By Kaziya. Released in Japan by Mag Garden, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comic Blade. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Angela Liu. Adapted by Jaymee Goh.
I am pleased with the fact that this sort of manga has now become a popular genre over here. Oh sure, it’s no doubt due to the fact that sales for The Ancient Magus’ Bride really took off and Seven Seas is doing its standard “grab titles that are sort of similar to that”, but hell, when it’s not ‘monster girls rub themselves all over guys’ but rather ‘mellow magical fantasy series in a quiet community’, I’m not going to be saying no. So far this one is not as dark as The Girl from The Other Side or Frau Faust, nor with as problematic a starting point as The Ancient Magus’ Bride. It’s just the story of a young girl and the veterinarian she’s apprenticed to, dealing with magical creatures in a world that is slowly losing magic to SCIENCE!. The thing that really makes this title sing is that he’s learning as much from her as she is from him, and their working relationship is a lot less imbalanced than you’d expect.
The heroine is Ziska, who is one of those adorable young girls with a deep abiding love for everything. She has some magical abilities, mostly handed down from her family in books, but lacks much experience, and can’t really progress past what’s already been written down. She’s working as an apprentice to a vet, Niko, who looks like a smiling villain but is really just a nice but practical guy. Together this series finds them working on various magical creatures who have either gotten injured or are ill, working to save them with Ziska’s knowledge and Niko’s experience. As the book progresses, Niko decides that he wants to learn more about the magic that Ziska does, and Ziska starts to try to branch out from what’s in her tomes and create her own medicines, even though that may be dangerous.
Despite the fact that there’s a lot of animal surgeries here, with intestines and the like, as well as seeing a rabbit in the advanced states of cancer, the basic feel of the book is ‘peaceful’. Ziska is frankly adorable, but tries too hard, and you get the sense that she’d burn herself out without Niko being there to help her out. Aside from one comedy scene where Ziska accidentally gives herself an aphrodisiac, there’s also no indication that this is going to get romantic, and even that scene is polite enough to have Niko immediately cut things off. This is just a nice anthology where Ziska sees something that needs care, she and Niko try to figure out what care is needed to heal them and how to give it (easier said than done, especially with magical creatures), and free them back into the world. Even when it doesn’t work out – the rabbit with cancer is too far along to do much of anything except prolong its pain – Ziska manages to find a way to turn things hopeful, or Niko is able to put his own human knowledge to good use.
This has just started in Japan, So I’m expect it on a twice-a-year schedule. But I’d definitely go get it, it’s a great addition to Seven Seas’ ‘young girls in magical situations’ genre.