August 23, 2015
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2014 – 6 volumes
Pretty good last volume, as far as Demon Love Spell goes. Since it didn’t have an overarching plot, there wasn’t a whole lot to wrap up. This volume contains two stories, both are good versions of the types of things I like about this series.
In the first, Kagura and Miko have to save a cherry tree inhabited by a spirit that a developer wants cut down. The developer hires the pair to banish the “demon” that prevents them from cutting down the tree, but a little girl implores them to save the nice old man she talks with. Killing the spirit doesn’t sit right with Kagura (even though the spirit wants to die), and he sort-of bullies Miko into a solution that works for everyone. The spirit has tearful reunions with all those he’s encountered over the years, there’s a nice festival, it’s very sweet.
The second story brings up more trust issues between Kagura and Miko. Kagura just isn’t getting enough energy to stay alive, and he passes out after seeing Miko off to school one day. Another priestess finds him, and says if she takes her priestess powers (she doesn’t want them), he will remove the seal that Miko’s father put on him. He shows up unsealed and full of power, and… yeah. You know where this is going. The actual resolution is way more over-the-top and nonsensical than you would have thought, but the series ends just like you think it will.
So yeah, there are definitely way better series out there, and there’s even way better smut. But Mayu Shinjo is good for scratching the shoujo itch, and if you’re into demons, priestesses, and guilty pleasures, give this a try. It does pretty much everything you think it will.
July 29, 2015
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2013 – 6 volumes
You know, I love this series, but it’s definitely an affinity in terms of cheap thrills rather than… compelling story. Demon Love Spell is mostly a series of one-shot stories where Kagura and Miko want to have sex, but can’t for various reasons. And that’s about it.
This volume has two stories. In the first, Miko tells her parents that she and Kagura are moving out of the house and into their own place together. They agree eerily fast, but later we find out it’s because Miko’s father has laid a curse on Kagura so that he is unable to have sex. They have trouble finding a place (partly because Kagura refuses to lie on the application, and lists his real 10,000-year age), but later find a cheap haunted place. Miko has her first real solo success as a priestess when she helps out a cursed Zashiki-Warashi, and the two realize they can make a living by exorcising haunted buildings.
… except it’s not that easy, and nobody wants to use their skills. Miko winds up working and going to school in order to pay for their rent/etc, and has no time to charge Kagura’s batteries. She also starts to get hit on by coworkers, and the jealousy nearly kills Kagura. He realizes that he can get the two of them money by exploiting his good looks, and begins to model. Which means he’s getting his energy from admiring female masses, and Miko doesn’t like that. They fight, they fight a succubus, they make up, it’s adorable.
Both these stories were more realistic than some of the previous ones, but I liked the demon-centric chapters in previous stories better. Miko and Kagura don’t really receive a lot of character development anymore… and admittedly, these stories all basically have the same punchline (Kagura and Miko want to have sex, but can’t). They’re sweet, and I still love reading them, but… eh.
I’m wondering if the last volume will give them a happily ever after, or if Miko and Kagura are doomed to be a running joke. We’ll see! I like nice short series like this, too.
July 21, 2015
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2013 – 6 volumes
This has turned into a “when will they have sex”-type thing. There’s not much else here. Miko wants it. Kagura wants it. He does not want to disrespect Miko in getting it. Eventually, Miko decides she wants to hold out until after she’s married… though judging by these chapters, she may change her mind at any time.
There’s less of the cute Natsume’s Book of Friends-style demon help stories here, though there’s still one. Miko finds a baby in a peach at a hot springs, and she and Kagura get to raise it. This chapter was… insane. Legit insane. Way more comedic than the others. I loved it. There were some choice lines.
Another major storyline in this volume was about Kagura’s father coming to the human realm to berate him for not having sex with Miko, then Kagura taking Miko to the demon realm to meet his brothers. This was some over-the-top romance… for some reason, I wasn’t feeling it when I read it, but this is the romance in this series turned up to 11. Kagura also has a number of handsome brothers, which impresses Miko.
And finally, with both Kagura and Miko ready for marriage, Miko’s father says no, and Kagura defends himself. A spell backfires, and Miko switches bodies with her father. This was another romantic chapter, as the characters had to deal with the fact incubus Kagura needed more power for his spell, and could only get it from sex with a woman, which Miko was not (although he still could have entered her dreams… this didn’t make much sense). Both are resigned, neither one likes the situation, et cetera.
The humor in this volume was pretty extreme. Again, there were some choice lines in many of the chapters, but Mayu Shinjo cracks me up in general. The bonus chapter at the end of the book was “A Day in the Life of Kagura”, where it went through a fairly mundane routine, but spiced things up a bit. “Kagura wakes up and stretches… sexily. He gets dressed… sexily. He goes to school and says hello to the girls… sexily.”
I know it’s the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, and you have to be a special kind of shoujo fan to get into it. But dammit, that shoujo fan is me, and I love it.
July 5, 2015
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2013 – 6 volumes
This has more in common than I would have thought with series like Kamisama Kiss and Natsume’s Book of Friends. The stories tend to be surprisingly sweet mostly-one-shots about supernatural creatures that come to Miko because of her power, and Kagura’s. There’s still a lot of sexy innuendo (like, A LOT), but man, there’s also some cute stories buried in here.
Having said that, the story that takes up the first half/two-thirds of this volume is about an onmyouji who used to work at Miko’s family temple. He’s very famous now, and has a popular TV show where he exorcises demons. He shows up, expels a succubus that had inhabited Miko (which was more funny than smutty), and then takes up an offer of marriage long ago extended by her father. Miko is on the brink of losing herself to Kagura, and decides to choose being a priestess over being happy with a demon. But her heart wants Kagura still. Kagura also agrees to enter into a contest with the onmyouji to see who Miko desires most “as a man,” as part of the onmyouji’s strategy for breaking that up also involves insisting that Kagura’s incubus powers are keeping Miko enthralled.
