When it comes to culinary careers working for McDonalds must be pure hell. Ironic then that The Devil is a Part Time revolves around Satan’s employment at a fast food chain synonymous for its coronary blocking burgers. The aforementioned evil overlord once presided over a mighty demonic army, but when an angelic hero thwarts his conquest of the Ente Isla kingdom he is forced to flee for his life by jumping into an inter-dimensional rift. The portal plumps Satan in modern day Japan and drains him of his magical powers, effectively transforming the powerful devil into a weedy human named Sadao Maou. Devoid of qualifications Satan is forced to eke out a living at “MgRonalds” whilst his faithful lieutenant Ashiya researches a method to replenish his master’s dwindling mana reserves.
The Devil is a Part Timer is a thirteen episode anime series based on the light novels penned by Satoshi Wagahara. The English language version of the show is presently available to buy off iTunes, but if you prefer a physical release Manga Entertainment have you covered with their UK region DVD and Blu-Ray sets. After reading the show’s synopsis you may have gathered that this is a fish out of water comedy, although it doesn’t play out quite how I envisioned. Depowered and stuck in a foreign land I expected Satan to provide laughs by acting like a complete buffoon. Instead he proves to be rather resourceful and within the space of an episode secures lodgings, acquires a job and becomes fluent in Japanese.
Satan’s demotion from ruler of a demonic horde to a burger jockey also had me surprised. Instead of wickedly tormenting the MgRonalds patrons and staff he is in fact a model employee. His enthusiastic work ethic earns him the admiration of his fellow workers – including a teenage part timer named Chiho Sasaki. It’s clear from the offset that Chiho has the “hots” for Satan… and I’m not referring to the heat emanating from the fiery flames of Hell. Is Satan’s unexpected docile nature a charade? Emi Yusa, the hero who vanquished him in Ente Isla, suspects so. She pursues Satan to Japan with the intentions of monitoring his Earthly activities. Much like Satan, the journey strips Emi off her powers forcing her to settle down in Tokyo earning a modest wage at a call centre.
After watching The Devil is a Part Timer I can safely say that it is a contender for funniest anime of 2014. The antics of the cast had me consistently chuckling, aside from the superfluous final episode were a crooked salesman swindles Satan. Chiho’s bouts of jealousy, whenever a girl gets too close to the lead, are cute and I found it amusing when onlookers mistakenly presume that Satan and Emi are dating (much to her annoyance.) Ashiya has his moments too. His attempts to manage Satan’s meagre salary persuade him to consume inexpensive noodles leading to a nasty case of diarrhoea. His fondness for menacing capes also causes him to go AWOL at the most inopportune times. His dramatic entrances are regularly foiled, by arriving tardy, after he takes a diversion to acquire a flashy cape.
In addition to comedy The Devil is a Part Timer also features some light action sequences, prompted whenever assassins from Ente Isla turn up hunting for Satan. The battles are reminiscent of Dragon Ball due to their flying combatants and explosive special attacks. Despite being magically neutered Satan manages to triumph over sadistic angels by using fear from innocent bystanders to temporarily fuel his powers (hurrah for convenient plot devices.) Yes that’s right, in this anime the devils are courteous whilst holy cherubs are wicked. The show’s story hints that the Ente Isla’s clergy are guilty of political skulduggery, but sadly that interesting subplot isn’t explored too deeply. My final rating is four stars. I’m off to engage in some devil worship. Hopefully that will summon some competent staff at my local McDonalds. Those chumps never get my drive through orders correct.