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The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. #04 Novel Review

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The Devil is a Part-Timer Light Novel Vol. #4
The Devil is a Part-Timer Light Novel Vol. #4

Fun in the sun, with a side order of demons

Creative Staff
Story: Satoshi Wagahara
Art: 029 (Oniku)
Translation/Adaptation: Kevin Gifford

What They Say
With his beloved MgRonald closed for renovations, the Devil King’s out of work! Worse, the apartment he shares at Villa Rosa Sasazuka has gotten damaged thanks to his fight with Gabriel, which means the household has to temporarily vacate the premises. Having lost both his title and his vast land holdings, the Devil King takes a part-time job at his landlady’s niece’s beach house–and of course Chiho and Emi insist on coming along. It’s summertime at the beach, but the Devil’s still got work to do…!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Light novels, second to manga, are the modern root of all anime. To wit, it is time for the mandatory beach episode. Which might explain why Chiho has gone full Escher girl on the cover with that spin-breaking pose. Likewise, the color page spread that opens this volume has the girls in beachwear. I actually like the design of Emi’s bikini and sarong, but Oniku still draws the characters looking on the young side, even the boys. I think the anime actually did a superior job take those illustrations and making the characters look their ages.

This volume opens in the dead of summer, with MgRonald’s shutting down for a remodeling sending Maou and Chiho temporarily to the unemployment line. Maou, in an uncharacteristic move, was too distracted with Alus Ramus stuff to notice the incoming shutdown and plan accordingly. At the same time, all of the demons and Suzuno are kicked out of their apartments so the damage from the archangel attack can be patched up. The coincidence of that timing goes unnoticed, but the coincidence of the landlady’s niece contacting the group needing some summer help at her beachside snack shack does not.

Nearly half of this volume is the group, which quickly swells to include the girls as well, traveling to the seaside city of Choshi. Emi feels she can’t let Maou out of her sight, what with Alus constantly demanding to see her father. Chiho doesn’t want to let her crush out of her sight, and Suzuno also has nowhere to go. The author spends a surprisingly large amount of time making sure that everyone’s motives and means make perfect logical sense. Between the bickering details are given about how the group traveled, what they saw, what they ate. We get a nice travel brochure’s amount of information of the area the group heads to, enough that I went and looked up the area on Google and was able to pinpoint various landmarks and everything checks out. (It also hints at what doesn’t check out, and curiously makes me wonder why net denizen Lucifer didn’t think something was off when they arrived.)

One thing that worried me about the previous volume was the addition to the cast of Alus Ramus. Now that Alus Ramus is part of the story she’s become an albatross which has to be constantly addressed. Some of that is mitigated by the fact she can be stored in the form of a sword inside of Emi, but the rest of the time she is a toddler with a toddler’s needs. I don’t expect this to continue forever, but for right now it is what it is.

Nearly half of the volume passes in almost astoundingly normal and almost boring real life issues of trying to prepare a very unprepared beach snack bar for opening. Stuff doesn’t start getting strange, and therefore exciting, until the last quarter of the volume when the fog rolls in and wounded demons start to fall from the sky. Until this point we’ve mostly seen invasions from angels driven to claim Emi’s sword for reasons we didn’t understand until the last volume. Once the demons arrive it’s go time.

The ensuing battle gives Emi a chance to shine. Eternally petulant, Emi is a warrior first and foremost and she’s at her best when we get to see her actually fight something. She’s spent most of the time seething in quiet rage that everything has been out of her control and that she can’t exact the justice she desires. Likewise, we get to see Lucifer expound some knowledge and power of his own, displaying how the lazy fallen angel might have commanded at least an ounce of respect back home.

If only the author had cut out some of the sightseeing and focused more on spreading the final 4th of the volume out a bit. I’m left with so many questions, and there is one amazing reveal about the real nature of the summer job which all the hints were in place for but I didn’t pick up on until it was spelled out. I wish there had been more time to explore that. Even after this volume ends there is still plenty of mystery left about what role the Yesod fragments play, and the epilog only further hints at a growing conflict back on Ente Isle. Without the Hero Emilia and the Devil King Satan to keep the power in check the vacuum is only going to grow and consume that world.

In Summary
Talk about a lazy day at the beach. This volume of Part-Timer takes too long on the set-up, so long that by the time the story starts to get going it’s almost time for it to end. We didn’t really need all of the details on how Maou and gang managed to turn about the snack shack, and the travelog stuff is so exacting I’m sure I could find my way from Tokyo to Kimigahama using this book as a guide. Once things pick up they do so in a huge and exciting way. Weird pacing issues aside, the stakes are still increasing, and the turmoil on Ente Isle is going to continue to spill into Japan. Many conflicts are set up in the closing pages, including one which may point at a goal for the series overall. I’m excited to see where the story goes from here.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
MSRP: $14.00