“Catch You, Catch Me” – Demon Diary (manhwa) – 7/10 Tulips

“Do your duty today and repent tomorrow.” ~Mark Twain

Mangaka: Kara (art), Ji Hyong Lee (story), Yun Hee Lee (story). Soom Lee (story)

Genre: Supernatural/Comedy/Action/Shounen-ai

Review Status: Complete (7 Volumes/7 Volumes)

Licensed: Formerly licensed by Tokyopop

Art: This is pretty typical shoujo art, especially for manhwa. Bowever, it looks nice and the panels flow quite well, so I have no problems! Especially since clothing and facial expressions are quite well-done.

Summary: Gods and demons wage a never-ending battle with the mortal realm as their battlefield. As is the case with most longstanding feuds, the reasons are no longer important- hatred has become a way of life. But it’s said that one will arise to restore harmony between gods and demons. Enter Raenef, heir to demon royalty, though he is hardly courtly material. The demon king assigns the wise and noble demon teacher Eclipse to whip him into proper demon shape. Raenef is the black sheep of the demon court, clueless about magic and royal etiquette. But before long, Raenef and Eclipse find that the bonds of their friendship grow stronger than the student/teacher relationship. (back cover of 1st volume)

Review: I had assumed Demon Diary was a companion to another manhwa, Angel Diary. I was quite wrong- this is completely seperate and an excelent story on it’s own. Better, actually, than the aformentioned Angel Diary. This brings together an eclectic cast of characters in ways that are pretty funny, if sightly contrived- a female bounty hunter that joins as a guard to save her own skin, a young priest who has the power of a god flowing through his veins (but a short temper and overzealous desire to prove himself) that needs calming before he becomes the head of the priesthood, and a young girl that simply wants to meet the new Demon Lord. And, of course, there’s Eclipse, a dark, brooding mentor that’s charmed by his new master’s bright smile, and Raenef, a carefree young demon that has a great skill for magic, but only wishes to be happy.

The main plot is to whip Raenef into shape. He is embarassingly polite and nice at the Demon Lord meetings, there’s no will for destruction in him, and he prefers to make shadow puppets with his powers than deadly aura blasts! It seems like there’s no hope for him, and as his friends gather around him one by one, things are only looking worse, with them having fun and getting into the occasional bit of mischeif. It’s not all lighthearted, though; all of the characters show bits of their dark pasts, why they are the way they are. For the most part, the focus is given on the young boy priest, who is key to some of the later plot.

What really is nice is that none of the characters are really skimped on or given the shaft. Something that really caught my attention is how the bounty hunter is treated- in shounen-ai, girls aren’t that nice, or really more than caricatures. Here, she’s treated well and even given a love interest! And it’s another Demon Lord, to boot, who comes to test Raenef and his skills. At about volume 5, things get more serious. The new Demon Lord tests Raenef, and things from Raenef’s predecessor come back to bite him. Things don’t look good for him at all, with a personality change and someone coming back from the dead to finish unfinished business. Unfortunately, this really doesn’t work as well as it should, with time travel, convoluted plot twists, and deus ex machina. It just doesn’t feel really planned-out, like the mangaka was in a rush to finish because they knew the story was going to be cut.

But for all that, the first few volumes were really a treat! I highly enjoyed all the hijinks and jokes that were going on, and can’t say enough about the characterization. This wasn’t the best, but it’s something that I would definitely read again.

Overall, it’s funny if a bit of a letdown at the end – read for the friendship, leave the rest alone.

Recommended: 12+. There’s the implication fo slaughter, and some slight minor language, but that’s it. Even the romane that’s blooming between Eclipse and his new master really isn’t ever overtly stated, just implied.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Kuroshitsuji (anime or manga)

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