Devil and Her Love Song 1

May 17, 2012

Miyoshi Tomori – Viz – 2012 – 13 volumes

This one really took me by surprise. I passed over it when it was solicited, because the summary makes it sound like just another shoujo romance about a stuck-up girl finding friends and love. But A Devil and Her Love Song is a bit different. Not extraordinary, but I really, really enjoyed the first volume.

The thing that sets it apart is that the main character, Maria, really isn’t stuck-up. She just comes across that way. She’s good at observing people and nailing down personality traits, both good and bad. But she herself isn’t very good at talking and communicating with others. She’s very blunt, actually, and will often contradict people by pointing out that they are merely pretending to be nice to her face, when in fact their personalities are completely different. The fact that she’s tall, pretty, and constantly has a sneer on her face also doesn’t help.

It’s hard to make a character like that not seem mean, but Tomori does a good job at portraying Maria in this first volume. Maria is starting at a new school, and promises herself she’s going to try hard to make friends. But she starts her time off by announcing why she was expelled from her old school when she notices her classmates gossiping behind her back, then tells a boy that tries to be friendly that he shouldn’t try so hard to be friendly to everybody. She’s not wrong about any of it, and the latter example happens throughout the volume. It doesn’t make her any friends. But her narration throughout these scenes is about how she’s trying to change. She takes advice about putting a “lovely spin” on her words, basically lying to people’s faces about what she thinks, but the lovely spin makes her look really scary. She also goes through the motions when it comes to bullying, constantly walking into setups, sure that if she has faith that people really want to be her friend, she will be rewarded. It’s very bittersweet, and Maria is a great character to root for.

She has a beautiful singing voice too, and her rendition of Amazing Grace catches the attention of the class outcast, who doesn’t talk to anyone but the boy that tries to be friends with everyone. There’s a romance between the two by the end of the volume, just a little, but it so far is really sweet and awkward. I can’t wait to read more.

Basically, this takes the mean girl stereotype and uses it in a different way. It’s interesting to be in the head of a “mean girl” that isn’t really mean, and also seeing her call out all her other classmates on their individual personality flaws and things they try to hide from others. Her relationships with everyone in class seem almost doomed as of volume one, and it would be a shame if her very unique personality softened into something more normal by the end of the series, so I’m very curious to see where this goes. But as of volume one, it’s definitely worth picking up for any fan of shoujo romance.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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