Twitch plays Death Note.
Story/Art: Kaori Yuki
Translation/Adaptation: Camellia Nieh
What They Say
From the ultimate nightmare that is Walpurgis, Sorath escapes to modern Japan. There, he lives in an unconventional household that includes Nonoha, the daughter of his dearest friend, and Mephistopheles, the Lord of Hell, who bides his time for a chance to kill his master. This time, these hands will protect my loved ones! That’s Sorath’s wish, but somehow Nonoha is slipping through his fingers. Will Sorath’s hands once again be stained by the blood of the person he most cherishes?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One thing can be said for Kaori Yuki’s work, it’s never dull. Confusing sometimes, weird certainly, but not dull. After the chaotic opening of the gates of hell last volume of Demon From Afar we’re plunged in to what seems to be end game material right from the start. Sorath learns from the sketchy Sakaki what his real identity was and why he had been locked up years ago. Demon’s are raging around Baron Kamichika while this happens, and Garan learns that his tryst with Leice has resulted in a pregnancy. If that wasn’t enough Noella and Kiyora are trapped in the same body which is quickly perishing.
The tragedy is not resolved cleanly. The demon’s overpower Kamichika, and Leice isn’t able to free itself from the contract. Sorath’s hand mark results in the death of his best friend, and both Kiyora and Noella die. The only bright spot is Sorath assuming control of Leice and the promise that the child inside Leice’s body might contain the soul of either Kiyora or Noella.
Suddenly the chaos resolves and we’re plunged in to present day Japan. We learn in retrospect that Sorath and Sakaki were on the run from the demon forces and at some point were driven into a corner, forcing Sorath to use the child of Leice to flee in to the future. Confused yet? The entire previous volume was a very complex set up for where the series actually wanted to get to, a battle against demons in present day.
When we are reintroduced to Sorath he’s living an assumed life as the parent figure of a girl named Nonoha. She’s the daughter of Garan and Leice, and is surprisingly well adjusted for being a partially supernatural being. Leice plays at being her mother figure but all isn’t happy in paradise. They’re constantly on the look out for demons who want the power of the child, and Sorath is constantly on guard of Leice. They might seem to get along but Leice is still a demon through and through. I’m glad they didn’t tone down the hatred and anger both characters struggle with in dealing with each other, even though they hide it well.
I’m usually weary when a young girl character is suddenly introduced like this. Nonoha isn’t as naive or obnoxious as she could be. It’s overly convenient that she only begins to question her unusual home life right when we rejoin the story. You’d think her horns would have tipped her off long before.
Those demons unleashed a hundred years before have taken root in society, feeding off humans and causing havok. A young man who is a rising internet star is convinced the demon on his shoulder is actually an angel and has concocted a Death Note like scheme to kill people he deems unworthy to live. His internet broadcasts have drawn the attention of a talent competition and many lives are at risk. Chief among them are Nonoha’s as she befriends the angry young man and is kidnapped by him and the demon manipulating him.
Yen’s presentation remains top notch. The book retains it’s hard cover and clip case along with a color frontispiece illustration. There’s a page of character profiles to catch you back up to speed and a page of translations notes along with a short preview of the next volume to close it out.
It’s hard to get a handle on Demon from Afar. The setting takes a hard right turn as this once period piece manga is catapulted into the present day. Characters develop off panel as everything we thought we knew about the story changes, and the execution of that switch in setting is not elegant in the least. While the art is solid it’s not the greatest of Yuki’s work, although Yen’s presentation remains high class. Once in the present the story evens back out and turns in to a trial of humanity verses demons. The interplay between Sorath and Leice remain the most interesting thing about the story so far, creating a will they or won’t they situation for the reader to ponder. I wouldn’t be surprised if the change in focus and the introduction of Nonoha causes readers to loose interest.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 24th, 2015