Only the smartest, most capable mages work at Harré and that’s just what Nunnally Hel plans to do. After meeting a receptionist at the esteemed establishment, she is determined to follow the same career path. She studied hard and is now heading to the kingdom’s magic academy to continue working toward her goal. At the magic academy, Nunnally faces social challenges and, as the commoners and nobles clash, discovers her magic type and meets her nemesis, Lord Alweiss Rockmann. Rivalry arises between Alweiss and Nunnally as soon as they start school and remains constant throughout their six years there. They are the top two students in their class and Alweiss is always number one, driving Nunnally nuts. She questions her teachers, but never gets a clear answer.
After their fifth year of school, all of the students participate in the Practical Magic Combat Tournament, which is observed by recruiters from Harré and other professional organizations. The tournament is divided by gender; Alweiss and Nunnally each win 1st place for their division and receive job offers pending their graduation. Alweiss is surprised to learn that Nunnally wants to be a receptionist, but doesn’t explain why. Even with job offers, feelings of competition continue between the two during their final year of school. After graduation, Nunnally heads off to begin her work at Harré. The book ends with a bonus classroom argument scene between Alweiss and Nunnally from their fourth year.
I Want to Be a Receptionist in This Magical World, Vol. 1 is a pleasant read that left me wanting more. The story is well written. Mako does an efficient, natural job at giving the reader a good idea of the characters’ personalities. I found all of the characters interesting and would love to see more content with the background characters. Hopefully, that will come in subsequent volumes. Some character development among both the main and background characters is seen. Watching Nunnally’s relationships with her classmates develop and grow from enemies to friends is heartwarming and watching Nunnally and Alweiss become obsessed with each other is fun. It’s cute to see the reactions of the teachers and other students to their constant bickering. Even though Nunnally adds the goal of wanting to beat Alweiss, she admirably remains focused on her primary goal of working for Harré. The storyline is gratifying and motivating. Nunnally identifies her goal at the beginning of the story, and in each chapter the reader gets to see that she is closer to achieving her goal.
The story moves quickly, beginning with Nunnally as a young child and ending with her entering adulthood. I would have loved to spend more time witnessing her experiences in each year of school and seen her relationships develop more gradually. I would have enjoyed reading a more detailed account of events across five or six volumes. Rushing through so many years gives the impression that volume 1 is a prologue to the true story of Nunnally working at Harré and possibly falling in love with Alweiss. If that is the case, I am excited to read volume 2 and see Nunnally start her new adventure of working at Harré and potentially fall in love.
The artwork is beautiful, with lovely colors on the front and back covers. Even though the pages are black and white, the concept of color is expressed in an easy way for the reader to understand. In the beginning of the book, Nunnally’s love for the colors and magic in her world is translated into amazed facial expressions and stars, fireworks, and swirls in the sky. The reader knows that Nunnally has dark hair in the beginning of the book, due to shading. When her hair and eyes turn light blue, the shading reflects that. Her hair and eyes are suddenly shaded much lighter.
The facial expressions of the characters are fun to watch. When they feel extreme emotions, their features are simplified in a humorous way. When Nunnally is irritated or annoyed, her usually big, detailed eyes are drawn as little half circles with horizontal lines on top. Throughout the book, as the characters grow up, the aging and physical growth moves quickly with the story, and Yone and Maro implement each transition amazingly smoothly and subtly.
I Want to Be a Receptionist in This Magical World, Vol. 1 will appeal most strongly to teens who enjoy fantasy stories. It takes place during high school years. Ages are not mentioned, but the art style of the characters changes throughout the book. The readers get to watch the characters grow from pre-teens to young adults. Thirteen-18 year olds will likely find those changes relatable and exciting.
I Want to Be a Receptionist in This Magical World, Vol. 1
Art by Yone, Maro
Yen Press, 2023
Publisher Age Rating: T
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Creator Representation: Japanese