Reviewby Carlo Santos, Apr 2nd 2008
My Dearest Devil Princess
Demon princess Maki is still trying to capture the soul of high school student Keita—but she's having a hard time getting him to make the three wishes that would complete the contract. Things get even more troublesome when Miki, a rival demon, comes to Earth and decides that she could do a better job of taking Keita's soul. Meanwhile, the angel Sheeta is still trying to cleanse the world of evil—by teaming up with Keita's classmates and turning them against him! Magical mayhem and trickery ensue as Keita finds himself in the middle of an epic catfight between Heaven and Hell.
Take a good look at the cover of this manga. Can you guess what it's about? Good! Without a doubt, My Dearest Devil Princess continues to skirt the boundaries of softcore porn (if not completely overstepping them at times), but what may be surprising about this volume is how there's just enough plot to keep the reader occupied in between the fanservice spreads. The introduction of a new character may be the oldest gimmick in the book, but Miki's hare-brained schemes lead to all sorts of crazy physical comedy, and at least one unexpected twist. So expect some mild entertainment in this volume, but let us never forget the series' true purpose: boobs, butts, and easily removable clothes.
The arrival of Miki comes early in this volume, aided by a tired old plot device: Keita buys a suspicious antique item, uses it, and inadvertently summons a demon girl in the process. (You'd think he would have learned his lesson after the first one.) The setup is pathetically predictable, and so are most of Miki's schemes to win over Keita: seduce him! Eliminate Maki! Use his classmates against him! It's not until later on that the story manages to break away from formula for a few chapters; Miki's team-up with Sheeta results in an angel-devil alliance where they plot against Maki and pull off a very well-hidden surprise. From there, the volume reaches its high point with some all-out combat, but quickly reverts back to mindless school and home hijinks as Keita finds himself still trying to fend off anything that's female and has wings.
Although the arrival of a new character helps to shake up the plot, it certainly doesn't mean that the characters are getting any deeper—the main cast is still as generic as the day they were first drawn. The only truly funny character in the entire series is classmate Hayami, whose passionate man-crush on Keita is so out of left field that he instantly makes any scene hilarious. (Hayami also plays a key role in one of Miki's schemes; clearly this guy has more value as a character than anyone else.) The rest of the cast, however, resides firmly within stereotype territory—one could even see Miki as the Urd to Maki's Belldandy, a sassy rival who insists on showing the naïve leading lady how to win over a man. Of course, that's where the similarities to Oh My Goddess! end, because this is a decidedly inferior work that runs on superficialities rather than intellectual or emotional appeal.
But if superficialities are what you're after, then the rampant fanservice in this volume will not disappoint. Miki's gravity-defying outfit offers plenty of opportunities for exposure; even the more modest Maki tends to show off her goods on a regular basis. And who knew that holy water could disintegrate demonic clothing? Aside from the carefully staged softcore poses, however, the rest of the artwork is plainly average—there's nothing notable about the character designs, the backgrounds are an afterthought that clutter up the scene half the time, and tones look very flat, as if this were just an anime reduced to grayscale. At least the paneling is clearly defined, making page layouts easy to follow—until you get to the action scenes, which tend to get lost in their own fancy angles and special effects.
As a series that's all about mindless entertainment, it's no surprise that this also comes with mindless dialogue. Most of the script involves declarations of battle or idle chatter—nothing particularly eloquent, although the characters' personalities are brought out pretty well. They may not have anything smart to say, but they at least say it with attitude. This translation also sticks with Japanese honorifics and speech patterns, including nonsense syllables attached to the end of sentences. Sound effects are left intact with appropriate translations next to them, and a one-page glossary provides some cultural notes. A glossy insert page at the front of the book adds a premium touch, as well as the strong binding and cover stock.
In the end, the second volume of this series is just another romp through a world of scantily clad devil girls, with a bit fancy with the plotting in the middle. Fans of illustrated cheesecake will find some drool-worthy poses, and Miki's roundabout schemes for taking Keita's soul add some fresh action to a predictable setup, but anything beyond that is just ordinary fanservice-comedy drivel. Exposed female anatomy and amazing disintegrating clothes are all part of the story concept, along with a dash of magic and fantasy spiritualism. But does anyone really care what happens if Maki releases all the rings that are sealing her latent powers? Or if Keita ever gets around to making the second and third wishes that would bind his soul eternally to hell? Of course not—this is just an excuse to ogle some hot demon chicks.
Overall : C-
Story : D+
Art : C
+ An energetic new character adds some spice to the plot with her wacky schemes.
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