Hataraku Maou-sama! is the best anime of 2013, as of now.
I, like many others, am a fan of Third Rock from the Sun, where aliens come to Earth and experience culture shock due to the strange customs and laws humans observe. Every episode stars our extraterrestrials entering conflict with another facet of humanity; whereby most of us would answer with common sense, they ascertain their status as higher life forms by tackling the issue with logic and generally end up in hilarious unfavorable situations. During the first episode of Hataraku Maou-sama!, I thought this was the direction the anime was headed towards. I was wrong.
One reason this show stands out from so many others is that the lead character, Sadao Maou (aka Demon Lord Satan), is a member of the lower working class. He may have been a big wig in the world of magic, but here in ours, he is just another powerless human without a high school diploma. The moments I derive the most delight from this show is when nothing is happening. Imagine, a great and powerful demon lord, donning a MgRonald’s uniform to take our order of burgers and fries! The sheer dichotomy between the parallel worlds is enough to make me laugh.
By this point the show was already adequate, but the real clincher came a few weeks later while I was cleaning my house. I stumbled upon an old D10 die from my pen and paper roleplaying days and then Hataraku Maou-sama! became instant gold. Think about it: Let us suppose the fantasy backdrop that serves as the prop for this series isn’t real. Outside of the main characters, no one in the anime knows about the existence of the other world Ente Isla. The conflict and war from that universe has no influence on our own. For the most part, whenever something supernatural does occur in the show, the memories are either erased or the event is adapted into something familiar or plausible. Imagine how many natural disasters on the news we take with a grain of salt. This anime could be happening in our own backyard and we would never be the wiser. Since nobody remembers at all, it would be logical to conclude nothing happened. In which case, the fact that these characters are still living out their fantasy roles while continuing their dull daily duties as working-class citizens can only mean one thing: Everyone in this show is a LARPER!
Live Action Role Playing, usually shorthanded to LARPing, has a negative connotation associated with it. Easily because it’s the single most disturbing thing I’ve ever witnessed. I don’t believe it has anything to do with the action itself necessarily, but the fact some choice individuals take the game too far; usually incorporating elements of their fictional character into their real biography. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It doesn’t matter, he’s still an idiot. Essentially, I am watching a show about average every day people acting out fantasies in their free time. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, they actually believe in it. To me, this idealization makes this show a far greater than what the producers intended. For the first time I think I understand why people love to watch crap like Jackass, or America’s Funniest Home Video. It is FUN to laugh at other people make fools of themselves.
The show itself is still good, even if you don’t agree with my outlook. Sadao Maou proves himself time and again to be a hard working employee who cares for others and has a full grasp on responsibility. Perhaps leadership isn’t strictly inherited through genetics, but rather earned by gaining the respect of your peers… Oh, who am I kidding? You need to be born a badass to be a badass.
It’s hard to tell from these pictures where the fantasy falls in, because there isn’t any. So here’s to high school girls and breasts!