(This post covers the OVA and the gist of the first episode of the TV remake, but the latter is fairly similar, except Rinko holds Azazel’s contract at the end of the episode)
Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san is the oddest of beasts, a slapstick comedy using that oh-so-common subject matter, demonology. Akutabe is a disreputable gumshoe running a small agency in rather rough office block, but his clients have no idea how REALLY disreputable he is. The man is actually a fairly skilled demonologist, and most of his cases are solved with the aid of demons that he summons and binds to service in a circle. The show’s nominal protagonist is either Rinko (his space cadet apprentice and general audience surrogate) or the eponymous character himself, Azazel the lust demon. The latter is either dishing out the jokey sexual harassment to Rinko, who holds his contract at the end of the first TV episode, or more often, the subject of merciless (or in the case of Rino, unthinking) abuse from his summoners.
Amazingly, all this actually works. Most of the comedy stems from the fact that Akutabe, mindful that the damage a loose/berserk demon can do is proportional to the power of its earthly shell, intentionally forces his summonings into ridiculously chibi-ized forms and sets them to do insultingly menial tasks, like cleaning up the office and such. Most of the comedy is of the physical kind, with Azazel constantly doing demonic faces before realizing his predicament and reverting to a chibized sadness, which never gets old. The master and apprentice are two sides of the same coin, one dishing out the pain because of malice while Rinko crushes the spirit of Azazel by treating him as an ambulatory hug toy. Most of the episodes thus progresses by Azazel screwing up the company cases and suffering the consequences as a result.
Assuming this show lasts the distance, it’s actually a very refreshing comedy take using crude humour and much better than the otaku-pandering 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku this season. Azazel is a character that you can’t hate despite his venal nature, and he’s pretty much Kon (from Bleach) on steroids. There is also a bunch of demons appearing in the series corresponding to the seven sins, and they look similarly offbeat/demented. In fact, the OVA introduces Moloch, a tyranny demon that is skeptical of Azazel’s complaints of his tribulations at Akutabe’s hands. This leads to hilarity once Moloch is accidentally summoned by Rinko and finds out what Azazel’s servitude “upstairs” REALLY means, and it’s doubly amusing because we’re allowed to see their true forms in the underworld itself and its dismal nature. I’m looking forward to more from this show, not least because the industry needs more comedy that doesn’t default to fellating the otaku demographic.