Posted by psgels on 29 June 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hataraku Maou-Sama



Comedies in anime. Most of them are… juvenile, to say the least. Lots of show center around dumb fanservice humour, and the majority of the ones that are actually funny are so because of their characterization. Hataraku Maou-Sama set out to do something special: it tried to add a bit of intelligence to its jokes. It’s something that it couldn’t keep up for its entire run, but it’s a very interesting attempt nonetheless.

Let alone that for once we aren’t following a bunch of high schoolers, but people who are actually working. Here we have a series in which a demon lord suddenly has to adapt to the human world while being stranded there, and by far the best thing about this series is the way in which he does this. This series likes to build up its humour: with a lot of jokes, you’ll be “ah, so that’s why they did that”. The jokes in this series are really well written, and quite often they really are hilarious.

This series is a mixed bag in the character-department. It has some really fun characters on one hand (Maou and Ashiya make for a very fun and atypical comedy duo), while on the other hand other characters are bland and only annoying (Chiho), and others are sometimes great to watch, and sometimes the creators don’t really seem to know what to do with them. A lot of these problems stem from the fact that as well versed this show is on comedy, it doesn’t really know how to do proper character-development. Change in the characters is either completely predictable, or characters just make giant heel-turns as soon as they’re defeated, and a lot of characters here find it very hard to move away from their one-dimensional caricatures.

So yeah, this series’ biggest strength is its comedy. The problem is, that this isn’t really consistent. Personally, when I watch a comedy, I really want to laugh a lot. Hataraku Maou-Sama has strings of episodes that just aren’t funny enough; for me, at least. It also has one really dumb pool episode that kills a lot of fun as well. this series also may be focused on a demon king, but really: remove that and nothing much would really change in the overall storyline. This series never really uses its own symbolism well, making the overall storyline even flimsier.

As for the production-values: this show looks crisp. Very crisp, and there hardly ever is a badly drawn shot. You can really see that White fox was behind it, because their consistency is always top-notch. This show doesn’t excel in over the top eye-candy, but it still is very pretty to look at, and the soundtrack has one very good track to it that also is used at the moments that suit it best.

The question is: does the best stuff weight up to the boring parts? Well, I’d say that if you easily get annoyed by cliches, then it’s probably better to pass this one up. If you’re looking for very well done comedy, then by all means give this one a chance. Don’t expect much from the storyline, and you’ll be set.
One-Sentence Review: Clever comedy with good build-up, weighing against a bit of a dull storyline.
Suggestions:
Ben-To
Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin
Ooedo Rocket

5 Responses

  1. Silty says:

    I’ve never seen a show that parodies the Japanese language and culture as well as this one. However, it could just be that I didn’t know Japanese well enough to notice previous shows doing it.

  2. meaqui says:

    Yes, this review pretty much sums it all up – I also found that there are some episodes that werent very funny. But I still liked this series a lot and it was seriously one of the few I was really looking forward to every week during the past season.
    So Im quite happy that there’s probably gonna be a second season – this also might make up for the “dull storyline” you mentioned :)

  3. Wiley says:

    I suppose it comes down to personal taste, but I greatly enjoyed Hataraku. For me its easily one of my alltime favourite anime comedies

  4. B0Mb0y says:

    Hataraku Maou-sama will be missed. It really caught me off guard with the good comedy and voice acting; I was sort of expecting another bland LN adaptation. I was kinda hoping it would go through its run without having to rely on a pool episode, but alas, we got one and I agree it did kill the fun of the episode.

    Hope the upcoming Summer season would also bring welcome surprises such as Maou-sama, because at the moment I’m not looking forward to it.

  5. johnnski says:

    sad that you only gave this an 81/100. Im giving it a 9/10. just because it didn’t bore me. who cares about a “dull” storyline.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:17 PM)
    I have begun to realize that Okada’s best work hourou musuko only worked because it had Shimura Takako’s writing, Ano hana happen to have the right director .
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:13 PM)
    @Bam Sorry about the YA comment then. Didn’t mean to sound pedantic. I missed your point about it earlier. Ray Donovan has really exceeded my expectations. I mean in a lot of ways it’s the derivative also-ran that I expected it to be, but the narrative is just damn good.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:11 PM)
    @Emma Speaking of dark Okada series though, aren’t you one of the people that dropped WIXOSS?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:11 PM)
    @Bam: We need you watching true detective.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:09 PM)
    @Emma I could never get into the showtime version. I tried.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:06 PM)
    And having Lucrezia wanting to bang Cesare is a legit incest thing in anything about the Borgias, historically the family was slandered with rumours of it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:04 PM)
    That manga, Cantarella I read, it was oddly effective how the historical characters, Cesare included, actually Lucrezia Borgia in particular fitted into a manga. I mean Lucrezia was an imouto before imoutos were cool.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:01 PM)
    And Assassins creed has Cesare in it I think.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 08:01 PM)
    @Ninja: I’m watching Boardwalk and Ray Donovan right now. I also mentioned that the YA thing is not going away, so I’m aware. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to be so seperate, I can enjoy adult anime too, almost just as much as live action.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 07:59 PM)
    @Realist: I like the hamminess of the Neil Jordan, showtime Borgias show.

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