Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hataraku Maou-sama - 03

Hataraku - 03-7 Hataraku - 03-12 Hataraku - 03-21

I sense there's a love triangle forming here, but I'm, not quite sure who the third member is.


I didn't love this episode of Hataraku Maou-sama quite as much as the first two, for the simple reason that it didn't make me laugh quite so much.  But it was still pretty much an admirable effort, further fleshing out the personalities of the four main characters while continuing to poke fun at life in Tokyo.  I've found myself connecting quite a bit with the small details of this series from the beginning, but given that this has been once of the most unnervingly active weeks for earthquakes since I've been here, that aspect of this episode was especially potent for me.

Even without the Uniqlo gags (though I laughed my ass off at those) the prospect of Alsiel helping Sadao get ready for a date would have been a highly amusing one.  Alsiel plays the role of the house-husband to the letter, and though it's mostly played for humor there's definitely a significance there as it relates to their character arcs.  I think it would be possible to take the whole date scenario a number of highly different ways.  While there's no question Chiho has a crush on Sadao, it's interesting that he so matter-of-factly acknowledges it as a date.  Does that reflect a commensurate interest on his part, of is it simply a reminder that despite his generally seamless acclimatization to the human world, there are still elements of it he really doesn't understand?

Then there's Emi, who remains my least-favorite member of the main quartet because she's uncomfortably close to being a cliche tsundere.  Chiho and Alsiel seem to be the easiest members of that quartet to read - Sadao and Emi are much more opaque.  Like his acknowledgement of the date, her reaction to it can be read in different ways.  Why was she so angry when she confronted them at the Dotour - and why was she so open about intruding on their meeting in the first place?  Ashiya's reasons for tailing them seem transparent enough, by comparison.  Is Emi simply worried about Chiho getting involved with Satan, as she claims, or is there something deeper here as anime convention would suggest?

I found the transition in the conversation between Emi and Chiho pre and post-earthquake to be pretty abrupt.  One moment they're at each other's throats in what for all the world sounds like a row between a girlfriend and a jilted ex-over, and the next they're shaking hands and Chiho is expressing her trust.  Admittedly, there were certainly bigger things to worry about by then.  We got our explanation for the earthquakes at least, via Chiho recounting her strange experience of a disembodied voice speaking to her in a language she'd never heard, but understood.  Sadao tells us this is an "Idea Link" -  a method of  communicating across dimensions that's likely manifesting itself as earthquakes.  And of course, all of these earthquakes seem to center around Chiho - including the massive one that strikes while the main foursome are squabbling at the kissaten.

That quake and its aftermath seem to be the key to the next crucial developments in the story.  It surely brings the one who threatened Emi by phone and apparently took shots at both she and Sadao into play, and it's mysteriously left Sadao in his demonic form (which Emi quite considerately makes sure Chiho doesn't see).  And it reveals the depths of Satan's evolution as a character - not only is he determined to rescue the humans trapped in the underground station, he notes that there were "surprisingly few casualties", a line which was delivered casually but which strikes me as highly significant for the reason that it was likely Satan's presence that limited the casualties in the first place.  Satan seems to have be re-cast not just as a human but a humanist, and while we've heard plenty of perturbed navel-gazing from Emi about that we're heard surprisingly little self-reflection about it from Sadao himself.  This is a comedy and a damn good one, but there are some very interesting and subtle story and character elements at play, too.


Hataraku - 03-6 Hataraku - 03-8 Hataraku - 03-9
Hataraku - 03-10 Hataraku - 03-11 Hataraku - 03-13
Hataraku - 03-14 Hataraku - 03-15 Hataraku - 03-16
Hataraku - 03-17 Hataraku - 03-18 Hataraku - 03-19
Hataraku - 03-20 Hataraku - 03-22 Hataraku - 03-23


15 comments:

  1. I think a huge part of emi's anger stems from the fact that she just cant handle the stark difference in Sadou's character from his previous one as the dark lord. Because we see our cast in such comedic scenarios, we tend to forget every now and then that these guys originate from a very violent and vicious world where demons and humans killed each other regularly; and now all of a sudden, after trying to hunt down and kill the demon lord, she finds that he has actually become very compassionate and concerned for human life??? that must be a hard pill for her to swallow and is creating so much conflict in her. Im sure demons did something to her in her past which reinforces why she hates sadou so much.

