花と悪魔 1 [Hana to Akuma] by 音 久無 (Oto Hisamu)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ten years ago Bibi, the demon, decided to leave the demon realm and come to the human world. There he found an abandoned baby and on a whim decided to keep it. Since then he lives together with Hana... but having a 14 year-old girl around you, is it really that simple?
Hana to Akuma (literally: The Flower and the Demon, Demon With Flower, the Demon's Flower) is a story following the young Hana and her trials growing up in a house of demons. I read the first volume before realizing the story is listed as a romance, which did draw some concern for me as I recalled another series.
To start off, the artwork is certainly not terrible, but it does leave something to be desired. Certain character angles come across as awkward, stiff, and give an entirely different mood than what was intended. Other portions seem crowded and rushed, and there a number of characters that do look a lot alike. I forgot who many of the characters were when their names weren't mentioned in the chapter - they really weren't all that memorable.
This series, unlike one I reviewed previously, comes across as much more innocent and sweet. Hana is 14, though looks and acts much younger, and it's really just a cute story about a human girl that gets whatever she wants, without seeming too spoiled. (Her outfits are very elaborate.) As things progress, though, relationships and events become more complex but, even at far as I have read, nothing beyond a kiss had occurred. And it seems that nothing will ever go further than that - by chapter 42 the plot is dancing in circles and moving out of the "cute" phase and into the slightly-more-serious "tedious" phase of repetition.
I had to stop reading here. Hana to Akuma didn't make it into "creepy" territory, but it certainly went right into a circle waltz. Hana is being torn every which way emotionally and, I assume it was intended to bring the reader along with her. (It really wasn't working.) There is far more tension than necessary and characters are acting in ways to hurt each other for the sake of hurting each other. There is no reason for it aside from stalling the plot. I stopped caring for the characters at all, and just wanted the series to end.. but not enough to keep wading through the spinning plot points. It's like a manga romance is not a romance unless it fulfills its quota of plot devices. Bonus points for cramming them all into the same story arc. With a guideline like that, Hana to Akuma passes with Aces.
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