Welcome to Demon School, Iruma kun GN 1

Welcome to Demon College, Iruma-kun GN 1

Sadly, Iruma. The latest in a string of regrettable choices made by his renegade parents over the course of his fourteen years is that they just sold him to a demon. Iruma hasn’t had it easy, from determining that learning to walk implies that he can “carry his weight” (metaphorically speaking) to teaching him never to say “no.” His latest disaster seems to be the one that will take his life, but hold on—what if it’s not as terrible as it seems? He’s been sold to a demon who just really, really wants a grandson and is now prepared to spoil Iruma and make sure he has the finest life possible. Of course, in the most absurd manner imaginable.

The anime adaptation, based on the first volume, has been incredibly accurate to the source material, so reading this is a no-brainer if you’re already a fan. However, even if you are unfamiliar with the tale, it is still worth reading because it is so delightful. As Iruma stumbles through his first days at demon school and learns that he’s worth more than simply hard physical labor, it combines silly fantasy humor with a powerful feeling of kindness. Iruma isn’t ignorant; he’s just exhausted, and the opening few pages of the book make that abundantly evident. He also knows that his parents are horrible people. At least in part because he has learnt that people cannot be trusted and is unsure what to do with an adult who wants to take care of him, he is initially scared of Sullivan, his new demon grandfather.

Iruma attending school in the Netherworld is the main focus of this volume, as the title suggests. Iruma will experience differences attending school with a group of youngsters whose school song is about devouring delectable humans, despite Sullivan being immensely happy about sending him (and earning “adorable grandson” bragging rights). Iruma is dropped into the deep end, and there are sharks all over the place. His first encounter is being made fun of by Sullivan by having a poster made of his first day of school, which is followed by being duped into reading a banned spell onstage in front of the entire class. Asmodeus, the top student who was supposed to deliver the speech, then challenges. Things appear to be in really bad shape for Iruma.

How everything is thrown on its head nearly as soon as a narrative item or character is presented is one of the book’s strengths. The possibly bothersome girl Clara is proven to be simply lonely and in need of a friend, while Asmodeus, the prospective rival/bully, is swiftly won over to Iruma’s side. Even Kalego, the intimidating and severe teacher, is quickly defanged—at least in part. These strong underlying themes are addressed alongside the humor, which is not to suggest that the book is without its serious moments, but it does make the story more engaging than if it had stuck to well-worn story beats and character cliches. Nishi playfully manipulates our expectations, and the ensuing story is very entertaining.

The majority of the book focuses on establishing Iruma’s new connections with his contemporaries. Asmodeus and Clara are the characters who have the largest impact on Iruma and the story, even if Sullivan is the plot’s driving force (and yes, anime aficionados, Opera also appears in this volume). Friendships hold a special place in Iruma’s life because he has never had the chance to do so. Iruma himself couldn’t quite believe it when Sullivan says that he has gained friends because he isn’t used to people liking him for who he is rather than what he can do for them.

Iruma immediately demonstrates that he’s someone Azz wants to spend time with all by himself. Asmodeus’ transformation from opponent to best friend is abrupt but honest, and even if in this volume it feels a lot like hero worship. This is made easier by Clara, whose ability to copy anything she’s once seen and then pull it out of her pocket thanks to her family’s heritage has led to people taking advantage of her. However, if you dig behind the surface, it’s not impossible to imagine her as a perkier demon version of Iruma given her apparent naivete, which leaves her vulnerable to it. Like him, she is frequently solicited for favors and finds it difficult to say no. In contrast to wanting to play with her for his gain, Iruma (and thus Asmodeus) gives her true companionship, noting that he enjoys being with her regardless of what she can do for him. Asmodeus sees through her upbeat demeanor to the hurt underlying. Clara’s response resembles Iruma’s when he is taken in by Sullivan, but it is more open and unguarded. She expresses excitement that someone wants to spend time with her without making any expectations.

This book also introduces the Misfit Class, a group of “bad kids” that Iruma is forced into by his grandfather in an effort to respect his desire for him to blend in. Sullivan is undoubtedly overjoyed that Iruma has friends because Asmodeus and Clara are also sent there with him. Sabnock and his desire to succeed the current demon king are given a lot of page time, despite the fact that we have not yet met the complete clan. Additionally, Jazz and Lead have lengthy introductions. The language of Sabnock is translated into a considerably more archaic style, employing the informal second person (thee/thou/thy) rather than making him sound aggressive or thuggish, which is one of the most obvious distinctions between this and its adaptation. This presumably communicates his sense of superiority to others and supports his claim to the throne. It is effective in bringing attention to Iruma’s more modest strategies, which, if you read the foreshadowing, are more likely to put him in a position of authority. 

Greetings from Demon School! Simply told, it’s simple to like Iruma-kun’s debut volume. It’s likely to be appealing even to those who are not familiar with the anime because to its entertaining characters, a plot that takes what’s happening beneath the surface into account, and a ton of unique demon character designs. Pick up this book if you want to read something entertaining.

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