    Ever since they came to earth, Sadou and Emi's roles have reversed in that she seems like the villain who is intruding on the lives of Sadou and Ashiya who are seemingly living in peace without any ill will towards humans. On a side note, I do find emi a lil annoying (she's somewhat endearing...but mostly annoying) I personally have never liked the tsundere character. I can only tolerate it when it is done right and by "right" i mean done with subtlety.

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  2. Spring has come for me and LNs. Half the shows I'm watching right now are based off them after all and Hataraku Maou-sama is a the top. I love it especially since I think that it plays the tropes of LNs very well.

    Emi is a tsundere but then again what kind of Hero isn't tsun to a Demon lord, Sadao is the lazy MC that helps those around them so he can eventually control the world in his mind, Aisiel is the somewhat gay sidekick who has no interest in any girls because he's literally a sidekick and Chi-chan is the big boobed rival to spur romantic tension even though the only one feeling any is her. Best parts are however stuff like the emergency number or how Aisiel and Hero would return the house keys after leaving. 'You're a demon' , 'I am, what of it' LOL

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  3. Ashiya is your ultimate roommate everybody can dream of.

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  4. yes there isn't much that happened in this episode, I hope the next will be much cool.. I am wondering who exactly is the other character that want to defeat the Maou and the hero...

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  5. If you step through the start of the debris falling you can see shields going up around everyone, that was from Maou I think.It looks like Maou leeched some of the power from the magic "ping" but I imagine that it will drain out just like last time.

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  6. Emi's paranoia definitely revitalizes her stereotypes when it comes to dealing with demons. Of course, that does make a lot of sense because she is the hero designated to pulverize their existence from the face of both worlds. It would certainly be interesting to witness crucial developments from her character as she softens up to both Maou and Ashiya.

    On the other hand though, it is quite evident in the OP sequence how slothful White Fox has been recently.

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  7. So far this show is the most fun and interesting to watch. It's not the best of the season so far but it's definitely the one that I most look forward to out of the new shows this season.

    Before Magewolf mentioned it here, I saw the shield go up on the people in the shot before it went dark to transition to Chi-chan opening her eyes and wondered who did that. When Maou expressed relief that there were not a lot of casualties, it clicked that it was him who did so.

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  8. Triangle of Maou, Emilia and Ashiya? Though Ashiya is a very loyal minion to his overlord. The interactions between them are hilarious.

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    1. I was thinking more Maou, Ashiya and Chiho...

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    2. That's a better triangle, Chiho is a nice fit to Maou.

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    3. Given the genre it's very unlikely that Ashiya will be involved in any triangle, perhaps aside of the occasional joke about him being Maou's wife. Which is a pity because it would be a nice spin on the usual clichés.

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    4. I'd say it's more like Maou's harem, which comprises of Emi, Chiho, and Ashiya.

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  9. Only in anime the dress Chiho is wearing would fit in such a flattering way on her kind of physique - and no gaping on the bountiful bosom! no strange fabric folds or bumps! - unless it was tailor-made :,) (surprise! she's working at MgRonalds but she's actually filthy rich!) <--- the things a busty chick is bound to notice X,DDDD . Not big on the tartan pattern - so 90's unless you're either from the Highlands or chopping wood&hunting in 'a mountain cottage, bear skin on floor and sipping whiskey in front of the fireplace' scenario :p - but I approve of the colours.
    The Uniqlo gag was quite good, eheh. To think the fruit of Ashiya's careful savings would end up in tatters over Maou's Jojo-esque semitransformed ripped sexy droolworth--errr form :,)...
    Uhm I've ended up straying on a fashion tangent. Sorry.
    I'm feeling a bit sorry for Emilia. Unlike her demonic former(?) enemies she's really having a hard time readjusting her opinions. But then she is supposed to be the 'straightlaced' hero isn't she?
    Three episodes in it's still an unexpectedly pleasant watch. Thanks for advocating it Enzo.

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    1. Yeah, it's not Emi's fault - she's filling the role she's assigned to play. But it's not as interesting as the other three roles are.

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  10. Alas some of my initial fears are coming to pass. As I've said before I'd rather they avoid a romance/love triangle scenario altogether. Considering this episode, and the source material's format, that seems unlikely. Ashiya is pretty much the best character.

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