Shin Midorikawa’s Aventura (Del Rey) falls into the category of what I call “If you say so” manga. By that I mean that the underlying mythology is generally impenetrable to me, no matter how carefully the manga-ka tries to articulate it.
In this case, it’s magic. The series takes place in a school dedicated to the subject where students are divided into two categories – wizards and swordspersons. Scruffy redhead Lewin Randit is on the hack-and-slash track, though it’s not his first choice. Unfortunately, he seems to have no magical aptitude whatsoever outside of some minor pyromaniac tendencies.
In spite of the segregation, he meets a budding witch and wizard in the school library, and they form a solid friendship. Yes, it’s three youngsters, two male and one female, navigating magic school together, and Lewin has an odious, Draco Malfoy-esque rival, though the similarities to Harry Potter pretty much end there.
For one thing, Aventura is a lot more sincere. There’s nothing particularly antic going on, and daily life seems to consist of lots of long talks about following dreams and being true to yourself. The magical content is beyond my ability (or desire) to fully comprehend as well, much more theoretical than practical. I think it has something to do with earth, wind, fire and water, but it seems vastly more complicated.
It’s gorgeous to look at. Midorikawa’s illustrations are eye-poppingly detailed and generally flow well. I just wish they were in service to a more gripping story.
(Review based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.)