By Kisetsu Morita and Benio. Released in Japan as “Hira Yakunin Yatte 1500-nen, Maō no Chikara de Daijin ni Sarechaimashita” by GA Novels. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jasmine Bernhardt and Sarah Neufeld.
Theoretically this is a Vol. 1, but I’ll be honest, I suspect this is a one-off. Those reading along with the parent series, I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, will know of demon administrator Beelzebub and her assistants, as well as the Demon Lord Pecora. Three of the volumes featured side stories that talked about Beelzebub’s past and how she ended up where she is today. This volume collects those stories, as well as adding six others. So yes, you’ve read some of this before. That said, reading the stories in order does help to give Beelzebub’s transformation from office schlub to the grandiose demon we know a bit more impact. There are added cameos from most of the rest of the cast, though they have to be carefully done given most of the cast “meet” for the first time in the main series. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect in a spinoff.
In the six stories we’ve read previously, we see how Beelzebub got promoted about 11 steps up by a mischievous Pecora; how she copes with her aides, one of whom is less of an aide than she’s really like; how she gets to grips with audits and is here to show that the days of bribery and corruption are over; how she beats up her predecessor (who has tried to kill her multiple times), thus showing her strength; how she first meets Laika on a hot spring trip with her staff; and how Pecora leads her all around the area on a “date”, where she meets a certain witch, though neither will remember it. New stories have Beelzebub’s parents showing up; Pecora showing Beelzebub the wonder of travel the hard way; Vania shows that when it comes to food she becomes an entirely different character; Beelzebub meets Flatorte, who is exactly like you’d expect; Pecora stays over at Beelzebub’s place despite having a bad cold; and we learn the dangers of too many office plants.
Like its parent series, this is basically fun and fluffy. The only conflict in the entire book is when Beelzebub faces off against the now disgraced noble who was in line to be the next Minister, and there’s never any sense there’s danger to her or the others. The stories help to further develop Beelzebub’s character, with the most amusing ones being her amazingly embarrassing parents (where we essentially lean about Beelzebub’s redneck past) and the story about the ministry’s pathetic cafeteria, which upsets Vania so much that she goes on a veritable crusade to make it better in every possible way. The addition of Flatorte also helps to round out the “I actually met the entire cast years ago and have simply forgotten” gag we’ve seen in previous stories. And the relationship between Beelzebub and Pecora is amusing but also sweet.
In the end, this is pretty inessential, especially if you have Killing Smiles Vol. 5-7 already. But if you really love the universe, this is a decent volume to read more about it.