Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hataraku Maou-sama! - Episode 9

Hero she might be in her own world, but here on Earth poor Emi finds herself being dragged from pillar to post by friend and work colleague Rika Suzuki, who is determined that her friend is ensnared in some kind of love triangle over the mysterious Maou.

To that end, Rika takes Emi and Suzuno to Maou's workplace, before deciding to stop off at Sentucky Fried Chicken for a "strategy meeting", which brings the group into contact with Ashiya in the midst of his undercover mission to find out as much as he can about this new fast food joint.  Faced with joining in Emi's attempts to explain herself to her friend, Ashiya concocts a hugely impressive allegory for the conflict between Maou and Emilia, portraying them as rivals in two construction companies to explain their strange rivalry and the reason for Maou (and to a lesser extent Emi) falling on hard times.

While this certainly works in cowing Rika's assertions about Emi's romantic inclinations towards Maou, it also serves to make her even more keen to meet him as some kind of hotshot entrepreneur - a vision which proves to be rather disappointing for her when she actually comes face to face with the man himself.  Nonetheless, Rika wants to see what Maou can do to turn the tide for McRonalds against SFC, and after a few abortive moves our favourite overlord finally shows his mettle by producing a masterstroke which brings the customers pouring in.

Even in an episode that doesn't shout from the rooftops in terms of its over-arching plot, Hataraku Maou-sama continues to be effortless amusing and entertaining as it throws out great setups and dialogue between its growing cast of likeable characters who bounce off one another with ease.  There's a confident straightforwardness to the show's writing that makes for easy viewing, accentuated by the animation and attention paid to facial expressions that continues to mark the series out from the pack.  Put simply, nothing else has made me laugh this long or hard this spring anime season, and sometimes that's all you can ask for from a show.

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