Kyo Kara Maoh 1

May 8, 2009

This was just a simple and fun middle-of-the-road series that didn’t really make a strong impression… or at least, hasn’t made one as of the first volume.  I like the quirkiness of it, but this volume takes its time establishing the characters and setting rather than the plot, so I feel like I have to reserve judgment for at least another volume or two.

Basically, while being beat up one day, Yuri finds himself sucked through a toilet and winds up in another world.  They tell him (rather comically) that he is the reincarnated soul of the Mazoku King.  Yuri isn’t sure what to make of this, since he was always one of those average kids with no special talents and certainly isn’t a fearsome demon.  Some of the other demons in charge don’t know what to make of it either, and refuse to accept him as king.  We go through some of the usual trash-talking, followed by duels, followed by the awakening of latent magical ability… you get the idea.  The nuts and bolts of the thing aren’t all that impressive yet.

There are a handful of nice touches, though.  It seems like the series will hinge on the battle between mazoku and humans.  Not only are some of the head mazoku half-human, but there’s the whole thing about Yuri being raised a human, and there also seems to be a whole brutality angle about demons wiping out humans.  I find this to be slightly more palatable than wiping out a generic enemy.  Humans aren’t all that original, but it’s better than nothing.

Also, there’s a weird focus on baseball.  Yuri used to play it, some of the demons play it with children and with Yuri, Yuri wants to start a league in the Mazoku world… and the Boston Red Sox are mentioned.  Awesome.

The series has a kind of weird sense of humor, too.  It’s pretty standard stuff most of the time, but occasionally bizarre things will slip in.  For instance, a pretty-boy character at one point is compared to a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir.  That has the potential to make up for a lot of missteps.

And just so I have record of it here, I think some bizarre plot twist will lead to Conrad being Yuri’s real dad.  Nothing in the plot has really hinted even vaguely about this, but I suspect this will be the case later.

So far it’s pretty fun.  It’s middle-of-the-road, but also slightly better than mediocre since it’s not really a chore to read and really hasn’t done anything terrible yet.  A really neat story could develop from this volume, so I’m definitely looking forward to more.