Shows have always defined eras in my life. It’s no coincidence that I latched on to Welcome to the NHK after I got my master’s degree, only to become underemployed and move back in with my parents. Sweet, sentimental slice of life Honey and Clover defined the first few year I dated John, when we were both still in college. The Devil is a Part-Timer, which aired this spring, was the background music to my transition from no time to part time to full time.
Fittingly, The Devil is a Part-Timer is an anime that some reviewers have guessed was designed to get hikikomori revved up for the simple pleasures of minimum wage earning—living on your own, getting a promotion when you’re barely making ends meet, splurging on a beloved bicycle. After all, the Devil loves this lifestyle, and he’s the supreme master of Hell!
I quit my job in December 2012 and I spent a few weeks laying low, feeling drained. But after a month or two, it was my bank account that was feeling drained. I had to get to work, but I had lost confidence. I was rusty at reporting. My ebooks didn’t sell. My blog had barely 100 readers.
I had been slowly taking on new work since February, and at first it crushed my ego to realize that I spent 75 percent of my time pitching places, and only 25 percent getting accepted and writing articles. It felt like I was working very hard for little payoff.
But by the time I’d gotten halfway into The Devil Is A Part-Timer, my life looked very different. I was working full time again by juggling two part time jobs, and I had more offers for freelance work than I was able to accept. Work no longer felt like a means to an end. Like the Devil, I saw the satisfaction of completing a task and feeling like I did my best on it. I also realized the ability to work the way I do, making my own hours, choosing my own assignments, is a privilege. I felt grateful to have work, instead of begrudged.
I didn’t find the ending of The Devil Is A Part-Timer satisfying at all. It got too caught up in the weeds instead of focusing on the major plot. But by then, between planning for my wedding and working my new jobs, I hardly had time to watch it anyway.
This post is the first installment of The Twelve Days Of Anime, a blogging series in which anime fans write about shows that inspired or impressed on them this year.