By Lee Sun-Young
Published in the US by UDON
Slugline: It is not a good sign when I tell you to skip the first 70 or so pages.
I did for Publisher's Weekly a while back an article on UDON called UDON on the Upswing.
Jay and Aru begin the volume as two magic students in the second grade whose magical style clash wildly. After a bunch of adventures while in second grade that show that they care for each other despite not being very similar, we suddenly jump ahead at least five years, in which Jay andAru turn from chibi children to bishonen (pretty boy) adolescents. They have to complete a year long contract with Cho -Ah, a combative student whose plans to start her life over in a new school and attract a boyfriend is derailed by the appearance ofbishonen Jay and Aru.
As far as I can tell, the stories of Jay and Aru in the second grade doesn't really add anything to the rest of the story. Other than Jay and Aru, the characters in the first half of the book don't really appear in the second half of the book and the theme of Jay and Aru being mismatched does not seem to be touched upon again. In other words, the first half of the book is very skippable. Which was almost, almost a fatal flaw with this book. What pulled it back was some very attractive art spreads and a relatively solid story in the rest of the book, even if it was nothing out of the ordinary. And since I am reviewing this title based on a preview copy, I am not sure how the art will look in the final version (UDON's preview books are printed on 8.5 x 11 paper, so it is hard to judge how the page crease will affect the final version.) And I'd better end this review before I talk myself into lowering its rating even further.
Magical JxR, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.