Someday's Dreamers Vol. 1: Spellbound

Norie Yamada, Author, Kumichi Yoshizuki, Illustrator . Tokyopop $9.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-59816-643-9

The original manga and anime this story is based on has been called a cross between Harry Potter and Sailor Moon, but this spin-off series has more in common with the murky emotional undercurrents of teenage melodrama. Like its predecessor, the story takes place in a world where magic is commonplace, but carefully regulated. Enter Nami Matsuo, a shy high school senior who also happens to be a magic user. A typical shojo heroine, all dewy-eyed cuteness and modesty, she's never thrown a successful spell in her life and hates herself because of it. Filled with references to a less-than-happy home life, the book does a good job of making Nami's painful lack of self-confidence both understandable and believable. However, Yoshizuki's all-too-typical artwork never quite manages to do justice to the nuances of Yamada's story—Nami's perpetually wide-eyed expression registers more as blankness than as distress. Awkward translations and strangely sequenced dialogue also detract from the book's dramatic strengths, which include hints about further family dysfunction alongside main plot points about the mysterious transfer student who haunts Nami's thoughts. Still, with its darker-than-normal take on magical teenagers, SD: Spellbound is a refreshing change from other, frothier fare. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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