Hataraku Maou-sama! – 04

My archenemy can’t be this kind!

It’s time for some backstory with Yusa! This week’s episode puts the romcom in the backburner and shifts the spotlight onto more serious developments. But this is a welcome change to me.

Serious Business

We knew from the very beginning that Yusa hates Maou, and only now do we find out why. Yes, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, but the whole avenging your father thing works pretty well. I expect if we ever see Yusa’s first encounter with Maou, it would be something along these lines. Or maybe not. Whatever the case, I do prefer the more personal vengeance approach as opposed to the hero simply being a goody two-shoes who just so happens to have the power to stand up to the demon lord. And speaking of power, we also learn of Yusa’s angelic lineage, which explains her holy powers. It’s good to know that Maou-sama! isn’t just throwing words like “holy” around simply because it sounds cool. Yusa really is part divine. I guess that might also explain why her hair was depicted as white during her battle with Maou. Perhaps invoking her holy powers has this side effect.

What I’m not too thrilled about, however, is Maou’s reaction to her story. We as the viewers have been biased to think of Maou as a real stand-up guy: works hard for a living, cares about the people around him. Meanwhile, we’ve also been getting the conflicting claim that he’s an absolutely terrible monster who has committed all these atrocities against poor, defenseless humans. But of course, this doesn’t really mean much to us. With Yusa’s personal narrative though, the truth of Maou’s nature in Ente Isla is finally starting to sink in for me. I know it’s very obviously set up, but the sob story of a girl losing her father and home draws much more empathy than just a brief narration stating that Maou is evil. That said, I can’t believe that Maou can only defend himself with “Sorry, I didn’t understand humans back then.”1 He’s just been confronted with all the evil he’s done and all the suffering he’s caused, and that’s all he can come up with? Surely he could have been more tactful. I’m surprised Yusa didn’t sock him one on the spot.

More Joining the Party

In any case, it looks like things will escalate quickly as the culprit behind the attacks is revealed to be Lucifer. It wasn’t too hard to guess that one of the demon generals would have his sights on Maou’s title, but just how is Lucifer alive? I thought he was the first general to be struck down by Yusa. Lucifer does state that he draws his power from negative emotions though, so perhaps Yusa’s own feelings of hatred allowed him to survive? What I’m more interested in, however, is how Alsiel will react to Lucifer’s betrayal, considering his own staunch loyalty to Maou. Also joining the party are two of Yusa’s former allies. Looks like a mage and a warrior of sorts. The warrior might be able to get by just fine in our world, considering he probably relies on his own physical strength. But won’t the mage lose her magic powers, just as Maou and Yusa have before her? Or did she have some contingency plan before leaping into the gate? It’s also possible that she has some means of recharging her powers, just as Lucifer is feeding off of negative emotions.

Moving on, I thought it was a very nice touch that Maou-sama! seems to tie up loose ends so far. Chi-chan’s ability to hear the magic communications isn’t brushed off as an irregularity. Instead, it is explained as a consequence of Maou casting a spell on a policeman he met when he first arrived in Japan, who is revealed to be Chi-chan’s father. It’s not too often that shows go through the trouble of tying such details together, but Maou-sama! does it all the same. And it even does it in a way that feels very natural and not in the least forced. Really, a job well done. Some “more serious” shows than a “mere” romcom aren’t even able to do as much.

This was overall a very solid episode. I’ve been impressed with Maou-sama! since the beginning, and so far it seems to be capable of keeping the ball rolling. I will admit that there was one slightly off-putting transition this time around. Particularly, Chi-chan interrupting Yusa’s tense confrontation with Maou. The show had a good atmosphere going with Yusa trying to reconcile her image of Maou with his current behavior, and then Chi-chan had to burst in and completely ruin it all. I get that the show was attempting to segue into the scene with Lucifer, but it really could have been done much better. As well as Maou-sama! was able to explain Chi-chan’s ability to hear magic communications, this transition really stuck out like a sore thumb. If Maou-sama! manages to keep stuff like this from happening again though, I’m willing to forgive it for this transgression.

1Also, did it really take only a few months of working at a fast food restaurant for him to finally understand humans? I find that a little hard to swallow.

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A mechanical engineer who spends too much time watching anime and reading manga.
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21 Responses to “Hataraku Maou-sama! – 04”

  1. Ceyrai says:

    I think Maou doesn’t necessarily understand humans well right now, but his understanding is probably a hundred times better than before now that he’s lived among them. I’m guessing he was cloistered in his castle for most of the demon invasion, which is why he had little idea of the scope of the tragedy he had caused. Also I’m sure that Yusa was close to cleaning his clock, really, just that Chiho interrupted them at the wrong (right?) time.

