The Spirit World is boiling over in this final volume! Angels are fighting against Devils, Pam’s angel friend has received a total makeover, and there’s some talk of an impending apocalypse. You’ll have to read it to find out which apocalypse!
Writer/Artist: Kotaro Mori
Translated by: N/A
Adapted by: N/A
What They Say
Linfa learns of Aregna's death. Through her despair, she gives in to the dark soul and transforms into the ancient queen of angels, Ishtar. Abducting En-Zu, the "Storm genie" from Pam, Ishtar proceeds to destroy the Spirit World. Pam heads to the depths of the sacred Urnan tree in order to save the world, Zu, and Linfa... This is the final volume of little devil Pam's adventure!!
Stray Little Devil has been a rather uneven series; after three volumes spent on wacky antics and playful character development, the story shifts into overdrive and pushes a lot of new developments down our throats in the last two volumes. Sadly, such things are unavoidable when a manga is cancelled prematurely. What Stray Little Devil does avoid, somehow, is making this last volume feel like a haphazard, rushed mess.
At the end of Volume 4, Black Linfa showed up and everyone held their collective breath. Continuing immediately, this volume is a straight shot to the finish line. I can’t say it doesn’t feel a little clogged with content, because it certainly does. Secondary characters occasionally get a panel to themselves, but the focus is squarely on Pam, Linfa, Remy and En-Zu, with the others warming the benches and drinking lots of Gatorade. Even En-Zu only gets a handful of speaking lines, despite being central to the entire ending. In a series with such a strong ensemble cast, it was a little sad to have them more or less absent the entire time.
The story itself is quite imaginative, and some of the reveals towards the end are simply begging for more development time. It doesn’t mask their impact, but simply makes me imagine what could have been. Saying anything about the story would make for big-time spoilers considering the overstuffed nature of the final volume. Without getting into details I wish I could have seen and learned more about Remy, Pam’s grandmother, and the history between Lizyerra and Aregna. Which I suppose just speaks to the overall quality of the narrative, along with reinforcing my belief that this series should have been given a longer run. Yes, that is a whole bunch of bitterness you’re detecting.
I do believe, even considering the circumstances, some aspects of the story could have been clearer. For one, I’m still not entirely sure whether Remy was a well-meaning trickster or a generally evil guy with a slight conscience. I’d also like to know if there’s really something going on between Rinka and Pam or if that was just fan service. Lizyerra ended up having a very surprising secret that the author could have written an entire new series about. Most importantly, I wish I knew exactly what was going on with that epilogue, what the implications were for the characters and so on. The author gives a smattering of hints in his notes, but it’s really not enough. A little more explanation would have gone a long way towards making the volume more cohesive.
I only complain because I love. I really enjoyed this series, and have been consistently impressed with the way DrMaster handled it. Speaking subjectively (which is the only way I ever speak; facts are for nerds), I found the ending quite enjoyable; a pleasant surprise since manga and anime endings usually fill me with a quiet, seething rage. No fumbles in the end zone here, and if Stray Little Devil is guilty of anything, it’s trying to make everyone happy. I like it when manga tries to make me happy, since it so often makes me angry or sad instead. Stray Little Devil is the equivalent of bushels of puppies in rainbow baskets with big colorful bows, and despite its pacing issues, Volume 5 is yet another bushel of cocker spaniels ready for shipment.