Keiko Online

Blog Home of D.L. Owens


1 Comment

Manga Review: Kare wa Diablo Vol. 3

Alternate Names: He is Diablo!, Kare wa Diovolo
Year: 2010-2011
Author/Artist: Kayoko Shimotsuki
Genre: Shoujo, Urban Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Drama

Reviewers Note: Volume 3 covers consists of chapters 9-12 with a bonus chapter at the end. This review is based on the S2 Scanlations English translation. >insert spoiler warning here. No, seriously…<

In the third and final volume of Kare wa Diablo, Meiko and Lucifer (with the help of a “Shiba Inu”) play doubles tennis with manga-otaku Uriel and Johan; Lucifer engages in some shenanigans at the school play; and Lucifer’s sister Michael pays a visit (Homicidal SisCon, anyone?) ahead of a battle between a transformed Meiko and Michael. Queue a rooftop kissy scene between our two main characters after the destruction wrought by Michael has been fixed by God.

Whilst the final two chapters of this series redeemed it slightly, the whiplash caused by the story going from over-the-top humor to very serious material has been a bit of an issue throughout this series. This all-or-nothing approach takes weakens a series that began with an interesting premise. There is no getting around it.

Herein lies the corpse of Kare wa Diablo. No longer shall I gaze upon your pages. No longer shall I see Meiko occasionally gaining superhuman strength from eating Anpan whilst random stuff happens around her. You promised so much but fell headfirst into a pit trap. You shall not be missed.

With this in mind, I have decided to not do a review of the entire series as originally intended, as I think that I have gone over the strengths and flaws of the series in sufficient detail already. I will, however, say that this series began at an eight and ended at a six out of ten. Well, at least it isn’t the abomination that is Butterflies, Flowers… 

Advertisements


1 Comment

Manga Review: Kare wa Diablo Vol. 2

Alternate Names: He is Diablo!, Kare wa Diovolo
Year: 2010-2011
Author/Artist: Kayoko Shimotsuki
Genre: Shoujo, Urban Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Drama

Reviewers Note: Volume 2 covers consists of chapters 5-8 with a bonus chapter at the end. This review is based on the S2 Scanlations English translation. >insert spoiler warning here<

In volume two of this series, Asuma / Asmodeus, that douchebag fallen that appeared in volume one, makes his grand appearance after acting in the shadows. He now attempts to get back at Rui / Lucifer by trying to destroy the bond between the other fallen’s relationship with Meiko. In the process, it only “makes their bond stronger”. It also results in Asman taking a liking to her ahead of being forced into a witch contract with resident swashbuckling cosplayer Toutsu by Lucifer. After that, an arc about the cultural festival introduces two new characters. Meh…

This week’s installment is a case of diminishing returns, as the story is becoming weirder. In an effort to add in lots of things to the story, such as the cliched Cultural Festival arc, it is all over the place narratively. We do see a moment of brilliance in the form of a flashback to Rui’s past with his former witch Lillith. The form of him being cut in half by Michael whilst protecting her is sobering even if the rest of the chapters undo much of this.
This brings us to the question of how many things a series can include before the mess of ideas overpowers the story. I think that the first volume did okay even if it wasn’t brilliant. In volume two, the story is diluted to the point where the goodwill built up in the first volume is being undone. This is a shame as well because the series had a decent premise.

Verdict: I am downgrading this series from eight to seven Aguris. I cannot justify keeping my rating as high as it was because the second volume was a bit of a letdown. Perhaps the third and final volume will give this series some well-needed TLC. I suppose we will have to wait and see.


1 Comment

Manga Review: Kare wa Diablo Vol. 1

Alternate Names: He is Diablo!, Kare wa Diovolo
Year: 2010-2011
Author/Artist: Kayoko Shimotsuki
Genre: Shoujo, Urban Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Drama

Reviewers Note: Each volume consists of four chapters. This review is based on the S2 Scanlations English translation.

