Review: Mahoutsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora
Adapted from the Manga written by Norie Yamada and illustrated by Kumichi Yoshizuki.
In an alternate reality, magic is another resource regulated and controlled by the government. All magic users must be registered. Use of magic for personal reasons is strictly prohibited, and severely punished. Requests for magic intervention are made to the Bureau of Magic, which then assigns a mage a carry out the request. Young people showing magic abilities are trained at Schools run by the Bureau. During this time, student mages are apprenticed in an established office, where they live and work with a experienced mage, as well as taking classes at school.
Suzuki Sora has had one ambition. To become a mage! She is accepted into the Bureau’s Central Training School, in Tokyo.
Country girl in the big city, Sora becomes lost on her first day, and is late to her first lesson. On the way, she has used her magic to prevent a dreadful road accident, holding a petrol tanker in midair after it comes off a fly-over, preventing it from landing on an old woman, and a teenage boy. This is the first indication we have that Sora is a very powerful magic user. Chided for her lateness, and personal use of magic, Sora is downcast when she finally makes it to her new home. This Mage Office is home to two experienced mages, and both have students this year. The following day, Sora meets her fellow student, Midorikawa Gouta. The boy whom she saved the day before! She finds out at class that he can’t use magic very well, and the other students look down on him.
So Sora’s training progresses! Classes at the Bureau. Mage requests with her mentor. Each request reveals some thing new about Sora, and her use of magic. In the evenings, and at school, there are conversations with the mages, and with her new friends.
All the students are tested by their apprenticeship, and some find it harder than others. Sora herself always fulfils the requests made of her (although she does need the assistance of her mentor at least once), but her own view of the world compels her to add a little twist or nudge to change the people that she meets.
At first strained and awkward, Sora and Gouta soon get to know each other, and Gouta’s grasp of magic increases dramatically with Sora’s help. Slowly and subtly, the feelings between them grow stronger until everybody sees them as a couple, and they finally go out on a date to the seaside.
However, Sora is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will take her home to Hokkaido, and away from Gouta for ever!
Suzuki Sora. (Voiced by Hanazawa Kana)
Sora is a kindly, open hearted girl, whose father died a while before the story opens. She lives with her Mother, and dog, in the small rural community of Biei in Hokkaido. She does small magical favours for her friends & neighbours, and dreams of becoming a proper mage, like her father. She delights in the wonders of Tokyo, although she is initially overwhelmed by it’s size and complexity. She is especially delighted by the way the streets come alive at night with small shops, street entertainers and restaurants. She believes that her gifts should be used to help people.
Midorikawa Gouta (voiced by Maeno Tomoaki)
Gouta’s father fell in love with, and then married, a girl who hated magic, and mages. As a result, he hid his powers, and never became a practicing mage. Gouta is understandably surprised when he receives the summons to training at the Bureau of Magic, and struggles with his new found powers. He is at first unable to complete even the simplest of magical tasks, despite the fact that he obviously has a lot of power. He never received the early training that the others all got at home. Living in the same house with Sora is at first a trial for him, but she gradually wins him over, and things get easier for him when she shows him the way to unlock his power.
What do I think?
A little gem of a series that I loved from start to finish!
Not to everybody’s taste, the pace of the series is really quite slow, and almost dreamy in places. The characters develop very naturally, and you can almost feel yourself sharing the breakfast table with the mages and their students.
The title translates as “Things that are precious to a mage”, and we certainly find out that each of the mage students have different ideas of what is important.
You also get a feel for the society that the mages live in from the requests they have to deal with. No earth shattering monumental tasks, but the opening of a locked safe when the key has gone missing, or the finding of a lost document in an untidy room.
You know that the two young mages are meant for each other, but they take a gentle and meandering path to find out for themselves. Gouta is devastated when he finally acknowledges his feelings only for Sora to seemingly betray him with her mentor. When Sora’s secret is revealed, it is like finding a wartime bomb on a holiday beach. Totally unexpected, it overturns his life completely, forcing him to take a good look at his life and ambitions.
Weaving through every episode, the music fits so perfectly with the series. You even meet the “singer”, a music student who writes her own songs, and busks on street corners for experience. She sings ballads about life and love, and has quite a faithful following which gather wherever she performs.
Another series that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend