Direction: Right to Left
by Izumi Kawachi
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Shonen
Haruhiko is 100% head-over-sneakers for his sweet, shy science teacher Yuka. After all, she’s a total brainiac…and incredibly hot! But what’s he supposed to do when an enchanted vixen named Eukanaria suddenly falls into his lap (in a tiny miniskirt) and demands Haruhiko’s help? Demonic battles, powerful sorcery, and a busy bee who can’t mind her own business…what will happen when magic and mayhem mix?
Fulcanelli, a once human, once demon, now a soul. We don’t really get much information about him this volume, beyond the fact that he has a strong sense of right and wrong, doesn’t mind scaring the hell out of people, and is currently double dead. As in he was once a human then died and became a demon, then some how dies again.
Eukanaria is Fulcanelli’s lover, at least that was the impression I got. She’s a clone of Yuka in looks, and almost in personality. She’s a bit of a bimbo, but she’s dedicated to the guy she loves and is doing everything she can to bring him back. She’s a bit on the violent side, and very decisive about some things, but nonchalant about others. She also seems to lack a sense of morality and decency, and pretty much tortures Haruhiko.
Yuka is, well, an air head. Totally accepting of everything and anything. She’s a teacher (which really does say something about the level of teaching in that school lol), but can’t handle electronics.
Haruhiko is our hero, sort of. For the most part he seems to be a generic seventeen year old guy with a crush on his neighbour and teacher, Yuka. He tends to jump into things without thinking, but also has the determination and strength to stand firm when the crap hits the fan.
Mercurio is by far the the character that has left the biggest impression on me. She appears to be a cute, but highly clumsy girl. She’s an enchanter who specialises in engraving. Her bubbly out going personality is matched only by her desire to help people. She’s also the first of ‘other’ world not to see Haruhiko as a Fulcanelli clone, but rather as an enchanter in his own right. However she holds a dark secret that she longs to tell him off, but is also afraid to. It all comes to a head later in the series and the end results leave a bitter after taste in everyone’s mouth.
Adolf initially seems to be just a clone of Haruhiko. In fact initially I just thought that Izumi had moved Haruhiko’s personality over to a new body. Thankfully over the course of the series he fleshes out and becomes more his own man. While his basic personality is the same as Haruhiko, he’s more determined. He’s also more practicable and able to draw the plans for things he wants to make. Though he has trouble coming up with the initial ideas. He’s exceptionally good at creating things, and at mastering new skills, such as learning how to make a piano for a little girl.
Lavoix is Adolf’s demon, and has a lot of hatred towards Eukanaria. She hates humans, and hates being in the human world and is doing everything she can to get back to her own world. However she ends up staying when Adolf as she turns out to be in love with him.
Over the course of the nine volumes I’ve read there were several characters introduced, such as Mana and Navy. However they only cropped up briefly after the initial introduction. So I didn’t add them to my character musings.
The first volume really grabbed my attention, we had a interesting story decent art, and likable characters. However after the first volume it sort of falters a bit.
I got the impression that Izumi was focusing to heavily on the fanservice, in fact almost every pages has some sort of fanservice on it. This is an issue for me, since I found it distracting. Fanservice has it’s place, and in manga like this you can certainly expect to see more of it. Characters are frequently falling over, sleeping in next to nothing, or simply running around in clothing that would a S&M Queen blush. For me the fanservice does get a bit much, and a bit distracting from the core story.
Sadly, the exciting story we got introduced to in volume one falls by the way side straight away, and I found volumes two through seven to be pretty uninteresting. We get some fights, and a bit of character development, but mostly it seems to be about showing off boobs and arse.
We do get some interesting bits, namely early on with Adolf and Lavoix, but those end rather swiftly. Mana the next enchanter we get to see has no depth to her, everything about her feels forced and that she’s doing everything just to be close to Haruhiko. She’s also pretty much abandoned after her arc, only popping up now and again.
It’s not until Mercurio comes into play fully, and we start to explore her arc that things pick up again. Though sadly her arc is barely a volume and a half long. Despite this it’s by far one of the most heart wrenching one in the series so far, not to mention a bitter sweet ending. I really enjoyed how this arc plays out, and the ending was just perfect.
The next arc that came along is a bit weird, and I’m not really sure what to make of it. It has the potential to be another good arc, but at the same time it also has the feel of another “filler arc”. When will we finally start to get into the main story of Fulcanelli, why he gave his powers to Haruhiko, why he’s been silent since, what’s his relationship with Yuka and a slew of other questions that were posed early on in the series but never answered.
