One of the most prevalent issues with a lot of Light Novel adaptations is that a lot of the more interesting developments occur well beyond the usual 3 volume adaptation count. The first volume always begins the usual way, the second volume introduces another principle member of the cast, and the third volume might actually start getting interesting.
Hataraku Maou-Sama returns to the animated world after 9 long years since its first season and its announcement definitely came as a surprise. Almost as surprising as Rurouni Kenshin’s new animated project announcements, although that one has some actual prestige to it like the newer Shaman King adaptations. What I’m trying to say is that nobody expected a continuation almost a decade later.
But my intro should have clued everyone in that while Hataraku Maou-sama obtained a coveted second season well past the need to advertise its concluded source material, it didn’t necessarily deliver all that much in my opinion. This isn’t entirely a bad thing though.
Hataraku Maou-Sama’s first season ended off on a pleasant enough note. Personally, I found that the very first arc with the confrontation against Olba and Lucifer to be the most interesting but the following arc involving the angels was rather lackluster. The supernatural confrontations and the storyline continuing from Ente Isla was interesting but was not the highlight of the series. It was the contrasting view of those superpowered figures being forced to live the mundane that I felt most entertained by. The second season covered 3-4 arcs between Alas Ramus, the beachside shack, the farm, and another arc with the angels. Half of the season was focused on Alas Ramus, Emi, and the Angels while the other half actually made some focus on what remained of Maou’s empire back home. While an interesting perspective to consider, it seemed that the a lot of the “atrocities” that Maou committed were given a lot more justification, or at the very least, gives insight to his character to not be so black and white being the literal incarnation of evil.
Alas Ramus was a pretty good excuse into forcing Emi and Maou to interact more but the circumstances surrounding her, at least from the Angels, weren’t all that interesting, which makes for a funny parallel to season 1 where the events preceding all the angel politics were more entertaining too. Once again, the mundane struggles of every day life were the standout scenes in this regard. However, between both of these elements that give the series its identity, I found that none of the arcs were as interesting as Season 1’s Lucifer arc. Certainly learning more about the demon side of things and then the increasing mystery about Emi’s family were developing stuff along but it just wasn’t “great” or at the least, warranted 12 more episodes to a 9 year old adaptation. I said at the beginning how a light novel series’ adaptation barely manages to break into the real meat of a series but Hataraku Maou-sama’s season 2 doesn’t really deliver any new juicy bits of content that I felt most series at this point get into.
Maybe it’s just because of the disconnect of 9 whole years but you know what, I don’t think I can fault the series too much here. Not every series needs to be bombastic, especially when half of the series is centered around that particular mundane comedy. Series like this love to escalate things but in the position the series is in, where the biggest “conflict” you could have at the end be Emi and Maou actually settling their previous grudge conclusively, I think this type of progression is fine. People looking for that escalation will be disappointed but I got more of what I enjoyed from the first. At first I was initially wary of what a character like Alas Ramus would bring to the table and while the angel plotlines weren’t the most engaging, she did a lot less damage to the dynamic that I found her inclusion to be a positive overall. The overall lessening of severity on what Maou’s stance as demon lord was irked me to a slight degree as connecting more back to Ente Isla just made me question what will be the inevitable tipping point to hypothetically go back if they ever even plan on doing such a thing.
What that element will end up being will certainly not be animated as I don’t think the general populace will be as forgiving as I am to the second season. I do have access to the light novels so I wouldn’t mind knowing what happens at the end, aside from a certain someone “winning” Maou’s heart, I’m more curious what occurs to everybody else.