By Masamune Kuji, Riku Ayakawa, Hisasi, and Kurogin. Released in Japan as “Masou Gakuen HxH” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comp Ace. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Caleb Cook.
Every once in a while, despite knowing that it’s not really my thing, I take a look at one of these “excuse to draw large breasts” series. If I’m unlucky, I can’t even finish the thing. If I’m lucky, I find enough points of interest to catch my eye besides the boobs. Most of the time, though, I finish the volume and think “well, that certainly was that kind of series”, and such is the case with Hybrid x Heart, which also manages to work in the cliche of the magical academy of fighters. The thing that did surprise me, though, is how much the basic plot feels like Evangelion. Boy who was abandoned for being useless is brought back in a time of crisis to use his mecha powers to save the world, being led by his older sister, who is not a great Gendo figure, but we can’t have everything. The difference is that in order to save the world, he has to feel up the female cast until they gain power.
Yes, you read that right. Usually these series at least try to put a veneer of technology over the ecchi deeds, and we try to get that here with talk of “hybrid counts” and how it’s Kizuna’s power that basically refuels them. But it’s really about the breasts, which are groped quite a bit in this series, because there’s also a lot of mecha fighting and the girls who do the actual fighting need a bit of a recharge. I did notice that this is the sort of series where we not only credit the original character designer, but the original mecha designer, and the powered suits do look pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing, though I imagine hardcore Gundam types might want to see more mecha battles and a bit less groping. As for the characters, they’re very generic, with the heroine Aine seemingly OK with Kizuna doing whatever he wants as long as she gets more power, and the standard blonde American Yurishia who will no doubt be the first main rival figure.
This was originally a light novel, and I think, as with the other series of this sort where the manga was licensed but the LN wasn’t (High School DxD, Testament of Sister New Devil) I should probably be grateful – the groping and constant boobfest is bad enough visually, but as prose I think it might be unbearable. As for the art, it’s passable, though I do note that Aine (blue hair) and Yurishia (blonde hair) have a tendency to look a lot alike in black and white, and it can be hard to tell them apart. Honestly, this reads sort of like the harem Evangelion fics you used to see back in the day on FFNet, with of course one big exception: no one is getting lucky here. The series doesn’t go beyond groping in this first volume. I’m not sure oif that will change, but in the meantime, I can recommend this series only to the most hardcore “must get everything with mecha” fans, or its likely audience, 13-year-old boys.