By Satoshi Wagahara and 029. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Kevin Gifford.
Unlike the DanMachi collection released on the same date, this volume of short stories is not interconnected into a pseudo-plot – it’s just a collection of four short stories. Fortunately, the stories are all quite good, so we also lack the lows of that DanMachi collection as well. Devil Is A Part-Timer! is very strong when it’s talking about nothing in particular, so this volume plays to those strengths, showing our heroes going up against fraudulent shysters, adopting stray kittens, buying futons for their magical sword babies, and learning how to work fast-food without losing your mind. It’s also a good volume for shippers, particularly if you ship Maou and Emi, as the entire third story is basically about how great they work as a couple, and how much this seems to upset Emi.
The first story is probably the slightest – ironically, it’s the one they chose to adapt into the anime, as Maou has to deal with the fallout of Urushihara being tricked into buying a lot of useless stuff. He (and the reader) learn about how these schemes are done, and how difficult it can be to recover anything from them. The kitten story is probably the cutest, and again revolves around one of the themes of this novel series, which is explaining what seem to be obvious concepts to those completely unfamiliar with modern-day Japan. Not only does Maou not really know how to take care of cats, he’s not aware there are vets. And even worse, he’s not aware how fast he and the others can bond with a kitten. The third story, as I said earlier, is basically pure ship tease, with Maou and Emi buying a futon for Alas Ramus and everyone around them thinking they’re such a great couple. It’s amusing precisely because everyone is correct – when she’s not panicking about the very idea, they are a great couple.
The final story is easily the longest of the four, and takes place right before the series begins. It focuses on Chiho and how she came to get a job at McRonald’s and meet Maou, as well as why she fell in love with Maou. It’s nice to see Chiho interacting with her friends at school – indeed, I suspect one reason this story came out is to give greater depth to Kaori and Yoshiya in anticipation of them appearing in the main story later on. (It’s also very refreshing to see a ‘two girls, one boy’ high school friendship with no romantic tension whatsoever.) Chiho is a fairly sheltered girl whose father is a police officer, and so feels she’s lacking life experience, one reason why she applies for the McRonald’s job. There’s a lot made in this story about the ‘career survey’ all Japanese students dread, and exactly how relevant it needs to be. Mostly, though, this is a good showcase for Chiho and demonstrates how far she’s come in the six volumes since.
This isn’t essential reading, but all volumes in this series are good, and if you’re collecting it there’s no reason to pass it up. The Devil Is A Part-Timer! remains among the best Yen On releases.