Welcome to another edition of Off the Shelf with MJ & Michelle! I’m joined, once again, by Soliloquy in Blue‘s Michelle Smith.
MJ: There’s a chill in the air here in western Massachusetts–great weather for curling up with a blanket and a good book. I expect that’s not the case at all down your way, but I’m hoping you’ve read some anyway. You know. So the column won’t suck.
MICHELLE: Well, no one could call it chilly but our highs are now merely in the low 90s, so that’s a definite improvement! With the absolutely essential help of central air I have indeed managed a fair amount of reading this week!
MJ: Hallelujah, central air! So… anything noteworthy?
MICHELLE: Some! I thought I would take this week’s selections in ascending order of preference. And so, accordingly, I start with the first volume of The Witch of Artemis, a new series from TOKYOPOP.
In this shonen fantasy series, originally serialized in Comic Blade, orphaned Kazuhi is living a bland existence on Earth and spends a lot of time daydreaming about Artemis, a star that was the subject of many stories his late father told him. As the stories go, the people of Earth and the people of Artemis once lived together, but eventually those with special magical powers departed earth to settle on Artemis. Conveniently, Kazuhi overhears a news report about a girl in strange clothes—why the news would report this, I do not know—and dashes to the scene, whereupon he meets one witch, whom we later learn is named Viora, who inflicts a death curse upon him, and another, called Marie, who whisks him off to Artemis in order to cure him.
Marie is most textbook example of a tsundere character I have ever seen. After curing Kazuhi, she berates and insults him, trying to get him to leave her alone, but when he finds out she wants to do good deeds for people, he volunteers to help and, despite her crusty exterior, she still does things like follow him around when he goes off wandering to ensure he doesn’t come to harm. The second half of the volume depicts their first joint effort at helping someone, and includes an ominous hint from Viora that the world is on the verge of ending.
I might possibly have made this sound better than it is. So far, it’s rather bland. The art is pleasant, but not distinctive, and the characters and plot are the same. There’s always potential inherent in ominous hinting, and so I’m willing to read a second volume to see where the story goes—and, indeed, the series is only three volumes long, so if I’ve read two-thirds of it I might as well go all the way—but at this point I don’t have high hopes that it will ever be anything more than pleasant but not distinctive….