Mar 28, 2009
Torisunanohokori (All reviews)
Enchanter is a singular manga, one which really can come from out of left field and smack you upside the head, leaving you surprised and very entertained. This series sets itself up from start to finish as an ecchi story which includes a bit of violence, meaning that both of the big two plot points (real death and real sex) can happen. Which still doesn't prepare you for what it ends up doing.

You see, the initial tale is that of a gageteer genius high school student named Haruhiko, who (due to the standard "accident") is imbued with the mystical toolmaking powers of a powerful Enchanter. This Enchanter is currently magically trapped inside of a soulgem, and happens to look exactly like him. However, the demon partner/lover (Eukanaria) of this Enchanter wants Haruhiko's soul extracted and destroyed so that she can put the rest of her lover's soul into Haruhiko's body. The conditions for extracting a soul happen include sex. Which funnier because she a) starts living with him, and b) looks like Haru's childhood crush, who he can't touch because she's a teacher at his school. Which means plenty of restrained sexual tension and deadpan jokes about virginity, especially in the early bits. Later on, the humor tends to focus more on just how bad the main characters are at keeping the various aspects of their situation secret, as the "in-crowd" gradually expands to double-digit numbers. The end result is a highly entertaining manga with well-integrated fanservice, something to write home about. I lol'ed quite a few times.

Oh, and he fights demons with his powers too. Surprise...

...Is pretty much all I would have after finishing the first volume. But that's not all there is to this manga. You see, the author of this manga does a pretty mean plot. By which I mean an awesome one. My favorite arc uses the soul-stealing aspect of the overall story in a very clever way, by introducing a human who is also constantly struggling with a demon for control of her own body. The catch? She's also a total jerkass. Not only that, we meet the demon first, and she's kind, charitable, loving, and a former dead baby (in the most serious way possible). Honestly the more sympathetic of the two. Which brings about a phenomenal story arc pondering over his and her right to exist, examining the inherent moral contradictions in several "right" views held by different characters. And it doesn't take the easy way out, but stays morally ambiguous all the way through and forces the characters to commit themselves and confront the issue head on.

The story quality isn't just limited to that one arc either. Enchanter plays the moral contradiction card a lot, usually setting up characters and motivations in a relatively inoccuous early arc in preparation for intense moral struggles as many as 3 or 4 volumes later. The net effect is that, often as not, you don't see the moral dilemmas coming, but can still appreciate them once they come.

This series was one of the bigger surprises to hit me in the last year or so. If you have time, I seriously recommend checking it out. Buy the manga, peek at the scans, whatever, but do give it a chance.