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OK so this episode was weird for a variety of different reasons and I need to break this down. The prospect of Emi going back to Ente Isla to confront a lot of the weird things that are happening in the background is good and I even like the little self-awareness that’s there about how the cast is just sort of waiting for things to happen when it would probably be more practical to confront everything head on. I was starting to think that the show was sort of afraid to tackle anything outside of Japan because…yeah there are a lot of big conspiratorial things going on but our main cast doesn’t seem as interested in those things as they probably should. Even Maou admits in this episode how his boasting about Emi, Chiho, and Suzuno being his generals was just that, boasting. However, I underestimated just how desperately The Devil Is a Part-Timer! didn’t want to do anything in Ente Isla because as soon as Emi leaves the show, what we get is a very drawn-out and oddly toned episode that admittedly did keep me guessing but for what I feel like were the wrong reasons.
It’s clear that Emi wasn’t going to come back without some issues going on but I don’t know what I’m supposed to take away from that conversation that Maou has about his relationship to Emi. I’d go so far as to say that Maou was acting strangely out of character for about half of this episode, acting like he doesn’t care about Emi that much and how his life would probably be made easier if she and the other humans just sort of killed each other. At the same time, he works on getting his driver’s license. I don’t know if they were trying to convey the stress of passing the license exam or if they were trying to convey that he is actually worried deep down but he’s just putting up a front. Regardless of the intention, it didn’t feel very organic, especially since I never really got the impression that Maou was trying to hide the fact that he does care about Emi as a person. The only time he seems to put up a front about doing something malicious is for Emi’s sake because she is still confused about her place in all of this. Hell, even if he DIDN’T care about Emi, the fact that he didn’t seem to care about Alas Ramus was weird as well. Then there’s the whole idea of Chiho tricking Maou into saying something cruel felt unnecessarily melodramatic and it just sort of ends without really being resolved was also weird. Maou doesn’t even go after her to clarify his feelings or anything. He just goes back to business.
I like the fact that Ashiya does point out that it probably wasn’t a great idea to tell the other demons that the hero of the humans is now on the demon king’s side because if that information does get back to the humans of Ente Isla, hell would probably break loose. But again, we don’t do anything with that, it’s just something that gets brought up without any actual follow-up or closure and I didn’t feel like this was brought up for the sake of being addressed later on. It feels like the writer acknowledges some of the issues in the overall layout of the story and is addressing those issues by literally just…bringing them up and not doing anything about them.
And then there’s a whole thing with Emi’s father and I guess Alas Ramus’s sibling randomly being in this episode? When the camera panned down and we just sort of saw this two in-frame next to Maou on the bus, I had to pause the episode because I couldn’t believe that they were kind of revealing this in such a roundabout and casual way. Like there was no fanfare or anything and I guess it makes sense in the story that Maou doesn’t know who the heck these two people are. But this is what I mean when I say the episode just feels…off because we’re giving attention to things that aren’t getting any proper development or follow-through while seemingly important details are just sort of randomly thrown in there. Things are so all over the place I couldn’t even really focus too much on the new urgent tone that was thrown in there at the end of the episode. I’ve been very forgiving about some of the things going on in this series compared to a lot of other people but this was an episode that felt like it didn’t know what it was trying to do.
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