Manga Review: “The Bride and the Exorcist Knight”

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Title: The Bride and the Exorcist Knight
Mangaka: Keiko Ishihara
Japanese Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: Seven Seas
Demographic: Shoujo
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN:
Volume 1: 978-1626927643
Volume 2: 978-1626928428
Volume 3: 978-1642750089
Volume 4: 978-1642751024

Synopsis:
Anne, known as the Demon’s Bride, is fated to marry the demon Mephisto on her seventeenth birthday. “Precocious” twelve-year-old genius demon Exorcist Knight Haru promises to keep Anne safe and eventually take her as his own bride.
Initial Thoughts: This feels a lot like Hino Matsuri’s “Meri Puri”. I like the fantasy elements, but Ishihara takes Haru’s “precociousness” too far at times which makes him seem like a creepy little tentacle monster.

Breakdown

Artwork — A
I will always be a fan of Keiko Ishihara’s frilly big-eyed artwork. Even though her male heroes look the same from series to series, I have to admit I expect the look and I’m never disappointed. The little monsters in the series are cute and remind me of Mr. Booberie from “Radiant”. The action is drawn well and readable, and the cute and fierce facial expressions are nicely drawn and make the characters likable and relatable. Mephisto is drawn like a true irresistibly hot demon.

Presentation — A-
There are two color pages per volume, which are cleaned frontis pages from the Japanese magazine release. The books themselves are standard American manga size. I don’t like the lettering on the cover, but it is imitating the Japanese cover, so that isn’t the fault of the localization team. The lettering is fine, though I do prefer that all sound effects be redrawn in English for a professional release. The translation is too simple. I think the story and character development could have benefited from more mature English word choice and sentence construction. There’s too much slang and rough speech.

Story — B+
This is tough because Haru’s precociousness breaks his character which pulled me out of the story at times. But let’s start with the overall story. It’s a pretty boilerplate story of a knight saving a doomed woman from becoming the devil’s bride. It’s fun, it doesn’t deviate from expectations, and it has lots of heart. I don’t mind cliched stories as long as they are done well and this series is done well. The end-of-chapter cliff hangers kept me reading and I was curious as to how Ishihara would handle the age difference.

The age-gap part of the story is a mixed bag. Haru’s character is a problem because at times he treats Anne as a mother figure and at other times he’s a creepy sexual predator. The creep factor was disturbing and detracted from the story. Seeing Haru treating Anne as a mother figure that he’s also crushing on was sweeter and had more emotional impact on me than the creepiness. Anne’s feelings towards Haru were more understandable and consistent. She saw the present-day child and the future man, but always treated Haru according to his present-day age.

Overall, I was satisfied with this series. It was the fun mental vacation that I needed the night I read the series. There will be some readers who will not be able to overlook Haru’s “precociousness”. If even the hint of creepy predatory 12-year-old boy disgusts you, then this series is not for you. If you take it as a failed schtick and pay more attention to the sweet parts of Anne’s and Haru’s relationship, then I think you’re in for a fun night or two of reading.

Overall — A-:  For fun adventure and Anne’s wonderful fierce facial expressions.

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