Manga Review: The Devil Within

I think the Japanese title for this manga is more fitting: “Tenshi no naka ni Akuma Ari” — “The Angel within is a Devil” (or something like that). Still this doesn’t stop this 2 volume manga series from sucking. This manga is about a girl, Rion, who is on the cusp of 16-years old — apparently the age people become “legal” in Japan — who is told by her father that she must “marry” one of 3 supposedly super hot guys. It turns out that the three guys are “angels” and Rion’s adoptive father is a “devil” and through some blood ritual has turned her into a devil too. The problem is that Rion is afraid of men and, therefore, prefers boys — in other words she’s a “Shota Con.” Rion falls in love with a boy her age, Tenshi, who through some curse has the body of a little kid. However, in Rion’s presence, sometimes Tenshi regains his full grown body, much to the dismay and fright of Rion. Sigh … the first volume mildly piqued my interest because I wanted to know the connection between Rion and Tenshi — their connection is a good one, but ultimately this manga suffers from poor execution. It’s too bad too because the base story isn’t so bad — it a little like a gender reversed version of “Shuffle.” However, “Shuffle” had underlying sweetness. This manga is not sweet at all, rather, it is shallow and crude and portrays the main character, Rion, as nothing more than a very confused teenager. It’s also disappointing to see how shallowly the angels problems are dealt with.

A warning to “Western” readers: This manga’s concept of “angel” and “devil” have nothing to do with “good” and “evil” — rather they are more like two different clans of the same type of human-like “demon” — “demon” in the sense of a supernatural creature that can be of any moral alignment. So in this manga, both the angels and the devils act like what “Westerners” would consider to be “devilish.” This is common in many manga, so get used to it and try not to be quick to assign “good” and “evil” based upon Western iconography. In some of the stories “good” and “evil” cannot be distinguished or may exist at the same time in a character.

Anyhow, this manga gets 2/5 — the average of 3/5 for a decent first volume and a 1/5 for a crappy juvenile let down second volume.

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