Dictatorial Grimoire Vol. 1 Review

dictatorial grimoire vol 1

A.k.a. ‘Dictatorial Grimoire: Cinderella’.

CardCaptor Sakura and Natsume Yuujinchou meets Grimms’ Fairy Tales with some gender-bending, and a dash of Loveless as well as of S&M. Alternately, the manga for people who have read any of Alice in the Country of Hearts, et al. and thought, “Wow, I really do like this, but it’d be even better if they were all guys.” My guess is that’s the audience Seven Seas was hoping for when they picked up this license.

Dictatorial Grimoire follows Otogi Grimm, a half-Japanese (of course) descendant of the brothers Grimm who has recently moved in the wake of his mother’s death. After of lifetime of being told that fairy tales are simply tales, he is shocked to discover that his ancestors were the sort of people who thought nothing of swapping the souls of their future kin to a pack of demons in exchange for the material they used to craft their stories. Otogi, being an adaptable sort, manages to take it in stride, although it does help that the handsome, and quite male, Cinderella steps up to save him when the first of the Märchen Demons makes a go of consuming the high school boy. Thus it is that Otogi realizes he’s bound to re-seal the various Märchen Demons into the titular grimoire, or they’ll eat him first.

I honestly can’t decide it that sounds like a terrible premise or not – to me, it sounds like an enjoyable take on those classic fairy tales, but I suppose to other folks it probably sounds questionable at best. As its executed, it certainly exceeded my expectations, honestly – author Ayumi Kanou does a solid job of breathing some freshness into stories that are old hat to many, even if doing so does seem to involve a little more fetish gear than feels strictly necessary. Otogi quickly learns that the fairy tales he knows barely resemble the reality that the Demons experienced, and its fun to see what Kanou gives as the “true” stories, even if it isn’t the slightest bit difficult to work out which demon is which in this volume.

I will say, though, that this is likely one of those manga that you more or less know right off the bat whether you will love it or loathe it.

Seven Seas has a solid release here, as this one is done in “oversized” format when it comes to size of page. Its a good thing, too, as the art does get a difficult to follow at points, so having larger images helps clear things up a bit. The translation reads easily, and the text is free of typos and grammatical errors. Unfortunately, my own copy’s front cover was cut poorly, so its a touch shy of covering the first page properly; hopefully this isn’t true of the entire print run. (Hilariously, the manga that Seven Seas opted to preview in the back with a few sample pages is Zero’s Familiar, something I can’t really see being of much interest to folks who are probably picking up this manga.)

All in all, Dictatorial Grimmoire, while at its core being basically what I expected, did manage to exceed my expectations somewhat in delivering a solid storyline in addition to a dose of silly fun. Can’t believe I’m going to have to wait all the way until January for the next installment, where a male Snow White in fish-nets apparently takes center stage.

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