In the beginning, there was a demon in a cave: Blood, trapped in ice for many decades. In order to break the curse that bound him, he searched for the "tear jewel." One day, a youth called Ishuca appeared before him. He was suffering from an illness, and had come to the cave to die. Blood was touched by Ishuca's kindness, and began to feel drawn to him. However, death soon came to Ishuca, and, saddened by the death, Blood began to weep. His tear became the "tear jewel," and Ishuca's life was saved through its power.
The two set off on a journey. On the way, Blood was reunited with some old companions, but—since the demons wanted him to return to his old self, and Blood wanted to continue to travels with Ishuca—his former companions became his enemies. Upon confessing his own past to Ishuca, Blood promised never to kill another human. Having completed their journey—and with the aim of finding the jewel that Wild, the jewel-dealer, had asked for—they find themselves at the Toei Cliffs...!?
Did I come to this expecting some good (or at least cute) couple lovey dovey nonsense with fantasy settings? Yes. Was I disappointed? Somewhat.
I didn't realise the fantasy setting would become such a prominent feature of this series.Don't get me wrong, the minute I understood "oh, so there is going to be an actual fantasy story and it's not just going to be an excuse to get these boys together?" I said, Ok, cool, I can get behind that. Props when they are due: the story is quite good and the ending battle/monologue/all of that jazz was satisfying.
However, that doesn't mean I forgive the romance
stopping completely and unfortunately it kinda does. Yeah, we get some little snippets of couple interactions (and they are great 10/10) but I wanted a) some progress in these interactions, some kind of development and b) more frequently please and thank you.
The characters are wonderful, you really learn to root for them and grow to love them. Their designs? Not as much. There were several points throughout my read that I mixed up characters because as much as I love the authour (she seems so cute in those tidbits we are given to read) Sugiura has two default character designs and she uses them quite frequently. There's a point she has to make one of her characters cut his hair so we can distinguish him from another guy, and that ain't great.
As already said, characters really are lovely and their interactions (not even romantic ones, I'm talking friendships, I'm even talking about passing talk with random npcs) delightful. Made me grin like an idiot in some parts by the charm this series oozed.
That's it's best selling point: the charm this story holds.
first of all, this is one of those manga which grow, getting better as the story evolves. it starts off light-hearted and somewhat silly, but as the story comes along, more serious topics are woven in,(e.g. discrimination, selfsacrificing, keeping up appearances) important characters are added and it gets more complex. though it does have a few flaws, overall enjoyment was good, i found myself laughing quite a few times even while rereading.
now in more detail:
it's light shounen ai, (they kiss and express their love for each other, nothing more), but a tiny bit more obvious than silver diamond, the authors other major work.
the comedy is
of mostly of the slapstick kind and relies on silly answers as well as the main characters being (incredibly) slow on the uptake or acting contrary to what's expected of them considering their position.
it didn't really bother me, but it's worth criticizing that sometimes commonplaces/ stereotypes which didn't fit into the medieval world as the setting were used for jokes (such as reference to an all girls high)
in the beginning i had the impression the artist wasn't really sure where he wanted the story to go, resulting in some slight inconsistencies before it does kick off (like characters knowing about things without an explanation why they would or demons (/blood) not knowing about some things it'd be more sensible if he did)
it consists of one main story line and a couple short stories, mainly backflashes on some of the characters pasts, more or less integrated into the main story (about rapunzel and wild, blood, ishuca, ishucas grandmother and the demon kaiser)
the storyline seems rather simple at first, a classical adventure plot: boy meets demon, they go on a journey, meet all kind of people and get involved in their business, get caught up in stuff happening due to what took place in the past and as they try to deal with it, others they met start to get drawn into it all too - resulting in a more and more complex interaction, since even people of the same factions (temple vs. demons) have different motives and each work on their own goal.
in my opinion, this is what makes this overall a good, interesting manga and what kept me reading despite any other shortcomings!
i really like how it's not just good vs bad and you can't clearly tell for everyone from the beginning who is - or might be in the future - on whose side
there are the main two pairs of demon x boy, (Blood and Ishuca, Rapunzel and Wild) both based on the concept 'cunning, adult' (demon) vs. 'cute, innocent, strongwilled' (boy) which at first seems flat and cliché, since it's commonly used in yaoi/shounen ai. though they do grow throughout their adventures, this basic concept is never abandoned, perhaps because it's needed for a lot of the comedy interjected every now and then
however, as the story progresses, other characters appear, with a more complex personality which develops as well (e.g. the monk Sellghi), thus adding to the story and making it far better than with just the main characters
the quality varies throughout the manga, most times it's welldrawn, occasionally the bodys feel a bit misproportioned (too large hand/ feet), so i rated it down to a six
as i said, overall i enjoyed it quite a bit and i'm still looking forward to every release - naturally i recommend reading if this review got you a bit interested and you like fantasy/ adventure stories and don't mind shounen ai