Monday, December 03, 2007


Today, a review of a translated manga that's notable only for the thoroughness of its mediocrity: My Dearest Devil Princess, story by Makoto Matsumoto, art by Maika Netsu. The premise of My Dearest Devil Princess has some promise: it's a "magical guest" manga but with the twist that the magical guest, Maki, is a demon who will take the soul of the protagonist Keita once she has granted him three wishes. Fortunately for Keita but unfortunately for the reader, Maki turns out to be sweet, gentle and naive, exactly like the heroine of every other magical guest manga. There's a bit of originality in the character of Sheeta, an angel given to throwing her weight around who aims to "save" Keita by killing him before Maki can take his soul. But everything else about this volume is drearily familiar. And anyway, the whole thing is little more than a thinly disguised vehicle for fanservice, as Keita takes a shower, fails to grasp the necessity of wearing clothes, etc. (Her naughty bits are always covered by strands of hair, wisps of steam, and the like, so don't get your hopes up.) The art itself is generic.

It's manga like this that give the anti-manga bunch some credibility. Moreover, they're beginning to make me question whether mainstream manga is really so much more diverse than mainstream American comics. Unquestionably, manga is far more diverse than mainstream American comics -- i.e. superhero comics -- in genre and subject matter. My impression, though, is that contemporary superhero comics are less likely to copy other series as blatantly as My Dearest Devil Princess -- and many other manga -- do. (This impression comes solely from reading reviews of contemporary superhero comics, rather than the comics themselves, so I could be mistaken. And of course it's far from being true historically.)

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