Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Magical JxR, vol. 1

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.



yushin said...

well, the first episode is actually the author's comic that she submitted to the publisher for a new author contest thing so that would be why it's in the book even though it doesn't tie into the rest of the story. I don't think anyone should skip the first 60-70 pages of the book just because it doesn't fit into the story. The episode itself is very well done and I think shows well how a short story is done. I heard the story gets more interesting so it's kinda hard to say at the moment. The author's website is

Prospero's Manga said...

I am not saying it isn't interesting, but it may have been better served as a backup story in volume two or three. Because the way it is structured now, you are left at the end of it wondering what was going on in the first half.

yushin said...

lol; it might've... but since this is the author's first series... the publishers were probably a bit iffy whether the comic would sell enough to be serializing.. that's just what my guess is anyways.. The series get pretty good from vol. 4 but considering it's like next to the final volume.. I don't think the author's going to get a huge following because of this comic.

Prospero's Manga said...

Which is shame, no one's first work should be the only work that they are judged by.