“Maria Kawai, heroine of A Devil and Her Love Song, is a cool customer. Not only is she beautiful, talented, and smart, she’s also tough — so tough, in fact, that she was expelled from a hoity-toity Catholic school for beating up a teacher. Her blunt demeanor further cements her bad-girl impression; within minutes of enrolling at a new high school, she antagonizes all the girls in her class with a few sharp observations about their behavior. Only two boys — Yusuke, a cheerful, popular student who avoids conflict at all costs, and Shin, a moody outsider — try defending Maria from her peers’ nasty comments and pranks.”
As predictable as the plot may be — would you be surprised to learn that Caesar soon becomes smitten with his ginger-haired bride? — Dawn of the Arcana proves engaging nonetheless, a heady mixture of palace intrigue and romance. Nakaba, in particular, is a winning heroine: she’s tough and principled, but savvy enough to appease Caesar and his family when it suits her own agenda. (Early in volume one, for example, Nakaba slaps Loki after a tense stand-off between the prince and the valet, telling Loki, “Disciplining my husband is my duty!”) Nakaba’s enemies are two-dimensional at best, but each displays a Joan Collinesque flair for making Nakaba’s life miserable, spitting out their lines with gusto.
My goal was to be unguardedly human first, and a woman second, and to proceed as though sexual discrimination didn’t exist even amidst that. At times male society considered this stance impudent. The whole issue couldn’t find a place in my heart. I believe it was by expressing myself in manga without getting into a fight that I sent a message of change to a generation of girls who are now grown women.