Akuma-kun ( Complete version)
By Mizuki Shigeru
“A boy will use the power of demons for a better world!”
From the master of Japanese folklore, this week we take a look at an amazing work from Yokai legend Mizuki Shigeru sensei… Akuma-kun. This work has been redaptaded in more than one version, for this article I chosed
A child prodigy who appears once every 10,000 years, he exhibits a strong fascination with demons and the occult, gaining him the nickname “Akuma-kun”.
With a mission to make the world a happy place for humans, Akuma-kun devotes everything to summoning a demon. By harnessing their demonic power, Akuma-kun believes he can make his dream a reality.
After experiencing failure after failure, Akuma-kun eventually enlists the help of Dr. Faust. An eminent demonologist, the good Doctor helps out protagonist to summon his first demon… Mephisto!
Armed with the Solomon Flute, a present from Dr. Faust, Akuma-kun is able to control the demons he summons. But will they be the key to humanity’s happiness? What adventures awaits them?
Akuma-kun is a perfect example of taking a complex concept and repackaging it into a simple narrative. A technique Mizuki Shigeru sensei excelled at.
From the first few pages, we are introduced to the protagonist and his mission, instantly grabbing the reader and encouraging that all important page turn.
Once the manga has established these core elements, we are then invited to learn more about the goal. Will the demons unquestionably obey him? Is a contract needed to bind the demons to Akuma-kun? Is it a one sided deal or not?
This simple, yet effective ordering and delivering of the plot points not allows for easy and pleasant read, it sets up the blueprint for the manga as a whole.
Another delightful aspect to the manga, much like the read of Mizuki sensei’s amazing work, is the character designs. Any artists goal is to create original and unique characters that are instantly recognizable and Mizuki sensei achieves this with playful ease.
The backgrounds are characters in themselves. Intricate, dark and foreboding, they provide a perfect antithesis to the cartoonish characters within the manga. The care Mizuki sensei put into his backgrounds is astounding, and gave birth to the method known as “Mizuki sensei’s leaf”.
Mizuki Shigeru was the master of contrasts. From bright and comical characters playing out the action against dark, foreboding backgrounds to the use of “demons” to help usher in a time of worldly happiness, the manga legend created with a sense of healthy playfulness. With Akuma-kun, that playfulness is felt on every page.