Ultra Maniac, vol. 1-5

Reserved, but popular Ayu Tateishi wants to catch the eye of Tetsushi, the boy she secretly likes. But when she comes to the aid of awkward Nina Sakura, the new girl in school, her peaceful life is quickly thrown into upheaval. While Nina may look like a normal middle school girl, she’s actually an exchange student from the Magic Kingdom. She wants to be a great witch, but her magical spells quickly get out of control. In addition to weathering the romantic trials of middle school, Nina and Ayu must try to keep Nina’s magic a secret, which is hard to do when more and more visitors from the Magic Kingdom keep showing up.

This sweet all-ages manga series is a fairly satisfying read and nicely complete at only five volumes. The romantic entanglements (does he like me, do I like him, what if he actually likes her) and portrayal of young romance (first dates, first kisses) ring true for the ages of the characters, though the ending has a typical “together forever” feel which is rather unbelievable, even though that kind of ending is par for the course for romantic stories. Other common middle school stresses are also touched on, including popularity, identity, and jealously. The magical elements offer most of the comedy, though there were times when traditional stereotypes peaked through (why couldn’t Ayu beat the boys at tennis without being transformed into a boy?).

On the whole, this is a delightfully fluffy little series which should appeal to older elementary school and younger middle school girls who are eager for a little romance (complete with chaste kisses and cute boys). There is one scene where Nina and Ayu are transformed into 20-year-olds and go to a club. Nina drinks a little alcohol and their outfits are college-student skimpy, but that’s as mature as the series gets. Yoshizumi’s art is pretty, though nothing terribly out of the ordinary. She does have a nice way of making all her characters distinct and her incidental drawings will appeal to budding fashionistas. Summary: Reserved, but popular Ayu Tateishi wants to catch the eye of Tetsushi, the boy she secretly likes. But when she comes to the aid of awkward Nina Sakura, the new girl in school, her peaceful life is quickly thrown into upheaval.

Ultra Maniac, vol. 1-5
by Wataru Yoshizumi
Volume 1 ISBN: 9781591169178
Volume 2 ISBN: 9781591169741
Volume 3 ISBN: 9781421500560
Volume 4 ISBN: 9781421502045
Volume 5 ISBN: 9781421503301
VIZ, 2005-2006

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