Monday, June 08, 2015

Manga Monday: Spell of Desire

Spell of Desire (Volume 1)
Tomu Ohmi

From the creator of Midnight Secretary, Spell of Desire follows Kaoruko Mochizuki, whose mother left her when she still a baby.  Her grandmother raised her, but passed away two years earlier, leaving her an herb and tea shop.  A mysterious handsome man, Kaname, appears one day and claims that Kaoruko's mother is a powerful black witch, and that she stored her power within Kaoruko.  As her mother is the leader of witches, Kaname has been assigned by her to protect her magic within Kaoruko.  Kaoruko doesn't believe him at first, but when instances of her powers become apparent and get to be too much for her (especially her own emotions inflicting lust upon people), Kaoruko decides that there is truth to his words after all.  How does she get her powers temporarily under control?  Through a kiss from Kaname.  At first, he forces them upon her, but soon she rather comes to enjoy them, which really gets her emotions running out of whack.

A lot of this book is in Kaoruko's head.  She wonders if what Kaoruko says about her mother is true, and why magic was more important to her mother than her own daughter.  She wonders if Kaname's kisses can be something more, or if he's only there because he was ordered to be.  And she wonders if perhaps it's her own powers that are manifesting so powerfully.  Kaoruko is a rather passive character, and the sexuality of the book is a little intense and a little uncomfortable, frankly.  Kaname is just as much a blank slate, so it's really hard to feel much for either of the characters.

The art in this book is beautiful and romantic, which is fitting, but I think the best thing about this title is the atmosphere.  The herb and tea shop out in the country has this nice quaint feeling to it, and it's illustrated just the right amount to give the reader a good sense of the place.  Throw in the magical elements and suddenly the herbal shop has a mysterious quality to it that makes you want to know more about it and spend more time there.

This isn't the most successful manga, but there are fleeting moments of romance, and enough of a mystery to keep readers interested.  Kaoruko's past and the shop are the most striking aspects of the book, but really, there are much better books out there to get lost in.

No comments: