Izumi Kawachi – Digital Manga Publishing – 2009 – 19+ volumes
Hmm. There haven’t been any new volumes of this since February. We can probably assume that it doesn’t bode well for the future of this series in America. Can’t say I’m all that surprised, given the fact I hardly ever see the series discussed and don’t think it did too well, but I have a soft spot for it.
I’m kind of torn about what’s going on here, because what I liked initially about this series (the magical systems and the enchanter/demon system used to make magical implements) has fallen by the wayside in favor of character development. While the series does have a tendency to introduce a lot of random characters and not come back to them, they always wind up interacting with Eukanaria and Haruhiko, so those two always wind up getting developed at least a little while the side stories focus on the other characters. In this volume, we get introduced to yet another new character and his sister. The new boy interacts with Eukanaria quite a bit while he searches for Mercurio, and by the end, he’s decided to take the offer of another demon to become her Enchanter. But while all this is going on, we see more of the childlike joy Eukanaria seems to take in everything, and we see Haruhiko interact with her, and Yuka, and start to try and figure out why it is he does what he does. Interesting stuff.
Admittedly, there are far better series for character development, and this still has quite a bit of t&a in it. It’s pretty manic, and keeping up with the manic energy of all the characters, as well as keeping track of all the side characters, tires me out. There is an overarching plot, but the stories rarely return to it. And the storytelling is a little disorganized in general. But there’s something kinda fun about it, too, and I think it’s just that I’ve grown attached to Haruhiko and Eukanaria after all this time and would love to see how they end up.
Oh, wow! The story went somewhere this time! I was quite pleased that the entire volume dealt with the problem of Mercurio and how her situation reflects Haruhiko’s. Even better, the volume went into some surprising depth about what Haruhiko thought about it.
Most of the first part here was the fight between human Mercurio and Haruhiko. Human Mercurio is kind of ruthless, but Haruhiko is actually equally so, since he seems to insist on the fact that demon Mercurio is the one that should be allowed to inhabit the body simply because she liked him. It’s an interesting fight. Demon Mercurio kind of takes a backseat during this part, coming forward towards the end to say her piece.
Mercurio’s circumstances are then explained via flashback, from exactly how demon Mercurio came to inhabit human Mercurio’s body and the parts the various magical bigwigs had to play in it, including Paracelsus and a new master builder-kind of character named Cagliostro (which only makes me think of Lupin III, but your mileage may vary). Haruhiko is not happy with the way things have to happen.
This actually leads him to realize that he mostly enjoys doing things for other people rather than himself. Simple chats with Yuka and Eukanaria make him see this, but how this may affect him remains to be seen.
Cagliostro looks like he might be an interesting addition to the cast. Apparently he does things that nobody else can invention-wise, and I’m curious to see what happens when Haruhiko starts analyzing his work.
Well. This series just got interesting again.
Also… so Izumi Kawachi is a woman? That’s, uh… yeah. Unexpected.
Now… this is one of those cheesecake shounen series with magic. The cheese factor in this one isn’t nearly as high as in, say, Pastel, but this is slightly more shameless. Possibly because Eukanaria, the one at the center of most of the fanservice, doesn’t really care one way or another what you think of her. And that’s fine. As long as she doesn’t change behind the front door of the house, then beat up Haruhiko for “peeking” when he happens to walk in.
Actually, this series takes a step in the other direction. Haruhiko wakes up with Eukanaria in his bed, and rather than her getting mad and beating him up, Haruhiko points out that, if their genders were reversed, it would have been a crime. It was a proud moment in manga.
I still feel like there’s something missing from this series whenever the inventions/demon magic stuff isn’t talked about. That hasn’t been the focus of the series for quite some time, which is a shame, because I liked that Haruhiko was good at building demon weapons. Plus, there was a real variety in the types of inventions. There’s a lot of potential there, but… that’s just not what the series is about.
The Mercurio storyline continues, and she begins to have problems concealing her split personality from Haruhiko. It turns out that the balance in her body is similar to the problem that Haruhiko would face in letting Fulcanelli inhabit his body, so some questions are raised towards the end about who should get to keep a body in the case of two souls inhabiting it.
The other conflict in this volume is about the invention that Haruhiko is trying to make in order to communicate with Fulcanelli inside his demon stone. Complications arise, and Haruhiko takes a lot of time to consider how Eukanaria will feel about what’s going on. The amount of attention paid to Eukanaria’s actual feelings (rather than just the over-the-top jokes about her having sex with Haruhiko) was almost touching. It’s been a long time since Eukanaria has been treated like a real person with feelings, and it’s interesting to see her taken seriously.
There are actually a handful of funny moments in here, which was unexpected since this type of humor (vague sex and gender jokes, over-the-top misunderstandings, occasional physical gags) isn’t my thing.
This isn’t a really great series, but it’s got a lot of interesting stuff going on, and the humor and character relationships aren’t so far over-the-top to make it an annoying read. I always think of Sorcerer Hunters when I read it, even though Sorcerer Hunters had a lot more to do with magic and this is more about high school romance (of a sort, I guess a lot of the characters are demons, but still). I’ve got a couple more volumes of it here, but I’m pretty sure my opinion of it really isn’t going to change reading the volumes back-to-back. It’s been maintaining status quo for the past several volumes.
