I’m not sure why, but I remember The Devil’s Trill, the second chapter in the story of Asato Tsuzuki, his partner Hisoka Kurasaki, and the doings of the Summons Section of the Ministry of Hades, as being my least favorite segment of the season. It was a good idea to take a second look.
Hijiri Minase is a music student who almost lost his sight, but was saved by a donated cornea. He goes to visit Kazusa Otonashi, the young daughter of the man whose cornea saved his sight, to thank her, and happens to mention that there was a fire in his school’s music room and his violin was burned. Kazusa offers him her father’s violin, which he gratefully accepts. What neither of them know is that Kazusa’s father made a bargain with the devil Sarganatas, and the violin is cursed. There is a small scar on Hijiri’s cornea that contains the contract. Inevitably, given the circumstances, Tsuzuki and Hisoka get involved.
I guess I object to the “haunted violin” scenario, which reminds me of a Vincent Price movie from the ’60s. (I don’t really remember whether Price actually made such a film, but he would have, if anyone would.) However, there’s a fair amount of important development in this segment that it would be a mistake to miss, especially in the relationship between Hisoka and Tsuzuki. There’s also a critical development in Tsuzuki’s own character that’s a direct result of his battle with Sarganatas (which battle, by the way, is very well done and quite spectacular).
The animation, character designs, and acting are, of course, consistent with what I described in my review of “Vampire’s Lure,” except that Shinichiro Miki as Tsuzuki finds even greater range and depth in the role, as does Mayumi Asano as Hisoka. The hypnotic Show Hayami as Dr. Muraki is, sadly, absent from this chapter. (But never fear — he’ll be back.) Happily, though, we get to hear more from Toshihiko Seki and Toshiyuki Morikawa.
And of course, the music is excellent.
(US Manga Corps, 2003)