Hataraku Maou-sama! – 11

And thus Suzuno made up her mind.

Well this was yet another intense episode of Hataraku Maou-sama! Looks like the show is building up to an action-packed finale, which honestly caught me off guard. I’ve been enjoying Maou-sama! so much that I didn’t even realize there are only two episodes left!

 

Ente Isla Politics

Let’s kick things off with some backstory from Suzuno. As expected, she’s had a very dark and troubling past, serving as an executor for the Church’s Inquisition. I mean, being an inquisitor is one thing, but Suzuno is the one who actually dirties her hands with the blood of the Church’s enemies and targets. And this from a girl who looks even younger than Yusa. Obviously the Church’s methods have been less than savory, but making a young girl do all the dirty work while they sit back and reap the benefits really doesn’t sit well with me. As sorry as I feel for Suzuno, however, her story also does serve to inform us of the state of affairs in Ente Isla. I guess it’s no surprise that the humans in their world don’t stand united even in the face of the common threat of the demons. Even during the war, we see internal strife between factions competing for power in the Allied Knight Order’s plot to withhold their aid to the Church’s knights when Lucifer’s demons came knocking. And after the humans emerge victorious against the demons, the struggle for power only gets worse, with deception and plotting left and right within the Church.1 The worst part of the discussion between the council of bishops, however, has to be their decision to essentially dismantle the Inquisition. Now that the Church has no use for it, they are going to discard people like Suzuno who might tarnish their name should the atrocities of the Inquisition come to light. Just how despicable can these so-called holy men be?

That said, I don’t believe things will go as smoothly as the Church would like. Obviously there are people who disagree with them, and I can’t believe that the Church has silenced each and every single one of them using their Inquisition. Try as they might, there will always be dissenters. And what will they do then? Reinstate the Inquisition for another round of killings? Their dreams of controlling all mankind are just as misguided as Maou’s. There is absolutely no way to subjugate the world, no matter what methods you use. But that’s enough on the Church. Let’s return to Suzuno again. Last episode, she was confronted by an angel we now know to be Mitsuki. Now, we see that he is pushing her to fulfil her task and kill Maou. And despite previous indications that she might warm up to the demon lord, it’s looking like she might really carry out her orders. I should be satisfied that things are turning out this way since I voiced my displeasure with her possibly coming to tolerate Maou so easily last time, but I still can’t help but feel sorry for Suzuno. She’s spent her entire life serving as a puppet of the Church, and despite overhearing the bishops’ conversation and knowing that she’s just being used, she still can’t do anything but continue to be a tool. I guess the silver lining here is that the developments will eventually lead to her redemption, since I can’t picture her remaining a dog of the Church until the very bitter end.

Angels and Demons2

Last time, we saw some mysterious purple glowing around the bamboo when Maou was attracting customers. I had speculated that this might be holy power, but apparently it was just generic magic. Nevertheless, it was magic, and Suzuno’s argument for killing Maou is that he might abuse his magic for nefarious purposes. I would point out that it’s unfair to judge someone preemptively, but this is actually not the case here. Maou already has a track record for trying to subjugate all humans on Ente Isla. And even if he might not have known about the horrors of the battlefield and all the suffering he’s caused, I have to agree with Suzuno’s statement that the commander is responsible for his forces. Maou may not have meant harm himself, but harm was done in his name. I’d be a little more understanding if he never sanctioned the war on humanity, but he did. And regardless of what his motives may be, the hard, cold truth is that his ambitions have directly caused widespread death and destruction. You can try to sugercoat it, but these are the facts. Now, I’m not saying that Maou should never be forgiven and that Suzuno should just smash his head in with her hammer, but the demon lord should at least be held accountable for his actions. At the moment, he’s just run away from it all and taken refuge in another world. He’s got to make amends for what he’s done or he’ll be no better than the power hungry bishops of the Church. Chi-chan herself talks about apologizing for causing others trouble, and Maou has yet to do even that for the citizens of Ente Isla.