Whilst trying to find a few completed manga series to get stuck into, I came across a short-run series called Kare wa Diablo. The first chapter proved to be interesting enough for me to read the first volume. Here is the premise:

High Schooler Meiko has a major crush on a boy at her high school. However, he has a girlfriend. So, she does what any self-respecting school girl with an interest in the occult does – she summons a supernatural being to make the object of her affection fall madly in love her.
Well, it turns out that she made the arrangement with Lucifer, who also decides that teaching her class would be a great way to amuse himself. As Meiko deals with the ramifications of her request, her demonic summon puts forward the option for her to become his witch or let one of her schoolmates get murdered due to the initial request. So begins a silly story about demons, witches and the power of Anpan.

The first chapter of this series has a bit of a darker edge to it. However, it is made clear in the latter parts of this chapter of what to expect from this series: a comedy set in a world where the supernatural lies just below the surface… with enough variation in pace and story arcs to keep it interesting. Whilst these arcs are often predictable, the first volume was still enjoyable. The romance element is there but it takes second place to the comedy, which is not necessarily a bad thing given how focusing on romance often means focusing on drama.

This series involves a cast of human, demon and angelic characters. The human cast comes off as just as interesting as the non-humans so far. Whilst I can understand why people may not like Meiko as a protagonist because of how quickly she adapts to all of the weird stuff happening around her, I think that this makes her more of an interesting character because she isn’t an emotional wreck. Lucifer’s use of telepathy for communication with Meiko is a simple way of avoiding other people knowing who and what he is. As expected, there is also a playful aspect to characters such as Lucifer and Beelzebub.
Now, to the art! Whilst the linework is clean and crisp, the character designs aren’t overly unique. We see your standard stereotype appearances, such as Lucifer having the “black prince” type. However, the monsters are visually interesting and the action sequences do just enough to do their job. The artwork as a whole looks pretty fresh for a series released nearly a decade ago. It ages well not only because of the linework but due to the artist making the smart move of not including references to pop culture or technology. So, no talk of MySpace or use of phones that need to be carried around on a wheelbarrow.

In conclusion, the first volume was a joy to read and reminds me a little of Kamisama Kiss so far, but with more of a focus on the comedy rather than the romance. If you are looking for a short-run shoujo comedy than I highly recommend that you give this series a short. I give the first volume of this series eight out of ten Aguris.


Leave a comment

TV Review: Goblin Episode 05

Year: 2016 – 2017
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr. Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

After helping out the ghost of a recently deceased student,  Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is asked by Kim Shin (Goon Yoo) to move into his place. After returning to the bridge where she first met our resident amnesiac Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook), Sunny (Yoo In Na) is finally able to go out on a sort-of date with the clueless immortal. This, unfortunately, results in him feeling more and more out of sorts as he had no name to give her. With Ji Eun Tak’s arrival comes the requirement for both Kim Shin and the Reaper getting a mobile phone for the first time.
Reaper enlists Ji Eun Tak’s aid in creating a name for himself to go by. Over the following days, we see Kim Shin’s growing jealous over the short periods of time she spends with Reaper. It brings to a head an argument between Ji Eun Tak and Kim Shin that adds to Kim Shin’s already difficult problem in being in love for Ji Eun Tak, the Goblin’s destined and the catalyst for his death.

