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 in the series Anime News Network calls “pure, unadulterated, gloriously fun entertainment.”
Being a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack for an anime, this release has a number of audio options to choose from. On the DVD side, we have the English track in 5.1 surround, while the Japanese audio is in stereo. For the Blu-Rays, audio is in Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0. Regardless of the audio track you side with, the sound is rich without coming off as overwhelmingly so—balancing the series’ more intentionally droll and dialogue-heavy moments with its more action-packed moments filled with explosions via magic and the like.
In terms of performances, both the Japanese and English versions hold up well enough, each with their own stand-outs among the cast. On the Japanese side, Ryota Ohsaka and Yoko Hikasa have a perfect back-and-forth banter as the Devil Mao and Hero Emi respectively. With the English dub, as serviceable as Josh Grelle’s Mao is, props must be given to Anthony Bowling and Alex Moore as Ashiya and Suzuno—both of whom express their “fish out of water” characters perfectly, with just the right amount of unintentionally flowery speak that defines what the series is all about.
As expected, the DVDs are in 480 standard definition, while the Blu-rays are in 1080p HD in its original aspect ratio of 16:9. Since the series is primarily a comedy, the animation rarely has some stand-out moments, mostly staying pretty standard with the handful of exceptions in the form of fight scenes filled with plenty of over-the-top magic and sword-fighting. The disconnect between the series’ mundane and action scenes are apparent, but that’s the point.
Let’s address the semi-elephant in the room first: Funimation has released this series on Blu-Ray back in 2014 in both a standard and limited edition—the difference between the two being a standard Blu-Ray case and a more sturdy chipboard packaging. This 2016 release is essentially a re-packaging of the 2014 standard release under the “Anime Classics” line of releases, which I’m starting to notice is becoming less and less exclusive when it comes to titles that the company deems as “Classic.” Regardless, it’s a good means to re-release titles they have at slightly cheaper prices, so the consumers can only benefit from things like this.
Minus the black trim around the front, spine, and back, the slipcase/cover art is the same as its 2014 release, with the main male cast on the front, and the female cast on the reverse inside of the cover. The inside cover also has an episode list plus which DVD and Blu-Ray disc contains which episodes, something I wish more releases would do. The series’ trademark white background with hectic overlapping red stripes tops off the design nicely, fitting for the series’ comedic vibe.
Inner packaging has the discs on trays that can be turned over like book pages—one disc on the front and back of each tray. The first discs seen when opening the case are the DVDs, which you’d think would be counter-intuitive to what the release primarily hypes (the Blu-Rays), but the discs can easily be switched around no problem.
The Blu-Ray menu plays clips from the series, while the bottom portion of the screen is dedicated to the standard menu options (“Play All,” “Episodes,” “Setup,” and “Extras”). Unlike DVDs, I noticed that audio tracks can’t be switched using my remote’s shortcut buttons. Nonetheless, pulling up the menu mid-episode and toggling between audio tracks is just as easy.
Alternatively, the DVD menu has the same options with a static image instead of animated clips as the menu background.
Besides the standard extras in the form of trailers and the series’ textless opening and closing animations, there are also commentary tracks from the Funimation cast/crew for episodes 1 and 12 as well as a brief breakdown of how the series’ fictional language of Ente Islan was re-worked for the dub.
The first commentary features Christopher Bevins (director), Josh Grelle (Satan/Maou Sadao) and Anthony Bowling (Alciel/Ashiya). All having a key role to play, especially in the first episode, the three discuss little tidbits in relation to either the episode itself, their role in it, or random asides about part-timing themselves. Alternatively, the episode 12 commentary with Tia Ballard (Sasaki Chiho), Aaron Dismuke (Lucifer), Felecia Angelle (Emilia/Yusa Emi) and Alex Moore (Kamazuki Suzuno) feels significantly more… loose. Unlike the first commentary, the cast of the second one spend less time discussing show-specific tidbits and more time just shooting the breeze with each other, which while entertaining in its own right, felt a lot more aimless than it should have been.
As for the Ente Isla Language insight with Jamie Marchi (lead writer), as interesting as it was to see her explain how she created the language from scratch, it definitely would have benefit with some visual aids, at least mapping out the original word, and how she moved syllables around accordingly. Nonetheless, to have the original Japanese version come with no explanation as to how the fictional language was created, it was a delight to see someone from the English side of production explain her own take on the language—an especially informative and insightful extra from a series that I honestly wouldn’t expect much from.
We begin The Devil is a Part-Timer in the middle of a spectacular fight amongst devils and humans. The setting is ripe with elements of the fantastical, from knights maneuvering around in heavy armor with ease, to devils and priests fending each other off with magical incantations. Not only is the style fluid and heavily detailed in its shading and flashy effects, it makes for the perfect disconnect when the Devil and his right-hand man are transported to our Earth, less than five minutes later.
Seeing the Devil and his assistant Alciel in their powered-down human forms is the perfect amount of jarring to match their current predicament. Not only are the two without any magic, but they have absolutely no knowledge of this world or how it functions. The fish-out-of-water aspect is only further accented when we realize that we’ve been following the story from the perspective of characters who were initially pinned as enemies. As such, their sudden helplessness is made even more comedic when both the Devil (who takes on the Earth/Japanese name “Mao”) and Alciel (who takes on the name “Ashiya”) insist on keeping their over-the-top villain personas intact. At least at first.
It’s the immediate shift from fantastical Demon to part-timer at fast food place MgRonald’s that becomes the focus of the series from both a story and comedic perspective. As we’re introduced to more and more characters (the good chunk of whom have followed the Devil through the portal to Earth), we are constantly reminded of Mao’s sudden change in character and if his current actions in wanting to live a normal life are sincere or not. And while there isn’t that large of a focus when it comes to bringing home how lowly his current life is in comparison to his former one at Ente Isla, there doesn’t have to be—we as the audience already have an idea of what a textbook menial life on Earth consists of. Rather than nailing those points home, the series instead uses its viewer’s understandings of the world to make a spectacle out of the characters constantly having to adjust their lives accordingly.
It isn’t necessarily a concept that’s kept fresh throughout its 13-episode run, but there is enough back-and-forth between the mundane and the fantastic that at least makes for an overall fun watch.
The Devil is a Part-Timer is by no stretch of the imagination a high-brow anime, though that’s not to say that it’s lowest-common-denominator garbage, either. Its unique blend of the mundane and the fantastic, with a special amount of focus on the former than latter, makes for an overall fun watch, ripe with humor akin to something from Coming to America, as mentioned by the cast themselves during the surprising amount of extras included in this release. And while it still may not be the most stand-out among similar slice-of-life series, its lowered price under Funimation’s “Anime Classics” release does make it worth the purchase.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 01 Commentary, The Ente Isla Language: With Jamie Marchi, Episode 12 Commentary, Textless Songs, U.S. Trailer, Trailers
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 25th, 2016
Running Time: 325 Minutes (+19 Minutes of Extras)
Video Encoding: 1080p High Definition (HD Native), 480 Standard Definition
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Samsung UHD 6700 64” Curved Smart TV, Sony Blu-ray player BDP-S6500 via HDMI set to 1080p