The start of a bigger adventure makes this a must-read volume of The Devil is a Part-Timer!.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! Volume 8Title: The Devil is a Part-Timer! (Hataraku Maou-sama!)
Genre: Comedy
Publisher: ASCII Media Works (JP), Yen On (US)
Writer: Sataoshi Wagahara
Character Designer: 029 (Oniku)
Serialized in: Dengeki Bunko Magazine
Translation: Kevin Gifford
Original Release Date: August 22, 2017
Review copy provided by Yen Press.

Each volume of The Devil is a Part-Timer! pretty much has followed the same pattern: the Devil King and/or the Hero continue on with their new lives, something weird starts to happen, then a confrontation with some type of forces from Ente Isla, and Maou and the gang reaffirm their uneasy truce.

Somewhat repetitive, but the story has been consistently entertaining with all the various enemies and allies showing up. Not to mention the hilariousness of Maou’s enthusiastic work ethic at MgRonald’s or the adorableness of Alas Ramus.

Somewhat repetitive… until now.

“Surprise!” seems to be the theme of this volume. Emi decides she wants to check on things in Ente Isla, and everyone is thrown off a bit when — surprise! — she breaks her promise and doesn’t return. Has she gotten herself into trouble (something that seems impossible considering her power), or is it as simple as as Gate problem?

As the days go by, Chiho and Suzuno are outright shaken, but the crew at Devil’s Castle try to play it cool. But even as their words suggest indifference, their actions show otherwise. I love the subtlety of how Ashiya spends his free time doing research, and Maou fails his test to get a motor scooter license. Later, when Suzuno summons help, Lucifer immediately leaps into action. Without everyone acting all goody-goody or buddy-buddy, the group has developed a connection deeper than just frenemies.

But Emi’s disappearance is not the only shock in the story. On his way to a retest, Maou meets a strange father-daughter pair. If you guessed they have a connection to Ente Isla, you win! Unfortunately, neither “Hiroshi” nor “Tsubasa” know anything about Emi’s disappearance, but at least one of them has a connection to Emi herself.

Meanwhile, Emi’s friend Rika comes to Devil’s Castle to find out where Emi’s at. Suzuno and the devils get only more curious when they learn Rika had spoken to Emi after she vanished, but Rika gets her own bombshell when she sees two people fly out the window. Surprise, surprise!

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Devil is a Part-Timer! without some kind of battle. With everyone spread out and only a few members battle-ready, it’s Chiho who tries to stall the Malebranche’s destruction. But its appearance involves more than just someone who stumbled across the gate. It takes someone’s unexpected return to help turn the tide, but even when the dust settles, Maou’s crew can hardly claim victory.

The previous volumes felt like a complete episode, like a full movie in a series. Volume 8, however, feels more like a Part I. It isn’t until the end that we learn Emi’s situation, and the author does a good job at keeping readers guessing whether Emi is on a mission, captured, or just late.

If there was any disappointment to this volume, it was the illustrations. When Ashiya and Rika are talking, we don’t get to see Rika’s face full of her mixed emotions. Maou’s arrival on the scene is done in a way where we don’t get to see him in his full glory, and there isn’t a single image of any of the antagonists.

I think I would have liked some different angles instead of so many close-ups, but it’s not a huge issue. The poster insert this time is focused on the three job teams (MgRonald, Dokodemo, and stay-at-homes) with Emi/Chiho on the reverse. It isn’t my favorite either, but I think it’s because of the focus on reds and yellows, colors I’m not a huge fan of.

Regardless, though, the start of a bigger adventure makes this a must-read volume of The Devil is a Part-Timer!. It shakes up the typical storyline while still showcasing what makes this series so great.