In Devil World, every halfway decent devil has a familiar, a helper animal like a bat or a salamander. Every devil, that is, except Patty: her familiar is a human being! Specifically, he’s Norman Volcanello, demon researcher, a hulking man in a well-pressed trenchcoat who looks like a stocky, stoic Phoenix Wright. The other devils are skeptical of Patty’s choice (“You mean he’s just some dude?”), but mess with Patty and you’ll discover Norman’s true power: he’s tough as heck and also super-smart, a demon expert with tons of knowledge about the monsters who inhabit their world. Together, Patty and Norman go on a quest to find Patty’s deadbeat dad, a quest that will take them all around Devil World, encountering monsters large and small.
Stories about master-servant partnerships between people and monsters (or between people and other people) are one of the core manga food groups. Avoiding the fetishy possibilities of this trope, Sorry for My Familiar uses it as no more than the jumping-off point for a lighthearted comedy adventure starring two mismatched heroes. Most of the humor comes from Norman’s otaku-ish obsession with demons, as he ogles every monster they meet, collects skin particles, and asks intrusive questions (“I’ve seen multi-eyed devils before, but they were all insectoid! How does that skull shape work with your nerves?”). Meanwhile, Patty gets embarrassed by his behavior and tries to keep him in check and move the plot along.
Despite its scary name, Devil World is a peaceful fantasy RPG setting with inns and harvest festivals and tourist brochures, and there isn’t much tension or danger to Patty’s quest. Unfortunately, the core relationship of a big stoic man working as the servant of an awkward teenage girl isn’t really that interesting, and the just-okay art and monster designs don’t make the world worth exploring for its own sake. The result is a quirky, sometimes funny, but ultimately forgettable all-ages fantasy manga.
publisher: Seven Seas
story and art: Tekka Yaguraba