Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom, vol. 1

Story and Art by Kazunari Kakei
Released in the US by Viz Shonen Jump Advanced

Slugline: Death Note lite

Nora is a demon of an underworld army that is dedicated in maintaining control over demons and making sure that they do not bother the world of mortals. Unfortunately he has an attitude problem and so the demon general Dark Liege sends Nora to be bound to a human to teach him humility. Bad for Nora, good for Kazuma Nagari, a bored student president who is also a genius that has been given the mystical 'leash' for Nora and decides that he is going to teach his demon some manners. That is going to be an interesting challenge because Nora's natural form when he is not sealed into a human one is Cerberus, the giant hound better known as the guardian of the very gates of hell. But Nora is not very bright or very respectful of humans, leaving Kazumi to show Nora how smart but weak humans can defeat rogue demons and the demon Resistance.

This series is not anywhere as harsh as Death Note was, but Kazuma shows some of Light's casual cruelty and being too smart and controlled for his own good. Still it is nice to see any character in a manga reacting intellectually rather than emotionally. While to a certain extent these sort of plots rely on not having anything random happening to prevent the intellectual character's plan from going off without a hitch, the way Kazumi handles himself helps keep the story on this side of believable rather than moving into ludicrous territory. There is also the genre aspect of waiting until the last moment to unveil the character's power (in this case Nora) and trashing the opponent. Having Kazumi holding onto the keys of Nora's power and having his own agenda beyond just defeating the bad guys gives a rationale for that genre staple and makes it more interesting. It gives a solid reason for Nora to become more reliant on Kazumi and more sympathetic to humanity in general, even as it begins to cost Kazumi to do so. This all gives the manga an interesting and different spin from others than follow the same basic formula.

For those that are curious, here are our reviews for Death Note 1-6 and 7-10.

Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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