Akuma ni Chic x Hack is the latest shoujo manga by Arina Tanemura, you may know her other works such as I.O.N, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Full Moon o Sagashite as well as her character design work for idol app Idolish7. Its Arina’s 20th anniversary of being a mangaka and there will be an exhibition starting 17th December 2016 until 4th January 2017. What better way to celebrate than read her newest manga, which has been gathered together into 2 volumes and is complete.
Before I start reviewing I wanna talk about how I found out about Arina Tanemura’s new manga when I saw her tweet about her 20th Anniversary and that in the middle of the promotional picture was Jeanne from Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. That’s when I realized it was her who made that series (I was following her because of Idolish7 and only now I realise she’s the same person who created a manga which was made into one of my fav old school animes) 😆 Back when I was a kid my sister borrowed a box-set for the anime and we watched a few eps before she had to return it, even if it was a short while I became really interested in it and the first OP just stuck in my head even now.
Then I find out she had a new manga released now (2016) and the covers looked gr8 so I thought why not try it, so here we are now. Thank goodness it had furigana so I can understand it more.
Giselle (the heroine) is a demon from a prestigious family who runs off to the human world to find a boy she had fallen in love 6 years ago. The boy’s name is Ichiritsu Shiina, 6 years ago when he was 10 years old he had summon Giselle to grant his wish in return for his heart/life. They form a pact but before saying what his wish was Giselle is taken away by her servants and back the demon world. When a demon forms a pact they cannot eat any other human until they grant their current pact’s wish and being under 200 years old she cannot fully grant Ichiritsu’s wish.
6 years later and Giselle is 200 years old, ready to mingle into the human world and find the boy she had formed a pact with. She goes to an all boys Catholic School (Saint. Grimor Academy, no lie thats the name of the school) and crossdresses so she could be closer to Ichiritsu and find out what his true wish is while trying not be found out to be both a girl and a demon.
Her only lead on what his wish was is the name “Shundai”…
Its alright, maybe ok, nothing too great but not bad. I liked the premises it had but all in all it felt a bit fast paced in some places (kinda rushed is what I mean in terms of story/plot). I wished it was given time to let the plot flow rather than have some plot points fastened so the next plot/scene can happen and it can all be put into 2 neat volumes. At times I had to go back a page to see if I didnt skip something once a new and completely different scene suddenly happens. One example of this was Giselle in her akuma form, already in the human world ready to look for Ichiritsu and then next page we’re at an all boy’s school and there’s this new boy introduced, the next page over it’s revealed to be Giselle and I was like what? She never said her plan was to crossdress to get into an all boy’s school or even said that she knew that Ichiritsu must be there so I was so confused.
Its interesting that the 2nd volume cover makes it seem like a ‘reverse-harem’ when in reality this is [spoilers, highlight to read] both a shoujo and a BL manga, the middle guy (Ichiritsu) is in love with the guy on the right (Shundai) and the guy on the left (Masokachi) ends up Giselle. What a twist! I think with that twist its best to not spoil it because it sure as hell shocked me but then again I did have a feeling that was gonna happen (I may have spoilt it on my otome twitter account, I’m sorry 😆 )
There are a few things you can see coming, more or less the manga gives you a small hint before revealing the thing but that small hint can make it more easier predicatable to see what will happen next if you think too much on it.
There are some inconsistencies in some places if you think really hard on it, like why was it necessary for Giselle to crossdress into an all boy’s school to get close to him when she could’ve appeared before him as Giselle and get closer as Giselle (Spoiler: She was found out as a girl past the halfway point in Vol.1 and then revealed herself as Giselle to Ichiritsu in the next chapter ASAP) but I guess its best not to think too much on it.
Another inconsistency is Ichiritsu’s personality. When we first meet him he looks like a nice kid, then when he’s older he’s mean. His friend said he was always nice until 6 years ago or something but…
When he first met his friend he slapped him across the face 😆 Maybe 10 year old Ichiritsu is just Giselle’s memory of him looking pure but in reality he prolly wasn’t lmao.
In the end I was expecting it to be something but it turned out to be something else, which can be interesting depending on the person reading it. More or less I wanted it to have a even pace with the story, like slow things down in some places so you can sink into the story without being rushed into things. It left me wanting more from it and kinda got me thinking about buying dvds of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne to see if it was as good as I remembered it lol, maybe I’ll rewatch it one day.
