Mitsuba Takanashi – CMX – 2005 – 11 volumes
So old! I’m dipping back into the CMX vault and going with a devil theme tonight. More shoujo, this time very stylish and very 90s.
The plot to this series is so tired it’s almost fresh again. A tired plot isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since in shoujo romance it’s the characters that make or break the series. But man. This series.
Kayano badly wants to confess to the boy she likes. She writes him a note and everything. But she botches the hand-off, and gives it to the school’s troublemaker, Takeru, instead. Kayano is terrified of Takeru, who begins to bully and blackmail her over the note. And just when she thinks she has washed her hands of Takeru for good, turns out her mother is remarrying, and it’s Takeru’s father. So the two move in together. Not awkward at all. But just as things begin going good between Kayano and her crush, she realizes… well, she may have feelings for Takeru.
There’s more than a few ancient plot devices at work here. But the characters are fun, and the true charm in The Devil Does Exist is the art. Kayano and Takeru attend a school with no uniform, something so unusual that the only other series I can think of that does this is Paradise Kiss. Just as Ai Yazawa does for that series, Takanashi takes full advantage of the uniform-free atmosphere here to dress the characters in some truly funky clothes. They aren’t even all that painfully 90s, there’s some really impressive styles at work here. Even better, Takanashi is a good enough artist that she varies the hairstyles as much as she does the outfits, and you can still tell the characters apart. Impressive!
Honestly, other than the fact I’m in the mood for a series like this, the first volume doesn’t have much that makes it stand out among the dozens of other series I’ve read with the same plot devices. But I have the whole thing (thank you, used book store I work at!), so I’m going to read it all. I’m hoping the characters develop and things get interesting from here. Even if they don’t, I’m a fan of shoujo manga, so this is still a decent read, and the funky art makes it worthwhile.