I did a huge series write-up for Bride of Deimos for the Manga Recon this weekend, and I would be tickled if you read it. It’s a great series, and the reviews I wrote for it here don’t do it any justice.
I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was re-reading all my volumes of this series, and it got me really fired up about it again. I like horror manga, and I like 70s shoujo manga, and this is both. Bonus points for involving demonic themes, which I have a hard time resisting (see also: D. Gray-Man, Nora). Deimos, the main character/antagonist, is also hard to dislike. It’s sort of an unknown series in English, I think, and it’s worth checking out since the volumes can be had so cheaply.
So, yes, the end. The series recently started running in Mystery Bonita again, but when it ended the first time, the only way people knew was because there was a note in the last bunko edition that said it was the end. This tells you the plot never moves forward, EVER. Also, the mythology used makes my head hurt. I assume we’re using the Roman system since we’re talking about Jupiter and Venus. Deimos is a Greek God though, his Roman name would apparently be Metus. In either case, there wouldn’t be brother/sister incest with Venus and Deimos’ relationship.. Deimos is the son of Aphrodite, the Greek equivalent of Venus, so the relationship is still incestuous. I think the author just threw together some cool-sounding names.
With that off my chest, let me tell you about some of the cool stories in here. We do get minimal plot, as Deimos decides he’s sick of waiting around for Minako to return his love and is just going to kill her for Venus. This doesn’t change things much, as he still drags his feet about killing her.
This time around we get a girl who tries to convince a scientist to release a snake, and even goes as far as promising to marry him as long as he lets it go. This one’s pretty twisted even in Bride of Deimos terms, because there’s this society of female snakes that relied on that snake being set free. It was pretty bizarre.
There was also a really cool story about a puppet that came to life and had a lip hook that it destroyed various things with. Also, another story featured only Venus ruining relationships, no Deimos or Minako at all. Unfortunately, the last story in the volume also doesn’t feature Deimos or Minako that prominently, but all the same it featured a cranky old woman, so I was okay with that too.
Now, sadly, the series is over.
This volume had three really, REALLY good stories in it. The first and last ones were probably the strongest. In the first, we get a return to the theme of “anyone who loves you will die” in that a boy who Minako falls in love with gets his in a story tinged with card-style fortune telling. Minako does it the regular way in the beginning and everything in the cards turns out to be true, then Deimos does it for her next. Of course, we know what Deimos says her ultimate fate is, but it’s delightful to see.
The last story is one where Deimos and Minako get along a bit better than usual. Deimos comes to visit her in the hospital and they find her room is haunted by the spirit of a dead ballerina who jumped out the window when she found out her feet would have to be amputated. Of course the ghost comes back to get revenge, et cetera, but it was an awesome story all the way through.
The other one that was amazing was one that involved Venus and Deimos instead of Minako. Deimos, in a moment of affection towards Venus, decides to go to Olympus and take a bit of revenge against Jupiter. He shows up at some ceremony celebrating the beauty of Jupiter’s daughters (because apparently they don’t have anything better to do on Olympus), and tells them that Venus said that the most beautiful could wear her crown. Jealousy rears its head and things turn ugly pretty fast, but it pleases both Deimos and Venus in the end.
What’s this in volume 7? PLOT? Could it be?
Ooh… this series teases worse than any other out there. There is absolutely NO MOVEMENT when it comes to Deimos and Minako’s relationship. Minako still hates Deimos, and Deimos still loves Minako. There is quite a bit of conflict stirred up in this volume, where Venus comes back for several stories and Deimos is trying to decide which he would like more in Minako’s body.
The first story was the biggest tease, though. Minako’s friends try to cajole her into telling them who her secret boyfriend is, and when she denies that he exists, the plain girl in their class overhears and buys two tickets to a dance, thinking that Minako is denying the existence of HER boyfriend. Deimos gives the girl her dream guy so that Minako will agree to take Deimos to the dance with her. Deimos is ready and everything, and I thought I was going to get a little date, but, as Deimos says, humans ruin everything. Rats.
There was another really BIZARRE story at the end. I didn’t like it right up until the last page, where we get a basket full of severed human and wolf ears. That made it pretty awesome.
There was another story which didn’t have Minako in it at all, but just featured Venus showing Deimos why no blossoms would bloom on the cherry tree he was sitting on. The story involved the past and a flaming kimono, so you know it was good.
There was another part where Minako’s friends meet Deimos, and Minako was quite ashamed that Deimos would dare do something like that. They didn’t know there was a connection between her and Deimos, which is a shame, and Deimos didn’t give it away. That story was quite good too, it was very buddhist and dealt with reward, punishment, and the cycle of rebirth, of course. There was another chapter that was sort of buddhist in that the girl had given up all hope because she was going to die, and then the bodhisattva save her in the end. Or something along those lines.
Frustrating romance, great horror. Also great romance.
