Sometimes you find out more about yourself through a surprising job change.
What They Say:
When Satan is run out of his infernal kingdom, he finds himself virtually powerless in modern-day Tokyo. Stuck in a feeble mortal body and desperate for cash, there’s only one way for the dark lord to survive: by getting a job manning the deep fryer at “MgRonald!”
As Satan flips burgers and tries to regain his evil magic, he’s pestered by a righteous hero who tracked him to Earth, a video-game-loving fallen angel looking for a way back into heaven, and the most unholy of enemies: a rival fast food franchise. Will he figure out a way to reclaim his homeland and throne? And if not, will this demonic burger king at least sell enough featured menu items to be promoted to shift supervisor? The devil can’t survive on minimum wage!
The audio presentation for this release is pretty good as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English mix gets the bump to 5.1, both of which are encoded with the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. The show is one that is certainly dialogue oriented with what it does as we see the group go through their ordinary days and lives in the big city but it also knows how to go big. Bringing in the action material with the magic every few episodes works well so that it’s not a constant act in each episode and when it does hit, you feel it more because they do go pretty big with it in general. The dialogue is well used throughout though as we get good placement in many scenes where the cast sits around the room or other workplaces and handles it well with depth and movement across the soundstage. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2013, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episode series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second, which is where all the extras end up as well. Animated by White Fox, we get a fantastic looking show set in the real world with a good bit of magic that slides into it as well. There’s a lot of good detail to the backgrounds with how they’re done and that helps to elevate the show a lot. The transfer captures all that detail well while having the right kind of color pop and vibrancy where it needs it, giving it even more life. The character designs work similarly with how they play out as they have a good look and are fluidly animated in the big scenes while having plenty of nuance elsewhere. The transfer has a very clean look to it and generally comes across as a fantastic looking release that delights throughout.
The packaging for this release in its limited edition form is pretty good as we get a heavy chipboard box that holds the two Blu-ray cases inside. The box has a bright and outgoing feeling to it as the front cover gives us our devils in their Earth form with the white background and red stripes that’s wholly appropriate. The back cover works with our female cast which has a touch of fanservice to it but keeps it pretty well controlled all told as we get Emi, Chihiro and Suzuno together. The insert under the shrinkwrap is nicely done with the same kind of background and look at the main cast while providing a standard breakdown of the premise, the extras and the technical grid for both formats in a clean and easy to read format.
The two cases inside hold each of the formats to it so it’s easy to pull one case and get just the format you want. The layouts work well as it takes the overall cover design with the white background and red stripes that binds it together nicely while showing off lots of character artwork with some amusing action aspects to it. The back covers are simple but I really like it overall as it breaks down the episodes by disc with numbers and titles for each set so you know what’s where as well as which extras are on which disc. Each of the cases has artwork on the reverse side as well that does a two panel spread with some fun and amusing pieces showing the bonds between the cast.
The menu design for this release is fairly standard fare as we get a lot of clips playing throughout it which reinforces the work aspect pretty well. The clips are colorful and active without being obnoxious, making for a fun sequence of atmosphere setting moments. The logo is kept to the upper left corner in a simple way while the navigation strip along the bottom plays to the angled strip aspect that’s part of the general design of the logo in Japan. The menus are quick and easy to load and submenus work smoothly, though sometimes the grey font doesn’t work as well as it could against the red strip itself since the text is a bit small.
The extras for this release are pretty good here with what we get here as the standards are there plus a welcome new piece. The familiar pieces in the clean opening and closing sequences are always welcome and we also get a couple of English language commentary tracks that are fun. The other new original extra created here is a look at the Ente Isla language that’s done by Jamie Marchi which reveals the secrets of how that special language works, which is definitely amusing.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series written by Satoshi Wagahara, which is at eleven volumes as of this writing, The Devil is a Part-Timer! is a thirteen episode series animated by White Fox. FUNimation had simulcast this series originally and made the full pickup, which was well met when it happened because the show just has a great sense of fun about it. The adaptations of light novels to anime in the last few years have been a bit mixed with what they do as we seem to get more harem adaptations than anything else, but this series has a particular sense of fun about it. While it does have a number of women coming into it as it goes along, adding them slowly but surely, it doesn’t play for the overt and typical approach that has been employed for far too many years. It may not break the mold, but it doesn’t rigidly adhere to it either.
