Manga-ka: Miyoshi Tomori
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: August 2012
Synopsis: “Maria encourages antagonistic Ayu to be true to her feelings, but that simple action snowballs into a huge rift within their class! As secret crushes and hidden motives are revealed, the backlash of honesty just might destroy Mario’s efforts in uniting everyone for the choral competition!”
I was really surprised to see the avalanche of confession and reveal in this volume of A Devil and Her Love Song. The tension just kept rising between Maria and her classmates, and just when I thought things were going to plummet to an all-time low (which would be pretty darn low indeed), suddenly what we’ve wanted to have happen has actually happened! Maria’s classmates are finally privy to one of ‘those’ conversations, the kind no one ever seems to be around to hear but the ones you know that if they were, everything would change. And change it did!
Little has gone Maria’s way in this series about a young woman ostracized by her classmates for her sharp tongue and social awkwardness, but everything went bad to worse when Hana showed up. Her mask of smiles, compliments and coerced pity quickly pitted the class against Maria in a new way and soon Maria was made a pawn to make the school look better for taking in such a ‘devil’ on national TV. It was really heartbreaking seeing Maria voluntarily step down from the chorus she worked so hard to create in acceptance of this awful ‘role’ forced on her. Surprisingly, however, it’s a sentiment that readers soon realize they share with her classmates for once. More and more of the students have begun to see things differently, with some help of course from Maria’s brutal and honest feeling assessments. Even the always instigating Ayu is momentarily won over by Maria’s blunt actions and it really sets the story in a new direction.
What I loved most about the change in people’s attitudes here (aside from the huge relief it was to see Maria get some widespread support) was how it’s slowly begun to showcase individuals in the class who’ve never had a voice, or even a name, before. Just looking at the back cover of this volume introduces us to a whole new group of people with unique designs, personalities and roles in the class. They expand the diversity of the classroom environment, continuing to explore all the different personality types that we recognize so clearly – the queen bees, the over-achievers, the sporty ones, the shy ones, the lonely ones, etc. But none feel like shallow stereotypes, including the trouble-making Ayu and Hana. We get to see their different ‘faces’ and really see them fleshed out as they’re confronted in different situations, showing and reminding us that everyone is complex, and everyone has feelings and desires they struggle to balance whether we see it or not.
The budding romances of the series have begun moving forward as well, and we get a pretty clear picture of where some peoples’ feelings lie. As sweet as I actually find the predictable outcome here, because I’m addicted to the anticipation of Maria having a happy ending, I’m really concerned about what it could mean for the two male leads. I really like their friendship and how different the two of them are. They compliment and contrast each other well. I’d hate to see a love triangle break them apart but it’s starting to look inevitable. I’d love to be surprised by things not being as they seem and going somewhere unexpected. All the same, there are a couple really cute scenes in this volume that despite potential for disaster, are hard not to smile at.
Just when the warm and fuzzies come to one of their all time highs in the volume though, re-enter the teacher to remind you that some people are just beyond help. Rarely have I detested a character as much as I detest their homeroom teacher because wow. As satisfying as it’s been watching other antagonists of the series begin to see the error of their ways, their teacher is someone I just want to see get his just desserts. I’m interested to see if some of the footage caught by the camera crew, and notably by the astute-looking producer in this volume, bears any entertaining fruit.
A Devil and Her Love Song is one of my favourite currently on-going series. I don’t tend to get very attached to straight up drama shoujo series but this has really got me hooked. The emotions truly resonate, whether good or bad, and how much this series can make you dislike characters for their awful actions only makes it that much more effective when you suddenly realize you empathize with them a little. With how much that progressed in this volume, I don’t know what future volumes will bring aside from one large homeroom teacher loose-end, but my fingers are crossed for some more friend-time for Maria – she deserves it!
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Book bought from Strange Adventures