I enjoyed the first volume of A Devil and Her Love Song, and was curious to see if the next volume lived up to the potential of the first one. Though there were some rough spots, I found myself still intrigued by this new shoujo manga.
Maria and Yusuke go to visit their classmate Tomoyo, who has been staying home from school. I was amused to see that Tomoyo, who goes out of her way to be bland and agreeable to everyone at school, is actually a closet goth. They just stay for a visit and don’t confront Tomoyo about her coming back to school, but Maria forces the issue when she shows up at Tomoyo’s house then next morning. She goads Tomoyo into saying what she really feels, then comments “That angry look isn’t flattering on you…but it isn’t half bad.” When Tomoyo goes back to school she finally speaks out and defends Maria against the group of popular girls who have been bullying her. Shin stops Maria from reacting when the situation in the classroom gets out of hand and Yusuke goes to confront their teacher about his hypocritical ways. Instead, the teacher decides to set Maria up as a scapegoat to cover for his lack of discipline in the classroom. He decides that Maria will be leading the class choral performance, and she has to scramble to put something together when she’s ostracized by her classmates. Yusuke is singled out as an ally of Maria’s and he says that he likes her in front of the class. Maria isn’t sure if he genuinely likes her, or if he’s trying to protect her. She pushes him away, telling him that if he defends her “it’s suffocating.”
Maria attempts to pull together a choral performance despite the fact that the entire class isn’t cooperating. It is fun to see the random friendship that she’s developed with Tomoyo, as they always seem to wind up in a corner of the school discussing the day’s events. Yusuke hovers around, determined to help. Yusuke drags Shin into the choral performance too, since he can play the piano. The class grows more and more tense, provoking even more of a confrontation between Maria’s allies and the classmates who have decided to hate her. Maria’s habit of blurting out whatever she’s thinking forces all of these conflicts into the open. Someone more socialized might put their head down and attempt to ignore everything, but Maria comments on what everybody is doing, making everyone confront their behavior and reactions. Things are getting pretty bad at school, so it is easy to see why Maria’s gotten kicked out of school so many times before. But the small core group of friends that she’s developing is something new for her, and she’s actually trying to engage with other people in a way she doesn’t quite seem capable of. This series continues to be very promising, I’m just hoping that there is more Shin in the next volume, since this one was more centered on Maria and Yusuke.
Review copy provided by the publisher