The Devil is a Part Timer Volume 1 Light Novel Review

The Devil is a Part Timer is one of those rare comedy anime I fell in love with. It was even my very first series review on this blog. So now I’ve tried the light novel. What did I think?

Review:

I’m wondering how I would have taken to this book if I’d never seen the anime. Mostly because, I really didn’t enjoy reading it very much. The few moments of genuine enjoyment I found came when I was remembering how a scene was portrayed in the anime, rather than the words on the page. And given the length of time it took me to finish this as I regularly would stop reading to do literally anything else, kind of indicated I wasn’t getting into it.

Part of that definitely comes from my personal distaste of comedy. While the anime managed to pull off the absurdity of the situation the characters were in the book feels like it is playing it more straight and the whole thing doesn’t quite connect. The other issue being, that when I think of this series in book form, I was expecting something more along the lines of Douglas Adam or at least Pratchett in terms of sardonic tone to the narration and that was utterly missing. As was any tone really.

That isn’t actually an exaggeration. There is literally no personality in the writing here. The dialogue that the characters are given, has personality. The narration does not. Or rather it does but it hasn’t quite committed to the absurdity of the situation and the end result is something quite flat.

For what it is worth, the plot works really well. If you’ve seen the anime, you know it, though you will get a few more details about Emi and some of the politics behind things, but essentially the Demon King lost to the Hero and fled through a gate ending up on earth where there is no magic. As a result, he resorts to working at a fast food restaurant while he waits to reclaim his power, but in the meantime he’s determined to work his way up the management chain to take over the world in the most ordinary of manners. All that would be fine except the hero followed him as well and she wants to make sure he never returns back to their world but she also can’t bring herself to kill him when he’s defenceless.

Devil1b

This plot works well and when both the Hero and Devil King are attacked, the threat plays out really well as does the reluctant teaming up of the two enemies who now have learned to see each other in a different context.

Basically, the plot and the ideas behind it are solid enough if a little undeveloped.

The support cast aren’t used overly well and Chiho tragically gets thrown into the role of love-sick teen followed by damsel in distress with few traits in her favour. While it is all well and good to have her character there, the fact that both Maou and Emi end up protecting her and liking her in their own ways kind of feels like her character should have a bit more going for her than being sweet. And yet, nothing. She doesn’t do or say one interesting thing in the story and exists purely as a plot point. And Alciel is even more ridiculously useless in the novel than he was in the anime and I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.

This is one of those rare cases where for me the adaptation was much better. The comedy worked for me in a visual form with music and the character voices driving the dialogue. As a text, I just didn’t feel it and the story, while it works, isn’t interesting enough without the comedic edge to push it into the realm of memorable.

Lots of people seem to like this one as a light novel, but for me its another pass and I won’t be going on any further with this series.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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15 thoughts on “The Devil is a Part Timer Volume 1 Light Novel Review

  1. Comedy is most definitely a visual art form for me. Also, I totally know that feeling of going to read the first volume of a series that you’ve already seen—you spend the whole time remembering how the anime did it rather than enjoying the experience of reading it. As much as I loved the anime, I’m not sure if there’s enough of a push for me to start the novels (partially because I’m still praying for a sequel, oh the wait it’ll be)!

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  2. I’ll admit I’m mostly just reading the light novels to see where the plot is going at this point, but my interest is waning more and more. Volumes 9 and 10 got a little better since Maou and co head over to Ente Isla and volumes 9 has Maou’s confession to Suzuno which was interesting to read. Also Suzuno has become one of my favourite characters thanks to her development in the books. I still enjoy the anime more though.

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    1. I only started reading light novels at all because I wanted to find out what happened in Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash but I enjoyed the so much I’m now trying a whole range of titles just to see. Some have worked well, some haven’t. This one was a bit of a let down because I did really want to know what happened next in the story but having read this first volume I’m not curious enough to read further.

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  3. I’ve been hoping that the series would get a second season, as the story really goes into all about the different races of Ente Isla and the conflict between everyone.

    If you didn’t care for the light novel, try the manga. It does a pretty good job of skipping over the unimportant bits and covering the main story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is nice to see someone in our world for a change rather than the other way around and Maou was always an entertaining character in that he had a code of behaviour even while he plotted to take over the world. It was an interesting dynamic.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember really enjoying the anime and as far as I know, it’s literally the most requested thing from the author. Whether or not White Fox is going to do it, is another question. I think stuff like Re:Zero is much more profitable for them.

    I’m actually rather surprised about the source material here, it looks a little… lifeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thinking I’m really not the audience for it and I did have fairly high expectations that it just didn’t meet. But yeah, this one didn’t really work for me and while I’d still love a second season of the anime, I’m not interested in reading any more of this story.

      Liked by 1 person

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