"Demon Sacred" seems to be a bit of an experiment for Tokyo Pop. Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are being released on the same day, and at about half the price of their usual manga. I am not sure if this is just a tactic to get people hooked or if they will keep it up for the whole series but I have to say that I approve.
Aside from the pricing , "Demon Sacred" is pretty good. When I saw that cover, I thought I was in for a typical "Flowers and Pretty Boys" shojo series, and when the opening page has a heard of beautiful unicorns charging out of the Aurora I was even more worried. But this is the author of the Hard Science Fiction series JYU-OH-SEI and Natsumi Itsuki rarely delivers pure fluff. Diving into fantasy like this is different from her previous work, but it turns out that she handles it just fine.
In fact, "Demon Sacred" is almost a mix of Sci Fi and Fantasy. The series takes place in an unknown future when over 100,000 people have become victims of "Return Syndrome," a disease that causes the body to age in reverse until you disappear (ala the Sci Fi epic Hyperion). Scientists are working around the clock to find the origin of this condition, but without success. Once scientist in particular, Shinobu, is obsessed with finding a cure as the disease is directly affecting one of the twin girls in his care. Rina and Mona are twins, but whereas Mona is their true age of fourteen Rina has regressed to about nine years old and doesn't have too many more years to go.Read more ›
Natsumi Itsuki, generally known for writing sci-fi-themed manga, turns in the first volume (of eleven, though Tokyopop only published four in English before they went under) of a fantasy series here. We open fifteen years before the bulk of the action, with a Japanese couple on their honyemoon in Finland viewing the northern lights. Something happens... fifteen years later, the world is now host to a new disease called Return Syndrome, which causes people to suddenly begin aging in reverse. The effects are usually instantaneous, but a scientist named Shinobu is cousin to Rina, a fourteen-year-old girl with a rare form of the disease that causes her age to rescind gradually; he's trying to find a cure before she winks out of existence. The corporation he works for, SMIC, has found out that Return Syndrome is caused by exposure to demonic forces... forces which were unleashed into our universe during the happening fifteen years before. Shinobu has adopted, and now lives with, Rina and her younger sister Mona, and discovers that not only were they exposed to said demonic forces, but that a demon named Mika has been acting as their father all this time...
It's a good start, definitely enough to make me want to read more (actually, I'm a chapter into the second volume as I'm writing this), and if it stays at this level, I know I'm going to be bummed out when I get to the end of vol. 4 and have to wait for--hopefully--another company to pick it up so we can get the rest of the story in trade-paperback form. It does have that shojo tendency for all the male characters to look more than incidentally the same, but it's not nearly as bad here as it is in something like, say, Fruits Basket, so don't let that scare you off. ***