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Review: Kyo Kara Maoh! (Vol. 01)

Author: Tomo Takabayashi
Manga-ka: Temari Matsumoto
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: May 2008

Synopsis: “Yuri Shibuya just can’t catch a break. First, he had his head dunked in a toilet. Then he was transported to another world – where he finds himself king of the Mazoku’s, a new race expects him to lead them to war against all of humanity. And to top it all off, he’s engaged – to a man! From the creator of Shinobu Kokoro comes an outrageous, gender-bending, high-school demon love story!”

Based off a series of light novels, Kyo Kara Maoh! is the story of Yuri, your everyday high school student whose life suddenly takes a bizarre turn via a swirly gone horribly wrong. Now finding himself transported via toilet to a fantasy world, he’s proclaimed King of the Demons and charged with the task of destroying all humans!

This is a manga series I’ve been wanting for a long while. I watched the first couple episodes of the anime and really enjoyed it, but alas, my lacking attention span for anime-watching kicked in and I’ve never seen past those first few episodes. Victory comes in the form of the manga, a medium much more to my liking and drawn by an artist whose work I’ve enjoyed before.

Needless to say, the beginning of this story is certainly entertaining. Essentially flushed down the toilet, Yuri’s arrival in the other world is believably confusing and more than a little alarming. Doesn’t help that he’s suddenly attacked by villagers and whisked into the sky by a flying skeleton. But things start looking up for his safety at least when he’s taken to the kingdom’s castle and meets the soon-to-be very relevant cast of characters, from the charming swordsman, Conrart to the flamboyant mage, Gunter.

I wasn’t sure when I started reading if this series was based on the original novels or the anime version (the truth being the novels), so I was a little apprehensive about what the pacing would be like. Fortunately it didn’t suffer from the often clunky pacing that mangas based on animes tend to have so it’s a good read for those who have watched the animated version and those who haven’t.

The characters are all really entertaining and there’s vibrant contrast between them all that makes for some great interaction, be it the overly affectionate Gunther or a climatic first-volume duel between Yuri and the proud pretty-boy, Wolfram. There’s lots of humour to keep things fun and clearly lots more plot to be revealed in future volumes.

Tatsumoto’s artwork is very complimenting to the story, especially with a cast of men well intended in design to be very attractive (which Yuri makes specific note of). Everyone looks great and the different scenes are easy to follow with a nicely paced flow panel-to-panel. I thought the coloured image on the cover looked a little flat with the more muted colours at first but it’s an overall attractive style none the less and it suits the entire package well. Those who like their men pretty but manage to maintain some masculinity regardless, would certainly appreciate the art. I know I did!

Tokyopop did a nice job on this release. I didn’t come across any real issues in the inside and I really love the regal colour tone and design they used on the outside cover to match the art.

Overall, I was pretty happy with this first volume. It had nearly all the charm of the anime I fell in love with so easily (regardless of only watching a few episodes) and the plot is certainly an interesting one to those both new and old to the story. Fun characters with lots left to reveal and attractive artwork definitely ensures I’ll be anxiously awaiting volume two of Kyo Kara Maoh!.

Review written November 15, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased in-store from Chapters

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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