Manga Review: Mage & Demon Queen, by Color_LES
by B.B. | 02/06/2021
Have you ever starting reading something late at night when you know you should technically be trying to sleep because you have to be up extra early to then immediately fall in love with what you’re reading and try desperately not to laugh and wake your partner who’s fast asleep next to you and basically read until your alarm is going off? Well, for me it is rare but it absolutely happened when I stumbled upon Mage & Demon Queen by Color_LES on Webtoon!
Adventurers seek to take the demon queen’s head, but a love-struck young female mage wishes to take her hand. Join us won’t you, for this bawdy tale of love and persistence set inside a real-life RPG.
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Yuri
All artwork in this review is protected under copyright to Webtoon and the Creator, Color_LES. The Queerblr has used the snippets of the artwork in the manga to emphasize portions of the review. Artwork shown here is not meant for reuse, citing, or reblogging/retweeting without credit to Color_LES.
I have enjoyed every second of reading Mage & Demon Queen! This manga (or some would call it a web-comic) is beautifully drawn, side splittingly funny, and has a fairly in depth story hidden within its panels. The setting felt akin to Sword Art Online but the gamification of the world was the reality and not a game that players were trapped in, and it was helluvalot more gay. When I first started reading, I was worried that I was going to dislike it because it immediately started with a scene of Malori ending a fight with the Demon Queen by pushing her love and desire onto her “for the nth time.”
I am not one who enjoys one sided love stories where one individual repeatedly tries to show their affection and prove their love to the other to be rejected over and over again until they are successful in breaking down the other person’s will and concede to dating them. I’m a firm believer that if someone says “no” that their no should be respected. When the no isn’t respected, it feels very predatory and toxic to me and I don’t enjoy it — not in fiction, in film, or in anime, manga, or other graphic novels. It’s the one trope I cannot stand. So I initially did not like the main pairing of Malori and Queen Velverosa for that very reason. What kept me reading was the sheer fact that the genre it was listed under was comedy, not romance, and it was funny af, so I wasn’t concerned that it was going to be the entire story. And I’m so glad that I stuck through my initial hesitation.
The story is hilarious, panels often making me literally laugh out loud or choke on whatever I dared drink while reading. Malori and her best friend Cerik have some of the funniest moments, from hitting each other immediately after being revived in the church to playfully kink shaming each other while still being supportive of their respective kinks. But it is also their relationship that helps the drastic character development of Malori. Had it not been for Cerik, Malori would never have learned that how she was going about trying to prove her love for Queen Velverosa was harmful not only the Queen, but to the other people around her, and ultimately herself. There is actual character growth for Malori that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite on par with in a manga that I’ve read in recent memory (not that I’m an expert in the field or that I’ve read that many; most of my manga knowledge is left over from high school which was over a decade ago at this point and the few that I have reviewed for The Queerblr).
The reader also gets to see the character growth of Queen Velverosa as she begins to develop her own feelings for Malori; not only that, the reader gets to see the many layers of the Demon Queen as she and Malori get to know each other and as Malori figures her out. Not only was it good character building, but pulling back the layers of Queen Velverosa also built out the world setting and climate created by the current war raging between humans and demons. It’s really smart story telling that I was not at all expecting from this laugh out loud funny comedy.
And I cannot emphasize enough just how funny this series is. Not only is the dialogue quippy, there’s physical humor, there’s relentless teasing, and so many references to game mechanics and meme culture to keep track of. There are captions that say things like “+1 gay” or “+1 ego.” And when I said references to meme culture, I mean the memes were actually integrated into the panels to hilarious effect:
Not only is it funny with memes directly integrated into the panels, it is beautifully drawn. I remember seeing the first panel where Velverosa blushes and thinking “wow” and letting my eyes linger on that panel for a few moments. Color_LES and their team do an amazing job at rendering both the human and demonic forms and coloring them in ways that captivate the reader’s eye. It was quite the visual treat to read!
My only complaint about Mage & Demon Queen (aside from wanting to add a the to the title so it reads Mage & the Demon Queen) is that there are some panels where the clarity of movement is a little lost. The fight scenes are all pretty fantastic and it is easy to follow action from one panel to the other; but there are some areas outside of battle where the switch in posture or positioning from one panel to the next is rather jarring. It’s a super minor complaint, but all the same it is one that I have.
One complaint that I’ve seen online that I disagree with, however, is that the story’s romance is “too much of a slow burn.” I absolutely disagree with that statement. Not only because the genre isn’t a romance, it’s first and foremost a comedy in a fantasy setting, which it does very well. Part of the reason that I disagree with the “too much of a slow burn” criticism might be because I began reading Mage & Demon Queen two weeks before the season two finale was posted, so my wait time was minimal. I can absolutely understand how having to wait for chapter updates could make the story not feel like the romance wasn’t moving fast enough, especially with how short the chapters in the beginning were despite lengthening over time. However, when it is read in one go, the pacing is really good. In fact, the slow-burn nature of Malori and Queen Velverosa’s relationship is part of the charm and it gave the narrative of their romance time to breath and show that they are genuinely interested in one another and gradually becoming more affectionate while respecting boundaries. It wasn’t like a lot of slow burn “pure yuri” stories where it’s edging queerbaiting or only pinning or bashful kissing. It gets to the point where their feelings for each other are quite clear, but they’re both kind of dumbasses who don’t know what they’re doing, adding to the comedy of it all.
If you’re looking for something fun to read, I cannot recommend Mage & Demon Queen enough! If you find memes, gaming, and general internet humor funny, this manga will have you rolling with laughter and sending screenshots to your friends. You can read it on Webtoon for free! Episodes are posted and there’s a pay wall for about a week before they’re made free to read. If you enjoy it, though, I will encourage you to purchase the Webtoon currency so you can read episodes faster when they’re released while simultaneously supporting the artist! You can also support Color_LES on their Patreon account, too!
5 out of 5 Rainbows
Recommended Reader: Anyone mature reader who enjoys a good comedic manga or enjoys a fantasy setting. The manga isn’t lewd by any means, but it definitely isn’t meant for kiddos. This story is super accessible, otherwise, even if you’re not someone who is into anime or manga. If you enjoy internet, gaming, and meme humor, this is absolutely something you should read!
Tune in next week for our pre-release review of Loose in the Heel, Tight in the Toe, by Valentine Wheeler!