    I also don’t know if Chiho’s ability is due to that spell, I find it too convenient an explanation. Maybe there’s more to that than meets the eye.

    New characters are always interesting. I wanna see what they bring in to the story, Lucifer especially, since not only is he plotting something in the current storyline, he was also directly responsible for the attack on Yusa’s former home.

    • Sumairii says:

      You’re probably right in that he might not have been personally there on the battlefields to see what was going on. But ignorance is still no excuse for causing such grief. Whether or not you were fully conscious of it, you have to own up to what you’ve done.

      As far as the explanation with Chi-chan goes, I just kind of accepted it because of MAGIC. But you’re right. To the keener eye, the explanation does still leave something to be desired. The show might dive deeper into things with her though, if Miki-T’s cryptic warnings are any indication.

    • akagami says:

      I’m curious about Lucifer, since he was, as I understand, one of the generals leading the first(?) push into human territories.

      While not similar, I’m slightly reminded of the Japanese Emperor and WWII. As the common story goes, he was misled by his advisers and manipulated by the army, who had a strong control at the time. And the Emperor holds a lot of sway over the common people.

      • tatsuya says:

        i think lucifer was behind all of these war .. ,maybe maou-sama was sleeping and suddenly got attacked by the army of amelia .(hell noo that im gonna say HERO ) .zzz ..i hope my fortune was right

  2. KLACMAN says:

    well at least more characters are coming in.

    & looking at emi’s past from being child of the farmer’s daughter & normal life til whole demon battles.

    yet compare to now wonder is satan maou is a nice guy?

  3. HannoX says:

    I find Maou’s bland, “Sorry, I didn’t understand humans back then,” entirely plausible. He was thoroughly evil back then and so would have had no feelings towards humans or remorse at causing them to be slaughtered. Even now living as a human among humans he is just barely beginning to comprehend the suffering resulting from his attempted conquests. Now if Lucifer were to kill Chi-chan, then Maou would fully understand the suffering he’s caused and what he’d put Emi and countless others through.

    I think there has to be more to Chi-chan’s hearing voices then a spell being cast on her father. It was cast on her father, not her, and I can’t believe that she’s the one who gets the side effects. I suspect a better explanation that gives Chi-chan a more important role in the story will be forth coming.

    Time for the action to ramp up with the arrival of Lucifer and a couple of Emi’s allies about to arrive.

    • Sumairii says:

      I have to agree, the show is hinting heavily that there will be more in store for Chi-chan in the future.

      I’ve accepted the current explanation for now though, since it’s MAGIC and anything’s possible with MAGIC. Ok, I’m being facetious, but it’s definitely true that the explanation isn’t the best one. I just liked the fact that they thought to give one in the first place though.

  4. sonicsenryaku says:

    Im pretty sure there’s more to maou’s apology than “whoops, i didnt understand humans back then” Show ▼

    On a side note, why was maou so keen on pointing out that emi was wrong about the idea that being around chi-chan makes him happy? Taking romance out of the equation, why would maou still go out of his way to say that? does he not see chi-chan as a friend? is she just another human to him? or is it a bit deeper in that he feels that his reputation as a demon lord would be tarnished if he admitted to being happy around a human girl. Another weird choice by the anime (although im cool wit it; makes things intriguing) Show ▼

    Anywho this anime adaptation has been really great so far as it does a lot more right than wrong, exceeding its manga counterpart (maybe even LN)…I still cant stand emi tho.

    • Sumairii says:

      Ahh, the apology in the manga certainly makes more sense to me. Perhaps the anime unfortunately tried to condense that scene. Or maybe there was also a bit of mis-translation on the part of the subbers.

      I don’t know if Maou is so much in denial about having a soft spot for Chi-chan as he is just dense. That’s certainly the impression I get from the anime, but perhaps it’s different in the manga again. I personally don’t read the manga though, so I’m unfortunately not savvy to these things.

      • Highway says:

        I’d agree that it’s more denseness than denial. But I also get the idea that he is trying to keep Emi from getting mad at him. She obviously doesn’t really understand the guy he is now, as she keeps projecting her image of “evil dark lord satan” on him, and cannot reconcile that with how he acts: good employee, normal guy, kinda sweet on Chi-chan. But he’s also maaaaaybe a little sweet on Emi, and doesn’t want to completely blow her off.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        i had considered the manga having mistranslated that scene but then when you take into consideration that Emi’s spiel about his worker’s liking him and chi-chan falling in love him wasnt in the manga, then occam’s razor tells me its more likely that they either tried to condense that scene or not give away maou’s reasoning for conquest in ente isla (this seems more likely to be the reason).