I loved the art, Giselle is so cute even tho she’s supposed to be a demon she has cat ears and wings (she gets the cat ears from her mom). There was a page dedicated to a few doodles of Giselle with Arina Tanemura writing some notes, one of them saying that because theres not gonna be girl characters other than Giselle she wanted to make Giselle as cute as possible. Even in the Author’s notes on the plastic cover, Arina Tanemura said she enjoyed drawing Giselle so much it was kinda healing to her heart. I can understand that because it looks so fun drawing Giselle in different cute dresses I’m sure Arina enjoyed drawing this manga too.
Now, this is where I talk about the spoilers without censoring
If you want to read it yourself, then please don’t read beyond this point
More on the story:
If you’re gonna read this then you better highlight the spoilers above and come back if you haven’t
Ok, the whole story about Akuma ni Chic x Hack is that Ichiritsu’s wish as a kid was to heal his close friend’s (Shundai Sera) leg which he purposely broke because he didn’t want him leaving him to another school where he can do cross-country running or whatever (he asked him to race him on this bridge that he knew was ready to break and Shundai ran ahead and fell through the bridge breaking his leg & never to run again). Ichiritsu and Shundai were close friends ever since they were in the school as prolly 7 year olds or something. Shundai found Ichiritsu walking outside the dorms and Ichiritsu asked him to help him find a place where he can die (he was suicidal ever since he was a kid) and they got closer and Shundai gave him a reason to live, you could say that’s when he fell in love with Shundai. Now as a 16 year old rather than heal Shundai’s leg his wish is to erase Shundai’s memory of Ichiritsu and then be killed by Giselle (who will eat his heart after the wish is granted), because he didn’t want Shundai to live knowing his close friend is dead, it’s best for him to never know he existed.
Giselle finds out about his feelings for Shundai and despite her feelings for him she accepts it, they even settle on being friends in the end. She even asks him confess to Shundai about his feelings and that he caused his leg to break (which doesn’t go well at first, Shundai kinda rejected Ichiritsu’s feelings and then Ichiritsu just immediately wiped his memory out). She also decides not to eat his heart once the wish was granted, saying that she can only eat marshmallows now as a joke (which was a present given to her by Ichiritsu 6 years ago), tho I’m sure its just because she doesn’t want him to die. Somehow in the end Shundai gets his memories back because Giselle made sure the spell wouldn’t last long. Shundai remembers Ichiritsu’s confession and is now cool with it but he still wants to be friends, while Ichiritsu is like “Yo, I’m gonna make you fall for me” and then they agree on a match to see who will give in first like the dorks they are. So kinda an open ended story for them.
While all of this is going down with Ichiritsu/Shundai, there’s a B story on Giselle’s perverted talking cat friend who transforms into a dude and how they have a history during the 6 years spent in the demon world, before she could go back to the human world. Apparently her father kidnapped this guy (Masokachi) from the human world who was originally an exorcist for demons and her mother put a love potion/spell on him so Giselle can forget about the boy who she made a pact with (which she overhears her parent’s talk about and is angsting about it because she thought she was in love with Masokachi and that he was in love with her) and to also use him as something like a blood bank for when her magic powers drain because she can’t eat humans until she completes the pact. Masokachi has a cat plushie form and a human form, tbh his human form needs a better haircut because his past self had better hair.
Luckily he cut his hair once he remembered who he really was but now with his memory back he teamed up with his otouto who is also an exorcist to kill Giselle, who is now really weak from using all her energy to make the spell/potion to erase Shundai’s memories. Just as he was about to kill her he remembers their 約束 to each other and he kisses her, giving her power back and is like “Yo even without the love potion/spell I still love you”. Not sure how she’s gonna survive now without eating humans seeing that she still hasn’t eaten Ichiritsu but I guess she can survive on marshmallows, which still gives her powers for some reason.
I appreciate how Giselle’s relationship with Ichiritsu turned into a close friendship where she supports him and he supports her in the end, rather than writing something like ‘now that Shundai has lost his memory of you we can hook up’ and turning it into something stupid. She respects & supports his feelings towards Shundai and thats gr8. Hopefully Shundai will reciprocate his feelings even after the story had ended 😆
Either way it was an alright shoujo manga. I’m still looking for a shoujo manga that will intrigue me/get me excited reading, kinda like Kuragehime which I need to catch up on. Kinda craving for a shoujo manga thats unique and not cliched or anything, hopefully one day I’ll find it.
As always, thank you for reading!