Manga holds a special place in my heart, in that it was essentially my first introduction to comics. While I don’t do a ton of coverage on them, I do try and keep up with my favorites and whatever new ones explode on the scene. Usually, I enjoy the manga if only because of the artistic escape and large, sprawling stories. This, however, didn’t provide much in the way or escape or story.
Let’s take a look at Dictatorial Grimoire, Volume 1: Cinderella.
Our story begins with Otogi Grimm, descendant from the famous Brothers Grimm. He find himself in a small Japanese town where his father has abandoned him in a creepy old mansion. Otogi comes across a book of fairytales to find they all come popping out, including Cinderella…who is a man. That’s the joke — every female fairytale character is now a man. Otogi must defeat them by locking them back into their stories before they try and kill him.
It’s not the worst plot in the world (I’ve read worse) but the pacing is terrible and that’s what ruins it for me. We meet five of the adult male fairytale character in one volume, the cute girl whose a friend not a girlfriend and the secretive student who we know is a villain and reveals himself in a cliff hanger. That should take two volumes, minimum. I understand that manga tend to be more rushed because drawing takes a lot of time and thus stories need to be short but I have read one-chapter manga stories with better flow than this.
Thus far, the series reminds me a lot of Loveless. There’s the cute short-haired middle school kid who has power over a tall, long-haired imposing man, the battles with other characters for a specific mission, the messed up home life, the not-so-subtly forming yaoi harem. The only differences are the kitschy theme, lack of interesting philosophical thoughts, and actual tension. Everyone in the manga is a walking trope, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but they are just so boring.
I will the art style is very appealing. It’s very flowery and fluid, which is to be expected of romantic manga. The costume designing is also beautiful, telling a lot about a character just by their wardrobe and hair style. There’s the occasional cropping up of random-pointy-teeth syndrome, which I know shouldn’t bother me since Japanese people find non-straightened teeth attractive but it makes everyone look like a vampire.
All in all, Dictatorial Grimoire is not a terrible manga per se, but it’s certainly gotten off to a very rocky start. That doesn’t mean it can’t recover in the second volume but I don’t have a ton of high hopes that it’ll recover in time for me. If this is your kind of series, you’ll probably at least enjoy it for the design but otherwise I would give it a pass.
– Good artwork.
– Interesting concept.
– Poor pacing.
– Kitschy plot.
– Lack of character development.