Manga Review: Spell

"But, one thing is clear.  As long as Tooru gets to be with Kisugi...  I'll be jealous of him.  What should I do about these feelings?  How long should I wait?  It would be unfair to ask him to break up." - Natori

"Spell" is a one volume manga that revolves around college student Natori and the unexpected direction his life takes after a chance meeting at a party.  When Natori is asked by his friend, Takeda, to attend his latest mixer, Natori is very reluctant to accept, because he is bored of going to parties.  When he finds himself drinking alone at the party, he ends up meeting Takeda's friend from high school, Kisugi, who is also bored at the party.  Natori and Kisugi get to talking and find that they really have a lot in common with each other.  Natori is instantly drawn to Kisugi's open and intriguing personality, and the two make plans to meet up again.  It isn't long until they became close friends, and although Natori initially has some problems when he finds out Kisugi is bisexual, it ends up not mattering one bit.  As the two spend more and more time together, Natori finds himself becoming very attracted to his friend, and is at a loss of what to do since Kisugi has a steady boyfriend.  After finally admitting his feelings to Kisugi, the two start a relationship, much to Natori's delight.  However, no matter how many times he thinks to himself how happy he is, he always has a nagging doubt in the back of his mind.  After all, Kisugi's longest relationship has lasted only three months, and he is still seeing his boyfriend at the same time as Natori.  The two must decide what it is that they really want, and Kisugi must make a decision about his relationships before he ends up hurting everyone involved.

I was really surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book.  This was the first manga that I read from Hyouta Fujiyama, and she has definitely become one of my favorite artists.  I absolutely love her drawing style - her men look like men, the characters are all recognizable from one another, and the expressions she can create are just amazing.  I have enjoyed all the books I have read from her so far and cannot wait until more are licensed.  I thought that this was a very solid story, and I really liked how you could see how the characters slowly ended up developing feelings for one another.  Sometimes I have no idea why certain characters fall in love other than that the author says that they are in love, so it is nice to see some development on that part here.  Even the minor characters in this book are well developed and likable.  There is even Natori's childhood friend, Yasuha, who has a crush on Natori.  When she finds out about his relationship with Kisugi, she doesn't judge them or act harshly to Kisugi.  She is initially shocked at the nature of their relationship, but after taking some time to think it over, she is actually the one that gives Kisugi the push he needed to realize what he was doing was actually hurting his boyfriend.  It's nice to see strong female characters in these books who aren't just there to get in the way of the boys.

All in all, I am very happy with this book.  June did a fine job on the presentation, as usual, and I just really enjoyed it.  It's just too bad that there aren't any long series by this author, because I always like the characters so much and would like to read more about them.  But for one-shots, these books are surprisingly full and deep.  I definitely recommend this book, and I also very highly recommed "Lover's Flat", another great book by Hyouta Fujiyama.

- Liz