Manga Review: A Devil and Her Love Song Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: A Devil and Her Love Song Volume One by Miyoshi Tomori on Blogcritics.

A Devil and Her Love Song Volume One is a manga by Miyoshi Tomori, and it was published by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2012. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

A Devil and Her Love Song Volume 1
Written by: Miyoshi Tomori
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 7, 2012

The main character of A Devil and Her Love Song is a high school student named Maria Kawai. She is a new transfer student at Totsuka High School, and she has a tendency to be blunt. She admits to her classmates that she was expelled from St. Katria for beating up a teacher. Between this declaration and how some of the girls in the class saw her act on the train on the way to school, the girls decide to bully and humiliate her. Unfortunately, these girls made wrong conclusions about what they saw on the train. But when Maria tries to explain what happened, the girls don’t believe her.

Maria is ultimately a misunderstood character, who, unfortunately, made a bad first impression on several of her classmates. She is basically seen as a devil, between her “goth” look and her intuitive nature of being able to “read” people, even when they’re trying to hide their true feelings and true intentions. If you’re confused as to the “love song” portion of the title, this may refer to the fact that Maria is shown singing the Christian hymn “Amazing Grace” several times throughout the volume. From what I’ve read so far in this volume, I think the meaning of the “love song” part of the title will expand as the series progresses.

Admittedly, I don’t know the extent of school bullying in Japan, but this is actually a rather poignant topic for North American audiences. In recent years, school bullying has received more attention in the media in the United States, so this is a topic that teenage manga readers will be able to identify with in this volume. I let my 14-year-old daughter read this volume, and this topic resonated with her. After reading this volume, both mother and daughter felt a psychological urge to throttle Maria’s tormentors. Of course, we both know that these are fictional characters and that violence isn’t the answer, but Tomori’s depiction of the bullies brought out this reaction in both of us.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a shojo series without potential romantic interests for the female protagonist. This series has the typical setup of two boys becoming interested in Maria. The first is Yusuke Kanda, a “bishonen” (“beautiful boy”) character who comes across as overly helpful of others. The second is Shin Meguro, the aloof and brooding male who doesn’t want anything to do with Maria at first. However, fate seems to bring them together, and by the end of the first volume, Shin finds himself attracted to Maria. When rumors of a relationship between Shin and Maria begin to surface, you can tell by Yusuke’s reaction that he’s jealous. It’s this element that makes me think the “love song” portion of the title of this series will be expanding and changing as it progresses.

In some respects, A Devil and Her Love Song contains a typical setup for a shojo manga series. However, I think there’s enough elements being provided, especially through the character of Maria, that have the potential to make this series stand out and be more than a “typical shojo” series. Hopefully, this series will live up to this promise as it continues.

If you enjoy shojo manga, I think you might find enjoyment in A Devil and Her Love Song.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Devil and Her Love Song Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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