Stray Little Devil Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 182
  • ISBN: 1-56970956-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Stray Little Devil Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     September 01, 2006
Release Date: August 31, 2006


Stray Little Devil Vol.#01
© DrMaster


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Mori Kotaro
Translated by:Misato Sakamoto
Adapted by:

What They Say
Meet Pam Akumachi, an energetic 13-year-old junior high student who has just turned into ...a little devil! One day, when Pam and her friends try to summon the "benign devil," the magic circle goes out of control and Pam is transported to a strange pararell world where angels and devils reside in an uneasy coexistence. Now, Pam's only means of returning home is to become a full-fledged devil. This is no easy task. The rules and precepts are so hard to follow, especially since Pam can't read Devil Script. But first, Pam needs to claim a "familiar." No devil worth her wings can go without one.

The Review
Packaging:
DrMaster has to be one of the most confusing publishers in translated manga. Most of their titles tend to look clean and simple on the outside with covers that highly resemble their Japanese counterparts. Inside however, their books often look cheap as they use yellow paper (which I love) with so-so printing. Well, this book looks great outside. There is a two tone effect here with super-gloss and matted finish. The image is quite beautiful with a cute piece featuring main character Pam Akumachi (high school girl turned little devil). Vines and lace wrap the image completing a fantasy feel on this book.

The inside has a lovely looking color plate with art from Mori-sensei's website. A very sensual bust image of a naked Pam. The print is once again on yellow paper but it looks cleaner and sharper than most of their titles.

They have a couple nice extras. First there are three pages of art from Mori's assistants. One of them includes conceptual designs of the baby spirits found in this series. And that is followed up by a simple but nice looking credits page (featuring more of Mori's Pam art).

Artwork:
I picked this title up solely on the art. When I first ran into Mori's work on the MediaWorks' website I had to take a look at this title. So when this was picked up I was pretty excited. The character designs are obviously cute. But there is a range to them. For the most part they have a great cartoon feel. When reading the book I found myself sometimes wondering if Mori had worked for Gainax at some point (a question I still want answered since he links to them on his personal site) because some of the characters have that KareKano/FLCL look to them in certain angles. He just really knows form well and that leads to some great poses. Action, transforming, baton waving... seriously there is some range. And when Mori needs to he can go SD or even sketchy pencil delicate.

Backgrounds are great. They are rich and original often taking up a lot of space creating a good sense of atmosphere in this strange world of angels and devils. Landscapes are not extremely detailed, however I feel that there is enough originality there that they set the stage well. Mori also uses them enough that they always seem to be active. Good stuff.

SFX/Text:
DrMaster continues to be one of the best in the business in regards to SFX. For this title, they have tastefully translated SFX close to the original SFX. What they do well here though is that they do not translate every single FX in every panel, especially if there is a bunch of the same. Therefore, say you have five "potsu"s but the panel is busy, DrMaster translates three of them as "drip"s.

The rest of the translation was actually very good. I am always hyper-conscious when it comes to DrMaster titles because of their history but this was not bad. I did not notice any typos and unlike most DrMaster books this book actually seems to follow grammar standards. Always nice to have a book that reads as good as it looks.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Pam Akumachi was not always a little devil. Before she had to prove to her classmates that she knew magic, she was just an average school girl. There were no battles to fight; no monsters to deal with. Pam's life changed for the bad because she did something she shouldn't have done, and she might not ever go back home!

Poor Pam isn't just a newbie devil, he's a stray! Because of her actions she did not get the demon training that all devils get before joining pandemonium. She does not know a thing about magic. She does not know much about being a devil. She does not know the rules of this world. And she might be the only devil in Spirit World that does not have a familiar to protect her. She basically is a laughingstock and victim. The angels want to kill her and the devils are shocked by how pathetic she is. She is much like a devil ronin, but in this world she is called a probationary stray devil intern! With a new life as an intern, she better pick up the lingo and become a full-fledged devil soon or who knows if she will ever get a chance to survive long enough to get home.

But there is a reason she is in this world. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction is a concept throughout this world. It applies to how luck and fortune works in the realms of angels and devils. Apparently it also works in regards to the lives of those sent to this world. If this little devil could do enough good she might be able to go home. She has to become a full-fledged devil, but does that mean taking the path of viciousness or righteousness? Pam will earn her wings. She will eventually tame wild beasts. But what will it take for her to earn enough points to get home to her world and her friends. And has fate brought her friends here as well?

Lesson here:

Do not fool around what you do not understand, because karma is going to bite you back equally. And thus you will learn the hard way. But if you still want to, prepare for some adventure with monsters and devils.

Man, this is looking like a manga style fairy tale more and more. Cute.

Comments
I tend to occasionally argue with Jarred about publishers. And one that comes up a bit is MediaWorks. MediaWorks provides the majority of DrMasters' titles. Jarred says many of them fall into the moe category. Yeah, actually they even have a magazine called that. And I say the rest fall into the bishojo and fantasy category (even though there is a share of sci-fi anime spin-offs). One thing about this publisher is how many of its artists start off doing game/anime/novel re-productions before they are given the chance to do their original work.

Stray Little Devil is one of those situations where the mangaka was allowed to go on his own. After drawing some fine art for the Captain Tylor novels, he has moved onto his first original title. This relatively new title that combines his artistic talents bringing in cute art, a cute plot and cute characters and places into the mold that works best for publisher MediaWorks " fantasy. Mori captures the feel of MediaWorks just right. The story is light on plot but high on fun, yet simple in its plot. It moves like a linear story, yet has enough action and mayhem to create distractions that readers can feel satisfied.

I won't say this series is much of a blockbuster. I wouldn't even consider this a sleeper but I know there is a market for titles like this. Bishojo titles have a place in this market. SLT fits that and also provides a simple but charming story. How often can you read a book that looks fuzzy, reads fuzzy and makes you feel fuzzy in the end and yet be kinda mature. Today I like fuzzy and I like these cute little devils.

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