Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries 001 – Review

Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries:

Chapter 001

Reviewed by: Tom

Man I wish my handwriting was that good.

Synopsis: Demon Prince Poro is next in line for the throne of the Demon World, well, as long as he keeps beating back all the other power hungry demons that keep challenging him. Problem is Poro doesn’t actually want to be the king! He’d prefer to stay at home and read manga. But Poro gets an excellent idea. What if he moves to the human world? That way he can have the awesome human world life he’s always dreamed of and get away from being his father’s successor. But is it going to be that easy to escape?

Warning: Spoilers to Follow:

Review:

Demon Prince is pretty middle of the road. It’s basically a gag manga, with elements of Blood Lad and Mob Psycho 100 for good measure. It’s aimed as a comedy, but Demon Prince fails to really sell its brand of humor. Much of the manga feels dry, or predictable. The jokes aren’t original and neither is the plot, making this very much like something you’ve probably read before. Let’s jump in.

Demon Prince opens with an introduction to Poro Kurokami, our title character. He’s just transferred schools, but as the manga’s own title implies he’s no ordinary kid. In fact he’s the demon prince and he comes from a version of hell that sees demons and monsters constantly battling it out for top superiority. Demon Prince shows off its visual and background comedy here. We get plenty of cute/quirky lines from the demons and real world pop culture, like selfies, applied to demonic monsters. It’s cute.

God what have selfies not ruined?

Unfortunately Poro wants no part of this contest to be king. In fact he’s never even attacked another monster, but because he’s so strong naturally he can’t help but defeat every single demon that comes looking to pick a fight with him. This constant battling is all to crown a new demon as king, as Poro’s father is stepping down.

But one day Poro gets an idea. His one comfort in life is his fascination with and collection of human world pop culture. He realizes while unpacking his latest shipment that the best thing to do is to move to Japan in secret. A quick demonic bullet train ride later and Poro’s looking at his first day as a new transfer student. The manga does a fairly competent job of bring us from point A to B. Up to this point I felt like Poro had promise. It was easy to follow, charming and relatable for anyone who’s gone through those early teen years more concerned with hobbies than greater responsibilities. The trouble comes when Poro has to demonstrate its greater comedic ability.

Okay this gag got me.

As much as he’s prepared himself, Poro screws up upon entrance by accidentally destroying the classroom door. His failings don’t end there as he also breaks his desk too when a classmate comes to say hi. Yuta Hitoyoshi introduces himself and offers to help Poro get use to the local area by taking him out to the movies and arcades. The comedy is very by the numbers, and it’s not backed up by clever or witty dialogue. We get a string of references, a few visual gags, etc, but nothing that sticks out as memorable or particularly funny.

It’s really too bad both Tsun Godzilla and My Name have been overshadowed by such blatantly uninspired rip offs.

Poro is in his element, that is until a group of punks arrive to terrorize the two. But surprisingly Yuta is no slouch and gets to beating up the bads who’d dare pick on his new friend. But when the lead punk pulls a knife out, Poro rushes in to save Yuta– accidentally hitting the thug so hard he sends him flying. Literally. It becomes clear at this point that Demon Prince’s fallback gag seems to be Poro’s unnatural strength. And that would be okay if the surrounding humor was hitting home.

Poro manages to kind of cover it all up and continue on with Yuta, but two of the other world’s demons that he’d beaten before plan their next move. Poro and Yuta are out for Karaoke and when his new friend doesn’t come back from the bathroom, Poro discovers that he’s been kidnapped!

Teleporting to a warehouse, Poro finds Yuta and the demons. Despite their threats to kill Yuta, Poro attacks near instantly, defeating both with one shift punch. He breaks a hole through the space-time continuum and hurls the two demons back through. The art here is actually pretty great and sells Poro’s sudden burst of anger and power. It’s here I began to feel like we’re not only in a similar vein to Blood Lad, but we’ve got elements of One Punch Man or Mob Psycho 100 worked in: namely that our title character is stupidly powerful. I don’t have a problem with that concept in and of itself. I felt Spring Weapon No. 1 was on target with its portrayal of an OP hero. But here Poro needs more than that visual level of cool to sell itself.

Okay this moment does look pretty sick.

Alls well that ends well… except Poro’s cover is blown and his life as a human is assuredly over. Or is it? Predictably it turns out Yuta isn’t freaked out at all! In fact he thinks it’s pretty dang cool that Poro is a Demon Prince! Poro revises his goals for life, deciding he will become his father’s successor in one year’s time and then he’ll take everything wonderful he learned about the human world and apply it to the demon world!

But as we learn from one last cut away, it seems the rest of the demons don’t really intend on letting Poro sit the next year out. Overall I’d say you could do worse. Poro isn’t bad, but it feels stale. So much of the humor consists of gags you can find in so many other gag manga. The whole thing ultimately lacks personality and fails to properly use its demon world set up as a stage for greater, more unique aspects of humor. The super strength can be funny, but there’s nothing about that gag that makes it specific to this series.

My money is on Demon Prince not sticking around very long, unless it improves greatly. But I guess we’ll see in the coming weeks.

Let me know what you thought of Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries in the comments below!

Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries can be found in Shonen Jump and will be available to read for free at Viz.com.

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