Maburaho Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, May 06, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Writer/Artist:Toshihiko Tsujiki, Art: Miki Miyashita
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
What They Say
Kazuki may lack common sense, but he more than makes up for it with his coveted DNA. The youngest in a long line of sorcerers, Kazuki is a student at the prestigious Aoi Academy, an elite school where witchcraft isn't the only thing on the curriculum! Three magical hotties are vying for his genes, but will
Kazuki be able to deliver the goods before he uses up all his magic - and loses his life?!
As my review copy is an uncorrected galley proof, I am unable to comment on the packaging or art reproduction.
Miyashita's art is fairly standard for this type of fan-service heavy manga. Linework is sharp and clean. There is little if anything for backgrounds. The composition of panels is unimaginative. The three main characters are more easily differentiated by hair clothing and stature than by facial features. It's not bad, just not memorable.
Kay Bertrand's translation reads cleanly. Nothing jumped out at me as particularly awkward, nor did I notice any out-of-place American pop culture references. All sound effects are translated on the page using small English text next to the Japanese characters. Occasionally, the smaller sfx are replaced by the English text. It works well and the minimal intrusion of the extra English text is a small price to pay for knowing immediately what kind of sound we're supposed to be hearing.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kazuki Shikimori is a student at the very prestigious Aoi Academy. The elite magic high-school aged magic users of the land all attend this school. The only problem is that Kazuki's magic ability is almost non-existent. He can only use magic 8 times in his life, and he's already used it once, leaving him with 7. He's in the academy because of his heritage. He is a direct descendent of 50 of the world's greatest magicians. When he has children, it's certain that they will be among the greatest magicians ever. Because of that, three girls at the school are vying for his attentions. Kuriko Kazetsubaki is a blonde bombshell from an up-and-coming family that controls a great financial conglomerate. She's more than happy to point out her magical rating is 145,000, well above the 1000 to 10,000 rating of the other elite members of the academy. Having Kazuki's child would strengthen her position as the next head of the family. She's not above using her sexy figure to try to win over Kazuki's heart. Rin Kamishiro is traditional Japanese woman, clad in the clothes of a Shinto priestess. In addition to her powerful magic, she's a skilled swordswoman. She's also the most reserved and proper of the three girls. She's from a prestigious family whose fortunes are on the decline. Having Kazuki's child would return her family to its traditional position of prominence. Finally, there's Yuna Miyama. She's cute and klutzy and declares to everyone that she is Kazuki's wife. She's the only one of the three would actually loves him, as they were childhood friends from many years back. It was for her that he used his magical abilities the first, and so far, only time. In the first chapter, one of Yuna's spells backfires and Kazuki loses his memories. It's really just a ploy to introduce everything to the reader. In the second chapter, we learn a bit about Rin when she's forced to try on a school uniform, which is mostly just a chance for everyone to cosplay different outfits. The third chapter lets us get to know a bit more about Kuriko, including the fact there is actually quite a bit more to her than you'd guess. In the fourth chapter, everyone learns the horrors of Yuna controlling her temper, and in the next chapter, Rin, who is actually an accomplished cook, has a disaster in her cooking class and Kazuki is the one who has to clean it up. We also learn that Rin is quite popular among several of the female students, including one senior in particular who leaves pink letters covered with heart stickers in her locker almost every day. In the next chapter, Kuriko almost gets what she desires, but it isn't working out quite as planned. The last chapter is a bonus chapter, showing the morning routine of the girls. It's the most fanservicey of the chapters, which have been rather tame up to this point.
Maburaho is an odd little story. Kuriko and Rin are well-developed in the first volume, but the main couple of Yuna and especially Kazuki are still a blank slate. It's a little hard to see why they're all falling for Kazuki when we know almost nothing about him. These kinds of harem comedies require a guy in the middle who is well-developed, or it all falls apart. Kazuki isn't that guy, at least not yet. It almost feels as if Tsujiki realized that Kuriko and Rin were the most interesting characters, and just wrote for those two. It's not that it's awful, it's just going to require some better writing in the next volume to keep my interest. Some more imaginative or distinctive artwork wouldn't hurt either.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: N/A
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
Orientation: Right to Left