Hataraku Maou-sama 07 – The Second Layer

Chiho playing the comic role
Sorry Chiho, you’re shamefully underused this week.

The arrival of a new neighbor ushers in new conflicts and divisions in the seventh episode of Maou-sama. Having been invited by their landlord, Kamazuki Suzuno moves in next to Maou and the others. Meanwhile, Emi gets a gift from Ente Isla in the form of a vitamin drink that actually replenishes her magical power. After everyone runs into each other at Maou’s apartment, Emi quickly deduces that Suzuno is also after Maou’s affection. Eme then catches her up with proceedings back in Ente Isla where people may be trying to pursue Emi all the way to Japan. This turns out to be the case as Emi is attacked that night, though she is able to survive with the help of a convenience store worker. Finally, Chiho and Maou make a shocking discovery in the bento provided by Suzuno to Maou.

Emi wisely reads the directions.
Yes, read the directions on these things, kids.

This was actually a quite peculiar episode. All of the actual action and story related elements were happening around Emi. She has the story of what’s going on back home, she has means to get her magic power back and she’s the one being attacked. At the same time, there’s this little vein in this episode of unexpected people facing new challenges, and that’s where I’m going to start with this episode analysis.

Sentucky? There's a pun in there.
Ooh, a rival appears.

It’s really covered in two different parts, but I believe it is an attempt to affirm the value of those who work at service-level jobs. Maou has fully embraced his elevation to shift manager and it’s just around this time that he has his first major test. A new KFC SFC branch has opened near them and they may be challenged for customers. Fortunately, he has the full backing of his boss Kisaki, who will leave him to handle the duties during what may be a challenging time for their store.

A Hero is Born.
The hero of this story doesn’t have a name.

More fascinating was the convenience store scene. The cashier suddenly finds himself involved in a fight between two magic users who are wielding a sword and a large scythe between them. Did he simply hide and call the police? No, he called the police then went to help one of the store’s regular customers in the best way he could. Then he also convinced Emi to stay behind for the police to interview. He followed store procedure and also did something rather heroic for someone in such a small role.

On a minute level, this is an interesting scene.
Urushihara learns a skill.

The contrast to this is poor Urushihara. He’s just a NEET, and is treated with something close to contempt by everyone else in this series. I really don’t know what to make of the message that sends to the viewers. Maybe it’s an attempt to push those unemployed viewers into working low end jobs and trying to make it seem like there’s opportunity even if it’s really hard at the start.

That's not even that hard to make.
This is a declaration of war.

Finally, it looks like Suzuno’s entry has turned this show into a full-fledged harem series. Now I have to judge it like that, which means I may have to hold it to a higher standard than I was before. Suzuno is the new entry to the relationship, and she is already making her move by playing a sort of traditional wife’s role. The kimono is the obvious indicator there. That leaves Emi on the back foot as she now has to act like she’s trying to protect 2 girls from Maou instead of one. Eme has her nailed as acting like she wants to spend more time with Maou. As for Chiho, her role was much reduced this week to comedy. Brutally shaking Maou as he unveiled his bento despite knowing what was coming. These 3 have to come together in the same place pretty soon I think.

You can say this show got a little fruity.
Wage slave chucking oranges>Magic user with scythe.

As for the story aspect of what happened in this episode. Seeing Emi being attacked and a new person going after the Ente Isla survivors is something I really didn’t care about. I think this series shines when it does extraordinary things with the mundane. Extraordinary people doing extraordinary things is this series equivalent of turning an action movie’s final act into robots hitting each other. It’s entertaining, but incredibly shallow.

6 thoughts on “Hataraku Maou-sama 07 – The Second Layer”

  1. Your perspective on the heroics of everyday service workers is very interesting. I honestly hadn’t thought of it like that, but I definitely agree with you.

    The cashier that Emy bought her dinner from seemed meek and ordinary, but he threw an orange at a criminal. That is pretty damn brave and cool.

    1. It’s the small things that make the show worth watching. I just wish it would spend more time on those rather than having Emi try to do amazing stuff.

  2. If you watch closely, you might see that the disparity between Emi’s Ente Islamic (I was going to write ‘Islaic, but I didn’t like the diphthong and it seemed like a good enough pun, too) nature and her contemporary activities also illuminates something in the motif of hikikomoris vs. overemployed labourers. Ente Isla can be seen as a fantasy world, where Emilia was relatively free from the shackles of socio-financial pressure under the Church’s auspices. Her sudden entry into work parallels both the shift of NEETs into employment and perhaps a teenager’s first job. While Maou gracefully accepts his new reality, Emilia still clings to the past (this is symbolized by her unbroken connection to Eme), resulting in her old fantastic demons still haunting her.

    …Or something like that. I’m blogging this too, so I write similar stuff as that on O-New (albeit less eloquently). Trying to get back into the blogging scene is NOT WORKING SO FAR 😐

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