Under Your Radar: magico

Will you, in sickness and in health, risk your lives and walk together on the thorny path that lies ahead?

Weekly Shonen Jump is known for being very strict with their series. As a result, when something doesn’t grab a wide audience immediately, it typically gets kicked out rather quickly. However, there are times when a series performs poorly and just barely survives as everything beneath it is simply doing worse. magico is one such series that managed to hang on as a result of that.

magico covers the life of a girl named Emma. She has the body of something known as “Echidna” inside of her. This “Echidna” is the source of unlimited power, but she has no access to it herself. Other people can get it by killing her and gouging out her heart. However, if she marries someone and goes through the eponymous “Magico” wedding ritual with her husband, it is possible to seal Echidna. She ends up meeting a famous archmage known as Shion Eliphas Levi, a broom magic specialist, who explicitly offers to help her out.

Something that immediately sets magico apart from most other series is that it opens with a marriage of convenience and generally covers the pair growing closer as a couple. Instead of dodging around the issue of romance, the two openly acknowledge that they’re husband and wife, which leads to a slightly different dynamic from other, similar series. However, the series insisted on being focused on magical combat. This would have been nice if it weren’t so generic.

I mean, they certainly had some nice gimmicks that would have allowed the series to basically run as long as the writer wanted and the magazine allowed him to, with the Magico ritual being a series of tasks that aren’t of much relevance to each other. There was also room for a lot of creativity with magic being gained temporarily though gruellingly long and difficult rituals and slowly losing their potency until you outright cannot use it anymore and must perform the ritual again. However, this was barely touched upon, which is a shame, one that I blame on it being cut off and due to the way the series was executed.

Another thing that didn’t get too much spotlight was that creating one’s own rituals being quite dangerous and possibly deadly, yet extremely profitable if the result was very useful magic. These pieces of information were basically relegated to back-story or throwaway explanations, and would have likely been front and center were I the writer.

Yet, for those faults, you see some creativity in the group living in a magical house inside a dragon, and their adoption of a badass jungle girl. That said, that creativity only makes it all the more jarring that Emma (as far as anyone knew) had not performed any rituals prior to or during the story, with the exception of the incomplete Magico ritual they they had worked on for the entire series. This made her completely and utterly useless in the combat situations that took up most of the panel time, simply making her be someone to be protected. Even when she got some sort of combat capabilities, she failed so terribly at using it that she gave up a few pages later and was unable to do anything useful except in the few times where Shion went and weaponized marriage, or in the final chapters, where the nature of the 15-year confinement in her backstory was revealed and she thereby became undeniably broken, to the point where she made quite the major impact in the final fight.

It was still a somewhat enjoyable read, if you can stomach all the wasted potential, and I recommend it if you’re bored and feel like slugging through a short, 66-chapter manga. These faults would have made it difficult to recommend if it were a long series, however.

There are things I wish to protect. There are people I hope to defend.

The next several entries in this segment will be romance-based series, much like this one. At minimum, all of the August entries. I might even have enough of them backed up to fill September, too, but I have a few non-romance ones I may want to throw in instead of filling September with romance stuff as well.

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