And speaking of the Church again, I wonder if Mitsuki really has been sent by them. There’s still been no explicit indication, and the only connection we can draw is that he is an angel, which honestly doesn’t mean much. We do know that he’s actively trying to get Suzuno to kill Maou, which leads to the obvious question of why he doesn’t do it himself. He’s obviously quite powerful as he can easily take out Yusa. Of course, there are a few catches, such as his power being specifically catered to canceling Yusa’s sacred abilities and Yusa herself being low on energy. But I would think that a full-fledged angel should give even the demon lord a hard time. On that note, there’s also an interesting tidbit where Mitsuki refers to his own power as the “Wicked Light of the Fallen”; keywords wicked and fallen. Doesn’t exactly sound befitting of an angel, now does it? Wicked aside, I don’t know if fallen really means much. We all know that Lucifer is a fallen angel, but despite the stigma associated with it, a fallen angel isn’t necessarily evil. A fallen angel could be as simple as one who has simply descended to the land below from whatever celestial abode he resides in. Then again, Mitsuki also throws out the word “wicked”, which seems to me the bigger indication that he might not be too holy after all. Also questionable is the fact that he specializes in nullifying sacred energy. In any case, we now know that he’s targeting Yusa to retrieve her sacred sword, which I guess was bestowed upon her in the first place by the powers above.

 

Maou-sama! has markedly departed from the typical romcom routine, but I think I’ve come to not mind this. I know I came into the show expecting good laughs, which it has technically delivered. But I certainly didn’t expect things to get so dramatic and intense, even though I realize the whole demon lord attempts to conquer world theme should have given that away in retrospect. For now, I just hope the show will be able to finish strong regardless of laughs or drama. It’s been so very entertaining all along, and I wouldn’t want this to be yet another show that suffers from a mediocre ending. Oh, and here’s hoping Chi-chan will get a proper response or even some acknowledgement from Maou. The girl has such strong faith in him that he just has to. I’ll throw a fit if it doesn’t happen by the end.

1Admittedly this theme is nothing new. It’s been done before by other material; notably in Ender’s Game, which I might add is getting a movie adaptation late this year.
2And unintended references.

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An aspiring mechanical engineer who spends too much time watching anime and reading manga.
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18 Responses to “Hataraku Maou-sama! – 11”

  1. skylion says:

    If it has to be politics, it shouldn’t be sugar coated. It’s a dirty business, and I glad they make the attempt to show that being Righteous, might not make you all that right.

    I’ll paraphrase Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s book, Good Omens; Same angels plummeted, some fell, so stumbled, and still others shuffled. I wonder what the equivalent would be for demons to ascend?

    Looks like the next few episodes are gonna be the clincher, I hope Chi-chan has a good part to play.

  2. Highway says:

    I think it’s less cut and dried with Maou’s culpability and responsibility. As I’ve mentioned before, I think the show has tried to intentionally misdirect us as to Maou’s nature. The more I think about it, the fighting in Ente Isla is more like a standard war of land acquisition, for who knows whatever reason. It’s actually somewhat interesting to me that they’ve never had Maou try to justify his actions during the war. “Well, we had a famine” or “We had some natural disaster that made this area unlivable” or some other thing like that. Instead, he’s basically said “Yeah, I was the leader, I did some really bad things, I reigned over some really bad things. I was wrong at the time.”

    But the show has really consciously and subconsciously tried to fool us by using loaded words with the same value judgments that Maoyuu did. “Humans are good” and “Demons are bad”. But really what’s the difference in this world? The more we see of the Church, there’s very little to be praiseworthy there. We see that they not only prosecuted the war against the demons, but also a war within their own ranks to get out of having to share power with other factions. There are no good guys in war.

    Indeed, the only main characters that I think have acted above reproach in this whole show are Emi and Chiho. And even Emi had issues with trusting Maou. I think she still has issues with trusting Maou, but she, *from the very beginning* has been willing to wait and watch and see what he does, and see that he really doesn’t seem to be advancing any malicious intent. Suzuno has not seen that. Emi is really the only person who has the whole picture of Maou: Suzuno only knows of his past, and Chiho only knows of his present.

    It sets up an interesting conundrum: Should one who does good works now be condemned by a past full of bad ones? How much do we allow reformation and redemption. How many acts of saving people and rebuilding bridges and setting things right would it take for Maou to be thought of as just a not-bad guy?

    • Sumairii says:

      I don’t think it’s so much viewing the situation with prejudiced lenses. If the humans have committed atrocities against the demons, I personally would be just as displeased. And maybe they have and we’re just not presented these facts, but none of the demons have so much as alluded to such things. All I know is what the demons have done to the humans, and it’s not too pretty.

      Now, the humans haven’t been acting so gallantly amongst themselves, which doesn’t make them look good either. But in this case it’s all between the same kind, albeit divided into factions.

      As for Maou’s redemption, I think this should definitely be allowed. While it’s obviously not this simple, he should start with making amends to the people of Ente Isla. Show some of the honest kindness to them that he has shown us on Earth. It doesn’t matter how you quantify this kindness; as long as the people see that he isn’t rotten to the core, they might at least be willing to lighten his punishment or forgive him for what he’s done. Though the scars of the war may always remain, that’s nothing time can’t heal.

