Diabolo vol 1 (of 3)

UK Distributor:  Tokyopop

Created by: Kei Kusunoki & Kaoru Ohashi

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  6.99

Number of Pages: 208

ISBN: 1595322329

Reviewed: 27th August 2007

Reviewer:  Tom (Webmaster)


Ren and Rai are two orphans who, at the age of seven, want to stop Ren's cousin Mio from dying due to her weak and frail body.  In desperation they unwittingly sell their souls demons in an attempt to save Mio.  Mio disappears, presumably dead, and the pair are accused of her murder. 

Years later, at the age of seventeen, the pair travel in search of Mio and help others to overcome the lure of false demon promises along the way.  The pair call themselves Diabolo and have become more powerful with age.  This ever-increasing power gives them the strength to fight demons but the power comes at a price - when they reach they age of 18 they will lose their sanity and change into something not human, something demonic. 

Well my first impressions of Diabolo were certainly not the description above.  When I saw the cover I expected a standard action manga with little gore, due to the yaoi stylings of the main characters.  The plot, two orphans attempting to save their friend by using unknown powers, sounded similar to Full Metal Alchemist so I was expecting Diabolo to appeal to a similar demographic.  After reading a few pages I quickly realised my first impressions were unfounded. 

Diabolo is a horror manga in the true sense of the word, completely unforgiving in showing the reader gore as well as very emotional scenes that cause the characters great mental pain.  It is a very gloomy read from start to finish which focuses on our doomed heroes trying to save doomed humans from the clutches of Satanic forces.  With less then a year to go until they both turn into something evil, they haven't really got time to sit around and have fun. 

Despite featuring more misery then the diary of a teen into emo rock though, Diabolo is a tremendously exciting read.  The fact that our heroes could become demonic at any time gives a real sense of urgency to the story and this urgency is reinforced by the structure of this volume, a collection of self-contained stories.  Three stories feature in this volume (two over two chapters, one over one chapter) and each story contains characters who show the inevitable fate that faces the main characters. 

I previously mentioned the yaoi-style artwork, but do not let this put you off.  The art-style does compliment the story very well, sucking you in from page one so much that the art-style will not be an issue.  Gore is handled very well throughout, with a sensible mix of on and off screen gore so it never become too much, or too little. 

An exciting, scary title then which did leave me wanting to read volume 2 immediately.  Diabolo is therefore a great buy - a genuinely scary title with a relentless pace, action and sense of urgency that will freak you out - as a good horror title should do. 


Usual Tokyopop extras of a quick preview of volume 2 and adverts for other titles. 

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