OP: 「ZERO!!」 by 栗林 みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi)
「魔王、新宿で後輩とデートする」 (Maō, Shinjuku de Kōhai to Dēto Suru)
“The Demon King Goes on a Date with His Junior in Shinjuku”
I agree Emi. Those are of quite the exceptional size.
Hataraku is a series that I’m never quite sure what to expect from, and though I get a gut-busting laugh out of every episode (“It’s the Demon Lord’s job to make trouble for the Hero, isn’t it?”), its ultimate goal remains somewhat elusive. This week we get what looks like the foundations for a love triangle, but like many of this series’ little details, things aren’t quite that easy to categorize. For one thing, this whole dynamic between the four leads feels more like a love square than a triangle, and none of the characters tend to stick to fully conventional roles within that framework either. Ashiya is as much a presence here as Emi and Chi-chan, though his role is simultaneously that of mother, house-wife, dedicated minion, and slightly overbearing companion. Though his devotion to Maou obviously stems from their true nature as master and servant, the translation of this behavior into Tokyoite society is hilariously multi-faceted and just a touch suggestive. Coupled with Maou’s almost unbelievably good common sense for living as a human, their relationship is rife with comedic potential and bromantic undertones, not to mention that stalking your master/roommate’s date is also just a bit on the obsessive side.
Emi too goes about things somewhat differently than the stock tsundere character usually does. Though she’s constantly embarrassing herself and ready to lash out at Sadao and Ashiya for the smallest things (“Why do I have to sully my seal for you!?”), she’s also begun to treat them as something of a set of reluctant allies. Other than considerately returning their keys and leaving a cucumber gift for her mortal enemies (who admittedly let her stay for the night without too much of a fuss), she also shares information with them about the mysterious attacker who destroyed Maou’s bike last week and who threatens Emilia at work. Whoever this person is, he’s out to kill both the Devil and the Hero, and Emi is either too much of a good guy to leave Sadao in the dark or she considers him and Ashiya as less of a threat (and friendlier) than she originally thought.
What really interests me about Emi’s character is her reaction to Chi’s accusations about her being in love with Maou; rather than resorting to the traditional tsundere response, she’s actually incapable of stomaching the idea that she could hold that sort of attachment to her nemesis. Though the resulting argument is very amusing and not far from the usual ex-girlfriend vs. current interest catfight, Emi’s self-righteousness makes it feel more refreshing than it otherwise would, and her annoyance is against Maou rather than Chi. Chi herself, however, remains (at least for me) the most conventional character of the mix. That hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing or unenjoyable, but it does make her quick acceptance of Emi’s help after the earthquake feel a little rushed. Still, her connections with the earthquakes and the other-worldly attacker are highly interesting, and it’s almost too convenient that she, being as close as she is to Sadao, is the one affected by this demonic communication method (which he attributes to her problems). It’s hard to tell whether or not she’s been targeted or if she’s just an unfortunate bystander in all of this.
Regardless though, things seem like they’re about to get a whole lot more complicated. The arrival of an earthquake this devastating seems to suggest that Maou and Emilia’s pursuers have finally caught up, but it also signals the reappearance of Maou’s power as Satan. However, this is not the Demon King as Emilia thought she knew him; he’s thoughtful and considerate of human life, and the first thing on his mind is saving them all rather than glee at regaining his demonic powers. Maybe the Devil isn’t as inhuman as everyone thinks he is; at the very least, he’s fitting in a hell of a lot better among humans than he should, considering he plans to take over the world as he climbs the corporate ladder of MgRonalds. Or maybe it’s just in his nature not to sweat the small things and get things done efficiently; world domination doesn’t necessarily mean he’s planning to wipe all the humans out, after all.
ED3: 「Sankaku e.p.」 by nano.RIPE