Ashiya is unquestionably devilish in the most literal sense of the word, but this episode we see that he can be that way in the figurative sense, too, and even without trying. Seems like Maou is not the only devil who is getting a human woman to crush on him.
And really, it’s not at all hard to understand why Rika is palpitating over Ashiya. He’s tall and handsome and has been proper and courteous – the perfect gentleman, in fact – in all of his encounters with Rika, even when Rika was being somewhat aggressive. Even Maou, who failed to notice for a long time that Chiho was crushing on him, is picking up on it. And while Suzuno has a point both about Maou’s indelicacy in asking Rika about it and keeping Rika out of their affairs, Maou has an equally good point about taking Rika into the loop: if Rika cannot handle the reveal, she is, indeed, best staying away, but if she can, then what’s the harm?
Of course, we’re talking about a scenario where the Hero is seeking out Yesod fragments, her angelic mother is (literally!) sneaking around behind her back, and another apparent angel with an Afro is up to no good, so things are not going to remain too casual for long. TVs are exploding and Chiho is in the hospital, and it all appears to be related to the angel Raguel*’s hunt for Lailah. (What the anime leaves out here from the novel is that phone service is also seeing disruptions around Tokyo, which kept Emi and Rika jammed with calls when they were at work.) As before, the series shows that, however emotionally insensitive Maou may be, he’s not all brawn, either, as he quickly pieces together what Raguel is doing and where he’s probably doing it from once he has the full picture. The little details here, like Suzuno working formulas concerning the application of celestial force, are also neat touches that have long been a franchise standard.
In general, this feels like the stereotypical episode for this franchise, and in this case, I mean that in the best sense. It has a good mix of the mundane and supernatural, lots of amusing little quirks, a playful tone that can become serious when needed, and the whole crew preparing to take action with the backing of one of the series’ staple dramatic themes. Watching how the season finishes out next episode – and what the deal is with the Yesod fragment ring Lailah puts on Chiho – should be fun.
* – In Judaic traditions, Raguel is the Angel of Justice, the one charged with essentially being the sheriff for fallen angels and demons, so this episode’s interpretation is largely following established religious lore