I picked up this manga seeing how lovely the cover art was. Plus, I could see a beautiful ship approaching with the two main characters on it, Lydia and Edgar. The title was also alluring: The Earl and the Fairy. I adore historical manga as I do historical fiction, so I was sold on the description of a Victorian romance set in 19th century England involving fairies and other mystical creatures. This manga proved to be a delightful mix of mystery, love, and fantasy.
The author sets up the story quite nicely, describing the Victorian era by clothing, setting, and speech. Right away readers can see what’s so special about Lydia; she can see fairies, brownies, goblins, and more, all of which many people cannot see at all. It’s no surprise that they scoff at her “fairy doctor” title. No one believes in fairies any more. Despite the pressure of public opinion, Lydia’s beliefs are firm and unyielding as a result of her desire to remember her mother’s teachings.
While a strong heroine is usually admired, Lydia’s courage can be reckless at times. Because of being doubted all the time due to her profession, she’s used to holding her own head high and listening to her heart. She could be wrong sometimes, but she doesn’t find out until she’s in a little deep.
I found the story particularly intriguing when Lydia met the earl under unusual circumstances. From the beginning to the end, the earl was shrouded in mystery. He exudes elegance and refinement and knows he’s attractive, so his interactions with Lydia don’t always seem genuine. Though I love a handsome male love interest, it’s difficult to like someone so exceedingly cool. As the story unfolded, his past was brought up and further muddled his character. That definitely made him imperfect, but I wasn’t sure whether or not he was a good person and was confused as to what was the truth.
Despite my iffiness on the characters, I was thoroughly engrossed with the plot. Legends and myths of treasured items lost in time, magical worlds thought to have been made up, everything lovely and beautiful beyond one’s wildest imaginations… The amazing artwork coupled with a fantastical story reminded me of novels I had read in my younger years involving evil witches, fallen angels, wishing stones, and more. There was always more to find out in addition to where the hidden treasure was, like what exactly the earl was planning, who was involved, why someone acted in this way, etc.
The artwork for this manga was absolutely gorgeous. I wished every page could have been in color. Lydia’s hair was always drawn so lightly, and she was so pretty. The earl was definitely attractive in every way; I swooned at every panel he was in. Their clothes were very detailed. The artist took great pains into making sure their Victorian garb looked authentic with the sleeves just so and ruffled collars. I loved seeing Edward in coats and Lydia in dresses all the time.
As you can see, the adventure aspect in this manga was amazing. I finished this manga in the span of two days, two volumes each. There was a wealth of characters to meet, a budding romance to unfold, and so much more to see. Unfortunately the manga ends before the light novel does, so there isn’t as much development in the plot as I’d have liked to see. It does make me want to read the light novel and watch the anime, though. Hakushaku to Yousei was a short read, but very pleasant nonetheless.