「勇者、心の温かさに触れる」 (Yūsha, Kokoro no Atatakasa ni Fureru)
“The Hero Feels the Warmth of the Heart”
Is that little Emilia I see?! Awwwww…
Though this episode of Hataraku isn’t as funny as previous ones, it does go a long way in establishing just where it is that the series is planning to go from here on out. While we’ve had some sense of a larger plot building up in the background for the past few weeks, the main purpose of those introductory episodes was to familiarize us with the world and characters rather than to point out a clear objective, and though all the pieces have yet to be assembled, things are starting to fall into place beginning this week.
Though there’s been some discussion on why Emi is the way she is regarding Sadao and his unexpectedly nice-guy nature, it hasn’t been until now that we get a much clearer look into her thought process. Her confusion and perplexity at the Demon Lord’s actions arise from what she’s known him to be like her whole life; he was the one who ordered the razing of human settlements on Ente Isla and he thought little of human life and suffering when he was behind the death of her beloved father. This being the case, she can’t understand how that evil demon can be the same person who goes to the trouble of using his precious magic to save all the victims of the cave in. That resentment and hate toward him is what’s fueled her righteousness all those years, but her own innate sense of justice and goodness is now forcing her to hesitate once she’s witness to Maou’s other, more benign, side. Though it’s not anything new in the way of anime plots or character motivations, I do find that it does make her a bit easier to understand and adds another level to her behavior, which is always a good sign in the way of character building.
As to Sadao himself, I think that this whole conundrum brings to light a very interesting dilemma. Though he may be an upstanding guy while in the human world, this doesn’t exactly wipe his slate clean of all the horrible things he’s done as Satan. However, as Emi’s friend points out, no one is really all evil or all good, and sometimes decisions are based on the circumstances rather than on intent alone. I can’t help but think that this statement will become more relevant the more we learn about Maou himself, and his actions so far have shown that he’s likely far more complicated an individual than a solely evil demon searching to take over the world (though that element of self-gain hasn’t entirely been forgotten).
I think to some extent we should be asking the same question Sadao asks himself: just how much of this is really a coincidence? For one thing, Maou’s actions are what spurred the humans to finding Emilia for her angel blood and turning her into the Yuusha, and that in turn led to her chasing him relentlessly to the human world. Then there’s also Chi-chan (broken-hearted once again through misunderstanding), who was turned into a recipient for the Idea Link only after Maou’s own spell affected her father way back when he first arrived with Alsiel. If we add Lucifer (Hiro Shimono) into the mix, we also have to ask ourselves what his motives are and why he’s betrayed his lord. Is something much larger going on here than a rebellious general? Miki-T also seems to know more than she originally let on, but who is she and why does she know about all this? Things seem to be taking a distinctively plot-based turn in Hataraku Maou-sama!, and though the comedy is still here (i.e., Ashiya is still the clingy housewife and hilarious in every scene), we may be in for a different animal than we originally bargained for.