The other thing I found worrying is that after ten volumes there’s no really progress on any level. Granted we do get little bit of character development, and in the Mercurio arc we get some of the biggest developments to date. Yet at the same time it’s like three steps forward then two back. Considering that the series is now over the half way mark we still haven’t been introduced into anything staggering.
While it’s certainly been an interesting read up to this point, and with the last arc it did get interesting. I feel a bit lost reading this series, where is it going? When is it going to get there? Why is it even trying to get there? Sadly at the moment the series feels like a set of disjointed but joined mini-stories, disappointing to say the least.
I have to admit that if I were to have been buying the volumes at release I probably would have ceased buying after the third or fourth volume. Since I bought all ten volumes together I ended up reading them all, which means I read them all. I felt it would have been stupid to buy them all and not read them after all hehe.
As I was reading up on the net for this series I found some interesting stuff, which when I read it suddenly gave me an “ahhhhh that’s why” moment. One of the things that had been bugging about the series was the content of the fanservice, which seemed to focus on an older sex bomb demon beating up the guys. Apparently, in an interview Izumi said she drew this style of fanservice because she has a desire to be treated like that by a sexy older woman:
Izumi Kawachi comments that she often has young boys being belittled as "useless" and "no good" due to her desire to be treated in such a way by an domineering, cute, older woman.
I think that says all we need to know about Izumi right there hehe.
On the art side of things I’m pretty torn, a part of me wants’ to condemn it for being stale and dull. But in fairness the character art ranges from good to excellent. One of the areas that Izumi really excels in is in the characters faces, their facial expressions are all over the place. The various emotions and attitudes we read about in the manga are perfectly depicted on the characters faces through out the volume. I found I couldn’t help but laugh a bit at some of the expressions.
The character designs for the women of the series, especially the demons, is also pretty damned amazing. Though the prevalence of skimpy clothing, string bikinis, huge boobs, kind of spoils it a bit. Though I have to admit my favourite out of the all the demon girls is Mercurio, both of them. The original clumsy sweet girl had an endearing quality that makes you want to help her. After the arc ends and we have the new Mercurio, who is basically an S&M Queen (who doesn’t allow safety words hehe), I still found I liked her more than the others.
Sadly the scenery art is where this series fails. There’s hardly any, oh we get the odd line here or there to show a wall, outside scenery and stuff. But the inside scenery feels generic, there’s no presence to it, and frankly while I was reading the series I tended to blot out the scenery. The only exceptions to this were Paracelsus’ and Fulcanelli’s workshops, which were mildly better. The first time I saw them I was impressed, but that faded away rather quickly since it felt like every time after the first was a carbon copy of the original.
This series rather surprised me in a way. DMP stopped using glossy slip covers to save on costs. This effected a lot of manga (including the Vampire D ones), but they kept the slip covers for this series. As a result the covers are without a doubt gorgeous. Some of them are a little fanservicey but they’re all okay IMO.
The paper is a bit of a let down, I bought mine from the Book Depository and the paper has not aged well. Rather it’s already going yellow, and the ink has faded on some of the volumes. Volumes eight and ten were especially hard to read at times because the ink had faded so much. This could be down to how they were stored in the Book Depository warehouse, but I do wish publishers would take things like storage and longevity into consideration during production.
Another aspect that caused me some concern was the use of honorific’s. It feels like the editors couldn’t decide on whether to use them or not, as a result we get a split. When they’re referring to the girls we get some honorific’s, such as Yuka-chan, but the rest of the time it’s Mr this and Mr that, it just doesn’t fit right for me. While I like my manga to be kept as close to original as possible, including the honorific’s, I don’t mind them being changed or removed. However I think common sense needs to come into play here, how many school kids do YOU know that go around calling their friends Mr or Miss? I know I never did, and none of the guys in my school did. I also think if you are going to change it, change them all not just bits and pieces.
Granted sometimes the original manga-ka mixes western titles with the japanese ones, but again I think publishers should use common sense. Does the way it’s been used really work? Not all manga-ka or their editors, know how or when the western titles are used so they can and do get used out of place a lot of times.
The big sad thing about this series is that DMP seems to have ceased releasing the volumes after volume ten. Which is rather sad since there were only nine volumes left to go in the series. I’m hoping that they’ll add the full series to eManga so I can finish the series.
I do think this is a series worth persevering with, it’s fun and sexy. Despite the cliff-hanger ending I don’t regret buying it. But I can easily see it not appealing to everyone with the heavy fanservice.