Playtime is over for the Devil King and his entourage.
Story: Satoshi Wagahara
Art: 029 (Oniku)
Translation/Adaptation: Kevin Gifford
What They Say
For the Hero, whose mission is to slay the Devil King, Emilia Justina appears to have gone soft. She travels to Ente Isla with Alas Ramus to sort through her thoughts and investigate what’s happened there since she went to Japan. The gang expects to see Emi again soon, but she never returns! Meanwhile, Maou (the Devil King) is studying for his driver’s license, trying not to fret over the Hero’s disappearance. On the way to his exam, he meets a strangely familiar pair…Could they know something about Emi?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After a short break for a short story collection, Part-Timer resumes its regular ongoing plot-line with gusto in the beginnings of a new story arc in volume 8. It begins with the bombshell revelation that Emi, the hero of Ente Isla, is returning home to check on her world. Her decision brings with it both trepidation and concern, but the others concede. It’s not as if they’d be able to stop the hero Emilia if they tried anyway.
Things do not go as planned, and that becomes obvious when Emi doesn’t return on the date she promised. As Maou and the others try not to act worried and go about their normal lives, each and every one of them secretly begin to look into what could have happened to hold her up. It’s not hard to presume the worst, but Emi is so powerful what could possibly entrap her on Ente Isla?
Emi’s whereabouts are put on hold as increasingly worrying signs of another demon invasion occur. We have the introduction of several new characters as well as the return of many of the previous characters Maou and team have met in their adventures. The cover features one of them and no… that’s not a grown-up Alas Ramus. I was expecting some time-travel shenanigans, but that’s not what’s going on at all. The truth is far stranger and more intriguing.
There are several moments in this volume where the cast catches hints of the truth about what’s going on, only for a mental note to be taken and for the narration to call it out. These hints at larger pieces of lore prove the author has a rich backstory and world built out with explanations for much of the machinations of how everything works. Our cast is just as poorly clued in as the reader is, often to dire consequences. The whole deal with the rogue heavenly elements and their pursuit of Yesod fragments is proving to be above the pay grade of a part-timer.
Ultimately, as it often does in this series, everything comes down to a battle. With the party being split, intentionally, it results in a situation where several characters who are currently not at their peaks of power have to rely on those that can battle. No one realized how much they were relying on Emi’s abilities until she was gone. It turns out that Chiho may be the weakest link, but Ashiya was almost just as powerless as is Maou if they can’t feed on fear. Bell and Lucifer draw on reserves of Holy energy in the form of energy drinks and take the brunt of the battle. It’s only a last-minute pairing of Maou and a new friend that saves everyone from a total party-wipe.
This is the first volume where I’ve actually worried for the lives of our protagonists. Things become dramatically gory, and if this arc was animated it would be a shocking scene. While it was unlikely that anyone would lose their life, it is a large cast and nothing would emphasize the danger that the enemy posses more than a reality check like that. However, at its heart, Part-timer strives for comedy as much as it does drama.
The epilog to this volume is crushing because we do get a glimpse of what happened to Emi. She’s held against her will but not through physical means, but psychological. What’s so terrible about it is after a volume of watching her friends fret about what’s become of her, she can’t fathom that any of them except Rika are worried for her. The gap in how Emi sees her relationship with the others and how they view her is impossibly wide. She believes that all the time that they’ve spent together means nothing, that no one is coming for her, and that is the most depressing thing of all.
The volume ends on a note of both optimism and pessimism, the first real cliffhanger in the series.
The only extra in this volume is a guest illustration and the usual author’s note. Yen includes the usual color fold-out illustration, which is a group shot of the gang in happier times.
Emi and Maou have been playing a dysfunctional game of house for quite a while, but it had to come to an end at some point. In terms of structure, this volume is similar to the previous, but looks can be deceiving. Everything that has been building in the background that the group has been reactive rather than proactive to comes back to bite them in the ass. It turns out leaving your enemies to walk free is always a bad idea. Now with the group split, with some of their most capable members captive and at the mercy of forces that haven’t been clearly defined it’s time for Maou to prove himself the leader he once was. In many ways, The Devil is a Part-Timer has never had the stakes this high, and I’m excited to see what happens when team Maou returns to Ente Isla.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017