Manga Village

Magic Touch Volume 3

November 30, 2009

I think I am a glutton for punishment. After thoroughly disliking the first two volumes of Magic Touch, you would think that I would know to steer clear of the manga from that point onward. Sadly, the review copy for the third volume came in the mail, and I feel it’s my obligation to give the book its review.

By: Izumi Tsubaki
Publisher: Viz Media – Shojo Beat
Age Rating: Teen Plus
Genre: Romance
Price: $8.99

I know that I am not a martyr for the cause here – it was my conscious decision to read the third volume and give the series another try. The cast of the manga, while not spectacular, is charming in its quirky way. I was hoping by the third volume the relationships would have progressed further, and we would actually get to see some real plot building.

After finishing the third volume, my hopes have been dashed on whatever sharp stones Magic Touch could find. Repeatedly.

Chiaki and Yosuke are still doing that same thing they do, which is close to absolutely nothing. The two get bashful around each other, and only at the end of the third volume does Chiaki realize she might actually like Yosuke for more than his back. WOAH! What a shocker.

The stupid plot points continue, with a “secret” massage underground tournament. I just had to laugh when I read that. I suppose that having high-school students do a massage tournament would be not school sponsored, right? Since, of course, we have to reference that seedy image of massage parlors again and again.

The most interesting thing about volume three is the introduction of new characters. These background characters are actually pretty well designed, and I almost wish that their story would be the focus of Magic Touch. They are a million-fold more interesting than Chiaki and Yosuke. Still, some of the characters are just as ridiculous as the plot. The main massage competition is a guy who can turn his voice into a sedative? He can’t show people his eyes because they’re so ugly? What the hell.

The plotting that I praised in the first two volumes has hit a low point in volume three. Especially during the massage competition, it’s really hard to follow what is going on. Tiny insignificant pieces of writing on each panel push the storyline forward, and in the end, the reading is long and tedious.

The art is still pretty decent here, and Tsubaki has managed to evolve as an artist, even though her story telling still sucks on ice. I suggest that the next time this aspiring mangaka wants to do a series, she be paired up with a skilled writer. She has the illustrating chops to draw good shojo, but her story is complete rubbish.

If I were cheese, then Magic Touch would be my coarse grater. It’s hard to see why this series is still running. Viz Media has put out the fourth volume already, so someone out there likes this garbage. Please, if you’re looking for an introduction to shojo manga, Magic Touch is not the right choice. With unfortunate storytelling, pacing, and character and relationship development, this manga lacks everything a good shojo needs.

About the author

Alex is a comics critic and writer at the blog Sequential State. His previous writing has included work for Manga Village and for the now defunct Manga Widget.

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