I needed this volume before I could tear through the rest, so you’ll probably see all of these up next, because they are… just fabulous. Amazing. Throw out any other adjectives you want, if it’s positive, this will fit. I’d like to save them, but they are absolutely enthralling, and now that I can read them in order I’m not going to be able to stretch them out.
There are a lot less tender moments between Deimos and Minako this time around. The mechanic of her getting into dangerous situations and him saving her is preserved, but sometimes she would soften up to him or realize that he was right about a situation, but that doesn’t happen here. We do get to see a softer side to Deimos a few times, but I also wish that would have been played up a bit more, too.
The first story puts Minako in the body of Venus back in the ancient time of the Gods. This one was probably the weakest link, because I didn’t quite understand… was it Venus that did this to Minako? Why? Venus would never try to save a little girl… or did she do it for her friend who got killed? Yeah, the first story was kind of weak and not as Deimos-y as I would have liked.
The best story was probably the one where a spirit of a girl who was practicing black magic inhabits the body of Minako to try and figure out a way to get her brother to fall in love with her. Deep things are said about the relationship between Venus and Deimos. They were summoning the Devil, which was the traditional goat-looking devil instead of Deimos, but Deimos apparently came anyway and had some sort of weird hand in what was going on. This story had the second-best touching Deimos ending in the volume.
In some ways, I hate reading this series. It reads like nothing else on my shelf, and every volume is fresh and mysterious in new ways. Each volume brings me closer to the premature volume 7 conclusion. Thus, each is like a rare and precious jewel in my collection.
I think anyone who reads and enjoys Holic would really like this series. Pretend Yuko is male and the devil (which isn’t too much of a stretch), then pretend Watanuki is a timid girl with a heart of gold who is successful at avoiding most weak-girl stereotypes, and you’ve pretty much got this series. There’s even a spider lady in this volume! The only thing I can think of that may put people off is that it has a slower pace, but… if you’re into it, it doesn’t feel slow at all, it feels perfect. Also, it’s not by CLAMP, but it does have very lovely retro shoujo art, so that helps a lot.
Deimos wins as far as the character contest goes. He’s a hard one to figure out, and the way his love for the girl is portrayed makes it seem like it’s very sincere and he’d do anything for her, but then he’s the devil so “anything” means making her friends kill themselves, among other wonderfully devious things.
The best story was probably the first one in the volume where a someone shows the main girl how she burned down all of Edo to be with her lover. I’m not sure why I preferred this story over the others, as all of them were pretty high quality this time around (even the vampire-esque story which turns out not to involve an actual vampire).
Bride of Deimos suffer from the same kind of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy From Eroica with Love, where you know so many bad things don’t happen to a normal person and the people around her, and most of the time the initial incidents don’t have anything to do with Deimos, so you just have to kind of accept that the girl is unlucky.
Yeah… I really wish I could get more than seven volumes of this.
This is all I have of this one right now, though I’ll probably be tracking down the other volumes RIGHT AWAY.
I would love to see development in the relationship between Minako and Deimos. I know that it is not the nature of the series, as it’s mostly episodic story content, but we get hints every now and again, and I truly do appreciate such hints.
The short stories continue to be quite good. We get one or two that are just Deimos, and these two were probably my favorite in the volume. They’re both actually really, REALLY bizarre and kind of make you wonder where the story comes from (one’s about Deimos giving Thumbelina a different life, and one’s about a queen who’s actually a fire ant at the end), but for the most part, they continue to be ghost stories and stories about human nature, be it good or bad in the end. Deimos is the one who gets a lesson in the very last story, which was nice to see, especially since it was a nice Deimos/Minako moment at the very end. There was no Venus in this volume, which makes me wonder about her role in the story.
I absolutely love this series, and I’m sad it took me so long to find it.
I’ve come to find that Comics One had extremely poor marketing skills. Apparently they had a Ryoichi Ikegami series, the Junji Ito Horror Comics Collection, and this, which is a 70s shoujo horror manga classic from the pages of Princess, which I have recently realized is My Magazine. How did I only know about one or two of their titles? And how was it that it took me so long to find out about Bride of Deimos?
I really wound up liking this one, though it had a strange feel to it throughout. It’s an anthology of horror stories all revolving around the main character, Minako, and the demon Deimos and his various ways of intruding (or sometimes not intruding) into her life. Deimos swears Minako is his bride at the beginning, Minako doesn’t like that… and that’s all the plot you get for awhile. Eventually, Deimos gets a backstory where it’s explained that originally he had meant to use Minako as a vessel for his sister’s soul, his sister also being his lover and chained up at the bottom of a bog and rotting. He eventually fell in love with Minako for who she was, and the sister, Venus, becomes a kind of antagonist.
The stories in this volume are often rooted in Japanese mythology or history (well, maybe it’s just two of them), but they’re often supernatural, and sometimes deal with circumstance and human emotion. I can sorta see how it could be construed as boring by some, as it’s older and doesn’t have a lot of action, but this is some fine girly horror, and I’ll probably be seeking out the rest of this oop series soon. A shame it won’t continue to the end.