Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Devil Does Exist, v. 1

By Takanashi Mitsuba
Released in the U.S. by CMX

Slugline: A girl chooses between two guys and makes her intentions clear to them?!? Is this even a manga?

Kayano is about to admit her feelings to Yuichi in the standard shoujo form of a letter when the school bully, Takeru, intercepts said message before delivery. Takeru is untouchable in the school because his father is the principal. (Which makes me wonder about Japanese schools: is there any particular reason a school principal would need Men In Black?) Unfortunately, Takeru's father and Kayano's mother are dating and have become engaged, which will make them siblings. Start the hapless confusion music here, as the standard romantic triangle follies begin. But Kayano admits to herself that while they may be fun to read about in manga, they suck when you are living through them and she makes a decision and starts implementing it by the end of the first volume.

Yes, the girl makes a solid decision. Like I said, is this even a manga? I'm glad they skipped the endless vacillations that are often the whole point of shoujo and make the girls seem weak-willed and the guys like saps for putting up for it. And then making decisions that cause just as much tension, if not more, than not. Now we get to see what the characters are really made of, how driven they really are, when what drives them is not some genetic imperative (like how some girls in manga are always perky no matter how depressing the situation) or constant indecision. There are some interesting little artistic devices, but the author is trying something interesting here, which bumps this above most other shoujo in my opinion.

The Devil Does Exist vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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