Saturday, August 7, 2021

REVIEW: Sorcerers & Secretaries (OEL manga, vol. 2) by Amy Kim Ganter

Sorcerers & Secretaries is a contemporary romance series. It was originally published by Tokyopop. It looks like the author now goes by Amy Kim Kibuishi.

I bought this volume used. This review includes spoilers.


Nicole has decided to cut things off with Josh because being with him distracts her from the story she's been writing about Ellon. However, when Josh chases after her and asks for an explanation she finds herself telling him about the story - and then he even reads part of it in her dreamlog and loves it. From that point on, Josh becomes Nicole's writing cheerleader, encouraging her to finish the story so she can submit it to a magazine. He still loves Nicole, but he's determined not to let it show so he doesn't mess things up again. However, things come to a head as Nicole is forced to choose between studying enough to pass the business classes her mom wants her to take and finishing the story in time for the magazine deadline.

This was definitely better than the first volume, even though it didn't really make sense that Nicole would tell Josh everything about her story and then just hand him the dreamlog to read. Yes, she'd once had a crush on him, but then she'd seen him act like a sleazy player and had to deal with him chasing after her every time she tried to avoid him. On the plus side, Josh's behavior improved drastically in this volume, so the way their relationship progressed wasn't too much of a stretch.

Just as in the first volume, Nicole and Josh's story was occasionally interrupted by snippets of Ellon's story. I realized in this volume that aspects of Ellon and his story reminded me strongly of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle - I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the author was influenced by that movie. I liked how Ellon's story worked out and could definitely see the influence of Nicole's final decisions, although the shift in the way a couple of the characters were drawn was more than a bit jarring.

As for Riley and Susan, they were a horrible couple who I could imagine getting into screaming fights multiple times a week. They were useful for complicating Nicole and Josh's story, but it made me wince to see things somehow work out for them.

All in all, this was a so-so series. The art was charming, but I didn't warm up to the romance until the second volume. Also, the overall message was maybe a bit too simplistic, and aspects of it didn't really age well. I couldn't help but think about student loans, and about Tokyopop and reports of what its contracts were like. It's probably not a bad idea for creatives to learn a bit about business in addition to honing their craft.

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