Manga Review – The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School! Volume 1

The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School!
はたらく魔王さま!ハイスクール! (Hataraku Maou-sama! High School!)
MISHIMA Kurone (art), WAGAHARA Satoshi (original story), 029/Oniku (character design)
Seinen – Comedy, fantasy, romance
3 Volumes (ongoing)
Yen Press

Summary:

On the brink of defeat, the Devil King and one of his generals escape their world and find themselves in modern Japan. With no magic and no other options, the Devil King (known as Sadao) enrolls in high school to restart his conquest..as student council president. But Sadao’s plans may be in jeopardy when a new student arrives and threatens him!

Note: this review has been updated and can be found here.

Review:

Reviewing is not as easy as many people think it is. A good reviewer should evaluate a product on its own merits. At the same time, they should also compare it to other similar products. Is the value of the item good on its own, and how does it compare to others?

Herein lies the problem for The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School!: at MSRP, it just doesn’t stack up to the other book offerings.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School! is being released in an oversized format. It’s slightly wider than the light novel (which is already larger than the main manga). The reason for this is obvious: High School! is incredibly thin. While the light novels are at least 240 pages and the manga averages around 176 pages, High School!‘s 112-3 pages just don’t stack up. This series includes a color page (two in the first volume), but that doesn’t help take the sting off the price tag when the direct manga adaptation also includes a color insert in each volume.

Right off the bat, High School! is starting in a hole. It retails for the same price as the other manga series and $1 cheaper than the light novel volumes. What do you get in exchange? A bigger book with fewer pages and an alternate-universe story. And how is that story?

Meh.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School! starts off the same as the other versions: the Devil King and his most trusted general escape from their land and wind up in Japan. Since their magic is depleted, the Devil King and the general have no choice but to find the finances to survive in this world. However, in this version of the plot, “Sadao” ends up as a high school student and “Shiro” as a custodian. The pair try to survive while being poor, but even more problems for Sadao arise as the Hero Emilia (now known as Emi) also transfers to the school. Sadao and Emi compete to run for student council as Sadao and Shiro worry about money. Meanwhile, everyone misunderstands Emi’s obsession with Sadao.

As in most alternate universe stories, the main characters are reworked to fit in this different setting. The landlord is now the principal, Sadao’s MgRonald boss is the gang’s homeroom teacher, and Emi’s workfriend Rika is also a student. Personality-wise, Chiho still has a crush on Sadao, Shiro is still dedicated to his king, Emi is still jealous of Chiho’s chest, etc. What you may not expect is a character from the third light novel (who is not even in the anime) being introduced in High School!‘s second volume, appearing to Sadao even before Lucifer does. Her arrival really spins the story off into its own direction instead of just making Sadao into a high school student instead of a MgRonald part-timer. As original author Wagahara pointed out, we also get to see some new character interactions that you don’t see in the light novel, like bossy Emi facing her own challenge in demanding Kisaki.

Story-wise, chapters seem to jump all over. Despite being set at a high school, there is a noticeable lack of classes. In three volumes, Sadao and the gang go on a hike, visit an inn, clean up and then spend the day at the beach, and go to a festival. When they are actually in school, it’s usually lunchtime so Sadao can sell items from the school store. Where are all the stupid answers using Ente Isla (which I don’t think is named here) logic? Emi bragging about scoring better than Sadao on an exam? Chiho’s agony over drawing new seating arrangements? I mean, High School! gets an A in not feeling like just a regular fantasy romcom high school story, but what’s the point of having a high school alternate universe story when so little takes place in a high school? I guess I got to give the author credit for surprising me, but can we have more classroom antics instead of school activity antics please?

So far, the series has not had any battles. Alas Ramus provides most of the fantasy aspects with her arrival and abilities. Otherwise, the first major confrontation at the end of the third volume ends with the antagonist just walking away. I imagine there will be some more action soon (the series ends at five volumes), but if you like to see more of Emi’s and Sadao’s powers, you won’t find it here.

As you would expect, the art is a bit different than the manga or light novel. Out of all the characters, Shiro looks the most different. The poor guy looks more like a housewife here than in the other versions. It doesn’t help he spends much of his time in chibi format with cat ears. It’s also little harder to tell the girls apart here versus the main manga. Emi, Chiho, and Rika are all wearing the same uniform now, so their biggest difference in their appearance lies in their hair. Chiho in particular constantly changes her hairstyle; since I am most familiar with her hair in her two twintails, I kept having to do double-takes whenever she appears in pigtails. The other characters’ designs are faithful to 029’s originals. In addition, while High School! is classified as seinen (as opposed to shounen for the source material), there isn’t much fan service. When Emi’s skirt flips up due to a gust of wind, she is positioned so the reader sees nothing. The girls are seen in swimsuits and Chi’s chest is occasionally referred to, but this series is good with a T rating. Anyways, the manga’s art is pretty straightforward. As I mentioned, it’s pretty much Sadao and company just going to various places, and if they’re at school, they’re probably just talking. There just isn’t much of the fantasy influences here to really add variety to the art as compared to the main manga. I did enjoy some of the humorous images of Emi’s discovery of the deliciousness of curry pudding or her carsickness.

Translation:

The same person who translated the original light novel and manga adaptation also adopts The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School! As I mentioned in those reviews, the two adaptations are quite different in certain points. High School! is closer to the manga, using honorifics instead of changing things to “Marko” and “Chi-Sis”. So unless you dove right into High School!, the adaptation’s style will be very familiar to you.

Final Comments:

Skip The Devil is a Part-Timer! High School! and invest your time (and, more importantly, your money) in the The Devil is a Part-Timer! manga and/or light novel.

Yen Press also published the The Devil is a Part-Timer! light novel and manga. FUNimation released the anime.

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4 Comments

  1. The Fullmetal Narcissist

    Why the hell did they bother trying to fix something that wasn’t broken? Devil is a Part Timer is one of my favorite anime comedies of all time, but the idea of shifting the plot to a high school setting just seems so wrong.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina

      Well, Emi is supposed to be in school if you go by her real age. But it’s a pretty pointless change since they never really attend classes, and Sadao is still selling food anyways. I guess they wanted an excuse to put everyone (including babies) in school uniforms?

      Reply
  2. The Otaku Judge

    The anime was great. Shame that this spin-off isn’t that good. Seeing the cast in high school does have potential for laughs.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina

      Really wish the anime would get a second season. That would be much better than High School.

      Reply

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