Haridama Magic Cram School: Manga Review

Haridama is the story of a underdog ninja pirate magician who has the goal of becoming the next hokage pirate king most powerful magician in the world! Original!

Haridama is the story of a underdog ninja pirate magician who has the goal of becoming the next hokage pirate king most powerful magician in the world! Original!

Book Blurb:
Kokuyo and Harika are a little unusual—and not just because they’re sorcery students. They’re Obsidians, wizards who must use enchanted swords to help them cast spells. Their fellow students think Obsidians are inferior to ‘normal’ wizards. But Kokuyo and Harika have something that their cohorts don’t: the power of friendship!

Review:
As suggested by my teaser text, Haridama doesn’t have the most original plot out there. Kokuyo and Harika are both Obsidian wizards who lack the Yin and Yang that’s necessary to cast spells. They compensate for this by using some rocks with the opposite force they’re lacking. This puts them at a disadvantage versus other magicians but also gives them the advantage of not being susceptible to attacks when they aren’t using the rocks (I should be calling them “Obsidians”).

As I started this volume, I thought to myself: “Great, another never ending shounen power-up manga with magicians instead of ninja or pirates or shinigami or whatever.” But hey, I gave it a shot. The manga is obviously set up with certain story elements in mind. It’s kind of easy to predict that Kokuyo and Harika, being childhood friends and all, are an item. Also, I wondered why they just didn’t power up using each other as the missing half of the Yin/Yang equation from the very beginning. Sure, Harika is tsundere now, but she’ll warm up to Kokuyo!

By the end of the first volume, all of these things actually happened. And I was pretty impressed by the pace the manga was taking. There was even a whole magical license test crammed in there! How many volumes did Naruto take to finish that exam!?

Then I realized that the last chapter said “Obsidian Magic Cram School: THE END.” As I looked for the volume number on the book spine, I realized that this was a one-shot manga. And it all made sense. The story wraps up really nicely at the end. It’d be nice to know what happens later, but it’s not really necessary.

Haridama ends up being something of an anti-shounen story. It forgoes the leveling up, the fighting bosses, the grunting. We get a snapshot in time of a story that continues, but only in our imaginations. Maybe I’m just romanticizing the fact that this thing ends quickly but I think it’s kinda cool! By limiting itself to one volume, Haridama takes a bow at its peak (which really isn’t that high, but hey) and avoids jumping the shark.

If you’re short on reading time, like me, you learn to appreciate short stories. With Haridama, you can get the satisfaction of finishing a whole series, all in the span of one volume. No commitment!

Many thanks to Del Rey for sending me a review copy of Haridama Magic Cram School!

7 thoughts on “Haridama Magic Cram School: Manga Review”

  1. One shot manga are always nice for a quick read, but I still prefer stuff that runs longer. It gives the opportunity for more depth, exploration, development, and whatever other smart-sounding words I can add.

  2. I guess my main thing is one shot manga will always be more “pure” in a sense. No fillers, no power-uppage, no long meaningless arcs. Not to say that any manga that runs more than one volume is bad or anything.

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