Demon Love Spell Volume 3 by Mayu Shinjo
It is nice being able to read a Mayu Shinjo series that I can wholeheartedly enjoy. There are so many overly serious paranormal romance stories out there, it is still refreshing to visit Demon Love Spell for a bit of a comedic spin on the genre. Bumbling shrine maiden Miko and overly alpha male incubus Kagura are just goofy enough to be funny but not ridiculous, and their relationship has enough character-based humor that it is easy to root for them as a couple.
This volume opens with the overly theatrical banishing of a demon by Sou Yamabuki, a former pupil of Miko’s father. Kagura in chibi-form gets jealous that Miko is crushing on Yamabuki on TV, but she assures him that she thinks he’s the coolest. At school the next day Miko gets a bunch of attention from other guys and excitedly assumes that she’s now popular with boys. Miko and Kagura go on an actual date with some great moments where Miko blackmails Kagura into ignominious activities like eating hamburgers by threatening to shrink him again. The ending of the date is interrupted by Sou, who promptly banishes the source of Miko’s new found charms – a weak succubus demon. With Sou, Shinjo explores the old standby “sudden fiance” as he decides that he needs to marry Miko in order to take her away from Kaguya. Sou also reveals that while Miko’s ability to apply her power might not be the best yet, she’s actually extremely gifted. Sou’s desires seem to center more on gaining demon fighting power than truly caring for Miko. Kaguya decides upon an extremely unorthodox method to fend off his rival, but it does show how much he actually cares for the priestess. The next main story in the volume focuses on the sudden appearance of a handsome snow demon who spends some time protecting Miko when Kaguya storms off in a huff.
I still sort of wish that some of Shinjo’s other, earlier series would be translated over here. Sensual Phrase has most other English-translated shoujo beat for unadulterated melodrama. But Demon Love Spell is a nice substitute. It has the humor of Ai Ore without going too far out into left field, and the relationship between Miko and Kaguya is nicely balanced due to the power imbalance inherit in him spending a good portion of each day as mini-figure clipped to her handbag. This was a satisfying volume of this series, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Miko’s newly revealed power in future volumes.