Recently, it seems as though Tokyopop has opted for a different approach to their manga releases, whether it be bundling them in an omnibus format or releasing the first two volumes of a series at the same time. Taking this approach with Demon Sacred, the first two volumes allow potential readers a broader introduction to the series than one would ordinarily get with a single volume. It also helps that both volumes are bargained priced at $5.99 each. Crafted by Natsumi Itsuki, famous for the sci-fi hit Jyu Oh Sei, Demon Sacred features the author’s familiar mix of fantasy and supernatural drama.
Rena and her husband are finally fulfilling their desire of visiting the country of Finland, the home of her idol, musician Mika Vlatka. The trip has mixed meanings for her as Vlatka had passed on at the age of 24, somewhat dampening their excitement of visiting her birthplace. While taking a moment to enjoy the sights, the pair come across a herd of unicorns seemingly herded by the once thought dead Mika Vlatka. When Rena turns around, everyone else has vanished. Shortly thereafter Rena disappears as well without a trace.
The story jumps forward fifteen years and shifts its focus on twins Rina and Mona. Despite being twins, Rina displays a much younger appearance, suffering from a mysterious illness called Return Syndrome. Those afflicted grow younger rather than older, until they disappear. Their guardian takes it upon himself to join a pharmaceutical company in order to research the disease before it turns fatal. Interestingly enough, the first recognized occurrence of the disease is the incident dating back to the disappearance of Rena and Ryota. Even more peculiar is Mka Vlatka’s connection to the twins through their mother, having taken care of them when their mother was ill.
When Mika steps back into the girl’s lives, he brings with him a host of mysteries, the most concerning of which is his ability to summon demons as a way to cure Rina of the Return Syndrome. As the series digs deeper into the mysteries concerning the return syndrome, it is revealed that the strain is actually a result of contact with a demon and contagious as well. From there other demons crawl out of the woodwork to spice things up for the twins.
The story evokes traditional themes of heartbreak and loss while at the same time focusing on scientific principles that give it an added weight that separates it from the throng of other titles on the racks. Even more surprising is this is considered a shojo title though there is little traditional romance to be had. That said, a host of “pretty boys” to take up a good deal of page room with their sole function being to solidify the series as a shojo work.
The story moves quickly enough and manages to sprinkle in enough character development along the way that the character’s journeys feel meaningful. Also of note is the light moments of humor interweaved throughout that keep the series from treading completely into darker territory.
While Demon Sacred is labeled a shojo series, it reads similar to a drama piece intermingled with fantasy and a bit of science. The series is off to a good start but the rapid pace of which the story is moving combined with the amount of plot the author is trying to cover threatens to derail the series early. Here’s to hoping Itsuki can avoid her ambitions crashing down as is too often the case for series’ trying to accomplish too much within a short amount of time.
If you’re in the market for an imaginative story with more than a few twists weaved throughout, consider giving Demon Sacred a go round.