This manga had been delayed for far too long. How many years had it been since I announced that I would read and finish this manga? Well I finally picked it up and “SPOILERS”, wished I had read it SOONER! This is Stray Little Devil.
Genres: Fantasy, Supernatural, Angels and Demons, Shounen, Yuri.
Number of Volumes: 5. 32 chapters.
Plot Summary: Pam “Akuma” Akumachi, and some friends, especially Rinka, prepare to summon a “kind devil” like Pam’s grandmother had told her about in stories. Unsurprisingly, the ritual goes wrong and Pam’s transported to “The Spirit World”, a world inhabited by Angels, Devils and Spirits. Pam meets a mysterious man who tells her that she can return to her own world if she becomes a fully-fledged devil. Thus, Pam enrolls into the demon training program.
I enjoy stories that take place in fantasy worlds rather than fictional depictions of real life Earth locations. To put it simply, the setting and depiction of angels and demons in SLD is similar to the Disgaea video game franchise, meaning these are not serious depictions of said beings. Devils are spunky, brash and casual while angels are stuffy, arrogant and prim.
Shounen is listed in the genre section but SLD isn’t bloated with action scenes and fanservice. They’re evenly balanced with plot points and character interaction/development. Much like any shounen, the story starts off lighthearted and humorous (unless it’s a sequel) and slowly intensifies until reaching the point of no return where jokes are sparse and intensity consumes the reader. Let me tell you all, when the story gets serious…get ready to hold on tight. The plot may seem familiar to some but when the execution is as good as it was in SLD, it won’t matter that the concept isn’t innovative, especially when the plot twists kick in. In short, it’s an adventure worth taking, albeit it being a complex one to follow.
You see, while the story is pretty damn good, it can be a bit complex at times. There are some plot threads that could have used more explanation and even the end volume author afterword commentary isn’t enough to explain everything. I think some bonus character centered chapters would have been greatly appreciated. For exampled, the sexy and badass Lizyerra-sensei’s right eyepatch and her origin story, while given hints late in the story, was never fully explained. A “Liz” centered bonus chapter would have been nice. The same goes for some other characters and loose threads. Still, these are minor and do not affect the main plot’s awesomeness at all. Readers just need to pay more attention at times.
The art style is pretty good. There are people of all ages with girls ranging from cute to gorgeous and men being either plain, shounen-esque, pretty or chiseled/ripped.
The cast of characters are all likable in some shape or form. Personal favorites include, Vine, Lizyera and Pam. Vine’s your classic super kind girl with a “smile of death” type special ability. Lizyera’s a sexy and badass instructor who is capable, trustworthy, devoted and doesn’t take crap from anyone, yet still cares very much for her students. Lastly, Pam’s a classic shounen protagonist stereotype, but more lovable. She’s cute, ditzy, easily angered, kindhearted, never gives up, is destined for greatness and is initially underestimated. However, at least this protagonist has an excuse for initially seeming dumb to many in the Spirit World, she has zero clue about the happenings of that world and neither does the reader. So yeah, she has to start from scratch.
I noticed I haven’t talked much about the yuri but believe me when I say that Pam and Linfa’s slowly developing romance is the centerpiece of the story. Without their love, this story would be incomplete. The unity between Pam, the lovable and friendly devil girl and Linfa, the serious, duty bound and attractive (for her age) tsundere. In all honesty, it was well paced.
Overall, I’m surprised this manga didn’t get green lit for an anime. I would pay top billing to buy the entire Blu-Ray set. It’s that good. Readers who enjoy supernatural stories with a moderate amount of action, humor, fanservice, cute/sexy girls, average/handsome/buff guys and an interesting (yet surprisingly complex) story will find enjoyment in this one. Seriously, I need to update my Top 10 Yuri Manga list.