57-coverMiko is the latest in a long line of demon-fighters and shrine guardians. Her father spends most of his time defeating powerful monsters no one else can see. Unfortunately, Miko can’t see them, either. She’s an ordinary high school student; the only person in her line without the ability to sense demons. In this family, that’s a dangerous (not to mention embarrassing) weakness.

Then one of Miko’s friends comes crying to her about a cheating boyfriend, saying he must be possessed by a demon. Not realizing that the girl isn’t serious, Miko confronts the boyfriend, Kagura, ready for battle – and is stunned when a binding spell she casts at random transforms Kagura into a tiny, chibi version of himself.

Kagura is an incubus, a demon who gets his powers from the touch of women (and, most particularly, from sex). He’s unashamed of all this and demands that Miko change him back. But, even if she wanted to, she can’t remember which spell she used to bind him. And they have other problems: because Kagura is normally very powerful, other demons are flocking to him in his diminished state, hoping to defeat both him and the girl who was strong enough to bind him. Miko discovers that, for the first time, she can see demons . . . as long as she’s touching Kagura. Which means that she has to keep the mini-incubus close. It’s hard to know whether she should trust him, but that might not stop the two from falling in love.

For a romantic comedy featuring a demon who draws power from sex, this is surprisingly un-scandalous. There’s no nudity in the volume at all. The lovebirds keep their clothes on even when Kagura is seducing Miko in her dreams. It’s heavily implied that the two do get it on in these dreams, but we don’t see that happen, and no one has actual waking sexytimes in this volume. And while Kagura talks about sex a lot, the dialog is surprisingly coy when it comes to specifics. The naughtiest lines, presumably, are one he whispers into Miko’s ear (text not provided) and one in which words are actually bleeped out.

That said, it’s certainly the constant – if silly – sexual references that earn this book its Older Teen rating. When Miko battles demons, she must be in contact with Kagura, so their hands-free solution is for her to pop him into her cleavage. Miko ponders carrying him somewhere less suggestive, but Kagura is having none of it. The two share a couple of kisses, theoretically to give the incubus a power-up so that he can help fight off demons. And he constantly pesters Miko to restore him to his usual size and power so that he can have sex with women again. When the two begin to care about each other, Kagura offers to have sex with only Miko – but it would have to be a lot. His comments and Miko’s reactions are played for laughs, even as the two grow closer together.

The art is a mix of elegance and cuteness. Kagura’s demon form, as seen visiting Miko in her dreams, is a conventional handsome shojo romantic lead. His chibi form is so tiny and cute that Miko disguises him as a keychain and he bonds, hilariously, with her hamster. The demons range from good-looking (Kagura isn’t the only incubus out there) to monstrous, but the battles tend to be humorous, and none of the demons are actually scary.

As a side note, manga fans may enjoy the creator’s notes in this volume. They provide some interesting insight into the life of a mangaka, from her drawing schedule to her meeting the musicians who scored the voice comic (voice actors read the lines while panels of the manga are displayed) of this story.

This volume’s strength is that it can be genuinely funny. Readers who prefer an innocent or serious romance may want to steer clear, but those who don’t mind some raunchy humor will enjoy Demon Love Spell.

Demon Love Spell, vol. 1
by Mayu Shinjo
ISBN: 9781421549453
VIZ Media, 2008
Publisher Age Rating: OT (Older Teen)

  • Nic

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Wake County Public Libraries


    The child of two artists, Nic grew up loving art, reading, and those oh-so-special books that combine the two. Nic got her MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her thesis was on the best shelving scheme for graphic novels in public libraries; the proposal won an Elfreda Chatman Research Award. She spends her free time reading, drawing, blogging, and writing fiction. She is a Youth Services Librarian at the Wake County Public Libraries in Raleigh, NC.

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