While many assume that fast food is an evil empire in which rich CEOs profit from food with poor nutritional value, it is rarely considered that the part-time, minimum wage employees of these restaurants could be anything more than just that. But what if the young server handing you your tray at McDonald’s was more than a minion, but actually the devil himself? Silly and self aware, The Devil is a Part-Timer! takes a ridiculous concept and runs with it.
In an alternate universe, Satan the Devil King is defeated by the half-angel Emilia the Hero. Upon his defeat, Satan and his trusted right-hand demon Aciel flee to present-day Japan, where they find themselves in human form, low on magical powers, and painfully broke. To survive, sensible Satan takes on the moniker of Sadao Mao—which is pronounced like “Demon King”—and takes a part-time job at MgRonalds.
Mao is a great guy. He’s dependable, he’s a good mentor for his junior coworker Chiho, and he’s generally conscientious. After he gives his umbrella to a young girl trapped in the rain, she turns out to be Emilia the Hero, who has also become trapped in Japan. Emilia stalks Mao at work, looking to squash his plans for world domination. Mao, however, seems to have scrapped the traditional route and decided that moving up the MgRonald’s chain is the way to ultimate power. “You are so stupid,” Emilia remarks, unimpressed.
While The Devil is a Part-Timer! originated in Japan in this light novel form, the series has been adapted into manga and anime formats, with which many fans are likely familiar. This is not to say reading this version is not enjoyable; the text is downright hilarious, if a bit choppy. There are several times when characters use hyphenated dialogue to express that they are flustered, e.g. “W-what do you mean?” It’s cute, but it works best when animated.
The story is mostly PG. In a few instances, Emilia compares her breast size to that of other female characters. There are some descriptions of the devastation Satan caused to Emilia’s homeland of Ente Island, but nothing gory, and when confronted by these facts, Mao seems genuinely sorry for the pain he caused as the Devil King.
Several manga-style illustrations pepper the mid-chapters, but they do not match the character descriptions in the text. For instance, Emi is described as having long black hair, but she is depicted on the cover with maroon tresses. However, anime fans will likely not bat an eye at this discrepancy.
If you’ve been thinking about trying the light novel format on your shelves, give this one a whirl.
The Devil is a Part Timer! (light novel), vol. 1
by Satoshi Wagahara
Art by Oniku
Publisher Age Rating: Teen 13+