Monday, July 30, 2012

A Devil and Her Love Song: Volume 1

by Miyoshi Tomori, 188 pages

High school transfer student Maria Kawai does not get off on the right foot with her new classmates.  She's beautiful, she's blunt, and she got expelled from her last school for hitting a teacher (doubly shocking in that it was a private Catholic school and the teacher was a nun).  Not exactly a recipe for making friends.  In fact, they rather quickly label her "Maria the devil."  Is there any hope of a normal, happy high school life for this chilly misfit?

This is shojo manga, so of course there's hope.  Firstly, it takes the shape of two boys, the outgoing nice-guy blond and the broody abrasive dark-haired boy, both of whom find themselves drawn to her awkward honesty--even when her critical words are directed at them.  But other than that, the popular girls hate her.  The boys (including her insecure teacher) feel threatened by her.  And Maria quickly discerns that the one girl who seems to be nice to her is hiding a lot of her real, less agreeable personality.

There are some surprisingly apt philosophical and emotional comments here, but this first volume is a little all over the place as it tries too hard to set up the premise.  There's enough newness and humor buried beneath the standard choppy elements to get me to try the next one, but I hope it improves soon.

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