HIBIKI’S MAGIC (Hibiki no Mahô, “Hibiki’s Magic”) (???????) • Jun Maeda (story), Rei Idumi (art) • Tokyopop (2007-ongoing) • Kadokawa Shoten (Monthly Shônen Ace/Comp Ace, 2004-ongoing) • 2+ volumes (ongoing) • Fantasy Drama • 13+ (infrequent violence, brief partial nudity)
Although her only skill is making tea, apprentice magician Hibiki ends up working as a professor at a magic school. With the help of her former master’s spirit (now incarnated in a squirrel-like creature) she does her best to help people, become a better wizard, and convince her gun-wielding, angry student Akito that magic is good. Like a cross between “Someday’s Dreamers” and “Atelier Marie and Elie,” the prepubescent heroine tries to magically solve people’s problems but often ends up failing and crying big gelatinous-looking tears. (Less optimistic than “Someday’s Dreamers,” a streak of sadness runs through this manga.) This dull moe title would be decent for younger readers were it not for the crude, generic art–the interiors look worse than the covers. The manga is on hold in Japan, with the third volume only partially completed as of February 2008.
Today’s winner is Chi C. of New York. Congratulations, Chi! This review of “Hibiki’s Magic” couldn’t have been written without help from Mark Simmons, who did a lot of research for me, looking up factoids on Japanese books. Thanks Mark!
Speaking of “moe” manga — that term most often used to describe cute-big-eyed-girl manga like “Hibiki’s Magic” — I just wrote a new article on moe manga for io9.com. It’s Militant Cute and Sexy Politics in Japanese Moe Manga, and unlike the domestic scene in “Hibiki’s Magic,” this article goes into moe manga about the U.S. Marines. And the Afghanistan war. And WWII Germany. Please check it out for your daily dose of both big eyes and geopolitical commentary!