Episode 5 sees the focus moving towards Sunny and Reaper’s relationship. It was neat seeing the awkwardness of Reaper’s character, showing just how inexperienced he is in dealing with living, breathing people. His issues with the forgotten bits of his past life make him a genuinely sympathetic character. He doesn’t know what actions caused him to not move on and therefore cannot make amends. The previous episode also showed that he is capable of being kind to the souls that he acts as a facilitator for. Sunny’s character is still a bit of an enigma but there have been hints from previous episodes that the Samshin Lady has some purpose for bringing the two together. The more that I watch the series, the more that I am convinced that it is less vindictive than I initially believed.
As for Kim Shin, we see his own awareness of his feelings for Ji Eun Tak becoming more and more difficult for him. However, this also makes the choice easier for him. He wants Ji Eun Tak to be happier and the last few scenes of the episode give the audience the impression that there is likely a lot of other stuff that is happening off-screen. We got a glimpse of this during the previous episode as well, with Kim Shin enlisting the aid of Reaper to speak with one of his wards for the last time. I am hoping that the focus on Sunny and Reaper’s relationship allows us a reprieve for a while as Kim Shin’s situation is dragging on a bit.
For the previous four episodes, we’ve seen both Reaper and Kim Shin continually using magic to move around. In this fifth episode, we learn the major problem that both face in regards to the house. Reliance on their magic has resulted in them ignoring simple things like remembering the security code for the house. In Reaper’s case, we also see a steep learning curve when he receives his first phone. As amusing as this is, the odd nature of these two immortals does threaten to distract from some other aspects of the story.

Whilst I enjoyed this episode, some things about it concerned me. This is less about what happened and more about my anticipation about how the writers will address the next half of this series. I am worried that some stuff will be dragged on for too long thus undoing some of the entertainment value of the series so far. I suppose that I will just have to trust that the writers had enough sense when they planned out the main arcs of the story.  Regardless, I will continue watching this series because there is so much to love. It is the attention to small details, the ability for those small details to tell us so much about the characters and their situation.


Leave a comment

TV Review: Goblin Episode 04

Year: 2016 – 2017
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

At the end of the previous episode, Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) discovers that Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) can see the sword in his chest. He must now deal with the ramifications of this discovery. Where previously he liked the young woman but had resigned himself to continuing his search for the priestess that could remove the sword and put an end to his existence, he is confronted with the possibility that his days are numbered. Both Kim Shin and the Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) begin taking anti-anxiety medication for their woman troubles, with amusing consequences.
As our resident Grim Reaper and Goblin begin tripping balls because of their issues, with Ji Eun Tak being put up in a nice hotel with Yoo Deok Hwa (Yook Sung Jae) being roped into helping her out. (The young man is still being watched like a hawk by his grandfather’s investigator.) The ghosts that Ji Eun Tak begin helping her deal with the girl that has been bullying her. However, she is getting more and more worried that Kim Shin doesn’t like her as much as she likes him. Eventually, Kim Shin visits her and the two go on some outings together, all the while Ji Eun Tak talks about the sword without realising that the removal of the sword is supposed to end his life.

This fourth episode certainly knows how to step things up a notch. Just when I thought that I had a decent grasp of Kim Shin, we see hiss reaction to the death of man that we met in a previous episode. It gave us more of a glimpse into his character, showing that Kim Shin has affected many lives over the centuries.
We also got to see the ongoing issues with Ji Eun Tak’s Aunt and cousins. We knew that magic had been involved but up until this point in time, it seemed like the gold bars were quite mundane. Between where they came from and the forgetfulness spell put upon the bars, the trio of nastiness and greed will likely be busy for a long time.
Finally, we see both Kim Shin and our Grim Reaper dealing with the implications of love. Whilst Kim Shin has a mortality problem, Grim Reaper has somehow lost the phone number of Sunny (Yoo In Na), Ji Eun Tak’s boss. Of course, he isn’t aware that Sunny is Ji Eun Tak’s boss yet but that will likely happen in the next few episodes. After all, there is only six more episodes to go and pacing dictates that it will have to happen soon.

Anyway, it was another solid episode and I look forward to watching the next. If you watched this episode, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section. Until next time, have an awesome day!


Leave a comment

TV Review: Goblin Episode 03

Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 3/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

I watched this episode more than a month ago and never got around to review it. Because I wanted to discuss it with the instalment fresh in my mind, I decided to rewatch it today. It turned out to be just as enjoyable as when I first watched it.

N.B. Spoilers below.

