Friday, July 31, 2020

REVIEW: Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! (manga, vol. 1) by Yuu Toyota, translated by Taylor Engel

Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!
is a workplace BL manga, a combination of fantasy and comedy. It's published by Square Enix Manga.

This review includes slight spoilers.


When Adachi hit age 30, for some reason his virginity suddenly gave him the ability to read the minds of anyone he touched. Hearing other people's thoughts tends to make his life uncomfortable and awkward, and even his attempt to pay someone to help him lose his virginity goes awry. When he arrives at his office job and sees the always perfect and handsome Kurosawa, a coworker who was hired at about the same time as him, he figures he'll just take a peek at Kurosawa's thoughts to make himself feel better. Surely a guy like that secretly has a bad personality.

Except it turns out that Kurosawa actually has a huge crush on Adachi, and suddenly Adachi has no idea how to act around him. After all, they're both guys, and Kurosawa's thoughts are kind of pervy. What if he acts on them? And even if he doesn't, should Adachi avoid him? Is spending time with him, knowing what he's thinking, like leading him on? And what if Adachi is maybe interested in him too?

I came across this after reading and enjoying another Square Enix Manga title, A Man and His Cat. The premise sounded annoying (I am not a fan of "the MC's virginity makes them special" stories), but reviews indicated that it was sweet, so I impulsively added it to a recent order.

Yeah, the premise is stupid. There's no explanation for how Adachi figured out that it was specifically his thirty years of virginity that somehow gave him the power to read minds, and he definitely wasn't wrong either - a friend of his, also still a virgin by his thirtieth birthday, also developed the ability to read minds. There's a brief author's note in which this is all explained as "a whim of the goddess of love" (19) - basically, the goddess of love feeling sorry for these poor virgins and giving them telepathy so they can figure out that someone nearby is interested in them. Which I'm sure was supposed to be a cute hand-wavy explanation but just made me wince.

If you can get past the premise, the story isn't too bad overall. Parts of it made me a little uncomfortable, but the overall effect was surprisingly sweet.

First, the bits that made me uncomfortable. Adachi had lots of instances where he was unwillingly subjected to Kurosawa's thoughts and fantasies about him - other than the beginning of the book, Adachi mostly didn't touch Kurosawa on purpose, but some touches were unavoidable. Kurosawa's secret interest was pretty strong, causing Adachi to worry about his self-control, and if Kurosawa had purposely told Adachi everything he was thinking, then yeah, he'd have been coming on way too strong.

But he wasn't - as far as he was concerned, he was just nursing a secret crush. He seemed like a decent guy, and I got the impression that he'd have been horrified, embarrassed, and apologetic if he had known Adachi had been accidentally getting bursts of his thoughts and fantasies. So there's an aspect of secondhand embarrassment to this, too, with Adachi's reactions and Kurosawa's potential future embarrassment.

Anyway, Adachi struggled with how to act and whether or not to distance himself from Kurosawa. On the one hand, once he got over his worry that Kurosawa might act on his thoughts, he realized that they got along pretty well. On the other hand, he worried that he was basically using Kurosawa (who helped him out with work in order to get closer to him) and encouraging his unrequited love. Which of course started to become not so unrequited.

Art-wise, this was okay. Hardly any backgrounds, but at least relatively easy to follow, although I'm grateful that Adachi and Kurosawa had different hair color, or I might occasionally have had difficulty telling them apart. One thing I wish the author had done: made Adachi's thoughts visually different from everyone else's. Sometimes it was hard to tell which was which.

I don't know. I wish this was twice its length, because I feel like it was too short to really get a good feel for it. I'm not 100% sold on this series, but I think I might be willing to give the next volume a shot, despite my dislike of the whole "virginity confers special powers" thing.

At the moment, the "parental advisory - explicit content" stamp on the cover is misleading. There was zero explicit content in this volume. Most of Kurosawa's fantasies were limited to Adachi bashfully blushing in different outfits, and the one steamy fantasy was still pretty tame, no nudity. That said, considering the author's comments, I wouldn't be surprised if there's explicit content in later volumes.


An author's note, a couple extra illustrations, one full-color illustration, a page of translator's notes, a brief comic-style afterword by the author, and a few chapters at the end that could either be considered bonus manga or just an extension of the main story (one of them stars Adachi's friend, but the rest are all still focused on Kurosawa and Adachi).

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