Anime

Review of The Devil Is a Part-Timer Episode 4: The Hero’s Control Breaks and an Enemy Revealed

Quick Summary

In The Devil is a Part-Timer episode 4, "The Hero Experiences Human Warmth," Emi Yusa is shocked that Sadao Maou uses all of the magical power he inexplicably gained during the earthquake to save people -- to save humans! His actions challenge the core of her world view -- he's the devil, after all! Why is he doing that? After spending the night at a friend's house, Emi confronts Sadao with this question, and Chiho Sasaki arriving unexpectedly mistakes the confrontation for intimacy. Will Sadao be able to help her see the truth? Or will the stranger Chiho literally ran into brutally kill her before Sadao can get to her?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious. 

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Emi obviously loved her father; the feeling was mutual! Of course, you know what that means... Capture from the Hulu stream.

Moment 1

You know that feeling you get when you see something so wholesome and beautiful and uplifting -- and just know that something terrible is about to happen? I just described Emi's back story. Early in the episode, Emi is shocked by the sight of Sadao in full Devil form not only saving people but actively protecting them from the cave in. She just can't reconcile this with the Devil she knows! What Devil does she know, you might ask? The episode shows us. We see Emi as an excited young girl bringing her awesome dad a picnic basket full of sandwiches (2:14). They so obviously love each other that it's heart-breaking, because you just know something bad's going to happen. And it does. Actually, two bad things happen, because you start to guess what coming. The show throws us a bit of a curve ball, because what I expected (her dad getting killed) doesn't happen -- at least not right away. Instead, the church leader shows up to take Emi (Emilia) away, because her mom was an angel. Apparently, that means she's the only one who can use the Celestial Sword to combat the Devil. Only then does what I expect to happen come to pass -- the Devil's army destroys Emilia's village. Her father died in the battle. It's no wonder Emi's conflicted! 

Rika's charming dialect gave was a great context for Emi to reflect on what she'd been though -- and gave her a chance to form a deeper friendship with Rika! Capture from the Hulu stream.

Moment 2

There are a lot of ways to gauge the quality of a show, and one of my favorites is how much I identify or sympathize with secondary characters. I grew up on a farm in northern Appalachia (okay, a little north of northern!), and though my dialect wasn't what I considered overbearing, I had to moderate it when I went to work in the Big City. In this episode, after the earthquake, Emi's friend Rika Suzuki happened to be in the area. She asked Emi back to her place, where Rika fed her. What I found interesting was when Rika's mom called (9:51). Rika transitioned from Big City Speech to her local dialect in under a second! It's a minor detail, but it struck me as so authentic that I couldn't help but smile. I love dialects; I love differences in pronunciation of words. For instance: How do you pronounce "creek?" Until I went to work in the Big City, I pronounced it "crick." Of course, there's a right way to pronounce it based on the dictionary. But regional dialects add such interesting flavor! Not only that, but Rika's dialect gave Emi an opportunity to deepen a friendship and reframe some of the events of her own past. This was a surprisingly hard-working scene! 

Sadao has been so nice to everyone -- including Emi herself! -- that circumstance almost ripped this question from her! Capture from the Hulu stream.

Moment 3

Rika's words to Emi set the stage for my third favorite moment. "When a person's outlook gets turned upside-down, you never know which way they'll go. Some people take advantage of the chaos to do bad things... And other people are so soft-hearted they'll do anything to help you, even after they've lost everything... People can turn either angel or demon, if they decide to..." (11:13). You could just see the thoughts settle in Emi's mind. But what about her heart? It's still not ready to deal with the reality of who Sadao is on Earth. Later, when Emi went to Sadao's apartment to pay him back for helping her in previous episodes, she fell down the stairs as she was leaving -- and ended up alone with Sadao as Shirou Ashiya went to buy gauze. Embarrassed to yet again be in his apartment and in a position of neediness, infuriated that he was showing concern by asking if the disinfectant stung, she snapped (15:55). She screamed that he was the Devil, so why wasn't he destroying people? Why was he being a responsible worker? Why was he being nice to people? Tears began streaming down her face, and she asked, "If you can be nice, then why... why did you kill my father (16:44)?" The moment was so raw and so honest that I couldn't help but be affected. Emi's the hero. She's powerful and resilient. But now, every assumption on which she'd based her life was turned inside out, and she was reduced to bawling in front of her old enemy -- who even apologized! Or tried to. This being a comedy, Chiho choose that moment to walk in, and she misunderstood everything. But that just kept the moment isolated and alive. 

