The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 4 - Light Novel Review

The Devil-King is out of work! MgRonald’s may have closed down for the renovations, but Satan, his generals, and his arch-nemeses are as busy as ever managing a beach restaurant to pay the bills!

The Lowdown

The archangel Gabriel has been vanquished from Japan by Emi Yusa (a.k.a. the Hero Emilia) thanks to the baby Alas Ramus fusing into her sword, and calm reigns again at the Devil King’s Castle (a.k.a. an apartment). The trouble never ends though when Sadaou Maou (a.k.a. The Devil King Satan) is blindsided with news of the most devastating variety - his beloved MgRonald’s is closing for the summer for renovations, putting him out of his prized store manager job for the time being. Word also comes from landlord that repairs need to be complete for his apartment to fix the damage sustained in the fight with Gabriel, putting Maou and his fellow demons out of a place to live. Fortunately for their finances, an opportunity arrives, and Maou and the gang pack up to head to Choshi for the summer to manage their landlord’s niece’s beach restaurant!

How Was It?

If you’ve enjoyed the more slice-of-life focused elements of The Devil is a Part-Timer! so far, you’ll be in for a treat with this volume as Maou and crew attempt to manage a beach-side restaurant to pay the bills for the summer. I really enjoyed this storyline as an interesting diversion from the more serious trappings of the previous volumes, and it was entertaining to watch Maou and friends spring into action to try to turn around the failing beach restaurant. The “fish-out-of-water” focus that this series had in the first couple volumes has almost completely faded into the background, but this wasn’t a problem at all thanks to the cavalcade of other entertaining antics this group is constantly up to. I really liked the way that we got to see Maou’s skills at managing a restaurant put into action, and I felt that it tied in well to the time the previous volumes devoted to showing his job progression. Much like its beach-side setting, Maou’s summer adventure was a breezy sort of diversion that kept me thoroughly entertained throughout this volume.

While the amount of focus this volume devotes to showing Maou and the gang just going about their fairly ordinary adventure would have sounded tedious at the outset, I really thought this volume did a good job keeping the story moving. The dialogue is generally sharp, and the pacing was never an issue because of the constant small diversions, often comprising of the characters bouncing off of each other as they went about their jobs. For example, an extended scene following the gang as they struggled through an epic lunch rush at the restaurant was fun to watch because of the way that it forced the characters to all work together for the greater good (of the restaurant), playing them off each other in interesting ways. This scene conveyed a strong sense of energy that was really fun to watch as all of these characters banded together to serve noddles, take orders, and man the shaved ice machine. It was funny to watch Suzuno and Ashiya bickering over making noddles while desparately trying to hold down the lunch rush as well as Urushihara getting more than he could handle collecting money for the shaved ice because of the way these scenes took advantage of the knowledge built of these characters’ personalities. More and more, this series has begun to take advantage of the shared history these characters now have for humour, and this definitely kept me engaged when combined with the increased focus on the less fantastical aspects of the series in much of this volume.

The more supernatural focused part of the plot finally gets going in the final third of the volume as the crew finds out about the latest threat to Japan from their home dimension. I found this segment to be a lot more interesting than the battle against Gabriel at the end of the third volume because of the way that it demonstrated the ways in which our protagonists have changed over the course of this series. It was really cool to see Maou and Emi both compromising in several aspects of their character and openly being introspective over the way their time in Japan has changed them. A wonderful bit of dialogue saw Emi admitting that despite her hate for Maou, she knew that he could be trusted in aspects, which was a particularly big shift from her otherwise spiteful nature towards him. This was particularly satisfying given all that these characters had been through even through things as simple as working at their day jobs, and this made the battle feel invested with more emotion than it otherwise would have.

The supernatural threat itself was laid out fairly simply, and I liked that this segment didn’t feel quite as bloated as some of the other volumes had felt in delivering a quick and decisive resolution that felt satisfying. Additionally, the new elements that were introduced by this plotline made good use of the knowledge that we gained in the previous volume about Maou’s rather compelling backstory, and I really like the way that this volume fleshed this out in an interesting way. The entire Ente Isla plot continues to suffer a little bit in this volume from convolution because of the sheer amount of names and factions being thrown out, but the supernatural story was at most meaningful when it focused squarely on the characters we know like it did for a good portion of this volume. It all felt like less of a distraction and a more manageable part of the plot in this volume, and I hope that the series continues to go in a direction that emphasizes the slice-of-life adventures of these lovable demons such as the one seen here.

Final Thoughts

The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 4 is an enjoyably laid-back story compared to the rest of the series, placing more of a focus on the slice-of-life antics of the protagonists as they attempt to run the beach restaurant. I liked that this volume made good use of the way these characters have had their personalities established to entertaining and funny effect, and it was neat to see them working together in a meaningful way in this volume (outside of the usual heroics). The Ente-Isla plotline is more subdued in this volume, and the final third where it comes into the spotlight feels a bit more focused than it did in the previous volumes. More than that, this volume succeeds because it shows how much the characters have grown, making for an enjoyably well-rounded read.


The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 4 was translated by Kevin Gifford and published by Yen Press on April 19th, 2016. Authored by Satoshi Wagahara and illustrated by 029 (Oniku) the series is currently ongoing and published by under ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko imprint. The series received a one-cour anime adaption in Summer 2013 and volume 5 will be published in English on August 23rd, 2016.

Verdict:

A-

Date of Publication: April 19th, 2016

Translator: Kevin Gifford

Author: Satoshi Wagahara

Publisher: Yen Press



Matt

Matt is a broke law student by day, broke law student by night, and one of the co-founders of Taykobon in his dwindling spare time. Although his favourite series tend to be shonen adventure series, he also has a soft spot for slice-of-life shojo romances. He enjoys following the manga industry, and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays in other nonexistent spare time. 

Favourite series: Bakuman

Favourite author: Io Sakisaka