more valuable prize — the solar panels that power the entire farm. And we’re not talking about some ordinary thieves here, mind you, they are even responsible for sending the bear after Team Satan at the end of last week’s episode.
Once they know the target, it is time for a classic caper stakeout. Of course, the culprit ends up being some random college kids, but they made the horrible mistake of challenging a group of demons and angel descendants. Emi terrifies one by turning her eyes red to the point where the poor kid pisses his pants, then Maou channels their fear to transform into his former demonic self, goat hooves and all. He completely traumatizes the thieves and tells them that they might think they only got caught due to bad luck, and they may beg for forgiveness and promise never to do it again, but it won’t be enough. If they hadn’t been caught, Maou tells them, they’d have just continued to hit the farms. No, what they did is inexcusable, they did it because they wanted to, not even for survival (like the sins Maou committed). The thieves will spend the rest of their lives paying the price for hurting people, just like Maou is.
This is a short but powerful scene that, again, hits at Maou’s identity crisis of this season, as he starts to realize the pain he caused others. But enough self-reflection! There is no time for that because the work is over, and it’s time to get a paycheck and go back home. Maou and the others (even Emi) get their sweet cash payment and even some nice fresh produce from the farm. This concludes this unnecessary story arc; may we never have to think about it again.
And thankfully, it doesn’t seem like we’ll have to, because a post-credits scene brings us right back to the main plot. In the scene, Emi starts thinking back to Maou transforming into a demon and how there wasn’t enough magic from the thieves’ fear to achieve that. When she asks Suzuno, she theorizes that Maou channeled the energy from a nearby Kappa museum and the millennia worth of superstition and fear from the locals and converted it to magic. This prompts Emi to realize that, you know, she’s been quite friendly with her archenemy, the lord of demons, and if he’s capable of using his full strength in the mortal world, she’ll have to prepare to finish her fight. And if that wasn’t enough, she also gets a call from Emerada, who asks if Emi has been in contact with her mother, who she doesn’t know is an archangel. And with that, we’re finally on track with the main story.
Snacks & Sides
• Yet again, it is Urushihara who saves the day.
• We finally get some actual good animation for once, especially during comedic scenes.
• Chiho’s grandma realizes that Maou and Emi must not be regular humans, but decides they are just nice kids who could catch a break, so she keeps the secret. We all could use a grandma like that.