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Manga Appreciation Week: Book Review – Demon Diary by Kara and Lee Chi Hyong

Title: Demon Diary (vol 1)

Author:Written by Lee Chi Hyong; Illustrated by Kara

Genre: Manhwa (South Korean) – Comedy/Fantasy

demon diary

Publisher: Tokyopop Press Inc
Publication Date: 1 Jun 2004
Paperback: 192 pages

Summary: Raenef is the black sheep of the demon court, with minimal knowledge of magic and courtly etiquette. In order to help him claim his birthright as a demon lord, the gods send him the wise and noble demon teacher Eclipse to be his tutor. As Raenef and Eclipse begin their journey of discovery, they find that the bonds of friendship are stronger than the teacher/student relationship.

Why Did I Read The Book: For the Manga Appreciation Week. Why did I pick this one in particular? Amazon recommendations. *Ana rolls eyes*


Will I ever learn? Instead of picking a recommendation from any of the myriad of bloggers that read Manga, I go and get one based on Amazon recommendations. This is not the first time I end up with a contender for Worst Book of the Year (Noughts and Crosses anyone?) .

Demon Diary in one word: Meh.

I wished this was quite enough to constitute a review since I don’t want to spend any more time than I already did with this but something (Thea) tells me it is not.

Young Raenef is the newly appointed Demon Lord , a position he accepted merely because he, being a street urchin, wanted housing and feeding for free. But so much more comes attached to the “job” – as anyone with a shred of intelligence can surmise by its title – Hello, Demon LORD. Raenef is to inherit the powers of the Demon Lord that came before him and to learn the arts of being a powerful demon in the wars against humans. A Demon called Eclipse, rumoured to be very cruel and powerful is to be his instructor and the comic centres on these two characters’ relationship.

It kicks off with Eclipse teaching Raenef how to address those that are beneath him (ie. pretty much anyone) and those first scenes are enough to tell me that I am in for a bumpy ride. I am sure Raenef was intended to come across as a loveable fool, or an endearing youngster with a heart of gold, but the better words to describe him would be: moronic idiot. His incapacity to grasp even the basics of what he is supposed to be was mind-blowing. I guess the Eclipse School of Teaching doesn’t help either – I fail to see how yelling “you will reign in terror whether you like it or not” to your student is an effective way of teaching but what do I know?

From the get go, it is clear this is intended to be a light, comic story– and the examples I used above are in truth, supposed to be funny. Yet, they are not.

Eclipse who is rumoured to be this really mean guy is and is respected by everybody soon enough starts to behave like Raenef and becomes attached to the young chap and they develop a friendship – probably a prelude of things to come, in which Raenef, the Demon Lord himself, with his humanity and goodness will most likely bridge the gap between demons and humans?

But the irony was lost in me because the text was mediocre, the art was nothing to write home about and the book failed miserably in what it set out to do: make me laugh. I wonder if maybe the jokes got lost in the translation? The second volume has a different writer which may well indicate better things to come. Unfortunately I haven’t got the slightest inclination to find out.

Notable Quotes / Parts: errr….

Additional Thoughts: there are two bonus stories with Demon Diary. Crystal Heart and Terra both written by Soome Lee and illustrated by the same Kara. What can I say? Both as mediocre and boring as the book they are attached to.

Verdict: Don’t waste your time or your money with this one.

Rating: 1 – yes, I thought it was that bad and I want my hours (ok, it was half an hour at the most, still I could have watched a re-run episode of Friends – much funnier) and my money (7 quid!!) back.

Reading Next The Tarot Cafe Vols. 1-7 by Park Sang-sun

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  • Thea
    January 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Ouch and ouch. Definitely gonna pass on this one–it’s a shame since the premise does sound like it could be pretty humorous. Or at least interesting.

    On the bright side, I love these little snarky reviews. 😈

  • Ana
    January 13, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Gaah, I don’t know Thea – this series seems to be pretty successful. Maybe it is just me? 😕

    I thought it was so so mediocre and really, Manga is SO expensive, it needs to be VERY good for one to keep buying, would you agree? The Demon Lord – boy did.my.head.in.


  • Kris
    January 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Ick, but Thea’s right Ana you definitely give the best snarky reviews.

  • Chandra
    January 13, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    If you are going to read about demons, you really ought to have read Chrono Crusade by Daisuke Moriyama.

    It has a nun with a gun in 1920s New York battling hellspawn with the aid of her cute little demon partner.

  • Ghost
    December 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Gotta be honest – I love Demon Diary. I did find it cute, funny, charming; basically everything it set out to be. Though the latter books are a bit darker. And I adored the artwork as well.

    But to each their own.

  • Anonymous
    January 23, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Thanks for finally writing about > %blog_title% < Liked it!

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