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Hataraku Maou-sama

August 15, 2011

Done reading this in 5 days! Down by about 2 days from the last time! I’m on a roll! hahaha, damn I’m so bored that I fuss over the most trivial things.

First thing’s first, after all these years, I still can’t convince myself to an accurate English translation of ‘maou’ (魔王). Commonly it is alluded to something along the lines of ‘devil king’, ‘devil lord’, ‘demon king’, or ‘demon lord’. Sometimes it’s even translated to something extremely ridiculous like ‘magic leader’. What I felt ‘maou’ should be, floats somewhere between the former four common translations. To ease my explanation, I’ll split the words into a graph as follow:

 魔王
status
lord
king
‘species’
demon
devil

‘Devil’ translates to ‘akuma’ and the ‘ou'(king) of ‘akuma’s IS ‘maou’ so ‘devil king’ is technically correct. However, ‘devil’ have an Abrahamic overtone to it which is wholly absent in ‘maou’; ‘maou’ have no religious nuance. In this case, ‘demon’ is the next best thing but ‘demon’s on the other hand are like minions, it just somehow doesn’t really give justice to ‘maou’. As for ‘lord’, I totally forgot why I even put it in that chart by the time I completed the html for that table lol. Oh well, I’ll just refer to ‘maou’ as devil king in this post.

Devil king Satan, first class McRonalds employee

Like how the title and cover suggests, Hataraku Maou-sama is about a devil king living and working in modern day Tokyo. It’s a twist on the traditional RPG theme of hero vs devil king (yuusha vs maou); at the end of a long struggle between the humans and the demons as the hero Emilia defeats the devil king Satan, the injured Satan along with his only surviving aide Alsiel makes a desperate escape by diving through a dimensional gate, vowing to recuperate his strength and eventually return to conquer back the lands. As with formula, they arrive in modern city Tokyo through the gate which they have no control over its destination and find that they are quickly losing their powers and magic with the complete absence of magical energy (mana?) in this world that they ended up turning into humans themselves. Shocked at turning into humans (they hate and look down on humans) and also the cultural shock of being in a modern day city, Satan and Alsiel concluded that to fulfill their ultimate return to and recapturing their previous world, they first have to replenish their powers lest they aren’t even capable of reopening the gate back, as well as surviving in this new world through out the searching process. Hence the devil king Satan decides to work to earn a living for both of them while Alsiel does research on possible power source in this world while doing the house keeping of their rented apartment. Eventually, in pursuit of Satan, the hero Emilia also arrives in Tokyo. With the hero also experiencing a loss of power, she 0nly manages to maintain a small amount only enough to either open the gate home or kill Satan but not both, hence she’s stuck in a dilemma of whether to kill of Satan immediately and be stuck in this world or to go back to their world without killing Satan and risk having him returning to their world in the future. With a temporary truce (kind of) in place, things get interesting with them constantly bickering but couldn’t kill one another. That’s about how it goes. It’s quite an engrossing read; of all my recent lightnovels this was probably the first where I almost finish half a book in a single sitting. Of course, unlike a science fiction like Otousan to Issho, Hataraku Maou-sama is very much easier to read so that may have contributed to that somewhat.

……’devil king’ still sounds weird to me.

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