Hataraku Maou-sama! – 08
「勇者、修羅場に突入する」 (Yūsha, Shuraba ni Totsunyū Suru)
“The Hero Rushes Onto the Battlefield”
Now that’s what I call a confession.
You have to admire this series for being as great as it is; it’s not as if Hataraku is reinventing the wheel or otherwise creating something we’ve never seen before, but as always, execution wins the day when it comes to this show. Cliches and tropes we’ve seen hundreds of times in anime before are never exactly the way we expect them to be here. Emi is miles more interesting than the typical tsundere or stalker (and her seiyuu does a wonderful job), Chi is more than just the timid girl in love with the main character, Sadao is a seriously nice guy who just happens to want to take over the world, etc. It’s not about how different from the norm everyone is, but rather how well they’re pulled off, whether through characterization, voice acting, comedy, etc.
The best example I can point out from this episode is the confession scene between Maou and Chi-chan. There were no flustered faces, no stuttering, just a straightforward “I’m in love with you”, and both characters were mature enough not to be thrown for a loop. Part of this is that Maou probably knew all along how Chi felt (remember that matter-of-fact date?) and had no way of really dealing with it, but though Chi may have suspected that he knew all along, it’s still really nice to see someone just come out and say it without freaking out in an anime.
Of course, having someone watch your confession is a different story, and when Suzuno catches them, Chi has a much more traditional reaction (though she steals Maou’s bike in the process). Unlike Emi’s original misunderstanding, Suzuno is not in love with Maou, but rather an assassin from the Church (as suspected) sent to investigate whether or not the Hero and Demon Lord are in cahoots. She decides early on that Emi is free of suspicion (and idolizes her in the process), but while she asks for assistance in killing Maou, Emi quickly turns her down. Though she cites her duty as the Hero as the one responsible for killing the Demon Lord, I do have to wonder if this is simply because she’s hesitant to kill Sadao after all she’s seen of him. Whether or not that’s due to love isn’t quite clear yet, but there’s definitely personal feelings standing in the way.
Still, even when rejected, Suzuno seems to have imprinted on Emi like a little sister, and she seeks her out to proudly show her how well she’s adapting (or not). Unfortunately when Emi’s friend has the same misunderstanding about Suzuno and Maou, she drags them all off to MgRonald’s, where Chi and Sadao are dealing with the very familiar-looking manager of the rival Sentucky Fried Chicken (who’s stealing all their business) across the way. With Suzuno possibly out to poison Maou’s stronghold and playboy Sarue Mistuki (Iguchi Yuuichi) out to crush MgRonald’s business, it seems the Demon Lord has his hands full of trouble.