Two ‘fish out of water’ stories in a row? In two days? Christmas has come early!
The Devil Is A Part-Timer follows Satan as he–
Yup, this is a series starring everyone’s favourite lord of the underworld, the devil himself, Satan. At the beginning of the story Satan’s busy doing his satanic thing, ruling the kingdom of Ente Isla with an iron fist and fending off heroes trying to depose him and his subordinates.
But one day, he can resist no more – the heroes find themselves victorious, and Satan finds himself and his closest general Alciel escaping through an inter-dimensional portal to the only world stranger than Ente Isla…
With no magic to use and no powers to speak of, they rent an apartment and knuckle down with their evil plan to dominate THE WORLD!
…by getting Satan a job at popular fast food joint MgRonalds. Well, ya gotta start somewhere.
Satan (now known as Sadao Mao) actually does pretty well at his job, considering his lack of any obvious culinary skillset other than roasting his enemies with hellfire – he’s well liked by his boss, one of his co-workers has a massive crush on him and pretty much everything is going his way.
But it doesn’t take long for Satan’s past to catch up with him. It turns out he wasn’t the only one to come to Japan from Ente Isla, and he is confronted by the hero Emilia (here known as Emi). Thus begins a complicated and fragile alliance between the two, as they struggle to keep out of each other’s way and fail miserably.
Eventually more heroes and villains make their way to Japan from Ente Isla to raise hell, and Sadao and Emi must team up to stop them from ruining the good thing they have going on. After all, if the world is destroyed, how is Sadao supposed to get his next promotion?
It figures, then, that The Devil Is A Part-Timer has a pretty eclectic cast of characters.
Chiho, Sadao’s work colleague, is a bubbly young girl with a major crush on our dark lord hero. And guess what? He totally knows it, and actually goes on a date with her! Certainly makes an improvement from somebody…
Lucifer (or Urushihara) comes through the portal as one of the series’ first antagonists. Formerly one of Satan’s lieutenants, he attempts to defeat him in order to regain access to Heaven. Naturally, he loses, and ends up moving in with Satan and Alciel (now under the name of Ashiya). ‘Friends close, enemies closer’ and all that. Despite his initially fearsome entrance, he uses up all his magic in the battle and is forced to stay at the apartment in seclusion, playing video games and racking up the household’s already straining bank balance, which suits him just fine.
And then we have the very formal and traditional Suzuno… but I’d rather not expose the entire plot of the series. Why?
Well, because it’s great! This series might sound like another ‘one note joke’ series like Cat Planet Cuties, but with the mad premise and great, likable characters it manages to keep everything fresh and funny.
Much of this is due to the excellent voice acting of the entire cast. As Sadao, Josh Grelle, in one of his many roles of this nature (well, not as Satan, but you get the idea) fits right in, as does relative unknown Anthony Bowling, who gets some cracking lines as Satan’s excessively frugal and toadying sidekick, Ashiya. Felicia Angelle continues to impress as Emi (I told you she was going places!), and there are some nice little roles from some regulars – Alexis Tipton, Caitlin Glass, Monica Rial, and Chris Sabat.
But by far the biggest surprises are Chiho and Urushihara. Chiho is played by Tia Ballard, in a similar-ish role to her Eris in Cat Planet Cuties and actually quite a lot of the parts she gets saddled with – bubbly, naïve, squeaky – but in this series, her performance is subtly nuanced, shows a lot of emotion and is just gosh-darn adorable at times. It’s by far her best performance that I’ve personally heard, and that’s high praise indeed considering her extensive filmography.
Urushihara on the other hand, well. He’s snarky and a pain in the ass, but so was Blackadder. Hopefully, I shouldn’t need to say more than that aside from one minor detail:
He’s voiced by Aaron Dismuke.
Yes, that Aaron Dismuke, Kio Kakazu himself. Terrible singer though he may be, he absolutely nails Urushihara, and that’s really cool to see. The guy’s talented – he just needs the right roles to really shine.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Jamie Marchi and Funimation had to create their own language for the Ente Islans to speak, made up of German, Russian and Italian dialects. The entire series sweats quality and thought from every pore, like a really fat guy on a treadmill, and unlike this sentence.
So, do I recommend this series? Yes.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Is that even a question at this point? I’m offering you Satan, lord of darkness, working at McDona—sorry, MgRonalds, having to subsist on cucumbers and compete with ‘Sentucky Fried Chicken’. Why haven’t you already bought it?
Seriously, go watch it right now. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Brilliant from start to finish, The Devil Is A Part-Timer is a breath of fresh air, packing its 13 episode run with laughs, great art and top-tier voice acting. An original concept like this comes along very rarely, and firmly belongs on your shelf. Thank you, Japan, you crazy kooks.