B-List Bonanza: Shiro Ashiya
Alright, friends. We’ve covered a lot of ground since we started this journey into second-tier heroes, from lesser known members of the galaxy spanning Green Lantern Corps to the permanent gift that keeps on giving that Swampy left John Constantine to the librarians and smugglers of the far far away. We’ve even profiled loyal fire ferrets and long suffering cabbage merchants.
I think it’s time to really stretch and take on some personalities from non-Western comics, don’t you?
Good, glad you agree.
First up, Shiro Ashiya, AKA Alciel from the manga The Devil is a Part Timer! by Satoshi Wagahara (who also wrote the light novel series from which the manga is adapted) and artist Akio Hiiragi.
A Quick Synopsis: The Devil is on the verge of capturing the world of Ente Isla when the Hero Emilia arrives. Forced to flee from her army, the Devil and his most trusted general, Alciel, enter a portal that delivers them to modern day Tokyo. Drained of their power and facing a disturbing lack of magic in the modern world, the duo takes human forms and, adopting the names Sadao Maō and Shiro Ashiya, manage to rent a crappy apartment and find part time employment for Sadao at a fast food restaurant. Over time, more and more figures from their past show up to make things…complicated while Sadaō fights for his ultimate goal: to become a full timer. Shiro, who detests the vagaries of human life, has to cope not only with the drama wrought by old foes and irritating allies but the vagaries of a human budget being stretched ever thinner (he sees you online shopping, Lucifer, and he does not appreciate it).
Sadaō gets to bike to work. He gets to make nice with the ladies. He gets to convince his house husband to cough up a few extra dollars so he can buy a new shirt for a date knowing Alciel will ultimately say yes because Sadaō is, ultimately, his Lord and Master.
It’s Alciel who has to do logistics and bargain hunting and apologizing.
So who is this demon willing to give up his power and authority to sustain Satan in his time of need?
Well, in his true form Alciel looks a lot like a giant beetle a fancy uniform. With claws. And pointy ears. But he has white/blonde scruffy hair because manga/anime boys must have their manga/anime hair. In human form, Alciel looks…well, human; no carapace, no tail, no claws. Keeps the hair because…see above. He does wear a green apron when doing chores that’s the same color as his general’s cape.
Prior to being banished by Emilia, Alciel was Satan’s master strategist. He found humans more of an annoyance than anything else, so having to live as a human was a major blow to his pride but may also have taught him a little something about the worthiness of human lives—though he continued to lament the mundanity of their new day-to-day. With nowhere else to direct his energy, Alciel focused on keeping an immaculate house for his master while practicing the word “no” and using it with increasingly dramatic elocution while usually breaking down because his heart wants to give Sadaō the most luxurious life possible with their meagre income. Besides, the Devil cannot keep eating leftover fast food, imagine what it’s doing to his fragile human body. And now he has to contend with Lucifer? Lucifer, who’s never considered anyone else a day in his life?
How dare? Don’t they know that before joining Satan and becoming one of four Demon Generals, Alciel led the Iron Scorpions clan? That he retreated from the Hero Emilias forces during the war on Ente Isla only after the other three Demon Generals had been defeated? Is it any wonder that Emilia can tempt him with promises of financial reward? It’s only information, after all.
It’s not as though he’d ever betray His Majesty. Alciel is absolutely loyal to Satan. He even punishes himself when Sadaō refuses too. It is he who is doing the research on how to regain their powers, the only one the Demon King trusts to do so.
Though his powers are limited on Earth, Alciel can enhance them by absorbing negative emotions from the people around him. He emits a green aura when using demonic powers, which include: teleportation, energy manipulation (can form projectiles or mimic elements), telekinesis, magical recovery, and flight. He also has superhuman strength and resistance to injury when in demon form and is highly intelligent and organized.
I wish I could really capture the dynamic via description because it is just too fantastic. If you’re looking for a fun read that will last you for a while, The Devil is a Part Timer! and its 15 volumes is a perfect choice and hey, if manga isn’t for you but the concept sounds like something you want to check out, you can always grab the novels instead. Enjoy!