Title: I was a Bottom-Tier Bureaucrat for 1500 Years Vol. 1
Author: Kisetsu Morita
Release Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level series since it first came west. However, in its most recent manga Volume, I found plenty of reasons to enjoy its comedic tone and lovable cast. One character who doesn’t get nearly as much screentime as she should is is the demon minister Beelzebub. I Was a Bottom-Tier Bureaucrat for 1,500 Years, and the Demon King Made Me a Minister Vol. 1 explores this character’s roots and gives us an insight into her beginnings. However, it doesn’t play off re-used jokes or themes from the series, effectively making it a true spin-off.
I Was a Bottom-Tier Bureaucrat for 1,500 Years, and the Demon King Made Me a Minister Vol. 1 introduces Beelzebub, who has just turned down another promotion because she loves being an employee with very little responsibility. She’s happy with her life and her actions and doesn’t really want anything to change.
However, after 1,500, the Demon King has announced her new minister’s and Beelzebub has just been named the first Minister of Agriculture. This is not something she ever thought would happen, and while her initial reaction was to get out of it, she decided to conquer her new responsibilities and create a persona that fits her new job.
There’s plenty of comedic moments of Beelzebub trying to find her place in this new noble role, but it’s toned down when compared to the series. The writers are clearly trying to tell a story here, so for most of the chapters, we are only following Beelzebub’s growth in her role and the changes that she makes to show that the Demon King made the right decision.
Much of the Volume occurs within the Demon Kingdom and only features a few characters from the series. I appreciated this approach to establish Beelzebub as a lead, but I think the pacing went much too quickly into her switch to a minister. I would have liked to see more of her at her previous job since I felt like her coworkers were interesting enough to act as supporting characters.
This is a missed opportunity given that I know Beelzebub as the Demon King’s confidant already and I would have much like to see who she was before that role. She makes huge changes to her appearance, clothing, and personality, but that didn’t hit too hard because I didn’t completely understand who she was before. The story also introduces her parents, who she is ashamed of because of their country accents, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Beelzebub speak like they were and be more open about her past.
Still, Beelzebub shows initiative at her new job, and those scenes are actually fascinating. They borderline on comedic story beats, but there’s a layer of seriousness to her antics. The illustrations brilliantly show off facial expressions in some of the best ways and I was happy to see that the spin-off nature of this new series didn’t come at the expense of rushed illustrations.
I Was a Bottom-Tier Bureaucrat for 1,500 Years, and the Demon King Made Me a Minister Vol. 1 could have paid off to go a little slower in its opening chapters. Still, I’m here for more Beelzebub, and that’s what I got. This story doesn’t try to bank off of the popularity of the main series. It takes steps to establish these characters without the more notable characters, which shows Morita-san believes Beelzebub can carry the narrative as much as we do.
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