Ultra Maniac

    (Viz, 2005)
™ and © 2001 Wataru Yoshizumi
Black and white; read right to left.

All Ayu wants is the life of a perfectly ordinary middle-schooler, but, after she helps new classmate Nina retrieve what appears to be an electronic organizer, she’s “rewarded” with the truth. Nina is really an exchange student from “magic land,” a post-modern witch who casts spells using the little computer Ayu found. And now, convinced they’re best friends, Nina uses magic to try to give Ayu her heart’s desire—always with disastrous results.

Not only is Nina a poor witch (flunking magic, she thought she could pick up easy Earth credits), and she constantly refers to herself in the third person, which here seems to imply, not ego, but simple-mindedness. Ayu sensibly tries to ditch Nina, but she proves hard to shake. Although in no way ultra and without a single maniac, it’s still a mildly amusing Bewitched-style sitcom. Unfortunately, the background is so simplistic I spent more time worrying about Ayu being trapped in a co-dependent relationship with an incompetent magic user than laughing at the theoretically hilarious consequences.

— S. A. Bennett

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