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December 8, 2014

Bento Bako Weekly: Spell of Desire volume 2

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Written by: Kristin
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spellofdesire2Title: Spell of Desire
Author: Tomu Ohmi
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volume 2, $9.99
Vintage: 2012 by Shogakukan, November 2014 by Viz Media
Genre: Romance, supernatural

[Volume 1 review.]

[Editor’s note: Kaoruko gets assaulted twice in this volume, and there’s talk of forcing her to have sex. So if you’re triggered by these things, at the very least stay away from my analysis in the second paragraph.]

The story picks up right where it left off, with an exhausted Kaoruko in the arms of her mother’s Knight, Kaname. Kaname ends things quickly, with Kaoruko wondering if he’s only attracted to the power of the Witch Queen inside her, and Kaname worried that his charge might be inherently powerful on her own. For a moment, she seems able to control the power on her own, but it’s brief, and men are practically falling at her feet at a neighborhood merchant fair. Kaname realizes her abilities may be more powerful than he thought, and retreats to the Black Witches headquarters for answers, leaving only Unicorn behind to watch over Kaoruko. While at headquarters, Kaname is warned by one of the few people who know the truth about the Witch Queen that other witches may be looking to make him their Knight. Meanwhile, while thinking about her feelings for Kaname, the magic inside Kaoruko goes out of control. Unfortunately, Yu shows up at that exact time, and he’s immediately affected by her powers. Completely entranced, Yu attempt to force himself on Kaoruko, and the magic inside her causes her body to react favorably despite her mental and verbal desire to the contrary. Before things go too far, Unicorn steps in and stops the magic from affecting Yu, but not before Kaoruko desperately calls out for Kaname’s help, and he drops everything to rush back to her. Another black witch gets there first, however, and she’s quickly swept up in the seductive magic as well. Thankfully Kaname arrives before anything else happens, and hastily comes up with an explanation to appease the other witch’s questions about the Witch Queen’s power. Once the immediate danger has passed, Kaname realizes that Yu left bruises all over Kaoruko’s skin, and this infuriates him. He isn’t sure what the source of this animosity is against any man who would touch or harm Kaoruko, but his inability to control it upsets him. Neither hardly has time to consider their emotions when representatives from the coven appear and demand Kaoruko come with them. The coven has learned the truth about where the Witch Queen’s power lies, and they want to control Kaoruko until the Witch Queen returns. Initially their plan is to bind her somehow, but the power in her is too strong, so they decide to teach her to control it instead. To do that, Kaoruko must remain with them, and her powers (both the Witch Queen’s and her own) must be awakened. Realizing a normal ritual won’t be enough, the coven decides to summon an Incubus to teach Kaoruko about the pleasures of sex. Kaname is forbidden from going near his charge, is even more upset by their plans to awaken her power, and decides he won’t sit idly by while the woman under his protection is forced into a world of danger.

And I’m done. My interest in this series is gone. Not even interested to see how far the Incubus is going to get before (I hopefully assume) Kaname comes to the rescue. I know in Japan rape is sometimes seen as “sexy.” Goodness knows I’ve read enough yaoi to realize this. But I’m starting to not be as accepting of it as I was (I mean as far as my tolerance for it). I’m getting sick of it. It’s not romantic, it’s slimy, and I’m growing disappointed that these titles keep getting published here. What makes this volume bad is one of the most incredible examples of victim blaming I’ve seen. What’s happening to Kaoruko is literally her fault, because she can’t control her mother’s magic. Her magic entices men, in much the same way someone would argue that a woman was wearing the type of clothing that meant she was “asking for it.” Yu assaults her, despite her telling him no, physically hurts her, and nearly rapes her. And would have if Unicorn hadn’t stepped in, which is another problem. If Unicorn could stop it, why didn’t he stop it sooner? Was he trying to teach Kaoruko some kind of lesson? That thought makes me feel ill. And here’s an extra kicker – the same magic seducing Yu is making Kaoruko’s body react and accept the assault despite her mind shouting against it. The level of wrongness here is epic. I keep hearing Conservatives spouting their insane drivel about “legitimate rape,” voices of men saying a woman should just give in because she’ll enjoy it, or that the woman was so enticing how could she expect a man not to try and have sex with her. Or maybe Ohmi just found it sexy, and made Unicorn wait to step in so she could write her steamy scene. Kaname mentions something later on regarding this, wondering if Unicorn really was protecting Kaoruko. Then he shoves Kaoruko against a wall and demands to know what Yu did to her. Because that’s how you deal with a woman who was just assaulted. Then, of course, there’s the end of the volume, where the coven decides to awaken Kaoruko’s magical abilities through sex. They give her a roofie in incense form, designed to remove her physical and emotional inhibitions, then summon an Incubus. I’m not even going to talk about anything else in this volume, because I seriously feel nauseated. Plus all of that was basically two-thirds of the volume anyway. I’m not exactly surprised, since this “magical seduction” ability was pointed out in the first volume, but I am disappointed.




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