Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mad Love Chase (manga, vol. 1) by Kazusa Takashima, translated and adapted by Katherine Schilling

Mad Love Chase is a supernatural comedy. It was published by Tokyopop.


This was stupid. But also kind of fun. I'm having trouble understanding how Takashima managed to squeeze five volumes out of the premise, though. Since I own the whole series, I guess I'll get to find out.

Kaito, the prince of the demon realm, desperately does not want to marry his fiancee. He has hated her ever since she stood by while his beloved kitty Rebun almost drowned. Kaito opted to escape his impending marriage by traveling to the human world, where he ended up in a smaller, slighter human body, while Rebun ended up in the body of a full-grown human woman.

Kaito, now going by the name Kujou, isn't completely free yet, however. His father has sent three demons, Touma, Souya, and Taiki, after him. It's a good thing that they're mostly idiots. Souya has the hots for Haga, the school nurse, not realizing that she's actually Rebun, and Taiki is best friends with Kujou and thinks he's 100% human. Touma is smart enough to suspect Kujou's true identity, but the only way the three can know for sure that they've found their target is if Kujou has the prince's tattoo on his back. This, of course, means that they need to somehow strip his shirt off.

That's what this entire volume was devoted to: people trying to strip Kujou's shirt off and failing, mostly because Taiki was not very bright and was super-protective of his friend. And also because Rebun was awesome and one of the series' few intelligent characters. I loved Rebun. She took no crap from anyone, had no problems with using Taiki as a weapon, and was adorable in her kitty form.

I'd probably have liked this volume more if it hadn't been so hard to follow sometimes. The artwork and text placement were occasionally confusing. For example, I thought Zezelle, Kaito's nanny, was actually Taiki. It took me a bit to realize that 1) she was a completely different character (although there were indications that the similarity was intentional) and 2) she was actually a woman. That was also when I realized that an earlier scene, in which Kujou asked out a burly member of the girls' judo club, was not a joke about Kujou accidentally asking out the wrong person, but rather a joke that played on readers' expectations about who he was attracted to.

This series is going to get old fast if the jokes keep relying on “the idiots failed to take Kujou's shirt off” and misunderstandings about Kujou and Taiki's sexuality (several students assume they're a gay couple, which didn't stop one girl from aggressively pursuing Taiki). Still, for now it's an okay series, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Rebun.


Two four-panel gag comics, a four-page comic-style afterword by the author, and four pages of rough sketches of the characters from back when the series was in its planning stages.

The original plan for Rebun's cat form was even more adorable than what Takashima finally settled on. Also, it sounded like Takashima pieced jokes and details together on the fly, which may explain why the story is so crazy. That, and she went through at least three editors during the course of the series.

Read-alikes and Watch-alikes:
  • Gravitation (manga) by Maki Murakami; Gravitation (anime TV series) - The anime takes itself a little more seriously than the manga and is more focused. If you're looking for more craziness starring good-looking guys, the manga is probably the way to go. It has a robotic panda at one point, for goodness' sake. I've written about the first volume of the manga.
  • Kyou Kara Maoh! (anime TV series) - If you'd like another supernatural comedy that flirts with same-sex romance, you might want to give this series a try.
  • Those Who Hunt Elves (manga) by Yu Yagami; Those Who Hunt Elves (anime TV series) - I'm only familiar with the anime and hadn't even realized there was a manga series and that it had been licensed. This is one of those series that sounds absolutely horrible when you try to explain it. A few humans are transported to a world of elves and magic. Unfortunately, the spell to return them home ended up in fragments imprinted on the skin of various elves. The only way they can go home is by hunting those elves down and stripping them. It sounds like the plot of a hentai series, but I promise it isn't - it's all handled like one giant over-the-top joke, and I think any nudity was limited to the Barbie variety.

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