I reviewed the first volume of this manga last September when it came out, and voiced some concerns about the pacing and the story in general. I hoped then that it was just “first volume syndrome” and the story would get better in the next volume. Volume two came out this past January, but I only just picked it up a couple weeks ago. After reading it, I can say that I still enjoy the story and the romance, but I have my concerns about the depth at which it can take the characters and the plot in future volumes. Some of this stems from the overall concept of the story and some stems from the characters. However, I would still recommend this manga to anyone looking for a very chill, and wholesome fantasy romance.
Volume two continues after Edy graduates from the Wizard Academy and is appointed as Chief Enchanter to the Court. Only this means he is saddled with even more work. At least Filimena can visit him again though, and begins looking forward to the day they can finally get married. While Filimena is content to wait, their life takes an ominous turn as word arrives of the famed Lord of Darkness’ resurrection. A party of heroes is quickly formed to set out and defeat him, with Edy being called to join.
I still love the art for this manga. I really think it’s one of its biggest strengths. The way Masaki Kazuka uses values and page design to inject drama and suspense into the manga helps overcome some of its faults for me. At times I found myself distracted from my problems with the story because of the way the writing and the characters were made better by Kazuka’s dramatic art style. It really felt like a romantic drama. When Edy goes to tell Filimena that he has to leave to fight the Lord of Darkness, you can really feel her reluctance to let him go in those pages by how the panels are spaced out and the values/shading that is used to draw your attention even more to Filimena’s feelings.
The only issue I may have with Kazuka’s art and design may come from the fight scenes. They are good in a sense that you can feel some of the drama and action from them, but I think in terms of design and pacing, they could have been given more room to breathe. I would have liked more emphasis placed on seeing Edy’s magic and heroics of his group, but I started feeling as if the fights were very rushed. I get that this manga isn’t really about action-packed fights, but more about the relationships between the characters. However, with how short the fights feel, the whole big-bad Lord of Darkness and his minions start to feel insignificant even though we see how much it affects Filimena and Edy’s relationship.
I do think one of the biggest issues is the pacing like I mentioned above. I believe I mentioned this in the last volume review on how there are multiple time-skips that makes the story feel rushed. I think the problem stems a bit from the story’s concept. It’s more relationship focused rather than action so the story tends to revolve around FIlimena’s relationship to Edy and Edy’s relationships with his party-mates. This winds up making the whole fight with the Lord of Darkness seem rushed though. It pretty much starts and ends in one volume even though the story makes it seem like it’s this supreme evil being that is a danger to the whole world. However, because everything is so focused on interpersonal relationships, it feels like the writer felt like they needed to keep things moving along in case the conversations between the characters or Filimena waiting for Edy to get back started to get boring for the reader.
In volume one I also had concerns about Filimena as a character, and I’m not sure they were alleviated in this one. I’m fine with the concept that she is just kind of a side-character in this fantasy world who is there to support the real hero, but it feels as though she doesn’t have any agency of her own at all. It can come off as a little ridiculous considering she is supposedly a 30-year-old Japanese woman reincarnated into this world, but that also seems to get kind of glossed over most of the time. You would think her past memories of that life would give her more of a sense of independence or a desire for agency, but it feels like all we get is a never ending patience when it comes to Edy and waiting for him.
It frustrates me a little bit because we got the sense through this and the previous volume that she is smart and knowledgeable in magic as well, but it doesn’t seem like she ever gets a chance to use that knowledge, even if it’s just researching something for Edy to help with his work. Throughout both volumes, she’s been relegated to a house-wife position where all she can do really is wait for him to get back, or wait for him to be done with work, or wait for him to finally convince his higher-ups to give him the chance to get married. The most we see her doing is supplying emotional support for him through letters, gifts, and her general love for him.
Don’t get me wrong, I think their romance is pretty sweet. The fact that Edy sticks by Filimena through everything including his increase in position, his marriage proposal by the Princess, his appointment to be chief magic user at the palace, and then his quest to defeat the Demon Lord. His loyalty to her is unquestionable and it really comes off as sweet, especially from someone who looks and sounds like he’s cold and aloof to everyone else. I still feel like it’s a bit one-sided though, based on the kind of contributions each one makes toward the relationship. I think I would like to see Edy encouraging Filimena to find something meaningful to focus her time on, or looking to her for guidance on something. Basically, I want to see Filimena accomplish something for herself, and not just for Edy’s benefit.
It was nice to finally see them get married at the end though, and see Edy’s colleagues supporting his choice to marry FIlimena. Now that they’re married, I hope we get to see some more complexity to their relationship develop, maybe some more growth with Filimena’s character and her place in her new role as wife to the most powerful wizard in the nation. Volume three just came out on the 30th, so I’ll probably have picked it up and read it by the time this review posts. I look forward to hearing what you all think about this one and the next! Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!
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