Manga Review – Devils’ Line

Devils' Line Volume 1

Devils’ Line
デビルズライン
HANADA Ryo
Seinen – Drama, horror, mature, mystery, romance, supernatural, tragedy
5 Volumes (ongoing) of 9 Volumes (ongoing)
Vertical, Inc.

Summary:

Tsukasa has been feeling like someone has been watching her. Otherwise, though, she’s a normal college student, and one of her fellow club members even confessed to her recently. When a stranger approaches Tsukasa and her male friend, she’s about to learn that the so-called vampire murders may be aptly named…

Review:

Tokyo Ghoul + Claymore + Mars + Attack on Titan = Devils’ Line.

The end.

Some of you may be thinking this sounds like an awesome combination. Others are not so sure.

How is Devils’ Line like these four series? How are they different?

Tokyo Ghoul:
Alike: Monsters who feed off of humans, secret organizations, transforming eyes, dark-haired half-human male lead who hunts other monsters, companions who hang out at a bar
Differ: Romance, only need blood and not flesh

Claymore:
Alike: Half-monster hunter, both star females
Differ: Tsukasa is support and not a hunter

Mars:
Alike: Doe-eyed female lead, instant connection between main couple, big roadblocks in taking the relationship to the next level, angst and melancholy,
Differ: Male lead isn’t outgoing and popular, female lead doesn’t have a sad backstory

Attack on Titan:
Alike: Rough art without a lot of flash (at least initially), male lead’s background is a mystery
Differ: No “end of the world”-like scenario

 …Yep, that’s Devils’ Line. A female college student (Tsukasa) meets a male half-devil (aka half-vampire) police detective named Yuuki, and they form a quick bond as the male struggles with his bloodlust, job, and even his own past. So is this series just an amalgamation of a bunch of other manga, or does it have its own identity?

The Tokyo Ghoul similarities are the most obvious. Vampires in Devils’ Line are in the unenviable position of trying to hide and survive among humans, and the male lead hunts wayward monsters. However, the devils in Devils’ Line tend to not have a problem with humans; in fact, the ones we meet in the story actually like people and don’t want to drink blood.

Also, unlike Tokyo Ghoul, it’s Tsukasa who is the main character; Yuuki, on the other hand, is the center of the story (i.e. the protagonist). A character like Tsukasa would normally function as the half-monster’s moral compass or last source of humanity. Ironically, though, she is serving as the catalyst for most of Yuuki’s transformations. The first chapter reveals Yuuki has never tasted blood before meeting Tsukasa, and so there’s a lot of tension as Yuuki tries to control both his newfound bloodlust and traditional lust. He knows he should stay away from Tsukasa, but Yuuki keeps finding himself back by her side. It doesn’t help his self-control that Tsukasa immediately accepts all of him and tries to support Yuuki in any way she can.

The romance is definitely at the center of the story. Female leads in these types of plots are often accused of being worthless, of causing more problems than being helpful. Yes, Tsukasa probably shouldn’t just follow Yuuki to a potential crime scene. But here’s the beauty of the manga: when he starts yelling at her for following him, Yuuki ends up apologizing when he realizes Tsukasa was trying to return his utility belt to him. Yuuki stalks hangs around Tsukasa under the guise of protecting her, but she ends up protecting him. He deep kisses her on their first meeting and he apologizes. Somehow, Devils’ Line manages to pull off a rather sweet version of a fast romance. Devils’ Line becomes even more engaging when we meet some of the other devil-human couples and realize the uphill climb the two have, especially since Yuuki’s background is a mystery even to him.

Despite the focus on the love story, Devils’ Line is also a detective manga. Yuuki is one member of a police squad that handles devil problems. The squad members are pretty close, but it becomes more and more obvious to the captain that someone in the department is leaking information. The double-crosser is revealed to readers, but there is almost assuredly going to be a race to expose the mole. While that’s going on, the officers still have to deal with violent crimes like attempted murder. While this is a supernatural manga, expect a good amount of gunfire. Amidst the chaos, Yuuki and Tsukasa meet some other devils who are dealing with their own bloodlusts. The law has special rules regarding devils, and perhaps future volumes will dive more into the legal vs moral vs personal freedom debate.

Of course, a good story isn’t without a good antagonist or two. The aforementioned mole seems questioning what makes someone — or something — a true monster. That person has a whole organization behind them, and they don’t even appear to be the highest-ranking member. The first attacker debuts in a shocking way, and you can see that person questioning the group’s methods despite their cultivated hatred of devils. Again, this goes back to the main theme of humanity. While a sniper makes for a dramatic end to the first volume, revealing the police leak takes a lot of the intrigue out of the story. Coupled with the fact that two main characters already sense something is wrong, this is definitely not going to be a whodunnit manga. Even a good portion of the puzzle surrounding Yuuki and acquaintance Hans seems to be falling into place. The good news is that this means Devils’ Line shouldn’t drag on for a very long period of time. The downside is that the mysteries aren’t going to be hooks for very long.

Also, the evil organization gives their agents codenames based on numbers: Zero Seven, Fifteen, etc. You would think this would make it easy to remember their names, but it’s more confusing than anything. They all just become numbers and not people.

