The disconnect begins before you even crack the shrinkwrap on Demonizer Zilch: the 18+ rating and cleavage indicate a racy adult manga, but the art has the huge eyes, awful anatomy, and Amiibo-esque geometric character designs of a manga for kids. Page 1 begins with a flashback, as a young boy in a strange laboratory watches helplessly as labcoat-clad scientists drag away his sister and childhood friend. Years later, that boy is Haruomi, a cool (but poorly drawn) teenager still haunted by his half-forgotten memories of the event.
Then one day, Haruomi is attacked by a mysterious (but poorly drawn) girl in the men’s bathroom! After an accidental breast-grab (“Th … they’re huge!”) Haruomi escapes, only to be attacked by more guys with guns and saved by another poorly drawn girl, who jumps out of her clothes and stops the bullets with one finger. “I am Zilch! Zilch Kanoa! The physical incarnation of the demon archduke ‘Astaroth’!” his sexy savior boasts. Zilch goes to his house and introduces herself to his dad, who finally tells Haruomi about the secret he’s been hiding from him all these years … a secret government experiment to create demon-possessed girls as weapons.
Zilch is one of these demon weapons, but she’s continually pursued by the church’s demon-hunting “annihilators.” Zilch also hits on Haruomi a lot, like the seductive demoness she is, but if he even vaguely reciprocates, she turns shy and says things like, “D-d-don’t go stealing peeks at a demon’s panties, you idiot!” And, of course, Haruomi soon reveals awesome Gary Stu-ish demon-related powers of his own.
A thin tissue of fight scenes and fanservice, Demonizer Zilch has two main traits, neither original: (1) the constant name dropping of Cabbalistic/Gnostic Christianity references (“Goetia,” “Qliphoth,” “the Seventh Gospel Organization,” etc.) and (2) the love triangle between Haruomi, Zilch, and Yakagi, the big-chested Christian demon huntress whose breast he grabbed in the bathroom. (This is the kind of manga where “flat-chested” and “big-chested” adequately describe the female characters.)
Haruomi’s chillness makes a slight change of pace from the usual shy, blushing hero of a cheesecake manga, but even a reader who might be satisfied by this done-a-million-times plot will be disappointed by the awful artwork: when the characters kiss they look like dolls’ faces slammed together, and imagining them having sex, as the manga repeatedly invites us to do, is just ridiculous. In the end, the saddest thing is realizing that Milan Matra isn’t a newbie manga artist fumbling through his first series, but is a veteran artist who also drew the 13-volume (and equally bad) Omamori Himari.
Publisher: Yen Press
Story and Art: Milan Matra