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ANIME REVIEW: “The Devil Is a Part-Timer”

ANIME REVIEW: "The Devil Is a Part-Timer"

The Devil Is a
Part-Timer: Complete Series

Funimation: $69.98; 
DVD/Blu-ray 4 discs

The supernatural comedy-adventure The Devil Is a Part-Timer has a no-holds-barred absurdity that makes
many American cartoons feel tame. The premise is so off the wall, it may strain
the credulity of some Western viewers, especially religious conservatives.


In the alternate world of Enta Isla, Satan (voice by Josh
Grelle), the Lord of Demons, is defeated in a grand battle and hurled through
an inter-dimensional portal with his general Alciel (Anthony Bowling) and his
arch-enemy, the Heroine Emilia (Felecia Angelle). They land in modern Tokyo and
find themselves without their accustomed supernatural powers–or any means of support.
Satan and Alciel adopt the names of Mao Sadao and Shiro Ashiya, and rent a
miniscule (six-mat) apartment in a ratty old building near Shinjuku. To keep
them form starving, Mao gets a job at the fast-food outlet MgRonalds; Emilia
finds work at a telephone service company, fielding complaints and problems. She
also keeps a close watch on Mao, convinced he’s up to no good—a reasonable
suspicion to have about the Devil.


But Mao turns out to be a “perfect MgRonalds employee.” He’s
soon promoted to assistant manager and takes pride in work. High school student
and part-time co-worker Chiho (Tia Ballard) falls for him, which complicates
the already fractious relationship between Emilia and Mao.


Inevitably, other characters cross the barrier to Earth.
Satan’s lieutenant Lucifer (Aaron Dismuke) joins his former superior under the
name Usushihara. While Shiro frets over the household finances, Usushihara spends
his days playing computer games and searching the web for possible sources of
magical power to restore their previous might. The mysterious Suzuno (Alex
Moore) moves into the apartment next door to Mao, further tangling his
relationships with the opposite sex.


Trouble comes with the arrival of renegade priest Olba (Mark
Stoddard) and the cruel angel Sariel (Scott Freeman), who poses as the manager
of a rival fast-food outlet, Sentucky Friend Chicken. The Church, the
Inquisition and various governments back in Enta Isla are spinning elaborate
intrigues to bring back—or eliminate—Emilia and Mao.

In the resulting clashes, Mao mystifies Emilia and Suzuno by
being so nice. He protects Chiho (and them), helps innocent bystanders and undoes
the damage the battles inflict on the surrounding city. These improbable plots
twists work because Grelle succeeds in making Mao such a likable character. His
grudging friendship with Emilia, his kindness to Chiho, and his enthusiasm for
the MgRonalds work ethic somehow feel perfectly natural.


Director Naoto Hosoda keeps the story moving at an
appropriately brisk pace. The violence in the climactic battle feels a bit excessive,
but the artists make the most of the comic insanity, which juxtaposes the
fantastic and the mundane with often hilarious results. His formidable powers
restored, a muscular, horned Mao/Satan prepares to do battle with the Sariel by
taking off his MgRonalds uniform: Any damage to his uniform would be deducted from
his salary! Clad in his boxers, he beats the hell (literally) out of Sariel;
ensures Chiho and Emilia are safe; and repairs all the damage that’s been done
to nearby buildings. Then he puts his uniform back on: He’s ready for his


The Devil Is a
is based on series of light novels by Satoshi Wagahara, and the
first season of the series ends with the quarrelsome but friendly characters
ready for a new adventure. Viewers on both sides for the Pacific are hoping a
second season will follow.

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