In this review I plan to spoil volume one of this manga in the hopes that you'll realize you need to read the rest of the series 😝.
The Demon Prince of Momochi House tells the story of Himari Momochi, an orphan, who on her 16th birthday inherits a grand old house located somewhere deep in the woods.
This surprise inheritance excites Himari because its a connection to the parents she lost and it will give her somewhere she belongs.
The only problem? When she arrives... she finds the place already occupied!
Three boys are living in the abandoned house. Who are these guys? Are they squatters?
Aoi, Yukari, and Ise are just as surprised to see her.
After looking at the will, which grants her ownership of the house, they insist she must leave.
They can't be serious! It's legally her property! Himari certainly isn't leaving.
The neighbors already tried to tell Himari that Momochi House is haunted, she's not going to let these guys scare her away either.
With the boys also refusing to leave, Himari declares herself the landlady. She will collect rent, and she plans to make her 'tenants' lives so uncomfortable that they'll leave.
After spending some time with these guys she notices two things: All they do is lounge around the house all day & they're very good looking.
Something weird must be going on...
One night the truth finally comes out:
Momochi House is haunted. It lies on the boundary between our world and the spirit realm.
It acts as a gateway. Somebody must guard this gateway, upkeeping the purity of the space, so only harmless spirits can pass through.
At seventeen years old, Aoi is the current Omamori-sama, or guardian of the boundary.
Yukari and Ise are his shikigami, or bound spirit companions.
And the rest of the house is occupied by lesser ayakashi, mischievous but harmless spirits.
The house itself is magical.
Its always changing form and expanding. Its easy to get lost in, or tricked by, Momochi House.
It's also possible that Momochi House lured Himari here to become the Omamori-sama.
This is why Aoi wants Himari to leave while she still can.
Maybe she should leave.
But it's not that simple. It's not like Himari has somewhere else to go.
And despite her intention to drive these strangers out, she's enjoyed living with them. She's jealous of the bond they share.
They're like a family, something she wants for herself.
Himari also discovers that the house obeys her command. When she tells something to "get out" the house hurls them out.
If she already has this ability, maybe she can stay in Momochi House after all.
With time she might even be able to help protect the boundary.
Unfortunately, it's going to be a rough adjustment period, because they all quickly realize that Himari's Momochi blood attracts trouble.
A Damsel in Distress... But I Don't Hate It
The plot points in this first volume are repetitive.
Himari learns how dangerous the house is. She wants to help with supernatural issues, but lacks the skill.
She gets tricked by the bad ayakashi, and ends up in dangerous situations.
Aoi comes to her rescue every time.
This could have annoyed me in a different story. However, it works for me here.
At this point Himari is vulnerable.
She doesn't know the supernatural world. She truly can't help herself. While this does make her the "helpless female protagonist", it's justifiably so.
Aoi doesn't come to her rescue because he's a man. He comes to her rescue because he's the Omamori-sama.
I find this trope annoying when the female protagonist can't seem to do anything for herself because of PLOT. I'm talking the things she should be able to do.
In this case, the predicaments Himari finds herself in are completely beyond her ability.
The situations are also scary [I'm not saying the manga is scary] -- AND YET -- Himari doesn't run away afterwards.
Instead, she wants to help Aoi even more.
This shows her psychological strength, and good nature. It tells me, the reader, she's going to be worth following for a whole series 👌.
Is Aoi Even Human Anymore?
Aoi has been trapped inside Momochi house for seven years.
He entered it as a child and was taken to be the Omamori-sama. As a result he acts more like his supernatural companions than he does a human.
He also has a childlike innocence to him.
Himari needs to tell him what is proper behavior.
For example, Aoi doesn't realize he can't sleep in Himari's bed. It would be fine if they were children, but they're teens now and he should know better.
It's good characterization, showing that he's stunted by his circumstances. But I think it's also supposed to be a source of comedy, because he's clueless and Himari gets flustered. Admittedly, it's kinda dumb.
So Aoi's a little bit useless, and yet, when he transforms into the Nue, he takes on an otherworldly aura and strength. He's not bitter, and moody, which is refreshing.
He's good at his duties as Omamori-sama. He's dedicated to protecting Himari and the other humans in the area, even with the personal sacrifice.
It's pretty easy to find yourself going into The Demon Prince of Momochi House expecting a romcom with a supernatural twist. However, you should know the romance is minimal for the first few volumes.
On a scale of Natsume's Book of Friends to Kamisama Kiss it's much closer to the Natsume's side.
I do actually think this slow progression towards romance works well in the story, but it will be disappointing to readers looking forward to a romance manga.
That's what happened to me the first time I picked up this manga.
I was in the mood for a shoujo romance and found this one lacking. But later on, when I wanted a supernatural adventure manga, this felt like the perfect read!
If you're finding yourself curious about the mystery of Momochi House read this manga series!
If you like spirit world manga... yokai... trickster 'gods' and 'demons'... a sweet male love interest... and shoujo manga.... this ones for you!
Thanks for reading!
Header made on canva.com
Images included to identify & promote this manga were taken by me.