The Ancient Magus’ Bride has been one of my favorite series since the manga started coming out and anime adaptation started airing. I’ve done a bunch of reviews on this blog: I’ve reviewed the manga, I’ve done multiple posts (part 1, 2, and 3) on the mythology found within the series, as well as a post comparing the manga versus the anime. It’s safe to say that I love the universe that Kore Yamazaki created and I appreciate all of the detail she put into the world. Jack Flash and the Faerie Case Files is the first in a couple of spin-off series created by Yu Godai and Mako Oikawa with Yamazaki’s supervision. It takes place within the same universe as the original Magus’ Bride series, just on another continent. We see crossovers with a few key characters from the original series as well as an expansion on some of the key story elements of the world, just in a unique and more urban setting than what we got before. This is the perfect series to review in this spooky month of October.
This spin-off follows the Faerie-born Jack Flash and her human-born brother, Larry, who run a detective agency in New York City specializing in crimes committed in the boundary between the human and the faerie realms. One day they receive a mysterious letter from a prospective client. They never would have thought that that client would be from a magus of the Old World, Echos, caretaker of the dragons, who has a very important task for them. The task may involve a completely new species of dragon.
Mako Oikawa has a really interesting art style for this manga. It is much more stylized than Yamazaki’s, and I think it adds a lot of flavor and visual interest to the series as a whole. I love how the main characters are designed. The cover of the first volume is the most striking. The color palette chosen combines a ton of vibrant and neon colors fitting for a setting in the big apple, but also helps build the tone and feeling of the kind of magic and world of faerie that is leaking out into the urban environment around them.
I also really love the character designs throughout the manga. Jack and Larry’s designs combine a mix of American and Asian styles that add to their characters. Oikawa does an awesome job at translating their emotions and actions onto the page through their art. I love the various expressions of the characters. They are always drawn in a really interesting style that gives you a great sense of what is going on.
The action scenes are also well-drawn. Jack and Larry get a lot of chances to use their magic and transformation skills. Every fight is filled with action and d etail that highlight their abilities and their connection to the faerie realm. I love the way the action is depicted, especially Jack with the way her eyes light up when she casts a spell. I’d love to at some point see this in color to see how the neon palette from the cover would be used in these scenes. Larry’s scenes are great too as we see him transform into a huge wolf, the detail highlighting his level of intimidation at key moments.
As for the story, I love urban fantasies, especially ones that try and incorporate the magical realm in with the human, faeries and humans living side by side blissfully unaware. Jack Flash takes one of my favorite universes and brings it into a more urban environment and a new continent. The rules here are a bit different, but just as interesting. I love seeing how they both navigate conflicting realms, almost acting as a go-between or liaison. With the added layer of mystery, this manga really pulls you in.
I love how Yu Godai chose to focus on Changelings here. It’s a very interesting part of mythology that has persisted even into the modern era in parts of the UK. We saw a bit of it in the original series when Chise went to the faerie realm to recover. To see this expanded on here in its own series makes me excited for future volumes, especially as it pertains to the relationship between Jack and Larry. I think they could go in a lot of interesting directions here with these characters, maybe explore each one’s relationship to the realm of faerie and how it has affected their lives.
I definitely have high hopes for the series. Everything I’ve seen so far has shown me that Yu Godai and Mako Oikawa have a ton of respect for the original series and have a lot of ideas on where they can split and take it in a different direction. If you’re a fan of the original Ancient Magus Bride, I would highly suggest picking this up. Let me know in the comments what you think or if you’ve read this volume already, what you thought.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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