Demon Sacred Volume 3 by Natsumi Itsuki
I absolutely love this series. The third volume wasn’t quite as crazy as the first two, but some good stuff happens. We get to see melancholy teen idol Keito’s reaction to meeting his demon doppleganger K2 and learn that Shinobu, hot young doctor and guardian to mystical teen twin girls has an Evil! Adoptive! European! Family! in his past. I feel somehow like this manga should come packaged with a musical microchip to play suitable dramatic music during these important plot revelations.
Nothing good can happen when a doppleganger takes the place of a teen idol in a photo shoot and manages to produce better pictures. Keito is amazed and disturbed when he sees photos of K2, and a little worried about his livelihood because the photographer is saying that he doesn’t need any other subjects for the rest of his life. Keito tracks down K2 at Mona and Rina’s house, and the teens begin to hash out this case of mistaken idol identity. Mona learns that Keito has been orphaned by return syndrome too. He sent his parents on a celebratory trip when he made it big, and they disappeared after encountering demons. Mona’s hesitant about telling Keito the truth about K2, but they end up forming an alliance after Mona explains about the increased numbers of demons, the possible government involvement, and her desire to cure Rina’s return syndrome. Itsuki continues to do a great job with characterization for two people that look the same but have totally different personalities. Keito is mature and a little bit withholding and glum, which is at odds with his job. K2 is a dangerous 5000 year old little kid with a severe case of puppy love. When Mona hugs him and tells him she’s glad to see him when he shows up just in time to fend off a demon attack, he’s delighted.
Shinobu has plenty of problems to deal with when he is abruptly called into work due to his malicious European adoptive siblings suddenly showing up to find out how he’s doing with the family business. It turns out that tortured scientist Shinobu is tortured because his evil blond brother Helmut abused him so badly as a young child, he lost his memory of the abuse. Now nothing is left but Shinobu’s severe repulsion whenever he has to look at Helmut’s angelic Aryan face. Shinobu has a few other evil European siblings but the one that seems like the most trouble next to Helmut is the bitchy Zophie, who quickly susses out the woman at work who has a crush on her Japanese brother, makes some horribly cutting comments, and figures out that Shinobu’s research interests are not what they seem. She really is amazingly efficient.
I put down this volume amazed at the sheer amount of plot Itzuki was able to cram into 200 pages. I didn’t even mention the way the group dealt with the pesky Griffin that’s been bothering them, and the hints about demon/human chain relations and the nature of K2’s power. Sometimes Demon Sacred has passages here and there that rely a little too much on exposition, but the world that Itsuki is building is so interesting, I don’t mind it at all. Demon Sacred‘s combination of cute guys, plucky in the face of tragedy teen girls, and wacky fantasy complete with conspiracy theories is so compelling. I can’t wait for the next volume.