Lovers of the Monster Boyfriend genre rejoice, Makoto Hoshino’s The Tale of the Outcasts is here to serve up some spooky and sweet supernatural romance!
Marbas is a powerful and immortal demon who is consumed by boredom and apathy. Most humans can’t see him nowadays, a sign that demon kind’s influence in the world is waning. So, when he comes across Wisteria, a poor girl who’s being exploited by a corrupt priest, and realizes that she can see him, he decides to talk to her to pass some time. He continues to visit her daily after that, telling her stories of his travels. Something about this unfortunate girl holds his attention and helps to make his days seem less tedious. Then, Wisteria learns that there are plans to sell her to a vile nobleman to be used as his plaything. Desperate to escape this fate, she offers her soul to Marbas in exchange for his help, but Marbas has no need for her soul and his demonic nature prevents him from aiding a human without receiving something in return. Having nothing else to offer him, Wisteria resigns herself to her fate, but Marbas isn’t ready to let things end between them. Will he sacrifice himself in an effort to save Wisteria? Or is there, maybe, something else that Wisteria has to give him, after all?
The rules that govern demons in The Tale of the Outcasts mean that, if Marbas helps Wisteria without getting something in exchange, he’ll destroy himself. Like, he’ll literally disintegrate. This means that, if the two of them are going to stay together, they need to make a bargain and Wisteria needs to give up something significant. It’s a gut-wrenching dilemma for our leads, who are just beginning to discover how important they are to each other, and there’s no easy solution. Whatever Wisteria trades needs to be important to her, she can’t just give Marbas any old thing. What a dramatic way to start a book!
Marbas and Wisteria do manage to think of a way to make a bargain, but Wisteria ends up having to pay a hefty price. But, it gets her what she ultimately wants, and she and Marbas start living together and spending their days in companionable contentment.
Marbas isn’t a very emotional character, having wandered listlessly through life for many years without anything to spark his passion. Spending time with Wisteria and taking care of her is allowing him to experience new things for the first time in a very long time and he’s starting to enjoy himself again, but he remains fairly stoic. Wisteria, in contrast, is a more cheerful and optimistic character, in spite of everything she’s been through. At the end of the day, Wisteria is just glad to be freed from her miserable existence and to be able to experience more of the world with Marbas. Both Wisteria and Marbas have been lonely for a long time and being together is giving them each a new lease on life.
Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. Marbas and Wisteria have to contend with threats from both the human and demon world. Demons are drawn to Wisteria, due to her abilities, and there are humans who are hell-bent on destroying any and all demons, and those who are allied with them. With all this danger lurking around them, there are plenty of tense moments for our heroes. Will their feelings for each other allow them to make it through these challenges? I’m certainly going to read on to find out!
The Tale of the Outcasts is an exciting and dramatic read. The romance is a bit of a slow burn, with Wisteria and Marbas’ relationship seeming to be almost platonic at this point. This makes sense, as Marbas isn’t human and neither character has much experience with romance. I’m expecting that to change as the series progresses, though. Regardless, Wisteria and Marbas make a delightful pair and I’m looking forward to reading more of their adventures.
Final Score 8 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
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