Wednesday, June 24, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: A WITCH'S PRINTING OFFICE Volume 1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Mochinchi
ART: Yasuhiro Miyama
TRANSLATION: Amber Tomasaitis
LETTERS: Eric Hickman
ISBN: 978-1-9753-3146-7; paperback (December 2019); Rated “T” for “Teen”
194pp, B&W with some color pages, $15.00 U.S., $19.50 CAN

Mahoutsukai no Insatsujo is a fantasy manga that began as a digital manga written and illustrated by Mochinchi.  Later, Yasuhiro Miyama became series artist, and it began serialization in the manga magazine, Dengeki G's Comic, until the magazine was discontinued.  Yen Press is publishing an English-language edition of the manga in North America as a series of graphic novels entitled, A Witch's Printing Office.

A Witch's Printing Office, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 6) introduces Mika Kamiya, a young woman who is a comic nerd.  Returning home from a recent “Comiket” (a real-life event also known as “Comic Market”), Mika is about to enjoy her haul of comics when she is whisked away to a strange fantasy land.  This is a world similar to the kind that would be the setting of an RPG (role-playing game), but Mika wants to return home.

Searching for a spell that will send her home, Miya Kamiya becomes a young businesswoman.  First, she establishes Protagonist Press, a publishing house that focuses on spell books, scrolls, summoning contracts, and other magical tomes.  She hopes that one day one of those presented to her for publishing will contain the spell she needs.  Then, in a world full of wizards and witches, she decides that she needs to gather them all in one place.  So, Miya starts “Magiket” or “Magic Market,” a place where authors, publishers, and creators and makers of spells can sell magical tomes to witches, wizards, mages, and magic users of all skill levels.  Perhaps, in this market, she can meet someone who has the spell that will transport her home.

[This volume includes miscellaneous back matter in the form of comics, illustrations and text.]

The A Witch's Printing Office manga is not the first time I have come across a manga about a young woman involved in the business of creating and selling magical spells.  It is the first one that has as one of its most important settings, a book festival, fair, and flea market.

A Witch's Printing Office Graphic Novel Volume 1 presents a narrative with a definite goal, something for which writer Mochinchi should get some extra credit..  The heroine is involved in ventures that will allow her to peruse a wide range of magical spells while she hopes to find the spell that will transport her home.  However, the characters are not that well-developed in the chapters that comprise this first volume, even Miya Kamiya.  I would like to see a more in-depth look at the characters in future volumes of this interesting fantasy manga.

The art by Yasuhiro Miyama is beautiful.  Layered, textured, and toned, Miyama's illustrations give the world of A Witch's Printing Office weight and substance.  The art presents a rather engaging graphical storytelling package that is made even better by the English edition lettering by Eric Hickman.  The story potential and the art make A Witch's Printing Office worth another read.

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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