Thursday, 12 June 2014

FIRST IMPRESSIONS - THE DEVIL IS A PART-TIMER

Yip! The Prince of Darkness himself...working in a fast food joint!

I can't believe it! Twice in as many days I've been pleasantly stunned by something I at first thought would not coincide with my usual watch list. First it was Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren't They (first impressions on that here) and now this title. I must confess, in both instances, I wasn't very excited because in the former's case, the title was simply too long and didn't tell me anything. The second's plot sounded way to ridiculous. I said I wanted good clean humor, The Devil is a Part-Timer really delivers on that front.

It starts out as a dungeons and dragons-esque story with a war being fought against the king of demons himself - Satan. No! Not that Satan - another one. I know. I felt the same discomfort playing Final Fantasy XIII-3 with everybody rebelling and declaring that they're going to kill and defeat god even though I knew their god wasn't my God. The fact that the characters kept referring to Bhunivelze (their god) as god instead of just Bhunivelze didn't help either. The same thing happens here, but the writers are smart enough to abandon the name Satan after the story settles in and Satan chooses a new name for himself.

As I was saying, it starts out all dungeons and demons and something else that begins with a 'd' before 'Satan' is forced to retreat and is plopped onto Earth where he loses almost all of his magic because humans don't believe in it, so it doesn't exist. With very little power and only one servant, Satan, or Sadao as he now calls himself, has no choice but to get a job at a fast food joint named MgRonalds (original eh?) in order to make ends-meat while he and his servant figure out how to get back to the demon world. Hilarity ensues as he strives to be the best employee!

I mentioned it before, but the plot is freaking ridiculous, but ridiculous in a funny, positive way. The humor and snarking between Sadao and his servant make it worth while and their antics as they try to adjust to life on earth is nothing short of entertaining. This whole 'put a magical creature in a non-magical environment and watch them adapt' isn't a new storyline either. It's been done loads of times in fiction. That's part of the reason why I don't know how exactly to describe where the magic comes from (not that magic, the show's charm), but it's there! It's somehow the same as those boring examples I mentioned, but it feels so different at the same time that it's almost a crime to put Part-Timer in the same category as those others. Hopefully that extremely vague analogy managed to get my point across.

For the first time since I started watching anime, Part-Timer felt like a traditional anime. Traditional in this sense that for almost half the first episode, the characters spoke only in demon tongues, which sounded like gibberish with either a German or a Swedish accent attached to it. It's believable and sounded a lot like those alien dudes from Thor 2 now that I think about it. Since I couldn't understand them, I had to read the subtitles. Someone who prefers dubs, had to read subs for half a show? Go ahead and relish the victory sub followers. I wasn't impressed by this, but thankfully, the scenes featuring demon talk were mostly just two or three people discussing a matter or Sadao and his servant struggling on earth. No serious action had to be followed.

And now we get to the characters. We weren't introduced to a lot of them in the first episode. Josh Grelle voices Sadao, while Anthony Bowling voices Alciel (who goes by ShirĊ Ashiya on Earth). We also have Tia Ballard who voices Sadao's friend and fellow employee at MgRonalds Chiho and the legendary heroine who defeated and followed Sadao to Earth to finish the job - Emilia Justina - is voiced by Felecia Angelle. Grelle and Ballard I have heard numerous times before in other work, so their excellent performances here came as no surprise to me, but I must say that Bowling's Alciel somehow stole the show for me. I just had to pause after every one of his lines until the laughing stopped. I haven't heard Angelle in anything else and she isn't featured much in this episode, so I reserve judgement until I have watched more episodes.
 
Rating the first episode: 10/10. From Prince of Darkness to Lord of the Fries!

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