Devils and Realist, Vol 1

Devils and Realist Vol 1 by Madoka Takadono and Utako Yukihiro

Devils and Realist is an amusing fish out of water supernatural tale about a young scientific aristocrat and the devils who torment him. The realist of the title is William Twining, an elite member of the English aristocracy who prides himself on his elite status and his logical mind. He makes an uncomfortable discovery when he goes home for a school holiday. His uncle, who was in charge of his fortune has rendered him penniless. William discovers that his house is almost entirely empty and he only has one lone servant left in Kevin Cecil, who is staying on without being paid and learning how to garden for vegetables in the absence of any other food.

William is determined to come up with the money to pay for his tuition, because it would never do for someone of his standing to apply for a scholarship. As he and Kevin scour the house trying to find something valuable, they happen across a hidden room, with a door that is unlocked by William’s blood when he suffers an accident trying to break it down. A mystical spell is invoked and the demon Dantalion appears in grand fashion, only to tell William that he’s now a central figure in the electoral politics of Hell, because William possesses “the Blood of Solomon”. William isn’t ready to believe that he has a mystical connection with a bunch of demons, and invents a series of comically rational explanations for all the supernatural phenomena he’s starting to encounter. Dantalion is joined by other demons, all of who want to win William to their side. William remains stubbornly focused on finishing up his schooling in the human world, leading to additional wacky complications.

There are some parallel themes here with Black Butler, but I found that series to be a bit mean spirited and creepy.
Devils and Realist is more of a gently comedic take on the genre, with William’s stubbornness manifesting in various ways. There are hints that William’s ancestors might not be all that innocent and Dantalion has some hidden motivations that might serve to illuminate his character in later volumes. The art for Devils and Realist is attractive, with particular attention paid to the character designs of the parade of demons which makes it much easier to distinguish them. I enjoyed this volume, and I’ll try volume 2 before deciding to go all in on following this series. I could see William’s realism being used for jokes getting a bit tiring after multiple volumes when he’s surrounded by an army of demons, so I’m interested to see if the author comes up with some other plot devices to keep things fresh.

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