Mizuki Episode 1 by Nao Yazawa

I’m happy to see that Digital Manga Publishing is bringing out more shoujo manga, but I’m a little disappointed that Mizuki is going to be available only in electronic format for the foreseeable future. It seems like magical girl shojo has fallen out of favor a little bit in recent years, but I’m hoping that the reprinting of Cardcaptor Sakura and series like Mizuki might signal a return to more magical girls manga being available. I am a sucker for transformation sequences, and the general frivolous tone of much magical girl manga makes it a perfect thing to read when I want to relax. I haven’t read Nao Yazawa’s other series Wedding Peach, but I do admire it from a distance just because I think magical girl transformations involving wedding dresses are hilarious.

Let’s sit back and bask in the bridal glow of Wedding Peach for a moment:

Mizuki has an interesting twist on the magical girl conventions, because instead of transforming into something sparkly with ribbons, her transformation option is limited to turning into a half-demon, complete with horned head. Mizuki’s family is descended from traditional Japaneses demons (oni) and as a result Mizuki is extremely uninterested in using her mystical powers. She doesn’t want to turn into a demon and have her classmates think that she’s scary or gross. The boy next door Seikito just thinks she should stop whining and get to work fighting mystical disturbances. Seikito’s family and Mizuki’s family have teamed up for generations to fight ghosts, and now he thinks that it is his turn to be Mizuki’s partner. Mizuki has a crush on popular baseball player Yamaguchi, so she just wants to be a normal girl.

Of course, there is some haunting near the school and Mizuki has to go into Oni-battle mode despite her reluctance. Yazawa’s character designs are attractive in a very retro sort of way. Her art style reminds me a bit of a slightly less skilled 1980s Rumiko Takahashi, which isn’t a slam on Yazawa at all because 1980s Takahashi was pretty awesome. Sekito has long hair that he keeps tied back, as befitting a ghost hunter who embraces his family tradition. Mizuki’s hair is short and sassy, which fits with her personality. Even though Mizuki looks plenty cute in her half oni form, I thought her reluctance to transform and the lack of traditional magical girl accessories and ribbons made this series interesting. I’m guessing Mizuki will have to deal with both a love triangle and her growing demonic powers in the future. Horrible ghosts do seem to have a habit of taking up residence near Japanese schools inhabited by teen ghost hunters. I’m looking forward to future episodes of this manga, it looks like a big first chapter is currently available on emanga now.

Access to electronic copy provided by the publisher

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