Content warnings: This series is 18+, and as such is intended for mature audiences. It includes explicit depictions of gore, cannibalism, and rape, as well as prostitution and emotional manipulation.


I debated with myself on whether or not I wanted to review this manga here, because the content is pretty extreme, but I realized I had already reviewed Saya no Uta, so it wouldn't really make sense to draw the line here. I just decided to be upfront about the content and allow people to choose if they wanted to continue reading or not, so that's what we'll do. In my own personal opinion, I consider both this manga and Saya to be primarily horror media, despite the heavy sexual elements.

MADK (an acronym for Motsu Akuma to Danshi Koukousei) is a fantasy horror 'yaoi' manga written and illustrated by Ryo Sumiyoshi. I only have 'yaoi' in quotes because while the plot does heavily revolve around the sexual relationship between two men, I don't consider this to be a romantic or erotic piece of media at all. I first heard of this manga.. like, eight hours ago, as of the time of this writing. I saw it mentioned briefly in the comments of a YouTube video about horror manga, and the person's reaction to the title made me curious, so I looked it up. It is currently two volumes (12 chapters), with a third volume potentially in the works.

The first chapter starts the manga off with a strange, jarring tone that doesn't quite reflect the rest of what's to come. It mixes dark humor with a weirdly vulnerable look at a person struggling with unhealthy sexual fantasies. Makoto, a lonely and alienated high school student, summons a demon with a ritual he found in an occult book. The demon promises to give Makoto his deepest desire in return for his soul. And what exactly is Makoto's deepest desire?

While taken aback, the demon - who is known only as J - accepts Makoto's request. Over the course of the next month, Makoto eats his way through J's flesh and organs, with the demon's still-conscious upper body keeping him company. Makoto confides in J that he has always been haunted by these uncontrollable, deviant desires, but is terrified of ever hurting somebody in real life. He thinks it would be better to let himself die rather than risk hurting someone in the future. J praises Makoto's selfless instinct to protect others.

The two have sex in a very explicit and somewhat horrifying scene, with J encouraging Makoto to use his body in a way that would kill an ordinary human. Makoto sobs after the fact and curses himself for enjoying it, but tells J that he is satisfied, and that it's time for him to die. However, intrigued by Makoto's strange desires, J instead turns him into a demon and takes him under his wing as his apprentice.

After the first chapter, I wasn't really sure what I was getting into. It felt like it could maybe be a gory, hyper-sexual sort of gag comedy, but Makoto's self-hatred and the brutal sex scene also hinted at something much more serious. I decided to keep reading, unsure of how to categorize it or even how I felt about it after such an introduction.

Makoto awakes and J fixes him a new body. Makoto will live a lavish life under J's supervision, but he's also struggling with being forced to continue living - in an entirely new world, at that - after being promised that he would die. J sends him to work at a brothel owned by another demon, Datenshou. Makoto slowly begins to learn how things are done in the demon world, and tries to come to terms with his newfound relationship with J. Is he really the beautiful, indulgent savior that Makoto wanted, or is he just a monster that enjoys playing with his emotions?

It was around the third chapter that I really noticed and began to appreciate how gorgeous the artwork in MADK is, despite the graphic content. Take this crowd shot, for example - Sumiyoshi's designs for these demons don't shy away from being inhuman and unattractive, and his linework is impeccable as well. I found out that he worked as a design consultant on the Monster Hunter series, and that his other works also feature inhuman, monstrous characters - it seems to be a bit of a trademark for him, and he's clearly well-suited for it.

Makoto continues to struggle with his emotions. J coddles him and embraces him in his time of need, yet forces him to engage in violent sex with a stranger. He praises Makoto but simultaneously treats him as insignificant. Makoto, instead of breaking under this difficult and confusing treatment, adapts to it, and finds himself caught up in the selfish, sadistic mindset that defines a demon. Makoto is not the first to be toyed with and manipulated by J, but he may be the first one with the personality and willpower necessary to turn the tables on the powerful demon.

That's an approximate summary of the first volume. The second volume takes place after Makoto has been in the demon world for three years - not only has he learned how to survive in this world, he's learned to twist the rules and its inhabitants to suit his needs. For only being 12 chapters long, by the time I finished the manga, I was genuinely invested in the characters and felt as if I understood a large portion of the world and how it worked. Sumiyoshi writes J's deceptive behavior in a fascinating way, and it's equally fascinating and horrifying to see how Makoto takes on bits of J's personality, perhaps without even being aware of it. Since the manga is not finished, it isn't 100% clear what J's true motivations are, but there's enough there to keep you thinking. The side characters also feel remarkably fleshed out for the short amount of screentime that they receive - J's reach has affected many more people than just Makoto and those in his immediate circle.

I read the whole manga in about an hour and a half earlier today, and I was shocked by the fact that once I read both volumes, I was genuinely upset that I couldn't get a resolution to the story. I had no intention of getting invested in this random ero-guro manga I looked up based on a single YouTube comment on a video I've already forgotten the name of, but sometimes, these things just happen. Sumiyoshi takes a lot of the uncomfortable tropes that seem so pervasive in yaoi - imbalance in relationships, rape, sexual coersion and violence - and uses them as thematic building blocks in a dark, unfolding story instead of just throwing them in the mix for audience 'excitement' and writing them off later.

Seeing the more realistic and dark side of obsession and emotional manipulation was quite a refreshing surprise. Coupled with the surprisingly dense worldbuilding and detailed, elegant artwork, this manga really caught me off guard. It was definitely something that I found engaging and interesting, but the sexual violence throughout can be quite shocking and brutal, especially a scene that happens near the end of the second volume. Makoto and J's sex scene in the very first chapter is very harsh as well. As always with content like this, if you decide to read it, make sure you are prepared and can handle it. That being said, it was quite an unusual and engaging read, and I am kind of happy that I happened to stumble upon the comment that led me to look into it!

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