Manga Review: The Devil Does Exist

Manga Review: The Devil Does ExistThe Devil Does Exist by Mitsuba Takanashi
Published by CMX on April 1, 2005
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-half-stars

High school is difficult for most kids. But for Kayano, a shy girl whose single mother seems to work all the time, it's even worse than usual. She's so afraid of drawing attention to herself, in fact, that she can't tell the handsome Kamijo how much she loves him-until one day she finally gets up the courage to write him a letter confessing her feelings. But her plans go awry when the letter falls into the hands of the school's most notorious students, Edogawa Takeru. To Kayano, Takeru seems to be Satan himself. Not only is he devilishly handsome, he is the son of the school's principal. Even the teachers dare not stand up to him. Kayano, appalled by how badly her first attempt at a social life has gone, thinks she can struggle through and get her letter back. But Takeru enjoys watching her suffer. Just when she thinks she's solved the problem, her mother comes home to announce she's getting married -- to principal Edogawa Now Kayano will have to live with this devil Takeru 24/7 How will she cope with This literal "living hell"?

I have actually read this before, rereading it as part of my endeavor to review manga series here on my blog. When I first read it, I quite liked it, got swept up in the drama. On a reread, now that I have a wider knowledge of manga, I am much less impressed by it.

For one thing, the super melodramatic shoujo series are not generally my favorites, because they’re so over the top; I like the humor ones. Also, I cannot stand the forbidden love of siblings plot line that is all too popular in Japan. These two aren’t even related, and in a lot of cases they’re not, and yet they make a huge freaking deal about it. And it’s not even like they were raised as siblings (like the kids in Cherry Juice) or suspect they may be siblings, a realization that came quite a ways into the relationship as their parents may have been, in effect, swingers (like in Marmalade Boy…which I hated by the way. I have two words for those melodramatic, whiny, maybe siblings: BLOOD TEST). So yeah, Kayano and Takeru would have to explain at various points why they have the same last name, but so what?

This series is also guilty of the unrealistic, perfect relationship. The only problem internal to their relationship is that neither of them can believe that they could be so lucky as to have the other one really want to be with them forever, so they constantly have to reaffirm this after suffering fits of no self-confidence. Mostly though, they just deal with external conflicts, which try to break apart their paradise. There’s the siblings issue, the creepy guy who tries to bribe Kayano into going out with him, various folks with crushes on either Kayano or Takeru, a matchmaking grandmother and a separation needed because of external issues.

The thing that really got to me, though, was that the first five volumes, or something ridiculous like that, were chock full of Kayano’s whining thoughts about how it’s a sin, but she can’t stop her love for Takeru. Oh my god. Stop it with the sinning stuff. Either do it and own it or stop. Please. Kayano also spends a LOT of time crying. Be strong, woman!

Recommended to people who enjoy stories of forbidden love that can stand up to any challenge. Oh, and, for those who are planning to try it, be advised that the art does improve as the series goes on. Or, check out Takanashi’s other series licensed in English, Crimson Hero, which is one of my favorites.

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