After being kidnapped by debt-collectors of her horrible aunt, Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is rescued dramatically by Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) with the resident Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) in tow. Over the span of the previous two episodes, Kim Shin has taken a liking to the young woman but has to deal with her attempts to not get her hopes up by relying on him.
In the midst of this, the resident Grim Reaper is reminded of his own situation. We also get to learn more about the organization that he works for, including talk of an upcoming Grim Reaper workshop and reunion. As Ji Eun Tak makes sense of how she feels about Kim Shin leaving for Canada, Grim Reaper meets Ji Eun Tak’s boss Sunny (Yoo In Na) at the stall of the magically disguised shaman lady that protected Ji from the Grim Reaper years before, making it apparent that she has her own plans for the pair.

This episode does a great job of kicking the second major arc into gear. Whilst we got to see the old shaman lady in passing over the previous episodes, we now get to see what she is up to. We also know that it has something to do with Sunny and Grim Reaper. There is also an emerald ring involved, something that is likely related to both of their past lives.
We also get to see the developing friendship of Kim Shin and Grim Reaper, after years of being at each other’s throats. We see that both are capable of kindness and that they heavily misunderstand each other. There is some nice commentary from the older of Kim Shin’s servants talking about how the two need each other in spite of their reluctance to accept this fact. Whilst Kim Shin has servants and memory of his life, we see the loneliness and frustration of the amnesiac Grim Reaper. Now, if only they’ll put aside the childish bickering…
As for Ji Eun Tak, we see her grow heavily during this episode. Her attempt to not rely on Kim Shin is endearing as it comes from multiple places: she doesn’t want to be an imposition on Kim Shin and she is also concerned that relying on other people will likely end badly. And yet, she makes a decision this episode that shows a clarity of purpose. She wants to be with Kim Shin. This decision also results in the confirmation of something that we have known for a while, that Ji Eun Tak is Goblin’s bride, the priestess that will be able to remove the sword that keeps him alive.

In conclusion, this episode knocked it out of the park. The character development and plot are moving along nicely, with some genuinely funny moments that add to the story rather than subtract from it. This continues to be an enjoyable series and I look forward to watching more episodes.


2 Comments

TV Review: Goblin Episode 02

Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 1/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: Wikipedia, MyDramaList,  HanCinema, KoreanDrama, AsianWiki, DramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

*waves* I finally got around to watching the second episode of Goblin. Yes, I did take a few weeks to get to it along with some other stuff. Sorry for the delay.

The second episode follows the events after Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) follows Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) through the door to Canada. After spending a day in Quebec, Ji Eun Tak is returned to Korea where she has to put up with her crappy relatives. Our resident Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) discusses the task of retrieving several missing souls with another reaper, then gets into a pissing contest with Kim Shin after the Goblin keeps him up all night trying to think of the most trendy way to look when summoned next. Ji Eun Tak gets a job at the least busy Chicken restaurant in the city where she works for the most deliberately disinterested and pretty manager. Our heroine is also watched over by a transformed version of that old spirit-seer that her mother used to know, the one that stood up for the girl during the Grim Reaper’s delayed retrieval of her mother’s soul. After her horrible aunt is visited by nefarious loan sharks, they kidnap the girl for the bankbook for the girl’s insurance money from her mother’s death. In lieu of the young woman being in danger, Kim Shin and Grim Reaper’s telekinetic fight at the dinner table is disrupted and they come to her aid.

Though this show isn’t necessarily a comedy, it had large amounts of funny moments. We still get the feeling that Ji Eun Tak’s aunt’s family are a bit like Harry Potter’s horrible relatives but we also learn how much her family rely on her insurance money. As for the Kim Shin and Grim Reaper, the two show themselves to be more than willing to behave like children when competing with each other. We aren’t given much information about their long-term feud but one gets the feeling that their history will be elaborated on in future episodes. In any case, the episode was highly enjoyable and a good fit for watching in tandem with Dame wa Watashi ni Koshite Kudasai. I will definitely be continuing this highly entertaining series.