Finding yourself in a strange new land isn’t easy. Sadao, the Devil King, finds himself stranded in Japan with his companion. Together they have to find a way to get familiar with the mysterious world of Japan.
It isn’t easy getting used to another environment, especially when you’re from another world. You need to learn the customs, learn the language and find a steady job to guarantee your stay. All these elements are challenging and require confidence and being persistent. Life isn’t easy after all.
While getting a home for himself and his companion, Sadao finds himself in a situation where he needs to find a way to conquer Japan. And his first step in his devilish plan, is starting a part-time job at a fast food restaurant mostly resembling a MacDonalds.
In his grand scheme, Sadao tries to get familiar with working in the fast food environment, while his companion is taking care of the house and finances. This results in hilarious moments where the duo lives on the edge of their budget and Sadao tries to make his life a little more comforting.
Hataraku Maou-sama features perhaps one of the most entertaining and funny first episodes in anime this year. The humor in the first episode is particularly spot on, where the first steps in entering Japan are being made.
During his part time job, moments occur where Sadao is confronted with many different aspects of his previous demon life and his current one, resulting in conflicting morals. It must be said that the strongest part of the show is the interaction of Maou and his other worldly companions with Japanese society. These moments are hilarious and make the demon world elements feel forced.
While the first episodes are very strong on the humor department, the introduction of more characters from the devil world don’t help the show hold on to its comedic factor. The characters seem to be merely introduced to make the story progress, apart from the brilliant third companion who joins the story later on.
The story starts to shift its focus when the jar of jokes seems to be running dry, moving towards epic battles in which slaying Sadao is the main purpose. The fights may seem epic, but they feel rather forced and break the atmosphere Hataraku was building up.
The characters are put out of their regular daily activities and are swung into their previous lives. Of course, this element is important to make sure the viewer doesn’t forget that Sadao comes from another world. But the ingredients that made the show so very strong, were the ones in which Sadao and his companions tried to survive daily life, seeing it as a victory when small achievements were made. It would perhaps be better if the show stayed on the course it set out for itself, namely the introduction to Japan from the ‘foreigners’ point of view.
During its run, Hataraku was pretty consistent. There were no major issues on the animation department and the cast did a good job in portraying the characters. The fictional other worldly language felt a bit forced and didn’t sound that credible. But it was a nice touch that they didn’t speak Japanese, despite being from another world.
Hataraku Maou-sama was a very strong anime, especially at the beginning. The humor was spot on the and the characters interacted naturally in their new environment.
On the other hand, the moment the focus shifted to the previous lives of our main characters, the show lost its momentum. The comedy made room for fighting and the conflicting feelings of Sadao’s environment. Despite the downsides I still rate the show an 8 out of 10, because the first episodes were so strong that they made up for all the negative aspects of this series.