Sunday, March 24, 2013

Manga Review: Demon Love Spell, Volume 2, by Mayu Shinjo

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 5+
Spoilers?: Yes ('cause, rant)
Buy it here: Amazon.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works—sort of—but now Kagura is after her! Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for teen plus audiences.


Warning: contains cursing and ranting.

So, do you remember when I reviewed the first book of this series? And I said that it was just kind of mediocre, with very little to no offensive material? Do you remember that? Here’s another link, just in case you really wanted to go back and look. Because, within the first chapter of this volume, that completely changed. I was almost ridiculously offended. I just could not believe how bad it was, and how much of a change my thoughts went through. (Although, to be fair, I did say that I didn’t remember anything overtly offensive, but I thought there probably was something. Now, I’m sure there was something, it just didn’t leave much of an impression.)
I’m going to start with the minor plots of the volume, just to get them out of the way. Then—then I’ll get to the offensive part.
The first chapter completes the fox-demon plot line that was started in the first book. The fox is really sweet, and was starting make me wonder, but then his storyline ended with that chapter. I was not expecting that, and while I’m not going to spoil what happens, I was not very happy with his ending.
The rest of the volume is taken up with a plot regarding this one-eyed demon who is trying to save his sister from this other jerk of a demon, and the one-eyed guy ends up being a jerk and using Miko and making Kagura angry. I understood the guys reasoning for why he did what he did, but I don’t think that Miko should have been so willing to help him after what he did. She should have been pissed, not eager to help after he used her the way he did. But whatever.
Now, the offensive part. All of the offensive material centers on how the men are constantly using Miko, forcing Miko into things, and how she never fights back. She might as well not even have a voice, for how much the men are constantly forcing themselves on her, and particularly not listening to her when she blushes and says no.
And, on the topic of no… So, for one, it’s never okay for a guy to force himself on a girl, okay? Never. When she says no, then she means no, and the guy needs to back the hell off. But I also understand when a girl says no but actually doesn’t mean it, and it’s obvious to the reader just as much to the guy. There’s also the fact that Japanese women tend to say no in the midst of a sexy scene when they actually don’t want him to stop, and she’s only saying it because she’s embarrassed. I don’t understand that, but that’s beside the point here. Because neither of those instances were what happened here.
In the first chapter, Kagura starts kissing Miko, is on top of her, and she says “Stop it. Let go.”. And it actually looked like, to me, that she meant no. She was acting like she actually did not want him to be doing this to her, okay? And he said, “I hate hearing those words”. Like that excuses it? And then, not only does he keep forcing himself on her, but when she says that he never listens to her, he turns it back on her! He makes her think that she’s the one that never listens to him! Like he’s not doing that exact thing, right in that moment?! I just…
And then, his reason behind his forcing himself on her, which he openly explains before getting on top of her, is that he’s an incubus and he’s getting weak without any sexual satisfaction, seeing as how he’s given up going to any woman besides her. Which, okay, I get that. He’s an incubus, they need sex, I understand. That doesn’t excuse him almost raping her, but I understand his explanation. She outrightly doesn’t listen to him, and when he passes out and gets a fever, she freaks out and realizes that he needs sex, as if he didn’t just tell her that, two pages ago! I just… I just don’t…
Okay, and that’s not all, either. Later on in the book (remember how that was only in the first chapter? Yea…) Kagura tries forcing himself on her again and she freaks and comes up with an excuse so he will stop: they can have one day every month solely for sex, but he can’t touch her at all aside from that one day. Mind you, that she came up with this to give her more time to find an excuse, some way, to stop him from trying to make her have sex with him (which they still haven’t done, except maybe in her dreams, when he invaded them in the first book). For some reason that I don’t understand, he agrees. I guess because he thinks she’ll be completely consensual then? I don’t know, whatever.
But anyway, throughout the whole time leading up to this day, she’s trying to think up ways to get out of it, and he’s thinking of what to do with her on that day. And up until the day before the big day, she’s adamant about getting out of it. But the night before (or of? I’m not really sure, because it seems like they don’t understand how a day works, because they also say later in the volume that it’s still that day, when several days have obviously passed), she gets all ready: she takes a bath, does her hair all pretty, to make sure that she looks and smells good for him. Practically the page before that one, she wanted out of it, and a couple pages later, she acts all shy and like she wants him to stop even though we all know she doesn’t. Again, I just don’t understand.
I really didn’t think that there were so many examples, so many things that pissed me off, but there’s one more. Near the end of the book, Kagura gets stabbed (I’m not going to explain why. I’m just… not.), and since Miko knows that he heals from sex, she, while in a classroom with another demon who just forced a kiss on her, strips down to her underwear and bra and presses up against him and tries kissing him, and once again, I just don’t understand. For several pages after this, she only has on her underwear and bra, and I just didn’t really see what the point of that was. I just didn’t. I mean, why was it necessary for her to strip? I understand that she was frantic and all, but there was another person in the room, and up until this point she has been very shy and na├»ve and avoided all sexual interactions.
Kagura also told Miko that he loved her and she realized she loved him, too, I think. And her parents found out that Kagura is a full-size demon who quite possibly has something going on with their daughter.
I just… I just don’t know anymore. I thought that this was going to be a guilty pleasure, drama-filled, smut-flick that I would enjoy ragging on. But instead, I was rather pissed off with this volume. And I didn’t even really mention how I don’t like Miko as a character (although maybe you got the hints?). And seeing as how I was reading this for the smut, and the smut is what's pissing me off, I just don't see the point anymore. I don’t see what people like about this series. I just don’t.
I’m thinking I might read one more volume, see if it continues to be horribly offensive or if it lightens up, or maybe just so I can talk about how horrible this series is because I’m in the mood to hate on something, but I’m in no hurry to get that volume. No hurry at all. (I am, however, still planning on reading more of Ai Ore!, although I’m a bit more wary than I was before.)

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