Following up on the heels of Variante, a series I don’t like very much and isn’t terribly good, here’s a series which certainly fails all quality tests, but I have an inordinate fondness for.
Certainly it tries to get me to hate it. It’s got plenty of ditzy girls who throw their large breasts around and have no problem using their bodies to get what they want. They also congregate around the main character, making some sort of… harem. The magical elements are played waaaay down, you have to look really hard to find them.
I hate myself a lot for it, but I can’t help but like the main plot. The main character, though very shallow, is a sweet guy, and there are nice scenes that play out while the girls are shoving their breasts everywhere. For example, I was immediately enamored with this volume when the first chapter was a story about one of the characters building a magical piano so that demons could hear human music. The music that’s played by a little girl who needed the piano attracts little demons from all over who have come to hear her beautiful playing. I’m just a sucker for that.
It doesn’t help the main character’s such a nice guy. He spends a lot of time worrying about other people and doing little things to help them, which I can’t help but like. He also has several stupid awkward scenes with his teacher which I should hate every time, but somehow play out in my mind as really cute coming-of-age stuff. I don’t know how I allow it this, but I do.
I don’t know. I still want more magic, and I may get some next volume, since it seems like we may see Haruhiko trying to help a girl who can’t help her split personality. But yeah. I enjoy this series more than I’m ever going to admit, and I would be destroyed if it ever stopped coming out. Hopefully the T&A will keep it afloat so that I get whatever bizarre enjoyment I can from its other… charms.
As I mentioned someplace else, this volume of Enchanter has been sitting on my floor for over a month waiting for me to talk about it here. I’m not even sure why I put it off so long. I like it, even though the series is mostly just mediocre, and enough stuff happens that it’s fairly easy to talk about. I just kept burying it under newer, shinier things, I guess.
I’m a little bummed that the human/demon relationship isn’t exclusive to Eukanaria and Haruhiko. I mean, I know that Fulcanelli was a human, but he was a human with special powers that Haruhiko somehow wound up with. Maybe I missed or forgot about an explanation earlier on in the series, but I thought… well, what the two main characters had was special. Aww.
Aside from Haruhiko’s classmate, another demon/human pair shows up. Well, we did meet this pair earlier on in the series, I guess, so maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. The demon is a rival of Eukanaria, and they move in with Haruhiko with little explanation. Of course, Eukanaria’s rival (named Lavoix) just wants Fulcanelli’s power, so there’s some comedy as she tries to seduce Haruhiko and put down Eukanaria. Mostly the story is about trying to bring together Lavoix and her human, though.
Actually, I maybe haven’t been paying attention throughout the course of the series. We meet another enchanter, presumably human, who does engravings as her magic. I like that all the enchanters are marked by their dual-colored eyes. I always kind of thought that was a nice touch.
There was a bit more fantasy and story to this volume and less manga stereotypes, so I was pretty happy with this volume. Haruhiko keeps finding out more and more about magic and fighting, so I’m hoping the plot will really start to get going with… all the magic business and whatnot. I’m really looking forward to it, actually, even though it’s still full of some really shallow shounen comedy stereotypes. Look no further than the cover, where both girls have nipples visible through their shirts. That’s part of its charm, though.
I’m starting to get into the character relationships despite myself now. There’s a really good flashback scene showing a tender moment between Fulcanelli and Eukanaria that made me like Eukanaria a lot more. I was rooting for the relationship between the main character and Mana (the student introduced last time as a love interest) this volume too, though that was not meant to be.
I don’t know how I feel about what went on between the Crow (who has the memorable name “Navy”) and Mana. I didn’t really want another pair like that in the series, but maybe it’ll bring Mana and the main character closer together. Maybe.
For some reason, the relationship between the main character and the teacher got a real workout in this volume, too. I don’t like that pair as much, but we get a lot of it anyway. Plus some misunderstandings that are pretty typical setups in this type of manga, but I forgive them anyway.
And because this volume was very good, there was also a handful of the fantasy elements I like so much. The main character is getting better and better at gadgets, and one of his items is featured in the fight at the very beginning, and later he modifies an item so he can control Navy. Fulcanelli designs a little gadget in the flashback, and at the very end, we even get to see Bones. I was very happy.
It’s still not the best series, but I like it quite a bit, and I forgive it the faults. Its biggest problem currently is flat characters, and while they have a little personality, it’s hard to get into them. Flat characters are bad when you start focusing on romance, but things seem to be holding up alright so far.
Hot on the tail of the last volume which was too character-driven, we get a volume which is solely concerned with the class field trip. UGH. We also get a new character introduced, a love interest for the main character, but I didn’t really mind that so much.
It gets into romantic triangles in this one… it also raises the question about whether or not Yukanaria should (or could) fall in love with the main character instead of just having sex with him to steal his soul. The last thing this manga needs is romance. What it needs first is more of the awesome fantasy plot, as I already mentioned.
It attempts to get back to this, as another demon appears near the end and tries to turn the new girl into an Enchanter. Let’s hope that goes someplace interesting. But I’ll be fair… even if it doesn’t, I still kinda like this series despite its badness and I’ll still keep reading it.