This is more than just a review: it’s a Review Plus! There’ll be a review, and at the end I’ll throw in a short extra takeaway for Christians to think about.
Title: I Was a Bottom-Tier Bureaucrat for 1,500 Years, and the Demon King Made Me a Minister
Author: Kisetsu Morita
Translators: Jasmine Bernhardt and Sarah Neufeld
Review copy provided by English publisher: Yen Press
Public Service x 1,500 Years + Pecora’s Magic = Minister of Agriculture
A DEVIL’S WORK IS NEVER DONE!
Beelzebub is a demon of many roles—minister of agriculture, Azusa’s “big sister and the demon king’s closest confidant. Before her illustrious rise to power, though, she was just a low-ranking pencil pusher in the government with no ambitions, no dreams, and no adventure in her life. Then, on a whim of the newly coronated demon king, she received the biggest and most terrifying promotion imaginable! How will Beelzebub handle the sudden responsibilities of the entire Ministry of Agriculture?! Originally published as short stories in the hugely popular I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, the spin-off is back with brand-new illustrations and additional tales from the demon lands!
While I am definitely a fan of the I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level light novels, I was not quite sure if a spin-off featuring the demon minister Beelzebub would be of much interest to me. However, after reading it, I realized that this spin-off is actually an interesting complement to the original novel series. The story content itself is a bunch of comedic slice-of-life episodic stories just like the base series, so if you are already a fan of the Killing Slimes series, this one is easy enough to jump into (you only need to read up through volume 2 to be familiar enough with the characters within), but at the same time there is nothing in particular to recommend it to those who are not fans of the series.
That said, behind its slice-of-life stories, Killing Slimes has an undercurrent of how work affects our lives, whether it brings us joy or pain. Main series protagonist Azusa, in her past life, had died from overwork at an unsatisfying office job, and after realizing how she had literally gave her life for something meaningless, tries to live her new life in finding meaningful work while not overexerting herself. As for Beelzebub’s story, she was working in the same sort of office job that Azusa had in her previous life; however, Beelzebub had instead tried to coast by doing the minimum work possible to stay at the bottom ranks, thinking that promotions came with too much hassle for her life. Unfortunately for her, after a millenium and a half of doing this, the Demon King Pecora had noticed and promoted her straight to one of the most important positions in the country…
If Azusa’s story is about finding work that is personally meaningful while balancing work and rest, then Beelzebub’s story is about finding meaning in work you might not have chosen for yourself, and putting in effort rather than just trying to do the bare minimum. In this way, this spin-off is actually quite a nice companion work to the main series. Comparing and contrasting their lives helps paint a nice bigger picture of how work fits into our lives. It really helps highlight why I like the Killing Slimes series so much: it’s a slice-of-life fantasy that connects that fantasy with the reality of our worldly lives.
Plus: More About God’s Plan?
It is definitely interesting to be reviewing this right after reviewing Banished From the Hero’s Party, since Bottom-Tier Bureaucrat also happens to feature a character having to deal with their life path being decided for them by a higher power, in this case, the Demon King Pecora. The irony here is even greater since our demon lord here actually has more of a “relationship” with Beelzebub than the “god” of Banished has with its people: Pecora wants Beelzebub to be her “elder sister,” treating her more like a friend than a subordinate. While her whims do give Beelzebub some headaches, it is easy to see that the closer relationship the two have helps Beelzebub feel better about accepting her new position. From there, Beelzebub takes her job seriously, taking down corrupt officials and also doing things like renovating the cafeteria to improve working conditions.
As for our own lives, God will sometimes put us in places that are not particularly glamorous. One might end up in an office job or doing menial labor, and as plain as that sounds, there may very well be purpose behind why God wants us there. (At the very least, there are other people working at those jobs that God wants to reach.) Beelzebub’s story reminds us that we can do good wherever we might find ourselves. That does not mean we have to stay in whatever job we find ourselves in; we might be like Azusa and have to seriously consider if work is doing us more harm than good. At the same time, trying to just do the bare minimum to get by at work is not what we are called to do, either; after all, when we are called to do everything in the name of the Lord, skating by and avoiding responsibility is not a good look. And do not be surprised if God decides to give you more responsibility than you signed up for!