Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
With the latest threat from Ente Isla dispatched and Crestia Bell firmly ensconced next door, things seem pretty settled for the inhabitants of the Devil's (low-rent) Castle. But things never stay quiet for long, and soon a mysterious baby girl falls from the sky, who seems pretty insistent that Maou and Emi are her parents. Who is this kid? And is there something the Hero and the Devil aren't telling us?
Covering the first part of volume three of the novel series, volume six of The Devil is a Part-Timer's manga adaptation picks up pretty much where the anime left off. If you've been waiting for new material and aren't a novel-reader, this is the place to get it. It wouldn't be too difficult to simply start here if you've seen the animated version, even though it would be slightly easier to pick up the light novel in terms of information lining up. Either way, Maou and Co.'s new(er) adventures start here.
As you can see from the cover, those adventures involve a baby. Before you start to worry that we'll be diving into the old shoujo trope of forcing the heroine to take care of a small child to show her maternal potential, that's definitely not the case here – unless you count the fact that the only moderately competent caregiving comes from Chiho, Maou's high school age co-worker. This can be read as a winking gesture towards that hoary old shoujo standby, especially since Chiho gets lost in imagining actually being the mother of Maou's child – and their boss at MgRonald's worries about people getting the wrong idea.
But who is this child, and where did she come from? The brief prologue on Ente Isla offers some hints, but the short answer is “from a giant apple.” Maou is explaining Obon rituals to Suzuno and the rest of the gang when a portal to Ente Isla opens in the front yard. From it comes a large apple, and when Emi tries to cut it with her sword, a baby girl named Alas Ramus pops out. She soon declares Maou her “daddy” (although he points out that “Satan” is actually a very common name where he's from) and Emi her “mommy,” even though neither of them have any knowledge of the child. Thus begins the gang's adventures in babysitting, a task for which the demons at Devil's Castle are fairly unprepared. This is where most of the humor in the volume is intended to come from, and while it works decently well, it never quite plays enough with the more hysterical family members' issues to really sell the idea. It's still entertaining – Urushihara is particularly funny with his new digs in the closet, and Ashiya waxing eloquent over free ice cream before panicking over the cost of baby needs is also good for a chuckle. But it all feels a bit glossed over, as if we're just skimming the top of the story rather than really digging into the source novel, creating the sensation of being a little half-baked.
Of course, the idea of the Devil King trying to raise a little girl is inherently entertaining, even if we already know him as an upstanding young man. That he has to do so with the Hero who still thinks she might kill him is a recipe for disaster, especially since people are fairly uncertain about their relationship, particularly Chiho and Emi's work buddy Suzuki. The two of them and Ashiya trail along when Maou and Emi take Alas Ramus to an amusement park, hoping to see how things will develop. Of course, they miss the most important moments, which have nothing to do with the dueling pair but rather with Alas Ramus' mysterious Momotaro-esque origins. This, not the humor, is the real center of the story, and it looks like that plotline will be picking up in volume seven.
Akio Hiiragi's art is particularly effective at following the original descriptions in the source novel and illustrating Alas Ramus. This is in part due to her tiny hands and feet, which, while too small for her pudgy little body, are really adorable. Her facial expressions are also very good, conveying her emotions clearly when her grasp of language is limited. The newly pudgy Sariel is also a good touch, keeping him recognizable despite his weight gain. Adult bodies have some issues around the pelvis, as if Hiiragi's not quite sure how everything connects, and women look better when their shirts are drawn loose, but on the whole, the art is clear, fun, and competent, despite a tendency to use screentones in place of backgrounds.
If you've been wondering what happens after Sariel's plans were defeated at the end of The Devil is a Part-Timer's anime adaptation, volume six of its manga version can give you an idea. While it doesn't quite do the source novel justice, it's still a good fun way to find out what happens next, even if it feels like it's just skimming the surface at times. That may change as the truth about Alas Ramus becomes clearer in later volumes, but for now, this is good without being as good as it could have been.
Overall : C+
Story : C+
Art : B-
+ Alas Ramus is pretty damn cute, good use of facial expressions, some good Urushihara moments
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