Demon Diary

Review covers the full series

OK, so I've got another fantasy manga called Demon Diary. “Another” is probably the right word to use; the setting here isn't at all original, but then it doesn't really pretend to be so I'll skip right past that.

The world in Demon Diary is quite serious. Powerful demons live in certain parts of the land, who kill people in the blink of an eye. Various powerful groups and organisations share the world, each in a lasting but very tense cease-fire agreement with each other.

Yet most of the main characters in the story are very silly. Their goofy and provocative actions are constantly flying in the face of the dangerous and serious setting, and yet they always get away with it. This frequently leaves the reader's sense of disbelief shattered, but if you personally can get over that, then you're going to find that Demon Diary is very funny.

The main character of the series is Raenef, a naive and kind-hearted child, who just happens to be a demon lord. Struggling to guide him to his destiny to rule with fear and terror is Eclipse, an old and powerful demon and the only one of the main cast who is completely competent. To make the odd match-up even more strange they also start to develop feelings for each other.

Also staring with Raenef is a forever unlucky swords-woman who is supposed to be his enemy, and a young and cocky high-priest wannabe. It's a mishmash choice for a cast, but they are funny when put together which is more or less what the manga is aiming for.

In effect Demon Diary has two faces which it presents, one funny and one serious. Hence the series drifts between seemingly aimless light-hearted comedy and more plotty chapters. When it is aiming for comedy it does very well; the characters are all quite funny and seem to have a knack of getting into humorous situations.

However the chapters that intend themselves to be serious really aren't handled that well; when the manga has its serious face on its stories are mostly filled with text-heavy explanations and made-up science, and the way the comical cast clash with the serious storylines makes these sections painful to read. I'm almost tempted to say that the series would have been better off without them, but at least the plot-progression in these sections does serve to give some movement and direction to the manga as a whole.

While I'm finding flaws, I must say that the series really doesn't do itself any favours with its first volume. The start of the story is told out of order, and it's not until volume two that we start to find out what happened in the beginning. In my opinion showing the chapters in chronological order would have helped the narrative out a little; the only reason I can think of for not doing so was that the writer wanted to “try” the series out a little before committing to it.

There's also a lot of filler in the first book, which shortens a first-time reader's time with the characters and makes it a little difficult for them to judge how the Manga will go.

But, if you do check it out, I urge you to keep reading past the first volume. While Demon Diary has many flaws, there's also a lot of good material in there. I could complain forever about what's wrong with this Manga, but ultimately I found myself enjoying reading it and that always outweighs any complaints I have.