Fujieda Miyabi's Kotonoha no Miko to Kotodama no Mahou to depicts a romance between a miko and a witch. In the first chapter, Letty, the witch, ends up playing the knight in shining armor to Tsumugi, a young woman magically bound to her family's shrine.
So there was this miko and this witch, right? Sounds like the beginning of a joke for people with their sense of humour surgically removed, yet this bit of fluff from the pen of Fujieda Miyabi is actually a rather enjoyable little tale of misconceptions and innocent romance.
The series originally went by the title "The Caged Miko and the Whimsical Witch" until the middle of it's run in Yuri Shimai magazine, after which it was transferred to Yuri Hime magazine, which had recently been re-established. It was also renamed during this time to "The Miko's Words and the Witch's Incantations", however I prefer the original
title as it seems more aesthetically pleasing to me.
The story is about a young miko (kind of a priestess), named Tsumugi, who lives alone in a shrine on a mountain, and how she is visited one day by a witch (Letty), with an interest in architecture.
I'll leave the story there as this is only 6 chapters (plus a small extra), long, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone.
Plot-wise this is, again, a variation on the theme of "the knight in shining armour", however it has Fujieda's slightly off kilter perspective thrown into the mix as well. The story itself even makes reference to the knight/prince rescuing the princess in the fairy tales, but the overall message is a little more Shrek than Snow White or Cinderella. The one downside though, is that this manga is also more than a little formulaic and predictable, however you may find that you simply don't care about that once you read it.
The artwork is very typical of Fujieda. The backgrounds are very simply designed, or are replaced with a subtle pattern, or are non-existent, all to draw the reader's attention to the characters. An interesting point, and something which is far more noticeable in this series than it is in Iono the Fanatics, is that the use of backgrounds seems to be proprtionate to the emotion of the situation.
As for the characters, they are also simply designed, yet they possess a certain endearing charm, partly because of the way they're designed, and partly because of their actions.
Since there are only two "real" characters in the series (Tsumugi and Letty), I'll keep this short. Tsumugi is very innocent, but has a very playful streak as well - something which she uses on her counterpart. Letty, on the other hand, is bright, cheerful, confident, and knowlegeable about the world beyond the confines of the shrine. Fujieda has done remarkably well with the two main characters, especially given the length of the series, however it still feels a little forced in terms of development at times. That said, I did find myself warming to both Letty and Tsumugi a fair bit, especially towards the end of the series.
This is an enjoyable manga that, like some of Fujieda's other work, is charming, whimsical, and relaxing. I enjoyed it very much, especially the sometimes tongue-in-cheek humour, and both Letty and Tsumugi are very cute characters with a certain iinocent quality that really shines through.
Fans of Fujieda's work will have probably already read The Caged Miko and the Whimsical Witch, but if you haven't, then you may want to look for it. Fans of yuri and shoujo ai may also like this manga, although it lacks the drama of Strawberry Panic and Maria-sama ga Miteru (but don't be put off by that).
Although there is clearly room for improvement, Fujieda has once again produced a cute bit of fluff that is endearing, humourous, and above all, entertaining.
TL;DR: A very short and fun story with Fujieda Miyabi's trademark fluff and vibrance. You can't go wrong with reading this in one sitting!
Story: Very quick and decisive pacing, perfect for the premise shown in the synopsis. Each chapter did its part to develop the characters' relationship and advance the story with very little filler. Don't get me wrong here - it's still fluffy, but it definitely does not waste time!
Art: Simple backgrounds and pleasing character aesthetics are Fujieda's trademarks, reflecting his focus on the characters in his works. Very easy to look at!
Characters: Nothing extraordinary or outstanding - there is a clear power differential
between Letty and Tsumugi, in this case mostly established through each character's backgrounds. The writing, however, is superb as always, with a very vibrant and exciting tone that does not fail in keeping the reader in a light mood.
Enjoyment: Short, sweet, fluffy. You can even read it in one sitting if you have the time! The story is just paced so well that you won't get burnt out, and it's short enough to not take more than an hour or two.
Ending remarks: A very fabulous, short tale full of excitement. Not the best manga, but certainly a very entertaining one!