After the end of Midnight Secretary, I was interested to see where mangaka Tomu Ohmi would go with her next title. With her newest series, Spell of Desire, a lot of her hallmarks are present: gentle main character, supernatural elements, brusk love interest, and a lot of reasons why they have to kiss. But there are differences as well: this time the female has the supernatural power, the setting is rural, and there are familiars. As well, the old fashioned ‘serve your man’ role is gone. It’s safe to say that if you liked Midnight Secretary, you’ll like Spell of Desire.
Plot: Koko is an herbalist and runs a small rural shop. Raised by and taught the craft by her mother, she lives a quiet and simple life. Until the day Hibiki Kaname shows up and tells her she’s the daughter of a very powerful witch – a witch who sealed her powers inside her daughter. Now those powers are awakening and Koko doesn’t have the training to contain them. But Kaname, a witch’s knight, has been raised to protect and teach her. To keep her powers in check, he can control them with a kiss – much to virginal Koko’s dismay. But as she learns control, Koko is becoming more powerful. So much so, that she will soon attract the attention of those who would use her or see her destroyed.
Ohmi’s illustrations have greatly improved since the somewhat shakey work early in Midnight Secretary. Her panels are assured and she flows the story well. This is a bit of a slow burn type of manga, though. Not much happens except excuses to force Kaname to kiss Koko. I’m worried that this is going into more of a ‘monster of the week’ until a final confrontation with her mother. Midnight Secretary didn’t have a lot of depth to the story and Spell of Desire looks to be a stock Josei romance as well.
The familiars are cute (a ‘dragon’ and a ‘unicorn’) and Ohmi has given the male love interest a soft side as well. The story does start out fairly slow and didn’t immediately grip me – I’ll see where it goes in the second volume to see if I will continue with the series.
Reviewed from an ARC.