And so we arrive at the last of the new the Jump Start titles (pretty small batch with only two this time), Devilyman. I have no idea what to think about this one. All I can hope is that it can answer this question positively: Is it good?
Devilyman #1 (Viz Media)
Translated By: Kinami Watabe
Our story is about a Devil Salaryman (basically a person who works for a corporation whose income is salary-based) by the name of Madogiwa. He comes from a place called the Devil Kingdom where he basically works for a business that is all about selling contracts. Humans sign contracts to gain certain powers in exchange for half the money they make in any job in their life. Madogiwa has been in the business for forty years and he’s about to get fired unless he can bring in one billion yen. However, his latest client, a seven year old named Aeru Taira, may be the perfect person to net him the cash, especially when he has the perfect power to use for blackmailing people.
Devilyman is perhaps one of the most unique titles I’ve seen to come out of Jump Start by far. Stuff like Straighten Up and Cyborg Roggy have their own unique feel to them as well, but they’re not completely different or wholly original since they are familiar stories with their own fun spins on them (like Straighten Up being a high school sports series but about dancing instead of regular sports). Devilyman has the template of a buddy comedy, but it’s such an odd and unique buddy team up between a devil and a little kid who uses their powers to scam people; it definitely makes the book a standout in Weekly Shonen Jump at the very least.
What kind of corporate devil are you?! Of course you have the kid sign it!
As a first chapter though, the manga does succeed. It does a good job of introducing both Madogiwa and Aeru, giving you a good idea of who they are and how different they are in their beliefs and goals. While you get some decent background Madogiwa to start with, you don’t learn much about who Aeru is. That is fine though, since it gives the kid an air of mystery (what his deal is and why he is the way he is, which looks to be addressed in the next chapter). We get some rules about how devils and their business system works, like how people can’t see them unless they are bad (bad people are the best to make evil deals with after all) or how each devil has their own unique power to sell. It’s quite well done in that regard and even if you do not find the humor all that good, I’m sure the story and what has been presented will at least get your attention.
Is It Good?
Devilyman #1 is honestly not a manga for me, since I wasn’t personally able to get into its sense of humor or even the characters themselves (they’re defined well enough, but I didn’t care much for them). However, I do see how this would be appealing to the right audience and perhaps the humor would be more to their taste than mine. Plus, the unique feel that the series possesses definitely gives it a potentially memorable edge over a lot of the series currently being put out in Weekly Shonen Jump. Ultimately, all I can say is to give it a read and see how you feel about it.
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