Izumo Ito’s 4-panel manga, The Demon Girl Next Door, is a whimsical comedy about a clumsy and cute demon and her nemesis: a retired magical-girl who seems more interested in being friends then fighting. It’s quite delightful!
Yuko wakes up one morning and is shocked to discover that she’s suddenly grown horns and a tail! Her mother explains that their family is descended from a line of demons and that their family’s current misfortune and poverty is due to curses that were placed on them by their ancestors’ ancient enemies: The Light Clan (a.k.a magical-girls)! In order to break the curses and restore their family’s powers and fortunes, Yuko needs to defeat a magical-girl and offer her blood to the statue of Yuko’s ancestor. Unfortunately, being awakened to her demon heritage doesn’t seem to have come with any cool new powers and Yuko isn’t exactly athletic, so defeating a magical-girl isn’t going to be an easy task. Even when she lucks out and discovers that a retired magical-girl by the name of Momo attends her school, Yuko is completely out-matched, and that’s before Momo transforms! To add insult to injury, Momo clearly feels sorry for her and seems more inclined to help her train then to try to destroy her. How is Yuko supposed to get revenge for her clan at this rate?!
Yuko’s sincere efforts to live-up to her demon heritage, despite having no blood-lust and no fighting ability, are consistently funny. No matter what she tries, her plans are doomed to failure, which is a good thing, since it’s more fun to see her getting along with the serious and responsible Momo then to see them acting like real enemies. Yuko is so clearly struggling, that Momo can’t help but worry about her and she tries to help her out whenever she can. Yuko, meanwhile, is too good-natured to ignore these kind deeds and wants to repay Momo, despite herself. So their “epic” battles are soon postponed and, instead, they spend time training together and going shopping and sweet stuff like that. It’s charming to see cry-baby Yuko and the sarcastic Momo become closer over the course of the volume; they make just the cutest frenemies!
Often four-panel manga series will have very little in the way of plot progression, since the emphasis is on the gags, but The Demon Girl Next Door has more focus on story then most. Hints have been dropped about a tragedy in Momo’s past that caused her to turn her back on being a magical-girl and I’m very curious to learn more about her back-story. I was also pleasantly surprised that, rather then maintaining the status quo, this volume already has Yuko unexpectedly succeed in breaking one of the curses on her family in an amusing twist that I didn’t see coming. The volume even ends with the suggestion that Momo and Yuko might need to team up to defend the town! I’m looking forward to seeing how that’s going to play out in volume two. Knowing Yuko, it will probably be a hilarious disaster!
The Demon Girl Next Door is a fun and humorous series and I’d recommend it to fans of magical-girl manga and anyone looking for a light-hearted and cute read.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
What did you think of this manga? Do you think Yuko will ever manage to get all of her curses broken, or is she doomed to continuous failure? Let me know in the comments!
For more information on this series, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
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