I’m always looking for new fantasy-romance manga to read, and when I came across Fiancee of the Wizard on Yen Press’ new releases list, I figured I’d give it a shot. The art looked nice from the cover and the concept was interesting enough that it has the potential to go somewhere. I picked up the digital copy through Comixology this week while I’ve been on vacation and breezed through reading it. I have to say, if you’re looking for a relatively light-hearted romance in a fantasy world with just a touch of isekai, this would be the one for you. So far there’s only one volume, but I’m interested enough in seeing where the story goes that I’ll be adding this one to my to-read list for the future.
The concept behind the series is that a thirty-something woman from Japan is killed in a car accident and reborn in a sickly three-year-old’s body in a fantasy world. The world is filled with magic and wizards, and realizing it wasn’t going to be her destiny to be the chosen one, she befriends a young wizard in training. After a serious accident leaves her with a severe burn, the two become engaged, due to be married after he graduates from the Wizard Academy.
This is another manga based off of a light novel, where a character designer and mangaka were brought in to fully flesh out the original story. So far the art really isn’t that bad. It has a very shoujo feel to it with very soft tones, lots of flower effects, and some softer designs for the male characters. We start the manga off with the main character Filimena at age three, being introduced in a lacy bonnet surrounded by flowers. The whole feel of the characters and the clothes that they wear is one of almost Victorian England mixed with the long flowing robes commonly found in fantasy or East Asia.
I have no complaints so far about the layouts of the pages, I think the mangaka did a great job spreading the panel out to give space for important moments, especially those that held more emotional impact. We definitely see the shoujo influence in the effects and tone used throughout. Again, there is a lot of flowers put along the edges of pages and panels, as well as sparkling effects used to denote special moments. All in all it creates a very light atmosphere for most of the volume.
My main complaints come from the story and pacing, though it’s not so bad that I would say don’t read it, but I’ve definitely seen it done better. The story of Fiancee of the Wizard starts with an isekai plotline where a thirty-year-old woman is transported into the body of a three-year-old after a car accident. It’s kind of become a meme at this point to kill off potential isekai characters by having them get hit by a car while in some sort of despair at their current situation. Then to have her wake up in as a young child makes me think of Ascendance of a Bookworm, which isn’t the best comparison because Ascendance does this storyline a little better by focusing on the difference in the knowledge she has from her past live versus expectations and cultural norms of her current world.
One of my other issues comes from the character of Filimena. We see that she is not destined for greatness, which is fine since there are already too many of those types of isekai stories. But to have her then relegated to emotional support for the actual “destined for greatness” character could potentially make her somewhat dull in the future. I think this is just something we’ll have to see as more volumes come out. I’d like to see her use some of her knowledge of magic or assert herself in some noticeable way to really win me over.
Otherwise, the pacing of the story could use some work but I can understand that the first volume can quickly become an info dump or summary of events before getting to the real meat of the story. That’s kind of what it feels like here as we skip from their childhood to teen years to then seven years later, to then two years later. There’s a lot of jumps this volume makes to get us all caught up on the current state of things and I really hope they settle on one time frame for a while in the next volume. It definitely felt like the story was starting to lack a lot of depth the more we jumped ahead.
I find myself liking the romance though and the relationship between the characters. I think Filimena’s personality is a good fit for Edy and Edy seems to care a lot about her even in the face of pressure from the King and other nobles. What I want to see in the next volume, though, is a little more backbone from Filimena to assert herself as an equal in their relationship. I feel like she can seem too much of a push-over right now, though she herself is trapped by the cultural norms of the world she was dropped into. I also want to see her use more of the knowledge from her past life in some sort of way, maybe to assist Edy in his research or something.
As far as a first volume goes, it could use some work in the story department but I wouldn’t discount it just yet until we see more. I think it has potential to be a good romance, but it could suffer from some overused tropes. If you’ve read the first volume, let me know what you thought in the comments below!
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