Miko and Kagura also go on an adorable date at the beginning of that chapter. Mayu Shinjo knows how to write shoujo.
The second story is about another major demon, named Miyuki. Miyuki winds up staying with Miko instead of Kagura for awhile, protecting her from local demons and (because this is a romance manga) falling in love with her. His story is quite bittersweet, and very enjoyable.
One thing I do like about Mayu Shinjo is that she writes female characters that like good-looking guys without making it a punchline. Miko likes good-looking guys (not just a single one), and that’s okay. It’s just part of who she is. It’s not a joke, or a bad quality, and she doesn’t want to sleep with them. Shinjo has written some rather cringe-inducing series in the past, but it’s rare you see attraction depicted like this in a shoujo manga.
I’m undecided whether sealed/tiny Kagura has a different, cuter personality than full-blown incubus Kagura. It’s possible he does, because incubus Kagura doesn’t like to waste time on anything but putting the moves on Miko. But man, he’s cute when he’s small.
June 28, 2015
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2013 – 6 volumes
Finding and reading the last volume of Sensual Phrase put me in the mood for more Mayu Shinjo. I’m further along in Ai Ore, but a story about an incubus appeals to the large part of me that loves dirty shoujo manga as well as demons.
The first story in the volume is actually rather heartbreaking. Miko encounters a fox demon while on a school trip, and the fox demon confuses her with a priestess he used to know. Kagura gets jealous, meanwhile the fox spirit turns into a fox-boy and is kind to the students on the trip, all while earnestly trying to convince Miko that he is the one for her. He is adorable, and the end to this story is touching in a way that I was not expecting from Demon Love Spell. It was an awesome story.
The second story in the volume is more what I imagined. To keep Kagura from groping her and entering her dreams, she makes him promise to not touch her for a month, and in return he can do whatever he wants on “lovey dovey day” that isn’t sex. Meanwhile, a small demon tries to rescue his kidnapped sister by stealing Kagura’s powers, and he eats Miko’s soul to get at him.
Actually, that story was kind of touching as well. The brother demon was adorable.
Demon Love Spell isn’t quite as… heartfelt as Sensual Phrase. Little is. But it mostly scratches the itch, and I was pleased with how much I enjoyed both of these stories.
Mayu Shinjo’s author notes were a little depressing here. In one, she says she always uses up all her ideas for a series in each volume, because she never knows when it will be the last. Then she has to think of more, and that’s just her job. Later, there are several anecdotes about how popular the fox spirit was, and how she had to be really adamant about how the story had to end. There’s even a little strip at the end where she has to explain to her editor over and over again what has to happen with the fox spirit. Another talks about how busy she is all the time.
These are a far cry from the gushy music fan notes in Sensual Phrase. I’ve been noticing this more and more lately… on one hand, I know these ladies are aging right along with me, but on the other hand, the recent author notes from Mayu Shinjo and Chika Shiomi depress me more because they reveal just a little bit more of what a hard, horrible grind their job really is, and the toll that has probably taken on them in the last 20+ years.
I… see that Mayu Shinjo only draws BL comics now? While a series called “A Teacher’s Innocence, a Student’s Lust” doesn’t really sound like something I’d be into, I still have high hopes.
January 2, 2013
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2012 – 5+ volumes
Admittedly, I love demons, and I love terrible shoujo manga, so I was pretty much sold on the title alone here. But seriously. Mayu Shinjo demons? The girl isn’t merely the average high school girl, but a shrine maiden who needs to touch the demon in order to exorcise others? I’m pretty sure Mayu Shinjo knows her audience like the back of her hand. I’ve read Akuma no Eros by her, which was delightfully trashy beyond all belief, and I was very excited about this. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt really guilty about it.
The main character is a Shinto priestess named Miko. Within a few pages, her best friend comes into her shrine and complains about being thrown over by the hot guy at school, and gets Miko to pay attention to her sob story by telling her that the boy must be possessed by a demon. Miko takes her far more seriously than the friend intended, and rushes off to school to exorcise him. Nobody believes the guy is really a demon, including Miko, but Miko wants to prove that the exorcism power that runs in her family didn’t skip a generation. To everyone’s disbelief, it doesn’t, and Miko manages to seal the hot guy (named Kagura) and turn him into a tiny version of himself.
Kagura is a demon, and an incubus at that. He needs to touch and make out with women in order to stay alive. Miko finds that when she holds the diminutive demon in her hand, his power flows into her and she is able to see the demons she has so desperately been trying to spot since she was a girl. But now they’re after her, since she managed to seal the most powerful demon, and she needs Kagura’s help to see and exorcise them.
While that’s going on, Kagura is trying to seduce her. Because this is a Mayu Shinjo manga. Duh. Most of the naughty business happens in Miko’s dreams, which Kagura invades since she won’t turn him big or give him any sort of attention while conscious. But her subconscious is more than willing. Again, because this is a Mayu Shinjo manga.
There are delightful touches throughout. At one point, Miko leaves Kagura behind in her hamster cage. Kagura pouts, and admits that he’s starting to get desperate for any sort of love he can get. Then he turns on the hamster, and the scene changes. Later, he’s wearing a hamster skin to stalk Miko, and for a terrifying moment I thought this went someplace even weirder. Miko also has a best friend that gives the story a dose of reality from time to time. She makes a great disgusted face, and will sometimes call Kagura out on the crazy things he does.
Overall, it does just about what it says on the box. I’m not completely sure where it’s going, because certainly Kagura can’t really seduce Miko? But I’ll be along for every somewhat smutty, unbelievably cheesy volume.