Apr 4, 2021
I went into this expecting an epic fantasy story. What I ended up reading was a hodgepodge of clichés, confusing plot progression, melodrama, and dumb characters making stupid decisions.
The pacing of this story is deceptive, in that at times you feel like you can't even catch a break before the next explosion rolls around, but in the end none of the politics, side characters or revelations are actually important; this manga is just another iteration of "meek girl torn between the bad demon boy and the good saint guy", so you can pretty much skip all the in-between.
Hilda, our heroine, is a damsel in distress
who flip-flops (often in the same chapter) between hating Laures and chasing after him; she is more of a plot device than an actual character because, while the whole mess happens because of her, she doesn't contribute to the story besides existing and sometimes getting in the way and messing things up. Laures, the dark and brooding bad demon boy, has zero interest in anything that doesn't involve Hilda and the only notable thing about him is his character design. Rod, the goody-two-shoes of the triangle, can't decide whether to be his god's pawn or Hilda's, and suffers the most from the mangaka's inability to draw human-shaped humans. And that's all there is to the main trio: they have no individuality, nothing to make them memorable compared to other characters in other shoujo fantasy works, no interests or goals that don't involve each other.
At its core, "Seimaden" is the love story between Hilda and Laures — because it's painfully obvious from the start that Rod is just an extra. Except this supposedly important love story doesn't get much development aside from the reader being told that they totally love each other (...why? Laures literally becomes a demon for Hilda but...why? She is bland af — but in a side story Laures does mention he dislikes "feisty women", so maybe that's why lmao). The mangaka can't even keep her own story straight when it comes to their backstory too: in Hilda's past life as Eris she's initially described as Rod's lover, then she's Laures's childhood friend and lover.
The only remotely interesting characters are Tetiyus (Laures's second in command) and Zadei (one of the antagonists), who were more fun to watch than Hilda being almost killed for the 10000th time. Oh, and I do have to mention one other female character who spontaneously decides to commit suicide because "she wants to get out of everyone's way" — and totes not because the mangaka didn't know what to do with her anymore.
And to make matters worse, the screentones and the layout of the panels often make it difficult to tell what's going on or where the action is taking place. The art style is very much 90s shoujo, with a lot of sameface syndrome and some characters sporting the same (quite distinctive) hairstyle in different colors. Going by the faces they make 90% of the time, I'd describe Hilda as "sad", Laures as "tortured" and Rod as "indecisive". And the proportions — hoo boy: by the middle of volume 1, I had a mild headache from all the abnormal waists (what even are ribcages?) and misshapen legs. It gets a bit better later on, but there are still plenty of off-model shots and Rod continues to have no ass.
As for the ending: it's consistent with the trainwreck before, I guess. Everyone more or less ends up happy and no one important dies for good, rendering the entire thing pointless because there are no negative consequences. Dozens of randos die, cities gets wrecked — who cares?
Finishing this was a chore. I only read it out of mild interest in You Higuri's art, and the assumption that Hilda was a guy. The whole thing is boring, drawn out, and offers nothing new from the thousands of angel/demon fantasy shoujo manga out there. This is not a better love story than Twilight. Skip it.
Story: 5/10 | Characters: 3/10 | Art: 6/10 | Enjoyment: 4/10 | Overall: 4/10
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