The bigger turn-off is the art. I know some people really like the early volumes of Attack on Titan, but I thought it was downright awful. Devils’ Line has some similar art. Tsukasa is drawn pretty consistently, but there’s a couple of images where Yuuki just devolves into someone else completely. I mean, compare the cover to this picture:

Devils' Line SampleDid Yuuki age 20 years instantly or something? Or did he just drop in from another manga? I know he is supposed to look harried due to him staving off his desires, but the empty panel doesn’t help hide anything. Another character wears glasses. I know it takes a lot of work to make perspectives accurate when an object is on an angle or in the distance. Well, the lenses are the same size when he is facing forward. When he is only partially looking straight ahead, one lens is about twice the size of the other. Another image looks as if Tsukasa shrunk a good deal while a hunched-over guy gets off the escalator. The whole scene looks oddly proportioned. Ironically, some of a lot of the images of the vampires actually look better since they aren’t based in realism anyway. (Yuuki also definitely could pass for a Kaneki clone once in a while.) Vertical, Inc. also does not include the color pages that were in the original Japanese volumes, a big disappointment considering a) Vertical manga — including Devils’ Line — tend to be short and thin, and b) the manga retails for $12.95, a fairly high price tag considering its smaller size. All in all, no one is going to pick this up because of the art. You might find his style pretty good for a debut or downright awful, but it definitely drags the experience down.

Translation:

No honorifics are used. Considering most characters don’t use them, it’s not a big loss if you prefer them. Other than that, I don’t have much to say… or anything really since I have no experience with the original Japanese.

Final Comments:

Despite the lackluster art and the obvious shades of other famous manga, Devils’ Line is a rare mature manga combining both horror and romance. More shockingly, the romance isn’t based on domination. Whoo-hoo!

Reader Rating


2.67/5 (3)

21 Comments

  1. Coco

    I’ve been meaning to start reading this series, but every time I open my BookWalker app and see it there in my library, I go: “Nope! I wanna read something fluffy and fun.”
    After reading your review, I kind of want to finally give it a read. ^^;

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I do that a lot too! “I should really read this… nah, not what I want.” But hopefully this won’t stay in your backlog for too much longer. The main couple can definitely be adorkable.

      Reply
  2. Mr. Panda

    Ooh, I’ve never heard of this, but that combination sounds interesting. Though it seems like it took the bad from Attack on Titan, haha. Nice review! It’s got me curious.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      It definitely is an unusual combination story-wise, but I do hope Hanada will grow as an artist. The covers look good though, so he definitely has talent.

      Reply
  3. The Otaku Judge

    Doesn’t sound too bad. Shame about the art though. I don’t mind poor graphics in games, but when it comes to manga inconsistent artwork can be quite a turn off.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Attack on Titan is even worse since I bought the huge, oversized Colossal Editions. So I can look at the ugliness in supersize. (;-_-) At least Devils’ Line is smaller so the art isn’t quite so in-your-face.

      Reply
  4. insightblue

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been curious about this one, and I think I will finally pick it up.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy it!

      Reply
  5. Kapodaco

    “Tsukasa is drwan pretty consistently. . .”

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Thanks!

      Reply
  6. theanimeprince

    Tsukasa es Mikasa … ?

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      XD

      Reply
  7. mangafreak81

    Hehe…I liked how you made a comparison with other manga. For me, what made me pay attention to it and made me want to read it was art actually. It called my attention when I was in manga store. I do love nice art but the way mangaka draw Yuuki (the vampire) I really liked. I still didn’t read it though, too many manga to finish and I’m not a grat fan of reading ongoing manga (I hate waiting for updates ?).

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I really liked the cover, so it made the inside a disappointment for me. I do like how the author makes Yuuki look constantly stressed out though.
      I can relate to the backlog problem! Too many good series!

      Reply
  8. brjrgyts

    Thanks for this! I actually read your review prior to reading the manga. I agree the artwork is meh but I’m actually quite surprised with myself because I got used to it the more I read into the story. So basically the plot outweighed my initial disappointment with the artwork. Hahaha! 😀

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      You’re welcome!
      Luckily, the art improves, and the story is interesting enough to help mask some of its visual flaws.

      Reply
  9. Hanani

    Tsukasa is a worthless slut. This manga is good without her.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      That seems rather harsh. What is it about Tsukasa’s character that makes you say that?

      Reply
      1. Leafさんの夢が。。。

        Harsh indeed. Would like to see them elaborate but I have a feeling they never will because you can’t put sexism into words nicely 😛

        Reply
        1. Krystallina (Post author)

          If they ever were to respond, I could tell them that Tsukasa works hard taking self-defense lessons and doing research in later volumes in order to not be dead weight. A hero/heroine who works hard to fix their weaknesses or ignorance is not “worthless” to me, but alas, they probably will never follow up.

          Reply
          1. Leafさんの夢が。。。

            Exactly. Nowadays people want a “strong female character” forgetting that by calling them a strong female they’re insinuating that women are inherently weak. Physical strength is very different from emotional/intellectual strength and some people refuse to acknowledge that. If OP were to respond, I wonder what they would define for themselves as their own form of strength and how that in any way invalidates Tsukasa’s. But as you said that likely won’t happen rofl

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