How to Train Your Devil is exactly what it looks like on the cover. It checks off every ecchi box possible in a manga that’s not outright porn. But as grossly pandering as it is, it’s also … pretty funny.
Zeno Zebia, hero of ages, is tasked with saving humanity from the Devil King. She returns from her mission with an infant devil, son of the Devil King and his only surviving heir. The cute, tiny, horny, diapered devil, Grull, has the body of a baby but the mind of a perverted adult. He has an eye for boobs and babes, but lacks the functioning equipment to act on it. Zeno, on the verge of being executed for failing in her mission, strikes a deal with the judge: she will raise Grull as her son and try to turn him into a decent person. If she fails, she dies. To help her, Grull is put on a tight leash via a magical item that will crush his skull if he steps too far out of line.
The Older Teen rating is stretched to its limit. It’s saved from an adult rating by barely censored nudity. As for the rest of the fanservice checklist: bikini armor–check, naughty tentacles–check, panty shots–check, pointlessly scanty costumes–check, lolicon–check. This is not a book for everyone; readers will have to make their own decisions about their tolerance level for fanservice and dirty jokes.
And yet How to Train Your Devil has more than a few laugh-out-loud moments. The episodic plot has a good amount of slapstick, and the interactions between Zeno and Grull are funny. Zeno is more than a match for baby Grull and freely kicks his diapered butt on a regular basis. Grull hilariously sounds like a middle-aged perv, and it’s hard not to imagine him with a 1930s movie tough guy accent. In one chapter, Zeno takes on a quest to exorcize a demon from a young woman. Lilia, the demon, is more faking it than making it, but she gloms onto Zeno as her hero and joins Zeno and Grull on their adventures. Sadly, Lilia is mostly used for panty shots and tentacle fodder. She may get more development in further volumes, but in Volume 1 she’s basically a sexy lamp.
The art accomplishes its job, but it’s not outstanding. The inks are a little rough, the character designs are fairly cookie-cutter, and Lilia looks enough like Zeno to add visual confusion rather than contrast. Even a different hair color would help to differentiate them. Still, the quips are snappy, it’s always entertaining to see Grull get punished, and he’s the pervy glue holding the book together. If you’re in the market for a sexy fantasy romp, How To Train Your Devil is the useless bikini armor you’ve been looking for.
publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
story and art: Tonchi Kataoka