Saturday, September 22, 2012
Manga Review: Demon Love Spell Vol 1 by Mayu Shinjo
Title: Demon Love Spell Volume 1
Author: Mayu Shinjo
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: 12/04/2012
I've liked Shinjo's work in the past, although I'll admit that after a while some of her work just seemed to be a little bland, too much of a copy of Sensual Phrase. This was partially due to a publisher Shinjo had been working with, but for a while afterwards I just couldn't seem to get into the stuff she'd released even after she broke off with her old publisher. I'm officially digging her work with Demon Love Spell, though.
Miko has a lot of problems. She's the daughter of a prestigious family that's known for having an impressive ability to see and dispel demons, yet Miko herself lacks the power to even see the supernatural. So when she manages to bind the super sexy incubus Kagara, no one is more stunned than her, especially when she traps him in a chibified version of himself. The two soon discover that Miko does have power, but it only seems to manifest when she's touching him. With extremely powerful demons beginning to circle the now weakened Kagura, Miko must find a way to restore him to his true power as well as to find a way to confront her own increasingly complicated feelings towards him.
If you're wondering, the smut level in this actually isn't that bad when you consider how mature some of her other works are. It's relatively tame at this point in time, with sex being referred to and there being sexually charged moments but no actual depictions of sex to the degree that you see in some of her other works. This doesn't mean that this won't change as the relationship between our two main characters changes, so if you're someone who doesn't like seeing smut in your manga then I'd approach this with a degree of caution.
The story here is rather straight forward. It's your typical "boy meets girl, enter the supernatural creatures and romantic entanglements" stuff that you've come to expect from manga and Shinjo, but it's just so incredibly cute that you won't really mind that you've seen a lot of this before in various incarnations. The chibified version of Kagura is fairly cute and it's one of the first things that drew me into the volume so quickly. It hits a lot of my manga quirks pretty hard (chibi versions of things, romance, a little light smut, etc), and I have a feeling that this will do the same for a lot of other readers. My only true complaint is that this does seem to suffer from "first volume-itis" because there's one or two tedious parts where the action slows down so we can have some groundwork laid for future story lines and plot arcs. It doesn't ruin the overall fun of the volume, but it is slightly noticeable.
Now when it comes to the artwork, I'll warn you: it's your typical Shinjo. By this I mean that the artwork is well done and the guys are all suitably hunky bishies, but that they also all look like various incarnations of male characters from her other works. Shinjo's style is fairly distinctive and her habit of making the main romantic lead resemble the main romantic lead from other works still applies here. As the series pretty obviously makes a point to show that Miko will eventually end up with Kagura at some point, I can overlook this for the most part. I would like some variety, but I do love the way she draws her men.
I have to say that I'll undoubtedly collect this series and store it next to my Sensual Phrase books. It's fairly well done and I couldn't help but love the setup. It's fun, it's cute, but most of all, it's something that I want to read the next volume of.
4 out of 5 stars
(ARC provided through Edelweiss)