Hataraku Maou-sama 03: A Different Kind of Attraction

Hero Emilia is a bit upset.
I’m really liking the subtle character design change when Emi gets serious.

The 3rd episode of Maou-sama reveals a plot to kill the Overlord and the Hero, but also reveals Chiho’s attachment to the other world. The episode starts with Chiho preparing for her big date with Maou, while Emi takes a call from a semon from the old world who wants to kill both of them off. Later, she has to bail Ashiya and Maou out of jail, before ending up stalking Maou on the date with Chiho. Then, Chiho reveals that she can understand communication from Ente Isla before Emi interrupts the date to warn her to stay away from him. They fight until there is an earthquake which traps Emi and Chiho. After Emi uses some magic to put Chiho to sleep, Maou emerges from the rubble in demon form and wants to save everyone.

I think this episode did a switch on the usual theme for this episode. Where before it was a show about extraordinary people doing ordinary things in ordinary circumstances, this episode was about those same extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances. This was all rather thrust upon them by this evil person who wants to kill both Emi and Maou. As a result, the comedy which came from the pair being forced into silly situations is greatly reduced.

I bet someone has already used the phrase "Chiho's chihos"
Never has a fight over a fast-food worker involved such classy women.

I think it was exactly the right tact for an episode that ends with an earthquake. You really wouldn’t want slapstick comedy followed by civilians being crushed by falling cement. It just doesn’t work in that scenario. So the conversation between Emi and Chiho over the latter’s involvement with Maou took on a more serious tone than one would expect. This wasn’t an comic clash between two people interested in a guy who flips burgers for a living. No, this was a battle between a young girl who wanted to had fallen for someone she thought understood her and a woman who tells her it will only end badly.

For the most part, I think Emi shined brightest in this episode. The way she carries herself is with a full-blooded commitment to getting what she wants or admonishing those who do things she sees as evil. Yet when the earthquake happens, she remains as calm as any person possibly could in that situation. I think it shows that the attributes of someone who would be considered a Hero archetype have been transferred into a young office worker very well.

This was a bit unexpected.
Those clothes still fit him remarkably well. Are they made by the same company that did Hulk’s pants?

However, I do still have some reservations about the new direction this series seems to be heading. It did fantastically well showing the confusion of 3 people who have to adapt to an entirely new world with no support. It also did well to show both the struggle of two people trying to live off of a single low-wage job and of a single woman living alone without making the audience pity either situation. Whether it can succeed in this new direction of trying to find the person after their lives while also pursuing a pseudo-comedic love triangle type of story is really an open question. If it can pull that off, then this may well end up among the most interesting series in a while. If not, it will be an admirable failure with this episode as the beginning of the end.

3 thoughts on “Hataraku Maou-sama 03: A Different Kind of Attraction”

  1. I think you meant “good-willed citizen” when you said “young office worker”. But yes, thrusting a lawful good character archetype into an unfamiliar environment never usually fails in delivering the most interesting of responses. I do share the sentiment of worry as to where this series is heading. Far from what we’re thought to believe, this series is already serving us a platter of alphabet soup with numbers in it. You have Ms. Lawful struggling to keep tabs with Mr. Chaotic Neutral and his girl, slowly being torn apart by her and the environment’s nature (sparing Sadao if he remains on Earth, asking his help, questioning Sadao’s current standing), and then the earthquakes and the Big Bad supposedly appears, all at the same time.

    It’s less of the show trying to pull something off and more of it trying to pull itself together.

    1. That’s pretty much how I still feel about this show at times. There’s a lack of focus that is troubling if I think about it.

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