Spell of Desire vol. 1 – Tomu Ohmi

Spell of Desire, translated from Maho no Biyaku, was published in Petit Comic josei manga magazine from 2011-2013. Originally published by Shogakukan in 5 volumes, it has been picked up by Shojo Beat and we have received volume one as of August 2014.

The Gist: Kaoruko Mochizuki runs an herb shop she inherited from her deceased grandmother in a small seaside town. One day, a mysterious man dressed in black named Kaname Hibiki enters her shop and reveals that Kaoruko is actually a witch. Her grandmother was a renown white witch, but her own mother that she believed dead is the all powerful Witch Queen of black magic. Among the shocking news that Kaname imparts is that Kaoruko’s mother is still alive and has entrusted Kaoruko with the immense power of the Witch Queen. As long as Kaoruko has that power, she will be the target of humans and demonic spirits alike. In order to keep that power under control it takes Kaname’s desirous kisses. Kaname claims to be a “knight” that protects witches, but he’s always around to suck face when needed. Kaoruko can’t tell if Kaname is just doing his job for her mother, or if he has other naughty intentions on his agenda.

Volume 1 Cover

Volume 1 Cover

The Review: This is the second series by Tomu Ohmi we’ve received in consecutive years from Viz. Having just finished Midnight Secretary I was worried that Spell of Desire would be a repeat of the first. Ohmi does tend to follow the typical romance novel pattern in her manga (meet, conflict, fall in love) and this story is no exception. The female characters are quite different however. I would not consider Koaruko a strong female lead. She’s weak willed and easily intimidated. Kaya in Midnight Secretary was the opposite. Kaname still plays the role of the dominant male lead. Mysterious and aloof, but also passionate at the right moments. So far the plot is very redundant – Koaruko gets emotional, loses control of the Witch Queen power, and Kaname has to come kiss her senseless. Lather, rinse, repeat. I wouldn’t recommend this series to just any casual manga reader. It would only appeal to hard core romance fans.

Paneling and toning

Paneling and toning

The Art: Tomu Ohmi’s art has continued to improve as time passes. Character designs are more attractive, and more appealing. Her drawings of the familiars in the series, Dragon and Unicorn, are also well constructed. I guess due to style the characters still look all the same. Same male and female designs –  just different hair. Paneling and toning are well balanced. I thought there were an awful lot of dialogue bubbles for the comic, but maybe because it’s the first volume. Chapter headers are nice, and color pieces are rather gorgeous.

The Audience: Spell of Desire is a josei manga. That means it’s for an older female audience. It’s considered smut. So far volume one hasn’t had anything but kissing, but that will likely be remedied in future volumes. Bookstores warn that it is for a mature audience. If you liked Midnight Secretary you’ll probably enjoy this series as well. It combines supernatural and romance elements fantastically.

The Media: You can expect to receive 5 volumes of Spell of Desire from Viz Media. The second volume is due out in November. Ohmi had some nice wallpapers for this series, so take a look in the archive.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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