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Manga / Me and the Devil Blues

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"My name is the Blues. And tonight, and every night, I go forth to meet my friend."

Me and the Devil Blues (Ore to Akuma no Buruuzu, if you really need to know) is a horror manga by Akira Hiramoto based on the life of blues musician Robert Johnson and the titular song, "Me and the Devil Blues". RJ, an aspiring musician, makes a Deal with the Devil that makes him the greatest blues musician around at the cost of... well, see for yourself. RJ later finds himself wandering the countryside with a new-found companion, Ike, and later Clyde Barrow. Unfortunately, bad luck seems to follow him everywhere, and he finds himself with more than a few enemies as well.

The manga began serialization in Monthly Afternoon in 2003. It was put into a hiatus in 2008, and years later publisher Kodansha declared the series as finished, leaving it where the author left. However, in 2014, the manga started up again after moving to Young Magazine the 3rd, still published by Kodansha.


  • At the Crossroads: Since it is the traditional setting for a Deal with the Devil, this is where RJ makes his.
  • Axe-Crazy: Clyde through and through. He's prone to fits of creepy laughter, as well.
  • Body Horror: RJ's hand is creepy enough without it splitting in two. Ick.
  • Character Tics: Clyde tends to slick his hair back when he's trying to keep his cool.
  • Cliffhanger: Not as bad as some, but there are still two attack dogs on RJ and Clyde's trail and there's no sign of another book coming out any time soon.
  • Cut Short: Until 2014, Kodansha declared the series finished, ending the Series Hiatus in the worst way possible. Obviously, not the case anymore.
  • Deal with the Devil: The entire basis of the manga.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Stanley McDonald says this of Carrion Valley.
  • Gorn: Seeing a man get his arm blown off with a shotgun is going to linger with you for a while.
  • Grotesque Cute: Toby would be a pretty cute kid in any other manga, but here his traditional anime-style eyes are creepy. The horrifying fate McDonald has planned for him makes it worse
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: After escaping the town, RJ and Clyde are the prey, and Golem, Fenrill, and Nezheg, three of McDonald's attack dogs are the hunters.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every story arc is named after one of the real-life Robert Johnson's songs. The title of the series is also the name of one of his songs, as well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Clyde may be a little unhinged, but he has his moments, and he does seem to genuinely care about RJ, Toby, and, of course, Bonnie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Mr. Sanders doesn't have a moment in the manga in where hes not being a complete jackass.
  • N-Word Privileges: Being a period piece of early 20th century Southern United States, the word gets thrown around a lot.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Justified. It takes place in the Deep South in the early 1900's. OF COURSE there's going to be some people that are a little...insensitive. Stanley O. McDonald and the people of his town, however, take it up to eleven.
  • Purposely Overpowered: When a shotgun is fired in this manga, it can blow a man's arm off.
  • Sanity Slippage: Perhaps the whole manga is an example. The original tone of it is light-hearted yet clearly ominous. The further RJ goes with Clyde however, the more disturbing and gruesome the world they live in becomes.
  • Satan: RJ believes his new companion, Ike, is this, but he insists otherwise.
  • The Scapegoat: RJ is forced to play this role when Clyde Barrow kills one of the farmers.
  • Scenery Porn: When this series isn't scaring the hell out of you, it's impressing you with the gorgeous backgrounds. It may be one of, if not the prettiest manga around.
  • Senseless Violins: Clyde was right. There ain't no guitar in the guitar case. Just a shotgun which RJ uses to kill their attacker.
  • Sociopathic Hero: CLYDE. Some farmers knock him out at one point. His response? He beats them half to death with a broken coke bottle.
  • Took a Level in Badass: RJ starts out a goofy good-for-nothing who can't even play the guitar right. One Deal with the Devil later, and he's the best guitar player around. Later he takes another, more traditional level in badass when he kills a mad attack dog with some booze and a few matches.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Mostly averted, surprisingly enough. RJ's sister Bessie and her husband Granville are almost Ethnic Scrappies, but they even out by the time the series Grows the Beard.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He may or may not have realized what he was getting into, but RJ did essentially trade his wife and unborn child's lives for the ability to play the blues. His sister and brother-in-law also call him out for (again, likely unknowingly) disappearing for six months.