Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji (The Demon Prince of Momochi House) Review
- Mangaka : Shouoto, Aya
- Publisher : VIZ
- Genres : Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo, Harem, Supernatural
- Published : July 2015
Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji (The Demon Prince of Momochi House) Vol. 1 Introduction
Momochi Himari grew up in an orphanage and has never known her family. On her 16th birthday, she receives the deed to the family estate that was left to her. Determined to hold on to this single link to her parents, Himari moves in only to discover 3 incredibly attractive men living in squalor there. They refuse to give her a straight answer as to why they’re there but before long, it becomes clear… It is a house filled with ayakashi, or spirits, and one of the guys, Aoi, is guarding the barrier between humans and ayakashi.
Himari is a pretty likable girl with a can-do attitude and kindness for those who seem like they deserve it. Growing up in an orphanage hasn’t diminished her self-esteem nor made her fatalistic. A lot of young girls would probably give up the deed to a dirty, broken-down house they knew nothing about if three imposing guys told her to leave. Instead, Himari buckles down and gets to cleaning while the two ayakashi Yukari and Ise tease her in various ways and Aoi kindly but firmly tells her to leave.
Even as low-level demons come out to scare her, Himari gathers her courage and demands rent, in turn scaring the yokai. They realize Himari is taking her role as the landlady seriously and decide to reveal their true natures. Aoi is a human that has become the Omamori-sama, the guardian of the house meant to protect good spirits and banish harmful ones. It becomes apparent that the will was used to force Himari into this role without her knowledge, which is why Aoi encouraged her to leave. Himari decides that it was probably done out of desperation instead of malicious intent so she decides to find her own way to help Aoi and the residents of her estate.
Over the course of volume 1, she learns when Ise become too annoying that she has the power to send ayakashi outside the home. It seems the house and some of the yokai accept her as the landlady even if she doesn’t personally take on the role of Omamori-sama. Those duties are still left to Aoi, who is going to extra lengths to make the house safe for Himari, exhausting himself. Ise and Hikari are worried about the extra burden on Aoi but respect his decision to recognize Himari as the true landlady.
After ending up in varying situations with ayakashi, from playful to outright dangerous, Himari nearly loses her soul trying to find something to ease Aoi’s suffering. Right on time, Aoi shows up and yet again protects her from danger. She laments to him her inability to help while remaining a burden but he insists that as long as she's smiling, he’ll be happy. Determined to do at least that much for this person she admires, Himari resolves to do just that. The volume ends with her trying to lead a reluctant Aoi outside the grounds to view the cherry blossoms only to find out he’s trapped in the estate for eternity.
1. You Love Stories About Ayakashi
You don’t want just cute boys with animal ears, you want different-looking yokai with differing powers and temperaments. The potential romance is a side-note to a story filled with nods to Japanese folklore. Himari learns about various ayakashi including how they can be corrupted and what they’re known to do.
1. The Transitions are Not Always Seamless
If you like things very clear-cut you may get a little annoyed at how the scene changes seemingly mid-conversation. There is not always a satisfactory end to dialogue such as when Himari and Aoi argue for the first time about her staying there. Aoi says ‘It’s troublesome for us if you stay” and in the next frame, Himari is cleaning. Did she turn away and immediately start cleaning? Were there more heated words exchanged? We’ll never know. Yukari teases Himari for talking so much about Aoi and she blushes and denies it and then is suddenly walking down a hall deep in thought. It’s not terribly disjointed but some of these scene switches can feel a little jarring.
While the main mood of volume 1 is comedic and supernatural, there’s a little bit of sadness as well. The mystery surrounding Aoi unravels slowly and tantalizes the reader through the volume. Even though Himari’s confidence wavers a few times, she’s quick to gather her resolve and figure out how to be useful not only to Aoi but to the ayakashi living there and to the expectations her family that entrusted the house to her.