Thoughts

I had been watching this show on Netflix, because I've had a Netflix subscription forever and the series was available. As I started to watch this episode, though, I realized it said the show would only be available until January 31, 2019. Sigh. Fortunately, I also subscribe to Hulu since I had to get a Buffy the Vampire Slayer screen cap for my collab review of The Promised Neverland ep 2 with I Drink and Watch Anime. Still, these licensing changes are a hassle for us bloggers! I had to go back and update the URLs and attributes of my previous screen caps.

Would that qualify as a first world problem?

Anyway, watching this episode on both Netflix and Hulu, I noticed that Netflix used the later OP video, whereas Hulu used what I remembered as the original OP (and that matches the Funimation version I bought from iTunes). Useless trivia? Or fascinating detail? 

Angry Chiho wasn't in the later OP, which is what Netflix used even for this episode. I don't know why, but the differences in translations, packaging, and editing are endlessly fascinating to me! Capture from the Hulu stream.

I know that Sadao is the title character -- after all, he is the Part-Timer! -- but in terms of character development, neither Sadao nor any of the other characters can touch Emi! We've had hints of this all along, most especially in episode 2 where she felt compelled to spend the night in the "Devil's Castle." If the show had developed another character after that instead of Emi, I might well have been satisfied. After all, it's rare that we get a heart-wrenching existential crisis of that quality!

Turns out that was just the warm up. The appetizer. In this episode, like I said in my first favorite moment, we get to meet Emi when she was a little girl. She was happily bringing her dad a picnic lunch. The scene was idyllic, a perfect example of a family who loved each other. 

Until the church showed up to take Emi away and train her as a holy warrior of sorts. While she was gone, the Devil's armies -- Sadao's armies! -- attacked her village and apparently killed her father. It's no wonder that Emi's so confused when Sadao helps people. At the beginning of this episode, Sadao used his magical powers to protect humans from from debris -- and she justifiably asks if he can do all that, why'd have to kill her father? The anguish in her voice was heart-rending!

Emi reserved most of her expressions of hatred for Sadao. But I'm convinced she never forgot that the church took her away from her father -- and turned her into a killing machine. Capture from the Hulu stream.

This is a high quality comedy (or maybe an even higher quality drama masquerading as a comedy!), so that's not all. I think that if Emi only had to deal with a reformed Devil, she might have been able to handle it. Seeing how the church just showed up and tore her away from her data and witnessing her ennui during her combat training made me realize her feelings about the church are complicated. She had to balance what she'd been taught -- that the church would protect and guide them -- with her becoming an orphan. 

That can't be easy on her!

In this episode, during my third favorite moment, we got to see Emi deal with the loss of everything she'd ever believed in. Even her enemy was no long her enemy! Right was left and up was down; evil had become good. Yet she still clung her mission, though she had no idea what it even means anymore. 

Through her confrontation with Sadao, she tries to regain her equilibrium. She reaffirms that she'll never forgive him. I have to wonder, though, if her fury was really reserved for him? Was she talking as much to the church as to Sadao? We didn't get to find out, because Shirou and Chiho walked in and interrupted Sadao's apology. Still, I live for drama that pushes its characters beyond their breaking point so we can see who they really are. The more I learn about who Emi really is, the more I adore her character.

What did you think of this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts about This Series

4 thoughts on “Review of The Devil Is a Part-Timer Episode 4: The Hero’s Control Breaks and an Enemy Revealed

    1. I kinda envy you for being able to watch it for the first time! I’m really happy that I’m rewatching it for this review. If you do watch it, please do let me know what you think!

  1. I loved that moment between Emi and Sadao. What if the moment your entire life had been focused on, that had shaped your belief and gave you purpose didn’t happen they way you were told? Your whole world crumbles around you. Can you believe anything you’ve been told?

    I’m really going to have to rewatch this now!

    1. “What if the moment your entire life had been focused on, that had shaped your belief and gave you purpose didn’t happen they way you were told? Your whole world crumbles around you. Can you believe anything you’ve been told?”

      And a moment that powerful and dramatic is happening in a comedy!

      When I was trying to decide what older series to review this season. I was leaning toward Otome Yōkai Zakuro, but I wanted to get input from my readers so I setup a Twitter post. On a whim, I added The Devil is a Part-Timer, and it was the overwhelming favorite.

      I’m glad, too. It seems to get better each time I watch it!

Please let me know what you think!

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