Hataraku Maou-sama! – Episode 11

Hataraku Maou-sama!

And jeez, look at the time. Three weeks left? What does that mean?

Well, first, it means we’re almost certainly in core narrative mode again – last episode followed twenty minutes of nothing happening with ten seconds of revealing that the Mysterious Assassin is Sentucky is Part Angel, which wasn’t exactly the most dramatic way to go about that, but whatever, that’s where we’re at.

What else does it mean?

It means I don’t give a fuck about losing the crowd. Let’s be frank for a moment – I thought last week’s episode was terrible. Worst episode so far. Pointless, didn’t do anything for the characters or the story, fanservicey, and the least funny episode of the season. I’ve lost the crowd by being too harsh on this show before, but believe me, I’m coming from a place of wanting this show to be great. And it normally is! At this point, I’ve pretty much come to terms with the interesting class/society stuff just being a lark and not actually a theme – all I really want is for the jokes to be funny, the narrative resolution to be snappy, and the character relationships to actually move forward a few inches. I don’t think that’s too much to ask!

So that’s where I’m coming from. Now let’s see where this is going.

Episode 11

2:12 – Yep, there’s Sentucky added to the OP. Kind of a funny reflection of this show’s balancing of drama and slice of life that it initially hides plot developments in the OP, but then adds them to the perky lineup as soon as they’re actually introduced

3:05 – Oh man, you know something’s actually gonna happen when they start the episode with an Ente Isla flashback

4:38 – HER WEAPON IS A GIANT HAMMER. Of course. Why wouldn’t it be? The giant hammer has a long, illustrious tradition as a tool of assassins and inquisitors

5:36 – It’s nice that they establish her as having doubted her work for a long time, so it’s not all just everyone falling for Maou’s irrepressible charms

6:00 – Interested in Suzuno? But… but 

6:31 – Why is this show so cruel to Alsiel?

7:57 – I was hoping it was liquor for a moment there. I’m pretty much always in favor of characters getting drunk together

8:53 – I’m pretty fine with the moments when this show just has the characters deal with the mundanities of life together, particularly when it’s acting as the scaffolding of a character turn like Suzuno’s here. I actually like slice of life with good characters, but am not a fan of the current-definition slice of life that is more escapism than still life, and doesn’t actually have any bearing on characters or situations I could possibly relate to

Hey, you know what’s good? Yotsuba

9:33 – So Sentucky is clearly part-angel, but his relationship to Suzuno is pretty unclear – Emi was half-angel, but seemed to be on the side of the knights and only allied with the church, not a part of their organization. With Sentucky proving angelic heritage isn’t the sole right of the hero, how does religion actually work in their world? Are the church and the deities they represent actually combined into a single influence-hungry power structure? Cynical idea. I like it

10:13 – Okay, so Emi actually was an instrument of the church

11:00 – This is great. Using the dramatic downfall of a very public figure to justify their brutal power-grabbing actions during times of conflict, and then immediately falling back on a more even-handed system when their supremacy is assured to keep the people from rebelling. Okay, it’s not particularly subtle, but what can I say? Organized religion and I have never really gotten along

12:26 – Yeah yeah, dump on Alsiel, etc. I made a joke before, but they are kind of running this gag into the ground

15:33 – Yes! Conflict! Make Emi take a stand on Maou! Make Chiho cry!

Man, this show is so great when it’s actually moving forward

16:00 – “Did you ever meet him before he became Maou Sadao?” Man. Perfect fucking question, that actually gets back at the heart of my favorite idea I thought this show had abandoned – the relatively well-intentioned people who are so high up they can’t see the consequences of their actions or the way the world moves beneath them

17:00 – I was just thinking, “It’s nice that Emi’s still here for this impassioned pro-Maou speech,” and then the show of course gives us a shot of her taking it all in

17:49 – The jump cuts between Suzuno’s protests and memories here are so well done – this episode has built to this moment masterfully. She has to be right. If she isn’t, what did she kill all those people for?

19:35 – “This is my ability… Convenient Enemy-Incapacitating Plot Device!” Oh come on. That bullshit’s for shounen tripe, Maou – at least make his ability relevant to their shared heritage or something

19:54 – Oh. They did. Carry on!

20:03 – Omigod his wings look so silly

And Done

Oh man! HEATING UP! Goddamn, the difference between an on and off day for this show is absurd. That second half was so good! Like episode 4, this one was extremely light on humor, but I didn’t care at all because the characters and drama were handled so damn well. Suzuno had earned a spot as a member of the comedy troupe, but this episode was obviously wholly focused on her dramatic arc. At first, I was afraid they were overselling a character who really wasn’t going to pull her dramatic weight… but that last exchange with Emi was definitely one for the show highlight reel. It’s looking like Emi isn’t actually going to be forced to take a real stand here (unsurprising, since there are apparently many more LNs to adapt), since Sentucky attacked her before she was ever forced to actually defend Maou, but if the show keeps up this level of tension and effective drama, that won’t matter at all. Sweet episode. Bring on the climax!