I’m always on the look-out for chill fantasy stories where the action is secondary to dealing with everyday life. I feel like I get inundated with action in western fantasy, and I come to manga and light novels for a more relaxed fantasy experience. This new series that just came out earlier this month is just what I need. Housekeeping Mage from Another World takes the stories of adventure and action and focuses on the in-between moments where rest, good food, and comfort is needed to recover the adventurer’s strength in order to defeat those monsters. The main character sees her gift of magic after being transported to this world as a way to make people, who are risking their lives on monster hunts, more comfortable in those moments of quiet.
The story begins when A-Rank adventurer Alec meets the housekeeping mage, Shiori, as he puts together an expedition. Shiori has too little magic to be a battle mage, and so focuses on taking care of all the chores and cooking that comes with these expeditions. Because of her skill and hard work, all of the groups she has gone with have done exponentially better than those that didn’t have her help. And now Alec finds out just how effective she is with her magic and skills, and in the process, discovers the troubling backstory that led her to this profession.
The art for this series is really good. I really enjoyed the full-color pages in the beginning as it really brings your attention to the characters and their designs. I love seeing the characters in full-color before moving on to the rest of the manga.I love the design for Alec and Shiori. Shirori’s clothes are very cute, with her witch hat that has some lice hanging down to her cool dress and little side pouch. She looks like an adorable hedge-witch with some magical housekeeping on the mind. It makes for an outfit that I wouldn’t mind cosplaying myself. Alec looks like your typical tough guy knight with his light leather armor, but I love how the artist makes all the outfits just complicated enough to be visually interesting with the little detail work on the clothing.
The panel design can be a little busy sometimes, but I think for the important moments that focus on emotional connections and revelations, they are highlighted very well. Though, for a first volume, I kind of expect the pages to be a little busy as the writer and artist try to balance the amount of information they have to introduce to get the reader up to speed. I especially love the moments where Alec and Shiori are connecting and we see great close-ups of their characters and their reactions. And I think the emotion really comes through many of these panels as Shiori’s history and past trauma is revealed, and finding comfort and acceptance with Alec through their expedition.
This is just a really sweet manga, one I’m really looking forward to reading more of. I really like how the story doesn’t start with Shiori’s arrival into the world, but instead is picked up years later when Alec is introduced to her. This leaves the reader at almost the same level of knowledge as Alec, as he slowly unravels the mystery of her past and how her magic works. The story isn’t told from her point of view but instead from his or an almost third person POV. I really like this choice, as it makes the manga almost seem like a regular fantasy and not an isekai since her appearance in the world doesn’t play a pivotal plot point directly in the beginning. She’s already accustomed to the world and is skilled in her magic, so the writer has an opportunity to focus on relationships and how people interact and react to Shiori and her new brand of magic.
As for many isekai, belonging plays a central role in the themes of this manga. While Shiori has come into her magic and has been supported by many people along the way, she still has had trouble finding a place just for her. We see that wish at the center of her goals and longing since she can no longer go back to Japan. Alec, in his knightly capacity, sees someone he can help and protect. Combined with the emotional draw he feels from her, their relationship makes a really sweet story of overcoming trauma and finding your own family and place in a new world. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all plays out and how the mangaka unravels the story for us.
I’d rather not spoil too much for you by going too much further into the manga, but rest assured it is emotionally charged and adorably comfy. I highly recommend taking a look at this first volume.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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