Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Magic Touch Volume 7

By Izumi Tsubaki. Released in Japan as "Oyayubi kara Romance" by Hakusensha, serialized in the magazine Hana to Yume. Released in North America by Viz.

The majority of this volume of Magic Touch is devoted to finally working out Yosuke's past - why he's so bad around women, and what it is that he's forgotten. He goes back to his hometown here, and finally manages to piece things together.

The volume suffers from JUST being about this. If you don't like Yoseuke, you're going to struggle to get through this. I admit that I really like Magic Touch's ancillary characters, and the lack of Natsue was especially disheartening. We do get a side-story at the end with Sanae and Tanaka, but like a great deal of this series, that's more eccentric than actually readable.

I will admit that the flashback revelation is handled pretty well. It revolves around a younger Yosuke being kidnapped, and the woman doing so is a truly scary psycho. It's not hard to see why he repressed those memories. There's also a large psychological component to the entire volume, as we see Yosuke trying to analyze why he acts the way he does, and how he handled grief as a boy when his mother died. (A lot of manga mothers tend to die of unmentioned wasting away disease, sort of like consumption. Fruits Baskets is a notable exception.) Likewise, his younger brother also can't move forward without his brother to rely on. The incident really affects the entire family.

Chiaki is also not doing much in this volume, though it is amusing seeing her twitchy clumsiness as she worries about where Yosuke is. There's a cliffhanger ending (before the long side-story) that indicates that Vol. 8 should finally be moving their relationship forward, however, so that will be nice to see. And since the series is 9 volumes, it's also about time.

Really, this isn't that great a volume of Magic Touch, and I likely read it out of pure stubbornness by now. I do hope that Vols. 8 & 9 will get back to what I feel are the manga's core strengths - humor and massage.

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