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August 4, 2014

Bento Bako Weekly: Spell of Desire volume 1

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Written by: Kristin
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spellofdesire1Title: Spell of Desire
Author: Tomu Ohmi (Midnight Secretary)
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 1 (of 5), $9.99
Vintage: 2012 by Shogakukan, August 2014 by Viz Media
Genre: Romance, supernatural (witches, magic)

Kaoruko Mochizuki (Koko) lives on top of a hill in an old house that also serves as an herb shop. She took this business over from her grandmother, and often makes teas and herbal remedies for the community. Her life is turned upside down when a man in a black suit, accompanied by a cat and puppy, arrives on her doorstep. Kaname Hibiki has been sent to Koko by her mother, Yukariko, the leader of a worldwide coven of black witches. Yukariko has vanished, but more than that, she’s sealed her power inside her daughter Koko. In fact, the women in Koko’s family have been witches for generations, and even her grandmother was a powerful white witch. Kaname has been ordered to protect the witch queen’s power, which means protecting Koko. Since Koko was never told about her own powers or her lineage, she has no idea how to control the immense power that has suddenly been given her. When her emotions are strong, the power goes out of control, but fortunately Kaname knows how to calm Koko down and contain it. All it takes is a kiss. Well, not just any kiss, but a rather passionate kiss. And to keep an eye on her, Kaname insists on moving in, so he concocts a story of their engagement in order to protect Koko’s reputation. One result of Koko’s out of control magic is that she’s become seductive and tends to draw men toward her, including Kaname, if he’s not careful. Fortunately Kaname is a strong black witch himself (well, technically he’s a knight), and he also has his familiars Dragon (the puppy) and Unicorn (the cat) to help. Not only do they protect Koko from the dark forces now drawn to her, they protect Kaname from being ensared by her. This all proves too much for Koko, who’s never even had a boyfriend, never mind been kissed, and she isn’t thrilled with the arrangement. She asks Kaname to help her control the power on her own, but given her complete lack of knowledge about even the existence of witches, it’s going to take time. The stress of dealing with everything – Kaname’s presence, trying to control her mother’s power, being attacked by dark forces – leads her to exhaustion. While she recovers, she learns more about Kaname as a person, and finds herself falling for his surprising kindness and strength.

Like Ohmi’s recently released Midnight Secretary, the basic plot of Spell of Desire is highly contrived for a desired outcome. In Midnight Secretary, Ohmi’s vampires get the most nourishing blood while having sex with members of the opposite gender. So obviously the two main characters would end up in bed together. There’s a similar rule in Spell of Desire, since the easiest and quickest way to calm the power within Koko is for Kaname to kiss her. And, apparently, the more passionate the better. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re picking this up for that specific type of content. But don’t come looking for heavy relationship development. Ohmi tosses her characters into relationships right off the bat, then deals with the development later on (but at least it does happen). So if her previous series is anything to go by, there will be a lot of character growth and relationship development between the characters in later volumes. Right now she’s setting up the premise and pulling the reader in with sexy panels and pretty boys. And they really are pretty. Ohmi’s art has improved some, and I’m happy to report that the characters are easily distinguishable physically from her previous leads. Also Dragon and Unicorn are very well drawn and filled with personality, especially Unicorn, who regularly draws the eye with his amusing expressions. Oh, and Kaname wears glasses most of the time, so that fulfills my pretty boy requirements.




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