「魔王と勇者、真っ当に仕事に励む」 (Maō to Yūsha, Mattō ni Shigoto ni Hagemu)
“The Demon Lord and Hero Do Some Good, Hard Work”
It’s only been a few hours and I’m already missing this series in my life.
After last week’s epic conclusion, it is only fitting that the true closer for Hataraku comes in the form of a quieter reflection like this one. This isn’t the sort of series that requires the wrapping up of large plot questions or otherwise tries to create extra drama by creating a last minute dilemma; it’s the type of show that wants to prove it’s story is not quite done yet (which it looks like it might not be, we’ll see), but isn’t necessarily making the commitment for an immediate return. It’s a bit more reserved of an episode compared to the last arc, true, and I’ve already heard that the slow, easy pace of it all felt somewhat disappointing to some, but I personally found this ending quite satisfying, though perhaps not spectacular. It’s still Hataraku’s strengths playing through, and I don’t think the purpose of this episode was to close a door on the series at all; it feels more like it was meant to linger for some time, like waiting in the rain for someone to bring you an umbrella (AKA, the much-anticipated second season).
That doesn’t mean this episode wasn’t funny. I think this is one of the best collections of facial expressions since the earlier episodes for one thing, and while Emi’s are priceless as always, Maou gets quite the share of his own too. Urushihara’s screw-up is hugely amusing considering he’s supposed to be a NEET, but it’s also great seeing Maou and Ashiya treat him like the child they’re raising together (which they really are). Watching Maou and the rest dutifully do something about the evil Ashiya unwittingly goes to work for is equally fun, and I have to say that the solution was hilariously domestic, considering that scammer was dealing with the Demon Lord and two of his generals, not to mention the Hero in tow. Chi-chan too milks the comedy out of her love for Maou at every moment, while Suzuno seems to have taken over as the concerned neighbor who unwittingly makes the other girls jealous. Even Sariel seems to have found something to do now that Maou’s failed to send him home, much to the chagrin of the manager.
All in all, this is the sort of episode that gives us a window into the character’s lives; it’s a way for the series to say “life goes on”, the sort of thing you wistfully hold warm to your heart before a farewell. And though things seem far from over, at the moment this is a farewell, and I can’t help but be crushed to say good-bye to the Demon Lord and Hero, if only for a while.
ED5: 「ツマビクヒトリ」 (Tsumabiku Hitori) by nano.RIPE
Even after twelve weeks or so (whoa have I really been here three months now?), I’m still amazed at how lucky I am to have gotten the chance to blog Hataraku Maou-sama!. It’s one of the series this season that no one expected anything substantial of, and it surprised with the force of an oncoming truck for those of us interested enough to give it a go. The premise is nothing mind-blowing, nor is the series really anything new to the anime world as a whole, but it excels at one very important thing: execution. Everything that Maou-sama! does it does well, whether it be voice acting, storytelling, comedy, art, fanservice, or anything else that tickles your fancy. The characters especially are hugely likeable and perfectly wonderful to watch interact, be it Ashiya’s housewife role or Emi’s loveable tsundere-ing and facial expressions. This is a show that doesn’t half-ass anything; it sets out to do something and it does it, and that’s what makes it so endearing. There’s no single category the series really fits comfortably into, and even for a comedy it constantly has some way of making the tried better, making it one of the best balanced series I’ve had the pleasure of watching for a long time. I think we can solidly commend White Fox for this excellent adaptation, and I’ll be waiting with bated breath for that second season, whenever it comes around. See you all then, and thanks so much for seeing me through my first series at RandomC!