What will you be having today? Coffee, tea, or holy power infused energy drinks?
Story: Satoshi Wagahara
Art: 029 (Oniku)
Translation/Adaptation: Kevin Gifford
What They Say
The fast-food joint that the Devil King calls his workplace has reopened, now with a hip café space upstairs–the perfect chance for the overlord of all demons to earn a few new certifications and work his way up to management. Meanwhile, Chiho, whose love for the Devil King remains doggedly unrequited, discusses ways with Emi to learn how to master the Idea Link, a skill that could let her telepathically communicate across worlds and call for help whenever she makes contact with a nefarious demon…or angel, for that matter. Suzuno steps up to serve as her teacher…but her choice of training areas (a public bath) leaves the others to question her sanity. It’s the sixth volume of this low-wage high fantasy, where soap bubbles fly and everyone may come out less than squeaky clean!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I was deeply concerned when I realized a large portion of the first half of this book was going to be taking place in a bathhouse. In any other medium, this would just be an excuse to look at some teenage girls in towels. However, this is prose, and the fact that three girls are standing around nude or mostly so is soon forgotten and replaced with a different sort of hilarity. Chiho’s magical training happens to involve copious amounts of yelling, and we’re treated to an awkward and hilarious scenario of Maou panicking as the girls impart their knowledge about holy magic and using it in a very vocal way.
Yup, after the events of volume six of The Devil is a Part-Timer, it was time for Chiho to learn how to protect herself. Ever pragmatic and fully aware of her human status, she asks if there is some way for her to learn the idea link spell. That way she should be able to call for help telepathically! It turns out there is a way to learn it, but it’s going to require plenty of training for Chi to master it, which takes up the majority of this volume’s plot. However, the mundane events happening in the background also provide an interesting opportunity to potentially further Maou’s career.
Ms. Kisaki, the manager of the MgRonald’s, strange behavior implies that she’s thinking of leaving to start her own business. I figured the whole subplot was a set up to fast-track Maou into managing the fast-food joint. While Kisaki’s desire to move on doesn’t provide an instant additional stress to Maou’s life, it does cause a momentary panic. It’s also a chance to drag Sariel back into the story in a major way.
The fallen angel has been mostly out of the picture until this volume when the gang needs his help for training Chiho. (They gain his help by offering to help him get back in Kisaki’s good graces.) Sariel is a font of knowledge about heaven and its politics, an untapped gold mine of background information for the reader. We’re only given a small taste of what is actually going on in heaven and it’s certainly going to play a huge role in the story later on, but for now Sariel becomes another uneasy ally in the motley earth crew.
In the middle of the training, we’re treated to Chiho and Crestia having a very frank heart-to-heart about Emi. The hero is stricken with a crisis of conscious that everyone around her can see but one she won’t address. Perhaps Crestia is having her own mini-crisis, as she drops some ‘problem of evil’ right in the middle of her conversation with Chiho. The whole exchange would bog down another series, but it’s surprisingly entertaining here. Mainly from how Chiho chooses to simplify the conversation.
Maou’s own plans have remained extremely cagey. We are rarely treated to his inner thoughts on most matters, and his fish-out-of-water antics are played mostly for laughs. After all, why is he so earnest in being a fast-food worker? It’s easy to forget Maou is likely hundreds of years old. As usual, we’re given only a tiny glimpse of his real intentions, but when he does reveal them it makes all the sense in the world. Maou realizes that the demon realm could be fighting on a completely bloodless front, and it’s an idea which he has entertained the entire time we’ve been following him on earth. Why battle with magic and blades when you could be conquering the world with money.
It’s the sort of revelation which suddenly puts all of his time in the workplace into a unique perspective. Yes, it is hilarious, but the idea that his people need organization and civilization once they’re in control seems paramount.
The translation for this series remains strong. Kevin Gifford does an excellent job giving this characters an English voice and Part-Timer remains one of the most well-written light novels available in English. I did happen to notice one minor typo in this volume, but it’s the smallest gripe I could have. I’m still not a big fan of 029’s illustrations, I simply think that all of the characters look too young.
While the world is awash in mediocre ‘stuck in another world’ stories cluttering the market right now, Part-timer continues to turn the genre upside-down in the best possible way. Purposefully depowering its leads and forcing conflict to be resolved mostly through clever tactics and a little help from some friends, it flies in the face of power-tripping fantasy in this volume. Chiho had her moment to be super-powered in the previous volume, but the overwhelming impulse by everyone else to keep her safe drives the plot in this volume. Emi seems to be the only one unaware of her devastating internal conflict now that her sole purpose in life has been negated. We have a new demon in the mix, Farfarello, and another sephirah child to complicate matters as well. A deviously clever resolution to the latest otherworldly problem is certain to eventually come back to haunt team Maou, every new player just makes the situation more complicated, but it’s also bought them all time to just be themselves.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 13th, 2016