The Devil is a Part-Timer! is a sublimely funny series of manga, anime, and light novels in which Satan takes a job at a fast food joint to make rent. This spin-off manga features the same characters and places them in a high school setting. All the main players are present: Sadao Mao, formerly the Devil King, sits next to his human classmate Chiho. As in the original series, Chiho adores Mao, naive to his true nature. Aciel, Satan’s trusty lieutenant, watches over him—this time not as his roommate, but the school janitor. Emilia the Hero is recast as a transfer student, who desires to thwart Mao’s path towards evil as a rival for student council.
The characters look similar to their predecessors, but Emilia and Mao appear to have bigger eyes, implying they are a bit younger than in the first series. As Chiho was always a high school student, she remains the same bouncy girl with enthusiasm and a large bust. What is missing is the inventiveness that made the first series so much fun. There are already numerous manga series with high school settings, but series starring an evil overlord working his way up the MgRonald’s fast food chain while dealing with the mundane monotony of adult life in Japan? There are far less of those.
Some omake (extra) notes from the series creator mention that one of the original plans was for Emilia to be a high school student instead of a call center operator, as she was in the final edit. In addition to this, Mao spends some time working in the school store, and there he exhibits the cheerful dedication to customer satisfaction and food that will keep him recognizable to fans. In the second volume, several side characters (with the exception of Alas Ramus, a child who refers to Mao and Emilia as her parents) appear, recast as stock high school tropes.
Sadly, the absence of any true antagonists in the plot means that the stakes feel pretty low. Do we really care about how much Mao enjoyed Emi’s boxed lunch in comparison to Chiho’s? Eh. These volumes fail to gain the momentum of comedy and urgency that is usually so well-balanced in this franchise.
The Devil is a Part-Timer! was an appetizing and fresh feast for manga fans. Alas, this incarnation feels like a burger that’s been sitting under the heat lamp for too long.
The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School!, vols. 1-2
by Satoshi Wagahara
Art by Kurone Mishima
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9780316385114
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9780316385121
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: Teen (13 +)