As an assistant to one of the greatest mages of the ages, a lot is expected of Hibiki- but unfortunately, she just doesn’t seem to have the hang of magic at all. Her attempts at drawing magic circles all seem to end in failure, and as she would be the first to admit, her only real skill seems to lie in being able to brew a delicious cup of tea. Even so, maybe Hibiki’s kind heart and pure intentions can weave a magic all their own…
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined the artwork of .hack//Legend of the Twilight’s mangaka with a storyline from Kanon/Air’s scenario writer? No, I hadn’t either, but that’s just what this series offers, and happily enough, it proves to be worth reading.
If, like me, the likes of Someday’s Dreamers only whetted your appetite for more charming tales of magic and slice-of-life, then Hibiki’s Magic is the logical place to get your next fix. Admittedly, many of the elements aren’t particularly original (who hasn’t had their fill of schools of magic by now?), but if you can put aside the feelings of deja vu, this is actually an enjoyable series. As a scenario writer for Key, Jun Maeda is no stranger to crafting touching and bittersweet character pieces, a skill which is put to good use here. The only real complaint is that so far we’ve only really scratched the surface of this world- it may well be that future volumes will delve more deeply into the workings and politics of magic users, but it seems more likely that it will continue in the same vein as this opening volume, with Hibiki attempting to use magic to help the people around her.
Although this is plainly Hibiki’s story, the first volume still manages to introduce quite an extensive cast. From a witch desperately working on creating a homunculus to replace her deceased child to a young man with mysterious healing powers and a love of guns, most of them may seem to be one trick characters with the obligatory tragic past, but they work well together as a group, and with any luck they may even receive some more development in the next volume.
As .hack manga readers should already expect, the artwork for this volume is nothing short of excellent, with Rei Izumi once again providing some beautiful character designs and settings- even little details like the squirrel-like Gusks and the magic circles themselves are aesthetically pleasing.
A must buy for anyone looking for the next Someday’s Dreamers, Hibiki’s Magic is a sweet and touching tale that proves that magical fantasy is not yet a completely exhausted genre.
Volumes: 1 (ongoing, at least one more to come)
Story: Jun Maeda
Art: Rei Izumi