Last year, we were treated to an anime, Akuma no Riddle/Riddle Story of a Devil, which was sold blatantly as a Yuri anime, but failed, really to be anything specific. I mean, yes, there was some kind of emotion between Haru and Tokaku, but it was neither explained nor allowed any time to develop. In my review of the anime, I note “Tokaku has feels for Haru, but they are tucked well away and Haru “daisuki”s Tokaku, but that could mean – especially in the context of the story – just about anything.”
The manga for the series is written by Kouga Yun, who is much admired among manga creators, both for her skill and for her longevity. Okazu readers probably know her best as the creator of Loveless, but Earthian was her first huge breakout hit. (Does anyone else remember the Earthian anime? It was a 3-episode OVA made from a 21-volume manga series that made no sense, but was one of the first BL stories to be translated into English. Gay angels were so 1990s.)
Having watched the anime for Akuma no Riddle, I didn’t have any particular hope that the manga would be more coherent. Predictably, it is not. Volume 1 of Akuma no Riddle (悪魔のリドル) is almost word for word the anime, with ever so slightly more emphasis on individual concepts, and less on prolonged action scenes. So many things that were unexplained in the anime remain unexplained. Why Myoujou High has a “black class” of assassins who are to kill a classmate – unexplained. The creepy principal, his koan-like riddles – unexplained, why he gives a rat’s ass about Toukaku – unexplained. How Haru really manages to not die – unexplained. The one thing that is well and truly explained, as best as there is an explanation for it, is Tokaku’s decision to side with Haru. The explanation is worth the time it takes to get there – she feels like it. You go, Tokaku. ^_^
The other assassin’s backstories will be varying degrees of interesting, but right away we learn that Isuke was rescued from neglectful/abusive parents and raised by two fathers, a fact that, like so many others in this series, are presented without context or explanation. No one says “Really? Two dads? Are they, like together?” as one might expect.
Riddle Story of a Devil manga has been licensed by Seven Seas with an October 2015 release date, and is already listed on the new Yuricon Store, along with all the other available Yuri manga in English! I have no doubt that they will do a competent job with what is a competent adaptation of a ever-so-slightly-perplexing anime. ^_^
Art – 9 Clean and sharp
Story – So many holes, but fun 7
Characters – Pathos ahoy! 7
Service – 4 Because apparently this is a thing that boys need or something, I dunno.
Yuri – 1 Ever so slight in this story as a whole until the end, when it pops like a jiffy pop pan, hardly anything in this volume.
Overall – 7
It’s good, but I had kind of wished for better than just “good.”