There will be spoilers for the manga and anime series for Devils' Line. This review is exclusively for the manga, but because the anime is based on the manga, there is a likely chance this will spoil both.
Trigger Warning: Discussion of blood, gore, abuse, and sex as it appears in the manga Devils' Line will be discussed.
There is a hidden group of people called devils. They are humans born with an insatiable hunger for blood – similar to vampires, though they aren't weak to sunlight. Tsukasa Taira, our female lead, comes face-to-face with this group when her male companion is outed as a devil – a devil serial killer and rapist, in fact, and the person who calls him out? A devil police officer named Yuuki Anzai.
There is an immediate attraction between Yuuki and Tsukasa. But, as their attraction to each other grows, they quickly find that a relationship between a predator and prey isn't going to be as simple as they might hope. While dealing with the personal issues surrounding them are espionage, conspiracy, and worldwide efforts to either empower the devils or stomp them out for good.
The diversity is really great to see. We see so many types of relationships that go beyond the central couple being a human female and a devil male. We see a devil female and a male human relationship, asexual couplings, gay and lesbian couplings, relationships with transpersons, familial relationships that encompass all of these, etc. Seeing so many different representations of so many kinds of people and relationships is wonderful and something that grounds the story in reality.
I also will readily admit that the chemistry between Tsukasa and Yuuki is amazing. The sexual tension and the sexual relationship were nice to see and extremely sexy, which also is somewhat sad due to the limitations their bodies cause for each other. However, the tension and those limitations set up some thrilling scenes, and I'll say that if you are a fan of bondage, you will probably really enjoy the scenes in this manga.
As much as the diversity is great, I feel it might be in poor taste to compare something like asexuality with the devil's struggling not to eat their partners while having sex. The intention was probably not to compare those things, but it's hard not to compare them when they are presented side-by-side in the manga. I don't personally identify as asexual, so I can't speak to whether or not this is offensive, and it isn't my place to claim that, but I do want to point out that it could be perceived as offensive, and it did leave a bad taste in my mouth. It didn't help that because romance takes a backseat to the crime and mystery genres, all of the diverse relationships and individuals feel a bit shoehorned in, and they don't get much time for further exploration. They almost feel like tokens or afterthoughts, just so that no one can say those weren't present.
I also feel there weren't enough sex scenes, which I know makes me sound like a degenerate, but it is how I felt. There is an emphasis placed on Tsukasa and Yuuki's sexual relationship, but we really only see 2 – 3 scenes. There is also a whole setup with how Yuuki will handle sex with Tsukasa for the first time since she might bleed, being that she is a virgin, but we never get any insight into that. There are also multiple moments where we gain insight into what happens when a human female has to carry a devil baby, which sometimes results in their death. I would have really liked to see a pregnancy scare or some information on how they handle a situation like that between Tsukasa and Yuuki.
The manga starts by really honing in on Tsukasa and Yuuki and their struggles as a couple, but by the end, that takes a back seat to the overarching espionage and conspiracies. I would have rathered less of the espionage and more of the relationship, as that is what really hooked me from the jump. There could have been fewer characters, and as a result, I think the story would have been better honed and more interesting overall. Granted, I am a bit biased. I much prefer romance over mystery and crime drama genres, so that is probably why I was so turned off by that switch of focus. If you like mystery and crime, then you will probably enjoy that.
Finally, the art is rough. There isn't consistency in the art, so there are times when it looks beautiful and others when it is just plain ugly. I am super picky when it comes to art, so I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't mention it, at least.
Ultimately, I feel pretty disappointed in this series. I wish it had just been written as a romance series, as I think I would have enjoyed it so much more. We could have gotten more insight into some of the more diverse relationships without them feeling shoehorned into a mystery/crime series. Did I hate it? No. Would I recommend it to anyone? Probably not. I am glad that I read it, but I probably won't be seeking out anything more on this series.
Have you read Devils' Line? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!