The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Volume Three lines up with roughly the first half of the second season of the anime series.
The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Volume Three
Written by: Satoshi Wagahara
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
English Publisher: Yen On
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Volume Three opens with a scene that’s not shown in the anime adaptation, which is Suzuno taking Sadao to a bicycle shop to buy him a new bicycle to replace the one she destroyed in Volume Two. There were some great interactions between Suzuno and Sadao in this scene, and it’s disappointing that the anime studio chose not to include this. Instead, there’s just a brief bit of dialogue when someone sees Sadao with his new bike and asks where it came from. Whatever happened to the adage, “show don’t tell”? I found this to be a missed opportunity in the anime.
While our main characters are gathered together in the “front yard” of the apartment building, a Gate from Ente Isla suddenly opens up and a large golden apple comes out of it. A small girl pokes out of the apple, saying her name is Alas Ramus, and that Sadao and Emi are her parents. Well, let’s just say that the characters’ reactions to this declaration are quite amusing. In the end, Alas Ramus stays with Sadao and his henchmen at “The Devil’s Castle,” and Chiho provides information and advice on how to take care of a small child. Quite a bit of the volume focuses on Sadao and Emi trying be Alas Ramus’ “parents,” even though they’re each other’s mortal enemy, which culminates with a trip to an amusement park. While at the park, a mysterious woman arrives when Alas Ramus appears to fall ill after reacting to a memory from Ente Isla. This raises Emi’s suspicions, but nothing is truly revealed about this mysterious new character by the end of the volume.
Another thing that Alas Ramus’ arrival does is provide an opportunity to provide a little bit of backstory for Sadao when he was a young demon. It’s quite the contrast to how Sadao acts as a parent toward Alas Ramus. There was a scene in the light novel that takes place before going to the amusement park, when Sadao takes Alas Ramus to the bicycle shop and inquires about a toddler seat to attach to Dullahan II (the name of his new bicycle). Personally, I thought this was a great bonding moment between these two characters, and I was disappointed to see it left out of the anime adaptation.
This volume also introduces a pompous archangel from Ente Isla named Gabriel. He’s come to Earth to claim Alas Ramus and Emi’s Holy Sword for the Yesod shard fragments that they have. As it’s explained, the Yesod fragments are shattered pieces of one of the crystalline fruit of the Tree of Life in heaven. Gabriel’s first appearance on Earth is depicted a little differently in the anime compared to the light novel. In the anime, everyone is outside in the “front yard” of the apartments when the confrontation with Gabriel happens. In the light novel, the confrontation takes place in “The Devil’s Castle,” and when Gabriel leaves at the end of the scene, he falls down the stairs like Emi did earlier in both the light novels and the anime. I think the light novel version of this scene would have worked better for the anime, both because it incorporates a little more action with the fall down the stairs, as well as the humor that viewers of the anime came to expect with the first season. Also, it was kind of nice seeing the pompous Gabriel getting knocked down a peg or two from this ungraceful fall. Again, I felt this was a missed opportunity in the anime.
Gabriel’s return sees Alas Ramus showing off the power of her head-butts, as well as a battle between Gabriel and Emi. Sadao tries to help out, but he just doesn’t have enough power. Alas Ramus does something surprising to help bring an end to the fight, and it appears that Alas Ramus has disappeared. When we see Sadao down in the dumps because he thinks Alas Ramus is gone, he takes a look at Dullahan II and laments about the fact that he had the toddler seat added to it for nothing. Since the purchase of the seat was excluded in the anime, this scene with the bike was also removed. It’s too bad, because I think this would have added a little more emotional weight to Sadao’s sadness here. Seeing that anything that has to do with the bicycle shop was cut out in the anime, I’m starting to think that the anime studio working on the second season of The Devil is a Part-Timer! didn’t want to design and cast someone as the bicycle shop owner.
In Volume Three, Emi has a phone conversation with Emeralda, which was ultimately split into two conversations in the anime adaptation. In the anime, the two only talk about Alas Ramus and the strange things surrounding her in the first conversation. In the second conversation, which happens near the end of the season, Emeralda reveals that Laila is Emi’s mother (which was revealed near the end of the first light novel) and mentions that Laila had recently crashed at her place. I have a feeling that if Laila’s existence and identity had been revealed in the first season of the anime like it should have been, then this phone conversation probably would have remained as one conversation. This was one of those cases where a decision made during the first season of the anime to cut the reference to Laila, and then the crew working on the second season discovered that this decision kind of screwed them over and they had to find a way to incorporate the revelation of Laila’s true identity.
There were a lot of complaints about the execution of the second season of the The Devil is a Part-Timer! anime, especially the pacing and the fact that the comedy the series was known for wasn’t as prominent. After reading this volume, which basically corresponds with the first half of the second season of the anime, the season basically depicted the story as it was presented in the light novel (with the exceptions I mentioned in this review). I think this is a case where the story being told here works better in a printed medium than it does in an animated medium. I’m starting to think this is why the original anime studio passed on adapting more of the light novel series, even though the first season seemed to perform rather well, because of this issue. But then that kind of begs the question why a different studio got the rights to the property and animated a new season nearly a decade after the first one aired.
Comparing the third volume of The Devil is a Part-Timer! light novel series with the anime adaptation of the second season, I have to say that I’m preferring the light novel’s telling of this story over the anime. I’m curious to see the differences that exist between Volume Four and the anime’s second season.
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