Saturday, August 9, 2014

Manga Review: SPELL OF DESIRE Volume 1


ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane
LETTERS: Monalisa de Asis
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6775-4; paperback (August 2014); Rated “M” for “Mature”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Tomu Ohmi is a female mangaka who made her debut in 2000.  VIZ Media is currently publishing the English-language version of her series, Midnight Secretary.  The San Francisco-based publisher is also making her most recent series, Spell of Desire, available to North American readers.

Spell of Desire focuses on Kaoruko “Koko” Mochizuki owns and operates an herb shop in a small seaside town in Japan.  One day, a mysterious man dressed in black walks into the Moon Witch Herb Shop and introduces himself as Kaname Hibiki.  Kaname tells Kaoruko that she is actually a witch and that he has arrived to help her control the power that is awakening in her.

Spell of Desire, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 5) opens with the arrival of Kaname.  He is bringing shocking news about Koko and her mother and grandmother.  He says that he is a “Knight.”  He tells her about being the target of humans and demons alike.  And now her customers think that Kaoruko finally has a boyfriend.  Kaoruko wants to reject Kaname, but then, he steals a kiss…

It is worth comparing the Spell of Desire manga to Midnight Secretary, the previous manga produced by Spell of Desire creator, Tomu Ohmi.  Midnight Secretary is by turns sweet and silly and also dark and mysterious.  Its scenario is playful, which belies the danger inherent in some characters.

Spell of Desire seems like something I’ve read countless times before.  While Midnight Secretary manages to be different as vampire fiction, Spell of Desire scenario of the Knight-without-shining-armor rescuing the magical-novice-damsel seems a bit soft.  The best scenes are the ones featuring Kaname’s familiars, Dragon and Unicorn.  Like Midnight Secretary, I think Spell of Desire will start to differentiate itself in the second and third volumes.  Meanwhile, Spell of Desire Volume 1 has beautiful art, but the magic does not crackle.  Still, Fans of Tomu Ohmi may want to try Spell of Desire.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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