Devil Is a Part Timer! Official Comic Anthology Manga Review

Satan Is a Phase-Timer! Authentic Comedian Anthology Manga Evaluation

Regarding the three recent releases of official comic anthologies, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Official Comic Anthology falls in between Sasaki and Miyano‘s and Mieruko-chan‘s offerings. That means that most of the creators here understand the assignment and have a firm grasp of the characters’ established personalities, but the stories, at times, wander off the beaten path in distracting ways. It’s largely a lot of fun, but a couple of creators can’t quite help themselves with ramping up the fanservice that’s hardly a defining feature of the original novel series – or the anime.

Because it’s a commemorative volume for the second season of the anime’s greenlighting, the stories all take place after Alas Ramus and Suzuno are established cast members. It’s hard to argue with that; both characters can add something to the daily interactions of the original gang, and that’s used pretty well in a couple of the stories. Alas Ramus functions more as an inciting factor (which makes sense, seeing as she’s barely into her toddlerhood), something that’s used very well in Yoshie Katō‘s The Devil and Hero Get Stranded. The title is a little misleading because Emilia and Maou aren’t the only two who wind up on a deserted island when Alas Ramus picks up a strange bottle; the entire main cast goes along for the ride. But that’s okay because Alas was trying to force Maou and Emilia to have some downtime, preferably together, since she sees them as her parents. The story is played relatively straight, without excessive fanservice or contrived romantic encounters; everyone is transported to a quiet place to rest. It’s an understated piece and feels like it fits in with the main action of the greater franchise very well, and if Maou and Emilia is your ship, this is the equivalent of a gentle sail around a peaceful harbor.

Stories that pair Maou and Chiho are a little more prevalent – or at least obvious – than those that favor Maou and Emilia. Of these, the most successful is Okoge Kogeta’s The Devil’s Gang Checks Out a Venue. (Kogeta’s My Bias Became My Subordinate is available on MangaPlaza, one of the few contributors to this anthology whose work is in official English translation.) In this story, Emilia’s coworker, who has a crush on Ashiya, asks Emi to get the guys to tour a wedding venue with her in hopes of giving Ashiya ideas. When she can’t go at the last minute, Chiho fills in, and since the venue requires visitors to be actual couples, she and Maou end up paired together. It’s a cute story, and Kogeta’s art is some of the most polished in the book; the different wedding dress designs are particularly striking. I wouldn’t say that the characters are at their most immediately recognizable in this piece, but it’s the most overtly romantic and is an enjoyable read.

On the other side of things, Ouchi’s The Devil Prostrates Himself Before the Young Lady provides the inevitable “hot springs gendered bath mistake” story, and while the characters feel on point, the plot isn’t great. Mostly, this is because even Ouchi admits that the story was an excuse to “draw Chiho-chan in ways you don’t get to see too often,” so the focus isn’t really on the plot. That’s probably a good thing because it’s pretty contrived, even more than the Alas Ramus gives everyone a magic vacation piece: the guys win a fancy hot springs trip, but it has to be undertaken by romantic partners (three couples, which is pretty weird), and then the group is still split up by gender for reasons. On the bright side, Ouchi’s art is beautiful, and they have a knack for a nice shot of a woman in her underwear.

This isn’t the only story to focus on Chiho wearing not a lot of clothes, and it is a little uncomfortable that she (a high school girl) gets more fanservice stories than adult women. Touka Kushimoto’s The Hero’s Party Shops for Summer Gear sends Emilia, Chiho, and Suzuno bathing suit shopping, and naturally, every single swimsuit in the store is a bikini. It does have a couple of good gags about the very prim Suzuno – I love her going into a modern store to find Taisho-era swimwear. The plot is otherwise fairly thin, and Kushimoto’s art isn’t quite as pleasant as Ouchi’s, nor is their sense of female anatomy. You’ll likely be happy if you’re just interested in swimsuits.

The other theme that rears its head in this collection is making fun of Urushibara. Miinosuke Seo (whose work has appeared in English in the yuri anthology Whenever Our Eyes Meet…) contributes a charming story about Urushibara babysitting Alas Ramus, The Fallen Angel Takes Care of a Baby that allows us to see a kinder side than we typically see of the internet-addicted guy. He fares less well in Inui’s The Devil and the Fallen Angel Help Out at a Sasazuka Café, though, where Maou’s undevil-like personality has him offering their aid when a man’s café is suddenly severely understaffed…and Urushibara ends up having to be the maid. It’s one of the funnier contributions, even if it sometimes feels a little mean.

Overall, this is a more positive than negative group of stories. It isn’t perfect, but most of them have a real understanding of the original material and a clear love for it. I wouldn’t call it a must-read, but it is a treat if you’re a franchise fan.

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