Anime of the Month
Magic User’s Club OVA by Triangle Staff & Bandai Visual
When aliens invade the Earth and vaporize all of the advanced technology that could beat them, who would you rely on? If you said a weird group of high schoolers that belong to a club that practices magic you get a gold star. Magic Users Club is wacky and youthful through and through. It is simply there to be enjoyed. Sae is our main character and she is eager to learn magic but has a klutzy nature that tends to get in her way. However, she has a lot of power if she could only harness it. With a little help from the club president (also her intense crush) and her faithful, but cynical, friend Nanka she may just save the world. While Sae is at the forefront, everyone in the cast adds to the pot which keeps the humor high. The prez is a lecherous pervert; Aburatsubo is the handsome good at everything guy; Nanaka doesn’t even believe in magic; and Akane just about never shows up. Like with most shows like this, some real romance is sprinkled in. The president doesn’t just have Sae after him but also Aburatsubo who by the way Nanaka is completely crazy about. Can we say this club is dysfunctional? Magic Users Club is a simple treat with a lot of humor and a little romance. And with just six episodes it continually delivers fun every step of the way.
Manga of the Month
March Comes in Like a Lion by Chika Umino
Often just by hearing a plot you can take a good guess at who has written a manga. Sometimes an author goes in an unexpected direction when they release a new work and you would never guess that the same manga-ka had written both works. March Comes in Like a Lion is somewhere in between these styles. It is a distinctly different work but not a totally unfamiliar one for Umino.
I first became a fan of Chika Umino through her major debt work Honey and Clover. A popular josei drama set around the lives of students at an art college. March Comes in Like a Lion is the story of an orphaned, professional Shogi player in a seinen magazine. While in a different magazine with a different setting Chika Umino’s josei style is still unmistakable especially considering that Young Animal is the magazine that runs Berserk. It has a seinen story structure while still having the humor and character depth that you would expect from Chika Umino.
Rei Kiriyama supports himself by playing shogi professionally. He is a quiet isolated young man whose only human contact outside of shogi is a young woman named Akari. She and her two sisters, Momo and Hinata lost their parents and live with their grandfather. We slowly see Rei’s world expand as he interacts with these three sisters. The only group working on this manga have only scanlated up to chapter 6 so I am hoping that they can start up again soon.
On an amusing note Chika Umino recently did a limited edition cover for the 33rd volume of Berserk and Kentarou Miura is doing an alternative cover for March Comes in Like a Lion in return. So far it has been Chika Umino’s cover has been very tongue in cheek so I expect nothing less in return.