For general information on this series: The Devil is a Part-Timer! entry
This review is for the first volume of The Devil is a Part-Timer! by Satoshi Wagahara (with art by 029 [Oniku]). The English edition was released by Yen Press in April 2015. The second and third volumes have since been released, and in Japan there are so far fifteen volumes in all.
2015 has been a really big year for light novel releases! So much so, that I haven’t been able to fully keep up with all the series I would like to read. But I did want to make sure I got started on The Devil is a Part-Timer! before the year ended, as that was a series I had been looking forward to ever since its license was announced. I really enjoyed the anime adaptation and wanted to see how well the humor would hold up for a second round, but this time in its original novel format.
As the title of the series hints at, the story is about a devil overlord from a fantasy world who ends up stuck in our world’s modern-day Tokyo, working a part-time job at “MgRonald’s” fast food restaurant. Our protagonist Sadao Maou is not alone, as he was whisked away with his demon general Ashiya–and the two were soon followed by the fantasy world’s Joan of Arc-like heroine Emi Yusa, who is determined to vanquish Maou for good. But with only a fraction of their magical power, these fish out of water have to get by living normal, everyday human lives–or at least, as normal as they can mange! It’s a clever setup for a comedy series, and I’m glad Yen On has included this in their lineup for the sake of maintaining some variety for the light novel imprint.
And in a sea of light novels featuring teen protagonists, I find it a refreshing change of pace to get a story starring slightly older characters who have to deal with issues unrelated to high school. Maou works at MgRonald’s while Emi works at a call center, for starters–but then there’s dealing with paperwork at the police station, worrying about bills and health insurance, and wondering what’s up with the apartment’s imposing landlady. The banal situations are spun into a humorous series of events that have both the proper setup and the rewarding payoff. The viewpoint in this volume also switches from one character to the next, which makes instances where the readers can foresee an incoming ridiculous situation much more feasible.
The bulk of Part-Timer‘s comedy stems from the characters themselves and their constantly-meandering Seinfeld-esque banter. Maou and Emi are perfect foils for one another, neither ever managing to keep the upper hand in their silly arguments for too long. Rounding out the solid cast are the aforementioned Ashiya (who ends up in a kind of househusband role, and who I’ll go ahead and say is endearingly “adorkable”), and a young cutesy co-worker of Maou’s named Chiho (who offers a perspective from our world to work off of when supernatural events begin to transpire). I found everyone in this story easy to like, and fans of the anime will find just as much in the story to enjoy in this introductory volume, save perhaps for a couple points in the middle act that I felt dragged on too long.
Well-worth mentioning for this book is its translation, which I felt had a bit more flavor to it than your average light novel. The story is written in a lighthearted manner, with a choice in words that appears more premeditated than what I’ve typically found in translated works. It all in all made for an enjoyable read, and one that I will recommend to anyone looking for something a little more upbeat and playful.
Cho’s Rating: Recommended