Stray Little Devil 5

December 27, 2007

I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this… but I feel like I’ve got to get it off my chest.  This is a shounen series, specifically a shounen series with comedy elements, and you can expect a certain degree of fanservice in such a series.  There’s a lot of fanservice in general in this series, since Pam and her friends always wear skin-tight hot pants and crop tops or less around.  But they look like they’re about 12.  It put me off.  One of Pam’s friends in particular usually wears just enough of a shirt to barely cover her breasts.  Fortunately, she doesn’t have any breasts to show off, but it’s still really creepy.   It’s more creepy when, for instance, a character that looks like an old man pulls on the tight hot pants and makes a comment about how they’re not very sexy.  This makes me feel bad.  There’s a lot of fanservice in every volume, but it seemed like there was an overload in this volume.  My conscience was screaming the entire time I was reading it.

Anyway.  How’s the story?  Things wrap up a bit messily, unfortunately.  It seems like every character has to be involved with the end somehow.  I think we would have been much better off with just Pam, Liz, Zu, and Linfa, but everyone makes an appearance.  Lots of things are explained, including the stone that Pam wears, why she was a human called into the Demon world, why Linfa looks like Rinka, and what exactly was going on most of the time.  The battle scenes aren’t too swift, and there’s just… a lot of clutter, but as I’ve said before with this series… the plot is decent enough, and I like the idea behind what’s happening enough to forgive it a lot of stuff.  I think a lot of what happened in this volume could probably have been condensed down, though.

Mori mentioned in the back that there was a lot of stuff he wished he could have incorporated, like Liz’s past and some information about Fallen Angels.  It’s stuff like that that I thought the series did well, and I would have liked to have seen a bit more background about that kind of thing… but it just took some things way over the top.  Mostly the characters, the comedy, and Pam’s good girl attitude.  But the angel/demon stuff was all pretty good for as stale as that sort of plot has the potential to be.

I’m sad there wasn’t more of an epilogue, but I also really liked the wordless approach the author took.  It took me two reads to understand everything that was happening, but I did like it.

It’s a fun series, and like I said, I like the basic plot well enough, but it’s got a lot of problems.  It’s middle-of-the-road in the same way that Princess Princess is, but it’s got a better story backing it up, and it’s probably a lot more fun than Princess Princess is.  I’m glad I read it, but there’s better stuff out there.

Stray Little Devil 4

September 6, 2007

It feels like things are going to start wrapping up and will probably conclude in volume 5 or 6.  Some of the more vague plot elements are coming forward, and an epic war against angels and devils is waged at the end of the volume, started by a rather suspicious character indeed.

There’s a lot less of the happy one and done plot stories that are in the other three volumes, and a lot of plot is advanced in a very sad mood throughout most of the volume.  It still is kind of mediocre, but it does a pretty good job of explaining itself, and doesn’t mire itself in any slow-moving, boring sections of plot you may not want to hear about.  The pace is probably what keeps this above water, because if it moved any faster or slower, I don’t know how tolerable it would be.

For the time being though, I wanna know how Pam is going to revolutionize this world, though.  That’s fine.

Stray Little Devil 3

June 22, 2007

This one’s still coasting through the land of mediocre, but we do get a couple pretty awesome scenes in this volume.  We get one more look at Pam transforming into a powerful devil, and we also get a really awesome apprentice exam.

The first happens during the first major story arc, which is about Zu getting his voice back.  It seems like we’ll get a spotlight on all the assistant creatures, since the other two girls send theirs out with Zu on a mission, but Zu is the only one who winds up fighting.  We also get Zu’s real form again, which is cool, but much less impressive this time… I thought he was a huge monster, and here he’s just sort of… a monstrous boy.

The exam, though, is pretty cool.  There’s a written exam, obviously, which is not the part I’m concerned with.  The better part is a flying relay where each class has to work as a team.  The conflict is that there’s a member of Pam’s class cheating since it’s his last opportunity to pass the exam without failing out entirely, and an enemy they’ve made of another student curses him for cheating, basically, so their team won’t finish… yeah.  The race is actually pretty fun.

There is some talk of tails for the devils in this volume.  We finally get to see the quiet one’s tail, and the new enemy girl has a peacock tail for some reason.

Stray Little Devil 2

June 14, 2007

To bury my mean posts on Elemental Gelade, here’s a slightly worse-than-average series I DID enjoy.  This one’s got the ditzy heroine that can’t seem to do anything right, yet possesses awesome power that dwarfs everyone native to the land.  There is also ass grabbing and some other fanservice-y things, and the characters in this one are also somewhat shallow stereotypes at this point, but I just liked this one a lot more.

The plot and environment are much more interesting than Elemental Gelade, for one.  Both are journey manga of some sort (Elemental Gelade’s ultimate end will be at the Garden they’re going to, whereas Pam’s ultimate end is to be out of the demon world and back in the human world, though her journey is more about learning skills than actually traveling).  Elemental Gelade takes place in a vague fantasy world, whereas Stray Little Devil takes place in Pandemonium.  There are summon creatures that reappear, there are different goals like finding drops of water for smithing weapons, and there’s even an iron chef tournament in this volume.  It does a lot of different things and establishes many elements of its world (including a myth about humans), and granted a lot of these things aren’t terribly original and a lot of the characters aren’t all that developed… and Pam herself is annoying.  It’s also fairly episodic at this point, which isn’t one of my favorite things. It just seems like the better of the two mediocre series, though.  At least to me.

But yes, the thing you should get out of this volume is the Iron Chef tournament against the angels.  That was actually pretty awesome.  There’s also a chapter dedicated to telling the human myth (which is, admittedly, not all that cool), a couple chapters spent on an action-packed school assignment, and a couple chapters spent building up one of Pam’s friends.  There are apprentice jobs which could also turn out to be pretty fun later, too.

I’m glad I’ve got another series from DrMaster to read aside from Lunar Legend Tsukihime.  This one’s got surprisingly high production values, with french flaps, varnish inks (or spot gloss, whatever) on the cover, and color pages, though admittedly the color pages are fairly poorly utilized.

Stray Little Devil 1

May 3, 2007

I don’t really need to be starting new series right now, especially series that I know won’t totally blow me away.  But I want so desperately for more than one DrMaster series to be good.  This one actually did sound like it had a cute premise, so I decided to try it out.

I’m not sure how to describe this accurately, but this manga had more of an anime plot than a manga plot.  I can’t tell you how a plot aimed at anime fans differs, but I know they have a couple magazines that specifically run series with said plots.  This one sorta is one of them (though I have no idea what magazine it ran in).  I may only think this because it has a really rapid-moving plot, a lot of fanservice, and shallow characters.  Granted, all these things happen in manga-manga too, but they’re the only characteristics I can identify readily in anime-manga.  Usually I dislike series like that, but the plot to this one is very good, and all the elements the main character have to go through to be a devil are really well-thought out and engrossing, so I wound up enjoying it quite a bit.

Basically, for whatever reason, the main character gets drawn into the world of devils and turned into a stray devil.  She’s got to become a full-fledged devil before requisite cute mystery guy will transport her back to reality.  She’s missing a lot of components to even be an apprentice devil or devil-in-training or whatever they call it, plus she’s kind of stupid, so she’s got a long ways to go.  I’m really looking forward to all the gimmicks and trials they throw her way so she can become a devil, plus what effects this will have on her turning back into a human.

This is the kind of series that will probably disappoint me by having a really lame ending or fizzling out in the US before I get to read the conclusion.  It’s really not all that spectacular, but I like it well enough to catch myself up to volume 4, the most current one out in English.