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December 31, 2012

Bento Bako Weekly: Demon Love Spell volume 1

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Demon Love Spell
Author: Mayu Shinjo (Ai Ore! Love Me)
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 1 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2008 by Shueisha, December 2012 by Viz Media
Genre: Romantic comedy, supernatural

Miko is a shrine maiden who can’t see or detect spirits. So when one of her classmates comes to her joking that her boyfriend must be possessed by a demon because of his cheating habits, Miko rushes off to solve the problem. As she can see the boy, Kagura, she believes him to be possessed by an incubus, and attempts to banish it by chanting a random spell. Rather than banish the demon, she ends up shrinking Kagura, who is an actual incubus. His size diminished and his powers bound, Kagura must stick by Miko until she can remember the spell she cast in order to be able to reverse it and return him to normal. That also means he has to protect her from the onslaught of demons who have heard about his weakened state and want to devour both him and the priestess who was strong enough to bind him. Fortunately for Miko, all she has to do is maintain physical contact with Kagura to be able to see and sense demons, allowing her to banish the stronger demons while Kagura takes care of the riff-raff. Including fellow incubus Katori. Of course, as an incubus, Kagura replenishes his powers through the warmth and physical contact of human females. In his bound state, this makes things difficult, so he must renew his power through Miko. A kiss works, but more…intimate things work better. Miko, however, isn’t exactly down with suddenly sleeping around with an incubus, nor does she want to permit Kagura to run around breaking more hearts, so Kagura gets his fix another way. He goes into her dreams at night and seduces her subconscious. When she wakes up in the morning, Miko doesn’t remember anything from her dreams, but the feelings the connection produces do seem to bleed over into her waking consciousness as she starts to fall for the demon. Demon after demon comes after them, but the pair always manages to defeat them. Until, on a class trip, Miko runs into one of the most powerful demons around – a yamata-no-orochi – and she left Kagura back at home. Knowing that the shrine areas the class will be visiting are prime gathering spots for demons, Kagura followed her anyway, and is there to save the day once again. Except the yamata-no-orochi isn’t quite what it appears…and Kagura may have some sudden competition for Miko’s affections.

Anyone who has read my reviews of Ai Ore! knows that I am not a fan of Mayu Shinjo’s works. So, of course, I came into this one biased against her, just keep that in mind. On the other hand, that also meant I was prepared for the ridiculous sexuality that permeates everything. Ridiculous doesn’t just mean that there’s a lot of it (which there is), but also that it’s unrealistic and a bit irritating. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Miko is under Kagura’s spell. But I do know better, and for this sort of story, that isn’t likely. Even if it were, even if she started out that way, it wouldn’t end that way. The problem is there’s no development. They just…fall for each other for no┬ádiscernible┬áreason. A girl who has been trained to exorcise demons, and a demon who manipulates women’s feelings to retain his power. Yup, that makes total sense. Actually, it would, if the development played out, but it doesn’t. There likely will be some later, but why the need to have them fawning all over each other so quickly? Unless the series is intended to be quite short (but there’s at least five volumes so far). I don’t mind love-at-first-sight themes, I really don’t, but that’s not what this is, either. It’s sudden and relatively unexplained. Unless you count Kagura seducing and sleeping with Miko in her dreams as development. Which is a whole other issue itself. He can’t get her to do certain things while she’s alert and awake, so he waits until she’s asleep, slips into her dreams, and seduces her subconscious. Or something. Because apparently even though she says one thing while she’s awake, she really doesn’t mean it. Now here’s the thing – she doesn’t remember. They have sex in her dreams and she doesn’t remember. That’s one problem. The other is that Kagura, fully aware that humans don’t remember such interactions within their subconscious, gets irritated that she doesn’t remember…even though she’s not supposed to. And when he finally does tell her what he’s been doing, the only thing she’s upset about is that she can’t remember “falling in love” with him because everything happens in her dream. This is what Viz chooses to publish instead of better titles languishing in the land of “will this title I would pay good money for ever be licensed.” I give up.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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