My Dearest Devil Princess Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Release Date: Saturday, March 01, 2008
Writer/Artist:Makoto Matsumoto / Maika Netsu
Translated by:Satsuki Yamashita
Adapted by:Elizabeth Hanel
What They Say
Maki has yet to reap a soul, and her mother is growing impatient. But Maki has rivals in the demon world, and one of them is coming to earth to stir up trouble!
Considering there are demons who want his soul, angels who want to "save" him, and meddling classmates who won't leave him alone, it's pretty hard to imagine that things could possibly get any worse for Keita. But when the demon Miki teams up with the angel Sheeta to stop Maki, he's about to realize that his problems have just begun!
After battling a violently devout angel and surviving the tangled plots hatched by his own misguided classmates, last we saw hapless Keita Kusakabe, he was just coming to understand the ramifications of unwittingly entering into a mortal contract with the buxom Maki, a fledgling archfiend of royal disposition sent topside by her Hell-bound mother to harvest tasty human souls for maleficent intents. Maki's less the fork-tongued succubus and more the ditzy princess, with an inherent talent for constantly dragging poor Keita into ridiculous situations instead of forever damning his eternal being. Too bad she's no longer the only bat-winged temptress floating about the physical sphere now that a slightly-less scatterbrained rival has come to do her own share of reaping.
Seemingly guided by the ghosts of past magical-girlfriend manga, My Dearest Devil Princess Volume 2 spirals further downward along the exceedingly clichéd path, summoning an additional demoness for the earlier installment's dubiously constructed love rectangle. This new sultry devil vixen is Miki, decked out in Abaddon's default fetish couture and aspiring to one day become Hades' next queen; her one worthwhile contribution to the muddled affairs is acting as a catalyst for filling in back-story woefully absent from the first bookthe ambition now required to ascend the underworld's throne has apparently taken form of an Earthly scavenger hunt to collect the most souls. Maki (daughter of the current monarch), Miki, and an undisclosed third entrant are all in the running for this nefarious position; but don't think Miki's flying solo whilst trying to sabotage the competition, because thanks to some convoluted circumstances, she's now contracted to Keita as well, living in his house, and generally being a scantly-clad nuisance to all parties involved in the ensuing pandemonium.
Adverse as my language may sound, I honestly try not to judge too harshly a series like My Dearest Devil Princess. These types of lighthearted, puerile stories fill a noticeable niche, one whose seductive grasp I'm certainly not above, yet Devil Princess is often a wanton mess, difficult to blindly absolve from its many faults. Miki alone is a sinful indulgence to the present chaotic proceedings, made doubly decadent by putting her in a direct semi-servile relationship with the main male character. Then there's Maki's deafness towards Keita's cries for aid, as freakish insecurities leave her questioning weather the puny boy might prefer the newly arrived siren currently flinging him about the air like some spiky-haired plus toy. Invoking this second infernal diva when the previous volume's material remains largely unresolved is blatantly gluttonous and merely compounds the existing lack of focus by throwing unnecessary ingredients into the story's already overflowing cauldron.
Artwork for this go around exudes a slightly more lecherous aura, part of which is likely attributed to the increased instances of bared skin, though it does appear artist Maika Netsu has developed a better knack for possessing her alluring females with sex appeal greater than that of a lingerie shop mannequin. While the visuals are still rather cutesy and far from being pants-tinglingly erotic, they're generally more dynamic and lively, suggesting Netsu's settled into something of an illustrative groove. Broccoli Books has, again, decided not to use the original Japanese cover; however, this time I'll at least give them credit for choosing an image indicative of the book's contents, even if it's significantly more provocative than anything found on the inside pages. Standing in stark contrast to the fluffy front piece from volume one, I do wonder if such deviating imagery will harm the series' ability to form a solid identity in the minds of consumers.
Viewed in full, it's absolutely true none of the book's diabolic rigmarole is meant to be taken seriously, but any possible dispensation for attempted jocularity is doomed by trite antics foretelling their punch lines well before a scene is played to finish. This volume is a subsequent exercise in narrative soothsaying, with its shallow, boring characters and banal setups burying the humorous happenings under the reader's own instinctive acts of precognition. Too this end, upon traversing the abyss for the series' second sulphurous helping, I can't shake the notion I'm essentially reading "Little Taro's First Naughty Manga," a gentle introduction to the seemingly endless void of salacious Japanese comics. And admittedly, with fresh souls continually finding themselves before the wide berth of manga's entrance, room surely exists for titles like My Dearest Devil Princess to safely ferry new readers into those harrowing depths, although I'm steadfast in my belief that most would be better served looking elsewhere for some demonically risqué fan-service.
Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Broccoli Books
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Faust Anthology