By Satoshi Wagahara and 029. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Kevin Gifford.
This book is definitely front-loaded with stuff that I am here for. Much as I appreciate the machinations and plans for avoiding destruction going on on Enta isla, I will admit I’ve always been more drawn to the Japan side of this series. And just as everyone is working to ensure that they have a future for humans, angels and demons over there, others need to work to ensure that they have a future going forward in Japan. Even if that future may not involve Maou. As you might guess by the cover art showing her with her hat off, Chiho finally gives her notice to McRonald’s, as she needs to prepare for college, and then move on to her dream of… well, that’s the problem, isn’t it. Which college does she want to try for? Does she want to keep doing archery? Does she have a career in mind at all? And most importantly, can she find a way to stand at Maou’s side rather than just admiring him from afar?
It’s not just Chiho either – McRonald’s is suddenly down FIVE people after a bunch of resignations, and Maou and Emi – their two most important part-timers – have to take all of July off to, well, save the world. They also have a new manager, and while she’s a perfectly good normal manager sort, she is not the exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime manager that Kisaki was. This causes her no small amount of anxiety. Now Maou has to find some part-time help for the business. More importantly, he has to simply be patient and not worry too much as his allies are busy putting everything in place. It’s something he’s not used to, and he apologizes to Chiho at one point, as she is very used to it. And there’s also a disturbing new revelation that implies that not only might Alas Ramus and Acieth not be able to help in the final battle, they may be turned to the other side.
Not gonna lie, my mind keeps drifting back to the frank conversation Rika has with Chiho about her future, and about her love for Maou. If only as the author seems to take the time to sink what is probably the series’ most popular pairing – Rika says that Chiho’s only real competition for Maou is probably Suzuno, and that Maou and Emi aren’t happening. It’s worth actually quoting:
“What, am I wrong? I mean, some people say a lot of good relationships start from less than nothing, but I think Stockholm syndrome would work only so much with those two. It’s a miracle they’re acting like friends right now, even. I can’t see much more than that happening.”
Other than that, the book is quite good, with some very funny bits – the new part-timer at McRonald’s being the best – but it does suffer a bit from Maou and Emi being necessarily sidelined at the moment. The stage is set for the final battle… but we have three volumes to go, not two, so I suspect we’ll have wacky unrelated shenanigans next time. Till then, Chiho fans should really enjoy this book.