The series starts off with a pretty simple and somewhat slim as we see the fantasy oriented world where Satan and his generals cause havoc and hold much territory. With Satan and his four primary generals that are working things over, they’re facing a new pushback from the side of good that has them on the run in their land of Ente Isla. Things have gotten bad enough that Satan and his trusty general Alciel realize that they can’t win at the moment and are escaping in order to make new plans and push forward again. Unfortunately, in making their escape through a dimensional portal, the end up in present day Tokyo. And they’re pretty drained of power as well when they get there, so their appearances are changed from beings of power to more ordinary looking young men. What’s a demon lord to do when something like this happens?
To great effect, he gets a job. Satan, now using the name Sadao Maou, ends up employed as a part timer at MgRonalds, a fast food joint where he treats it as the most serious thing in the world on his path to world domination. Or at least the world domination thing is paid lip service as he really is focused on just doing a great job, meeting quotas and hoping to get promotions that will net him a raise. He and Alciel, now using the name Ashiya, live in a little ten tatami apartment together where Ashiya basically plays the dutiful wife, managing the funds, taking care of the place and making sure everything moves smoothly. The two have an amazing kind of back and forth between them – in both languages – that just makes it a treat to watch them interact since they’re both coming from different positions and are experiencing different things while in this world. Ashiya keeps things as simple as he can so they have some money while Sadao is about the work and enjoying a few of the basic pleasures.
Honestly, I could watch the show with just these two and the people that Sadao works with, which includes a sixteen year old coworker named Chihiro that has quite a crush on him and plays it like a normal girl would. The workplace environment is fun to watch as Sadao plays it in a great way where it’s not over the top but treated seriously as he wants to achieve his goals there. His time with Ashiya is wonderful and Chihiro and the restaurant manager all bring things to life in a way that makes it the perfect kind of workplace romantic-comedy show that could do a lot. But the show wants to do more than that obviously, so it doesn’t take long before elements from the other world start to show up in Sadao’s. Which is a problem because he has very little magical power and is very careful with it so as to not draw attention and not to lose it.
The real trouble starts when it turns out that one of the main heroes from the other land, Emilia, has ended up here as well to track him down because she couldn’t let him cause trouble wherever he went. And she didn’t want him coming back as well. But she fell sway to the same power issues as the devils and has since taken a job at a call center, goes by the name Emi, and has been quietly watching them in an almost stalker-like way. Naturally, things get revealed along the way and there’s an adversarial aspect to it, but what makes it work is that Sadao has a very simple approach to it all. He’s just not interested in fighting with her. While he won’t just give in and roll over, he keeps things from escalating and there’s a kind of uneasy truce that comes about because of various real world situations that come into play that has him helping her out. And as it goes on, she realizes more and more that Sadao is not the same person he was in the other land and she really wants to understand why.
More characters come into play over it and Chihiro has a growing role in it all as well since she sees Emi as competition as well as some others that start to show up. There’s a lot of fun when Lucifer ends up in this world and after a mid-season fight joins Sadao in his place and turns into a bit of a NEET as time goes on. Events in the other world make a semi-regular appearance in Japan and we see that there is an interesting story developing there as someone like Sadao as Satan simply be left to his own devices and the manipulations that go on are really neat to see play out. The storyline there isn’t shunted into the last couple of episodes, though it has an impact, but is rather spread throughout the series as a whole as the secondary plot. And that makes it work very, very well rather than a tacked on bit just to give it all more oomph.
While I hadn’t watched the show during its simulcast, it’s one that was very, very easy to get into here as it unfolded. With beautiful production quality about the animation, the acting and the pacing, this is the kind of light novel you wish was adapted more. The characters here are a blast to watch with the banter, the gags and the more serious moments as well as the whole work aspect of it all. While there’s no firm ending here considering all the material that’s still out there in the books, what we get is a real blast to watch and you can feel content at the end but also hopeful that more is made at some point. This is a real gem of a show that pretty much hits all the right marks consistently and highly. Very, very recommended.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Commentary Tracks, Ente Isla Language Talk
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.