THE DEVIL DOES EXIST
Akuma de Sôrô, “I Am the Devil” • Mitsuba Takanashi • CMX (2005–2007) • Shueisha (Bessatsu Margaret, 1998–2002) • 11 volumes • Shôjo, Romantic Drama • 13+ (mild language, mild violence, se-xual situations)
Seventeen-year-old Kayano finds herself attracted to a sixteen-year-old rebel: Takeru Edogawa, the “prince of attraction,” the delinquent son of the school principal. Their relationship is further complicated when their single parents become engaged, turning them into stepbrother and stepsister … and making his se-xiness all the more sinful. Despite the title and a little blood, The Devil Does Exist is a formulaic light drama for younger teenagers, far from the genuinely abusive and troubling love interests of manga such as Hot Gimmick and Boys over Flowers. Takeru and most of the other male characters have an androgynously pretty look (his appearance is based on the Japanese “visual rock” musician Hyde), and the “devil” behaves like a moody, teasing little brother who has trouble expressing his feelings. One of the better aspects is the art, which improves quickly after the first volume; the characters (who dress like 1990s punks) are attractive and realistic, and their faces are reminiscent of Korean comics, with full lips, long eyelashes, and spiky hair.