Hello hallowed souls and welcome to the first day of Otakutober! Today, hot off the press to kickoff this celebration of spook is contracts. But not any old contract. No, today we’re going to be talking about demon contracts. How do they work? What’s the catch? Would you make one? We’ll delve into the terms and conditions of some demon contracts in anime and answer the question: should YOU make a contract with a demon? The answer is no. It’s always no. But it’ll be fun to talk about these contracts, so let’s do it anyway!
So. Demon contracts. When it comes to a demon contract, there’s always a catch. Some would think–well, with any deal there is a catch–but no. Sometimes you get freebies. Light never made a contract with Ryuk, he was just there to watch. But demons? Demons love contract’s. They aren’t one to give out their power for free, their terms and conditions always involve a reward for them. The rewards vary–sometimes it’s one thing or emotion, sometimes it’s multiple. Some are immediate, and others long and drawn out. An example of an immediate reward can be found in any stories. For example, take the tale of Howl and Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle. Calcifer is a demon that offered Howl power–but of course, in exchange for a piece of him. In fact, the greater Howl’s sacrifice, the greater power Calcifer could bestow him. Thus Howl exchanged his heart. To be honest, Calcifer was a benevolent demon in retrospect. Not only did he allow Howl to choose what to sacrifice in exchange for equal power, but he was kind enough to let him have it back eventually. Other demon’s…are nice, but in a different way.
Take Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji. Sebastian is one hell of a butler and a certified demon. When Ciel desperately calls for help, Sebastian answers his call. In the spur of the moment, he decides he’ll help Ciel if that’s what he wants. In fact, he says he’ll form a contract with the boy and grant his wish in exchange for his soul. Ciel, completely desperate, agrees in a heartbeat. Being that Ciel wished for revenge, the terms and conditions of his contract means that Sebastian doesn’t get to take Ciel’s soul until he has completed his revenge. And lucky for us all that Sebastian is nice enough to keep that contract and actually do everything possible to help Ciel with his revenge, no matter how menial.
But not all demons are nice. No, some demon’s want everything and want some very, very fucked up things. Take caution from the tale of Dororo. Hyakkimaru’s father, Daigo, wants his land to prosper again–for his people to no longer suffer. It’s honestly a selfless want, but he makes a contract with a demon in response–or, demons. Said demons each want something, so in exchange they take literally everything from Daigo’s first born, aka Hyakkimaru. His legs, his arms, his eyes, his voice, his sense of touch/pain, his hearing. They take so many things. And poor Hyakkimaru spends his life getting them back. All fed to demons who wanted immediately and took from this poor baby.
But not all demons want payment so extreme. And not all are..demons? Okay just have to stop here to shift gears to Chrono Crusade. Chrono, is either a devil or a demon–the jury is still out on that one apparently as many argue he IS a demon, while others insist on devil (maybe we need to break down the differences in a post one day). But if it DOES count as a demon, then he makes a pretty good deal. Instead of being selfish and taking away entirely from Rosette, their contract is more like a shared outcome. The reward is a mercy as they are released of their binds with each other and their lives.
Tomoe, from Kamisama Kiss, wasn’t necessarily “nice” to Nanami even though she was sent by his master to make the contract in order to live at the temple. Tomoe made it difficult with his stubborn, grumpiness but she gained an ally, a home and power. While Tomoe gained a new master (Land god) that was forced upon him. But the more successful she is, the more beautiful the shrine became, along with some other things.
At first, Tsubaki, from Inuyasha, didn’t see anything wrong with helping Naraku come back from the dead. Especially when she would get to live her life as a youthful young woman. It was a small price to pay and it took many years for Naraku to end his contract. But that was the appeal of Naraku for the most part. He seemed nice at first before he came back to collect.
So. Demon contracts. Demons. They come in many shapes, sizes, and differing terms and conditions. If anything, demon contracts have certainly taught us one thing and one thing only: ALWAYS READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Some demon’s are kinder than others. Anyway, hope you enjoyed day one of 13 Days of Otakutober! We’ll be back tomorrow where Star will be mentioning some of her favorite antagonists.
Luna & Star