Welcome To Demon School, Iruma-Kun! Volume 6: Duelelection



The idea of older demographics invading spaces targeted at younger demographics isn’t anything new, especially with manga. After all, Shounen series (like Iruma-Kun), are targeted at preteens and teenagers largely. I think it’s perfectly fine to experience media targeted at a demographic separate to the one that you as a person “belong” to, but it’s another to attempt to influence it to better suit a different demographic. Because of issues like that, I really can’t appreciate Iruma-Kun enough, and with each volume I’m reminded of that.

It remains a story that brings so much love, passion, and excitement to a high school life, giving readers an example of students with incredible power and sway, endless potential and strength. It’s a testament to how you can encourage younger readers in all sorts of manners to become a better version of themselves. And it wraps it all up in a high octane, deeply enjoyable, and endlessly funny package. Osamu Nishi, in that sense, earns a spot as one of the great shounen mangaka of recent years. Just take a look at this volume, and you’ll understand why.

The past five volumes have by and large, been focused on Iruma (obviously), but alongside Iruma are other characters. Characters that Nishi explores and challenges in way that younger readers can relate to. Not being strong enough, not having any friends- all sorts of different ideas. In this volume though, we finally get to spend some time with Ameri and her story, and alongside Iruma I think it’s borderline perfect what it sets out to do.

Due to various circumstances, Ameri gets hit with a spell that “reverts” (very loose idea) her to a more passive and reserved girl. It strips away her ambition, her desires that she was able to share and pursue, and makes her nothing more than an object of affection for a specific character. Immediately, the idea of sexism and the objectification of women come out strong, but more than that the purpose of this sort of regression with Ameri is to introduce readers to the idea of insecurity. Nishi wants readers to feel what it’s like to be able to reach out, to be shown as capable and successful, but be unable to convert because of hesitations that exist within you. And Ameri is the perfect catalyst for that discussion. Possessing incredible will and strength without being forced to deny herself more stereotypical or traditionally feminine aspects, she’s a character that previously exuded confidence and self assurance. But, like the staff at Babels explain, it takes just one little knot, one little shred of doubt or insecurity to begin that downward spiral.

And honestly, what I love more than anything with this plot is two things. First, it is how Ameri is able to overcome her insecurities through Iruma. Secondly, it’s how that improvement is shown to occur. To explain further, let’s go in order of mention.

When you’re insecure about yourself, that pressure almost always comes from the outside. The expectation to perform, the expectation to be what society and the others around you want you to be. Because of that, it can be hard to get over those feelings on your own, and Iruma wonderfully illustrates how a helping hand should work. He doesn’t force Ameri to do anything, nor does he hold her hand the whole way. Instead, what he does is give Ameri confidence. Confidence to be herself, confidence to fail and still be accepted by Iruma, confidence to stand up in front of an entire school and belt out her desires. It’s such a beautiful and inspiring moment that it brings such a massive smile to my face just thinking about how much moments like this can mean to younger readers that can struggle with confidence or insecurities.

And now, onto point number two. It’s rather simple, but I think it’s still a really important visual. When Ameri is overcoming the spell, and subsequently her insecurity, the idea display is that her insecurity is a tangle of ropes within her. One length of that rope gets caught on what’s displayed as a rock within Ameri, but once she overcomes that insecurity, the rope finds itself freed from the rock.

A bit of a wordy explanation, but the idea that Nishi is driving home is that people are very complex. Tangles and messes are a part of our experience, and there’s aspects of our selves that we may never be able to change. Overcoming insecurity and other issues is possible, but you can’t magically erase those feelings, or banish them from your existence for the rest of your life. Rather, it’s a struggle, a challenge that people have to overcome themselves (with the help and support of others).

Regardless, the point driven home in this volume is this: even if you struggle to value yourself, even if you fear the thoughts of everyone else- they are only thoughts. The you that you love is more valuable than anything else, and it doesn’t matter if you’re afraid or worried, there will be people that love the you that is unabashedly yourself. Iruma-Kun definitely gets the wrap that it’s a very fun and silly series that doesn’t take itself serious. In a lot of cases those interpretations are correct. However, being fun and silly and full of energy doesn’t mean that you can’t be a valuable and impactful experience as well. If you’ve read this far and haven’t picked up the series yet, all I have to say is that you absolutely should, you’re missing out on a wonderful read.

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