        • sonicsenryaku says:

          Not to mention emi’s reaction to Maou’s apology in the manga was completely different from her reaction in the anime (two different reactions for two very different tones of apology)

  5. Highway says:

    I have been wondering if maybe Maou himself wasn’t as ‘evil’ as we have been led to believe. The story’s been told from the perspective of Emi and the other ‘humans’ on Ente Isla, and the names and imagery used have been loaded with bad connotations: Satan, Demons, Evil, etc. And it’s a common thing when we’re presented with a war – one side is good, and one side is bad. But in real wars, ‘bad’ guys don’t think they’re bad. Sure, some times there are things that a side does that are outright bad, but often, both sides are doing those things.

    So I wonder if perhaps Maou has a worse reputation than he really ‘deserves’. Of course, as the guy in charge, he bears responsibility for the things his forces do, but that doesn’t mean he personally believes in doing those things. And we do see that Lucifer is perhaps a lot more objectively ‘evil’ than Maou was at any point.

    My whole point with this is maybe Maou’s Heel-Face turn isn’t quite as shocking as Emi thinks it is, or as it’s been presented. It really doesn’t take much exposure to people to become much more sympathetic to them, so his “I didn’t really understand humans” could be derived from that.

    • Sumairii says:

      Yeah, as people have been commenting, it’s possible that Maou has been directing his campaign far from the frontlines and thus not directly aware of the suffering he’s caused the humans. I still feel he bears the responsibility as the head honcho, as you say. Just as “good” and “bad” are subjective in reality, the person in charge must take the fall for the misdeeds of those under him. Sure, he may have been more ambitious than “evil”, but the pain was inflicted and can’t be so easily ignored.

  6. TheVoid says:

    Honestly the moment the church showed up and they just happened to tell her that her father is dead and the village is razed made me immediately distrust them. Years of video games and anime have sullied my views of any church that appears in a series.

  7. BlackBriar says:

    Under the right circumstances, a person can change. In Maou’s case, he was only able to do so because was stripped of his powers and put on the same level as humans, forced to play by their rules much like Thor was. This is why he can say he didn’t understand humans. You can’t understand someone unless you see things from their point of view.

    His response towards Emi’s heartaching moment was cold but it suited him. After what was seen and heard on the first episode, it was clear that he was proud of what he did so it wouldn’t be like him to suddenly start getting emotional and regretting everything. Even if he is a different person now, he knows nothing he will say or do will change the past.

    The reveal of a former general being the one behind the disasters isn’t all that surprising. When it comes to evil, especially with the person who’s running the show, there’s always someone right behind them waiting to take over. Lucifer was getting recognition as the lands were being taken over but only as the Dark Lord’s general and from what he said about surpassing him, it’s clear he’s tired of being second in command.

    I didn’t trust that small army of priests being so silent when they came for Emi and they probably lied about her father’s death to motivate her to fight against the Dark Lord. Whether it’s games like Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood, animes like Hellsing and Maouyuu Maou Yuusha or any mangas that I’ve read, churches have always seemed to have a negative appearance when they intervene.

  8. akgami says:

    I disagree with the whole, you’re the head boss, so anything that happens in your organization is your responsibility… I find that to be a flaw of society these days. Unless he indirectly contributed to the offense or willingly turned a blind eye, I think the ones involved should take the punishment. Now if he personally hired each and every one of them…

    Also, I would consider demons to be on a different hierarchy than humans.

    Angels, Demons
    Humans, Other Monsters
    Animals, Insects

    While I’m sure most humans wouldn’t blink an eye at wiping out an insect infestation, I don’t think the insects would view the action favorably.

    Not going to get into the whole church matter since that still is a very sensitive topic for many people.

    • Sumairii says:

      Whether or not you are directly involved with what was done, you have to be responsible for the actions of those directly under you. That’s not saying those who were actually involved should get off free, but as the one in charge, the actions of your men reflect upon you. It’s not so much a thoughtless blame-game as it is a motivation for those in charge to keep an eye on things.

      I don’t think Maou purposefully turned a blind eye, but it certainly seems like he left his generals to their own devices. When you don’t even know what your own army is doing, that’s just irresponsible.

      Also, it’s a rather large stretch to compare humans to insects. Demons aren’t that far removed from humans. I think Maou himself even postulates that demons might have originated from humans in the first episode.

  9. akagami says:

    Gah, spammy ate another comment.

    And my fingers mispelt my name again… damn you fingers!

  10. tatsuya says:

    i have lucifer in my bedroom :)

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