Hataraku Maou-sama 04: Out Goes the Comedy

There's a sadness behind Emi.
Emilia was much different a while back.

The plot kicks into another gear this week in Maou-sama as more and more people cross over into Japan from Ente Isla. As Maou finishes rescuing all the survivors from the attack underground, Emi remembers her youth with being forced to fight against the Demon King because she was the daughter of a goddess. Then her father was killed as her village was torched by the general Lucifer. Now, Emi has to deal with the fact that the one she was trying to kill turned out to become a decent person once he learned about humans. After Maou’s landlord comes in after Chiho misunderstands Emi and Maou’s relationship, she reveals that she knows exactly what’s going on between the two worlds in a not so subtle way. Chiho ends up running into Lucifer, who destroys another building as two of Emi’s allies from Ente Isla prepare to arrive in Japan.

That kitchen looks geometrically awkward.
If this show wants to be taken seriously, it can’t do scenes like this.

I think it’s safe to say that this series has now pivoted from a comedy that poked fun at the absurdities of everyday life from an outsider’s perspective to now becoming an action drama with magic users in Tokyo. Sadly, I just don’t see this working very much at all since now I have to take a guy who works full time at McDonalds as a serious action hero. It’s made even worse by the fact that he can transform back into the Demon King to bail himself out. I’d take it better if they played it completely straight, but Lucifer’s character and magical abilities just take that out of the equation.

That said, there was one thing this episode did well in my opinion. The flashback to Emilia’s youth was completely unnecessary up to the point where it revealed that Lucifer was behind the death of her father. Where it succeeded was in Emi’s speech to Maou. There’s that classic phrase “never meet your heroes” because they will never live up to your expectations. This was a reversal on that classic phrase. How disappointing must it have been to Emi to discover that the person who was the source of her desire to avenge her father was but a hard working, low-wage lackey who happened to care about other people when he had to live with them? I guess in a way it is like finding out that the guy in a pro wrestling feud is a heel actually donates to charities is actually a nice guy when he isn’t trying to maintain kayfabe.

The landlord destroys credibility.
Now this was just ridiculous.

As far as the episode goes, it was fine. However, the direction this episode took the series is non-reversible. There won’t be much in the way of romantic comedy love triangles anymore. It will just destroy the dramatic angle they are clearly edging for now. The angle where the landlord knows what is happening could have been played for comedy, but it was too serious here to get it back. Even Emi’s friend talking about Kobe could have worked better if the series hadn’t settled on going deadly serious the rest of the way. As much as any episode recently, this could be considered a Pyrrhic victory of an episode. Good for the week, but terminally damaging the series as a whole.

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