“What are we, some kind of Three Demons and a Baby?” is a phrase that couldn’t feel out of place in this week’s The Devil Is a Part-Timer. In its second episode, the show starts planting the seeds for the overarching story of the season while still giving us delightful slice-of-life comedy shenanigans that made it a hit when it first premiered nine years ago.
We pick up where we left off and find the characters arguing about what to do with Alas Ramus. As if a toddler materializing from a golden apple wasn’t strange enough, Urushihara points out that it is also very strange that Alas not only recognized Maou and Emi as her parents but that she specifically identified Maou as Satan without anyone calling out that name. Meanwhile, the others ponder the idea that this child may be a weapon or even an adult in disguise sent from Ente Island for either Satan or Emilia to use.
Though the show never framed itself as such, its reverse-isekai tropes also play out as a rather poignant and accurate portrayal of the immigrant experience. Satan and Emilia may have been great figures in their homeland, commanding armies and hating each other’s guts. In Japan, however, they have vastly different levels of socioeconomic success. They ended up spending all their time together like civilized friends due to only being able to relate to one another from their shared experiences.
It doesn’t matter if you dislike a person, if you share a background and are immigrants in a new place, chances are you’ll be forced to spend time together and play nice. It is the juxtaposition between the mundane lives of Maou and Emi as regular day-job workers having to worry about petty things — like a roach — that they never even thought of back home, and their roles as the leader of demons and the leader of the resistance that is the heart of this show, and it’s good to see that hasn’t diminished.
Indeed, they may act friendly toward one another (in addition to their will-they-won’t-they dynamic), but Maou and Emi are still two individuals who have tried to kill each other countless times, so it makes sense that the lord of demons asks Chicho to help out with Alas instead because he trusts her more than anyone. Of course, while everyone is preoccupied with the origin and purpose of the child, she doesn’t care one iota and starts screaming and crying at every waking moment unless she is in the presence of both her parents. To the dismay of Alciel over their monthly budget, Maou eventually decides to just take in the child and care for her until they find out why she’s here or until someone comes for her.
“The Devil and the Hero go to the Amusement Park as Advised” finally gives Chiho the spotlight, focusing on her position as the one neutral human in the group. Now that she knows the identity of all the major characters, she is becoming a more significant part of the dynamic than just Maou’s young coworker with a crush on him — even if she still has a huge crush on him and impatiently awaits his response to her love confession. She helps by bringing diapers and other baby supplies to the apartment, where she finds Alciel looking even more ghoulish than usual, as he just discovered that a screaming baby is an even more formidable opponent than all of the church’s armies combined.
Sure, Alas may be abnormally intelligent and well-mannered, as Alciel says she is far more accomplished than Urushihara (much to his anger) because she brings him her dishes “in a clear move to clean up after herself,” always says thank you, and apparently can eat human food without a problem (and loves udon!). The only problem is she seems to be inconsolable unless both her parents are around. To calm her down, Chi and Suzuno decide to give the otherworldly child her first lesson in Earth customs … Japanese honorifics! This is just the kind of gag that makes this show so compelling, where it takes a rather serious and important part of Japanese life and treats it as almost a side quest to be accomplished by absurd creatures of another world. Unsurprisingly, Alas cannot address Chiho, her elder, as Big Sister Chiho and instead comes up with “Chi-sis.” And with that, Chi-sis and Suzuno, now Suzu-sis, fell under the charming spells of the magical baby.
Things get complicated when Chiho decides to visit Maou at work with Alas to see if a change of scenery might help her remember something about her purpose here, and it causes a ruckus at MgRonald’s. Maou’s coworkers assume the child is Chiho’s and decide they want to kill Maou, while the manager Mayumi is shocked at the sight. Perhaps even more shocked is wannabe James from Pokémon Sariel, who panics when he sees Mayumi holding Alas and assumes he has lost his chance with the love of his life. Meanwhile, Mayumi proves she is the coolest restaurant manager not residing in Chicago by urging Maou and Chi to be more careful about the appearances of a high school girl coming in and out of a man’s apartment with a baby. She even sends Maou home for the day to spend time with his daughter rather than worrying about immediate income.
Though the individual scenes still have the charm of the first season, this episode makes it clear that the change in studio and production staff is taking a toll on the approach to adapting this story. The episode suffers from rushed pacing that speeds through the initial hurdles (and comedic potential) of the demons having to care for the toddler. Sure, it seems we’ll see a lot more of Alas this season, but you only get one chance to show the first few nights with a toddler, and the episode tells us how it went rather than showing us. This relates to the lower quality of animation this season, which previously served to slow down the pacing by turning simple visual gags in the source material into extended comedic episodes by exploiting the visual aspect of the anime medium. Instead, this season feels more bare bones visually, making the script do the heavy lifting instead.
Before Maou and Emi have their first unofficial date as fake parents to a magical baby, the episode ends with two big hints at the overarching plot of the season. First, we see a suspicious-looking woman follow Maou and Alas on the street and activate a strange ring that makes a moon-shaped symbol on Alas’s forehead glow for unexplained reasons. Then, we cut away to a desolated icy landscape with a bunch of pods surrounding a giant dead tree, and out of one of the pods comes out a group of heavenly soldiers and who the credits describe as Gabriel (presumably the archangel once played by Tilda Swinton in the underrated live-action Constantine movie).
Gabriel only shows up to ominously proclaim that his mission is to restore the Tree of Life to its proper form before disappearing into a giant portal that Urushihara detects while ordering an excessively expensive meal that will make Alciel freak out when he finds out. Nothing like an angel literally descending from heaven to ruin a perfectly nice day out at the park.
Snacks & Sides
• Gabriel is, of course, voiced by Dio himself, Takehito Koyasu. This perfect casting seems to indicate that Gabriel will be up to no good, as Koyasu tends to be a go-to actor for the most delightfully deranged and evil anime characters in recent years, so this is an exciting addition to the cast.
• It seems we finally have a cute anime toddler stand-off this year! Will Anya from Spy x Family come out as the winner, or will Alas Ramus charm her way to the top?
• Maou doesn’t answer Chiho’s proposal, but Alciel does pre-friend zone her by offering her a high rank in Satan’s army as a general and nothing more.
• We see Chi practicing archery with a friend. Will she become an official part of Satan’s army in the future?