The Devil is a Part-Timer! volume 17 is essentially devoid of action. In exchange, prepare for a lot of puzzle pieces and characterization, both of which are much easier to grasp in this manga format versus the light novel.
I’ve enjoyed the original novels, but in the second half of the series, author Wagahara sometimes bogs down readers with a lot of its fantasy jargon and explanations. At this point of the story, mysteries still abound surrounding the Sephirah and the angels’ goal, but here, we can visually see characters on the precipice of discoveries, talking through clues like the panel on The Masked Singer. The best example of this is Ashiya guessing how long he’s been in Ente Isla and what day Maou would choose to come over. Acieth also manages to stop stuffing food down her throat long enough to share what she knows about her brothers and sisters and their ability to fuse with others.
She’s not the only one who talks about herself. Suzuno gets Maou to talk about his past and his future. What he says affirms her commitment to help him, and it doesn’t take a sharp-eyed reader to notice she’s crushing on him. Suzuno is often treated as Chiho’s sidekick in everyday life and Emi’s when holy firepower is needed with Maou, so if you’re a fan of the kimono-wearing church inquisitor, you’ll enjoy seeing her stand on her own two feet with her interactions with the Devil King.
One of the reasons though for minimal fighting is that almost everyone is restricted somehow. Maou can’t access his powers, and Emi and Ashiya are being manipulated. Their reluctance to fight back can be seen as a sign of their weakness — Emi most of all, since she finds herself close to or in tears even over demons she’s never met. But it’s also a testament to the bond the group shares. Maou/Suzuno also run into Albert, and so this group is still expanding and becoming even more connected.
Besides making the information easier to digest, Hiiragi’s adaptation also makes the comedic bits shine through. My favorite is seeing Suzuno and Acieth do their best caterpillar impressions thanks to their sleeping bags. It’s the one moment I wish we could have seen some action, as who doesn’t want to see a woman in sleeping bag wielding a weapon almost as big as her?
Anyway, volume 17 lays the groundwork for the actual rescue and beyond, and as long as you can live with the characters strategizing instead of swinging swords and fists, it may end up being one of your favorite volumes of The Devil is a Part-Timer!