by Mayu Shinjo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Demon Love Spell is a short 6 volume series by Mayu Shinjo.
The story follows Miko (a miko) and daughter to a famous Shinto priest who has abundant powers but no abilities to sense or see spirits… and Kagura (an incubus) the strongest demon from the demon world who gains his powers from the directed love and passion of women. Miko is surprised when she accidentally seals his powers, and they are both surprised when they begin falling in love with each other.
This story is so a-typical of Mayu Shinjo. And, if you were familiar with her work, you would know exactly what I mean. From the love/hate relationship of the main couple, the continual passionate declarations of love followed by complete denial and forgetfulness, and of course the classic art style with bizarrely over-proportioned features (particularly hands and torsos) – it is her work from start to finish.
Compared to some of her other works, this story tends to be lighter and fluffier. And, is nearly void of the rape, torture, and drug abuse that you would expect from her. Probably the most dynamic of Miko and Kagura fights lead to no more than a bit of pouting on Miko’s side. So unusual, but personally, also nice and refreshing.
I often have a hard time deciding whether the situations Shinjo writes belong in a shoujo or josei subgenre – this one I believe fits neatly as shoujo. Apart from the constant sexual references from a being whose entire life is supported by sex, this is no more than a silly high school fantasy of a romance. A handsome virile man who is suppressing his immoral nature because he is desperately in love with the plain, boring, moral, and slightly disconnected school girl… what girl can win against that combination??
The end for me was a failure. It ends, yes, and the solution is what you’ve been waiting for the entire time. But, with a story so focused on the “getting together” of the main characters (from page 1), you’d think there’d be a bit more romance at the end. Instead it just fizzles out, because well, it had to happen. Oh well.
Despite the ending, I actually enjoy this series. And, of Shinjo’s works it is probably my favourite. The best scene for me falls in the beginning of volume 4. Miko finds a baby/demon in a peach while bathing in a hotsprings (think Momotaro), and she and Kagura raise it as their own child. But, of course, as you read and as the source of the baby is determined, you realize that Mayu Shinjo has thrown together some of Japan’s most famous fairy tales and weaved them into one very strange outcome to the point that even the characters are left scratching their heads. It was a nice fun diversion.
For the most part it was a fun romantic series. And, I’ll probably read it over many times.