In 800 B.C. King Solomon used the power of his blessed ring to gather an army of demons. Thousands of years later in near-contemporary time, his descendant — who bears his soul — is plunged into a power struggle with the same very demons of the ancient army. Lucifer, like every powerful demon, must sleep for a hundred years to keep his longevity. In his absence, a ruler is elected to control hell. This time, the one choosing Lucifer’s replacement is Solomon’s descendant, William Twining, a seemingly normal human and stubborn realist who refuses to believe in the existence of God, demons, angels, and the like.
Makai Ouji’s plot is fairly straightforward; both demons and angels want William Twining’s soul. Some demons want his soul to act as a key in order to re-enter heaven; however, most demons simply want William to pick a successor, hopefully a successor belonging to their fraction. In this light, demons are represented as mostly good, who protect William from danger and befriend him. Angels, on the other hand, are pictured as evil. They want to simply brainwash William and turn him into a mindless puppet. Having the generic evil and good switch provides a refreshing plot. It should be noted that this isn’t like two little children fighting over a doll, when they both grab and arm and pull in a tug-of-war. William has power over all the demons with whom Solomon made pacts. He also probably has some power over angels. Using Solomon’s ring, William obtains powers besides that of simply controlling demons.
As a supernatural manga, the powers and creatures present serve as the driving force of the work. Although, powers play a minimal role for William, as he is human. Besides the ability to summon demons, which any human with the knowledge can do, normal humans do not have any power. Exorcists do have some power, but it seems that they are weak and only serve as tools for plot development.
The juxtaposition of demons and angels, on the other hand are what make this work truly supernatural. The story draws influence from the biblical story of Solomon. In this work only a portion of Solomon’s seventy-two pillars are represented. Besides from biblical demons and the hierarchy connected to them, some Greek and European superstition is present. These influences, most notably, come in the form of the Lamia and a Killmoulis, a fairy of Scottish origin. Demons are split in two categories: fallen angels and humans who have turned into demons, referred to as Nefilim. Angels are also split into two categories, those with two wings and those with one. An angel starts off with both wings but when they fail in a mission or commit a crime they lose a wing. It is possible to lose both wings but that has yet to be explored by the work. Thus far, the work has only shown angels present in Christianity with the same hierarchy. Angels do have a reservoir of pawns which they use to enact their will on Earth, a key pawn is Joan de Arc. The dichotomy between the two sides provides for an interesting dynamic as some demons want to enter heaven and some angels are in danger of falling into hell.
Humor plays a minor role in the work. Most of the humor comes from William’s denial of the presence of demons. He tries to rationalize what he sees, and accepts the benefits of demons only when it is convenient — such as eating food made by a demon because it is better than what he usually eats. Honestly, William isn’t very funny and his constant refusal to accept what is in front of him gets tiring quickly. The extras such as the omakes and the 4-komas are funnier than the actual chapter.
The various demons with their unique backgrounds, relationships to Solomon, and personalities make their interactions with William interesting and memorable. Additionally, there is enough action to break up the dialogue; the plot flows fast and evenly so that there are no slow spots. All in all, I enjoyed the work thus far and I look forward to more. Only, improvements in the comedy are much desired.
GO Rating: 3.5/5