Saturday, July 30, 2016

Magika Swordsman and Summoner Vol. #01

Magika Swordsman and Summoner Vol. 1Magika Swordsman and Summoner Vol. 1 by Mitsuki Mihara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Before I get into this review, I want to state that Magika Swordsman and Summoner is a harem manga. If you dislike fanservice, nudity, and one dude surrounded by a bunch of females for no apparent reason, this manga isn't going to be for you. That said, if you're curious to know what this series is all about, please continue on.

Magika Swordsman and Summoner is the story of a bland main protagonist named Hayashizaki Kazuki. The story begins with our harem protagonist waking up his older sister, who, oddly enough, acts more like she's his younger sister. Also, and maybe it's just me, but I feel like our protagonist's sister has a bit of a brother complex. Just a small possibility. I suppose it's a good thing she and Ka-chan aren't actually related.

Continuing on, we learn that Ka-chan is going to attend the Caryatid National Knight Academy. This is a magical academy, which is divided into two sections, Kengika and Magika, or swordsmanship and summoning. Ka-chan is a summoner while his Kanae, his sister, is a swordsman. That said, we learn early on that Ka-chan is actually an able swordsman and only became a summoner because he received an enigma, which is like a mark on a person's hand that tells everyone they've been contracted to a diva. We also learn that Ka-chan is the only male summoner.

Upon their arrival at the academy, Kanae separates from Ka-chan to settle a dispute between a swordsman and a summoner. I'm guessing there's tension between the two groups. Ka-chan is then introduced to Kaguya Otonashi, the student council president of the magika side, and a woman whose breasts are about the size of her head. You think I'm joking? No, I am not joking. Dem boobs are huge.

After the orientation, in which Otonashi displays a summoner's power and we're given a long lecture that stands as one of this manga's info-dumps, Ka-chan attends his first class. Here, we are introduced to two other members of the harem: Amasaki Mio and Hiakari Koyuki. We also discover that Ka-chan's teacher is a loli who goes by the name Lizlisa Westwood. It's unknown whether she is going to become a part of Ka-chan's harem, but given the nature of manga like this, the chances are pretty high.

After class, everyone in attendance tries to enter the astral plane and contact their diva. Now, here's a little info dump for you. The astral plane is basically a magical realm where all the divas are located, and when a summoner completes the contract between them and their diva, their enigma changes into a stigmata.

Naturally, Mio and Kyouki are ably to not only make contact with their diva, but they also manage to summon their battle armor. Yes, their armor is skimpy as fuck and I don't know if I'd call it battle armor. I think click bait might be a more effective term. That said, I can't deny the aesthetic appeal. Say what you will about the story, the artwork, at least on the females, is top quality.

Of course, while Ka-chan can't summon his battle armor, which I think is a good thing, he does manage to summon his Diva. I call her jail bait. Pedobears would love her. Her name is Leme, and she apparently has amnesia. She can't remember a single thing about herself. I guess this is the “I'd like to hide what threadbare story I have behind a curtain of mystery” plot. Nothing too exciting.

After the summoning is complete, Ka-chan is taken to the place where he'll be staying. Known as the Witch's Manor, this all-girls dorm has now become Ka-chan's private playpen. I mean, what else can it be when you're the main protagonist of an explicit harem series?

Naturally, we're introduced to another member of the cast, and we learn a few new secrets. For example, Mio apparently knows Ka-chan from somewhere. Given what she's told us about growing up in an orphanage, and the fact that Ka-chan is a former orphan himself, we can make some logical assumptions here. Aside from learning that Mio and Ka-chan have shared history, we also learn that Leme's true name is Lemegeton, and that she is the Lesser Key of Solomon.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Isn't she supposed to have amnesia?

Well, in either event, Leme tells Ka-chan that he is going to become a harem king. I find it rather refreshing that we're told this in the first volume. Now no one can actually complain about reading a harem series, and if they do, well, they only have themselves to blame.

Some things happen after that, none of them too important. We're left on a bit of a cliff hanger ending, and that's about the short of it.

Now, in spite of how I've poked fun of the series, I don't actually dislike this manga. I'm a huge fan of the harem genre. The fanservice has nothing to do with it. I'm serious. That said, while I'm a fan, I understand that manga like this are a highly acquired taste. It really isn't for everyone. If you don't like harems, fanservice, bland main protagonists, and a plot that's so thin you can see through it from several miles away, then this probably won't be for you. That said, anyone who is a fan of the harem genre will definitely enjoy the series. It's not going to win any Best Manga of the Year awards, but it's a series that stays within the confines of a successful genre and manages to give you some of the loveliest artwork I've seen in a while.

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