      • Highway says:

        Eh, it really is. People don’t forgive ‘war criminals’. None are so vindictive as the winners of a war. We can see from Suzuno that even though she’s been witness to Maou for a significant period of time, she still determines that the correct course of action is to kill him. “He *might* do something in the future, he *could* be just playing us.”

        And I think it’s somewhat naive to think that the humans didn’t visit atrocities of the same scope and scale on the demons in their reconquest of lands and driving Maou to leave through the portal with Ashiya. But like was mentioned in Gargantia this past week, we’ve only heard one side of this war. And even on that side, the people we keep seeing are far from angels. There was even speculation earlier in the series that the attack that killed Emi’s father and hometown was a ruse or a fake, committed by the church to galvanize Emi into training. I’m not really a believer of that, but there were definitely folks who thought it was a possibility.

        I personally think Maou was never as bad as that, and should be left alone.

        • Sumairii says:

          Naivety or not, I cannot conjecture upon possible atrocities committed by the humans, as seemingly obvious as they may be. We may in fact be only getting one side of the war, but so what? It doesn’t make any of what Maou was responsible for any better.

          As I’ve been saying, arguing that the humans are just as bad is irrelevant. In the court of law, this is not be a sustainable objection. Maou is on trial here. Not the collective mankind. Now, if Maou-sama! were all about the actions of the Church, it would be a different matter. But the focus is on Maou and the aftermath of what he’s done.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Honestly, it gets to me when it turns out that politics are mostly being used by cowards who are afraid to dirty their hands and take responsibility for their actions in the event of a consequence yet they’re more than ready to step in once there is a vulnerable spot in their view.

    Suzuno has me confused. If she’s such a skilled assassin, then why did spend a whole week before making a move when she got acquainted with Maou? Back in Ente Isla, it didn’t take her long to do away with her targets. And her choice of a weapon caught me off guard. A giant hammer of all things. When I saw that, I asked myself if she stole that from Samurai Bride’s Kanetsugu. The way I see things, Suzuno was orphaned before the Church took her in. That way if she became useless, they’d discard her with ease and no one would know or care. Something similar to Emi’s situation.

    This is what I find interesting. The build dilemma because you can neither fully agree or disagree with both parties though Chiho tries her best to defend Maou but what he did in the past can’t be ignorned.

    • Sumairii says:

      I’m guessing Suzuno didn’t strike immediately because she was cautious of taking on the demon lord and also because she wanted to observe Yusa’s intentions. We do know that she was also supposed to assess where Yusa’s loyalties lie, after all. And after this episode, I think this part of her mission has been pretty much completed. All that’s left is to get rid of the targets.

  4. tatsuya says:

    I assume that the politic in all the universe are the same as we know …kinda like constatine ..where usually angel is the bad guyzz ..and the have the same reason that is they will do anything to get peace ..and shitt
    well at least the story came out right..i’ve kinda figure all the percentage life that the demon will live happily..
    (another 2 or 3 episode ..the story MIGHT end ..)

    • BlackBriar says:

      There are two episodes remaining and from how things look, I’m guessing it’s to end in a way that will indicate another season to come along.

      • Sumairii says:

        I would watch a second season of this without hesitation! Let’s hope we do get one, although hints at more to come may not necessarily deliver in the end.

        • tatsuya says:

          i hope it has season 2 cause i wanna know whose the other demon lord zzz..story is messed up man ..

          • BlackBriar says:

            I’d gladly accept another season. The story gets more interesting the more you go in and you manage to love practically all the characters.

            • skylion says:

              …they could have a LOLi vampire character….

          • D-LaN says:

            If by demon lords you mean the rest of the generals, NOPE. All is dead except Ashiya and Lucifer. But yes, there will be more demon characters (up to LN4 anyway).

            • tatsuya says:

              ehh ..no way man ..at the first episode i though LUCIFER and all the demon lord are dead ..but ta-da ..now see what happen in the past few episode ..lucifer live happily in his boss house/apartment–
              the house owner must be one of the lord ..cause she know about the link or something ..get what i’m saying

            • BlackBriar says:

              I’m guessing most of the demons will be evil. Another reason to give Maou more trouble than what he already has on his plate.

            • D-LaN says:

              @tatsuya I forgot where, but it is stated tht they found the 2 general bodies except Lucifer one. And no, Miki-T is something else.

              @BB You ain’t even close to the truth ;)

            • BlackBriar says:

              @D-LaN: Then I must know the truth!

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