Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2008
Synopsis: “The gateway to hell is opened in this tale of demon bloodlust and angelic redemption. Alone and disfigured from a tragic car accident in childhood, Seisu is plagued by haunting visions and hellish nightmares. But when a stay at a remote monastery brings the mysterious young man Yabrail into his life, Seisu discovers not only what’s behind his fragile state of mind, but also that heaven and hell aren’t as distant as he once believed…”
Daemonium follows Seisu, a boy who bears physical and emotional scars from the death of his parents. Suffering from horrible nightmares with only his sister to console him, Seisu meets a strange, attractive young man named Yabrail at a monastery that has seen numerous mysterious disappearances. His life begins to unravel as he discovers that people close to him aren’t who they seem, including himself.
While the demon and angelic concepts were neat in this story, I didn’t care for most of the characters by the time I’d finished. Interactions between characters didn’t feel very believable, even from a manga-perspective, and I found it hard to feel much for what was happening when my first thought is “why the hell did he do that?”. There isn’t enough time to build up character relations, which made dramatic events happen far too suddenly and with little cause. The angel saved him why now? Hopefully this is only an introductory volume with future instalments offering more substance to fill in these gapping plot issues.
The pacing, which had intent to give a horror-like mood, instead made everything happen in such a one-after-the-after way, with little achieved suspense, that I didn’t really get any of the intended atmosphere from it. I just didn’t feel the tone and mood of the manga change much from start to finish, leaving it feeling stale and uneventful, despite the numerous events taking place.
On the upside, KOSEN’s artwork is as pretty and detailed as I’ve come to expect from them. It also suits the subject matter in the book really well. Characters are really attractive (but fortunately not in the way that makes gender-deduction difficult at all) and there are lots of nice artistic details to look at it, such as the beautiful hair and eyes. Angel wings and demonic features are well rendered, something I’ve seen even the most seasoned artist struggle with. The cover is especially nice with great layout and colouring; it’s definitely a book I would’ve picked up off a bookstore shelf had I not known about it before.
Bonuses included at the back of the book include character sketches, background designs and a short history on the story’s progression since it’s first publication.
All-in-all, by the end of this first volume of Daemonium, I was pretty torn on my opinion of it. While the plot as a whole is pretty interesting, I found the way it was presented pretty boring. How a story managed to have so much happen and remain so unentertaining was disappointedly impressive. While the nice artwork is enough for me to give it at least another volume to prove itself, I unfortunately found this one a little hit or miss.
Review written July 27, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased from independant hobby store, The Batter’s Box