Manga-ka: Izumi Tsubaki
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: April 2010
Synopsis: “Yosuke returns to his childhood home to search for clues to a vague but traumatic memory. But will the past be too much for him to relive? This volume also includes a special story about Tanaka and Sanae, members of the Sazanka Massage Club, and the tender moment of Chiaki and Yosuke’s first kiss!”
This volume of The Magic Touch works on the grounds that it finally backs off from following Chiaki for a while and instead gives Yosuke a volume nearly all to himself. Chiaki isn’t a real flaw to the story but it’s nice to have the plot step back from the often-silly aspect of her massage addiction and delve into territory a little darker, not to mention an area of Yosuke’s life that’s been long in the coming and reveals to readers the cause of his fear of being touched by women.
While visiting his hometown in search of answers, it’s both amusing and relatable when Yosuke goes back to the rural town only to discover not only how middle-of-nowhere it is, but also that half the places he remembers from his youth are now gone. He meets up with an old acquaintance as well, one who’s much more keen about the nostalgic undertaking and his enthusiasm is pretty fun. It’s also a good balance to Yosuke’s sullen faced wanderings.
When Yosuke comes across just the right (or wrong) place, his memories are triggered, taking both him and readers back to his youth where an incident set in place his subconscious fear of a women’s touch. The story is pretty disturbing, enough so that one can’t help but wonder how the story will continue in regards to Yosuke now that he remembers the details of this terrifying event.
Yosuke’s trauma takes the form of a child version of himself, one ‘living’ in his mind. It’s a surprisingly clichéd plot-trick that’s used more often in stories than one may think (until they’ve begun experiencing them repetitively of course). Through his inner-discussions with his childhood, he tries to come to terms with the memories that begin returning to him and find solace for his self both past and present. The main story in this volume ends up a striking note when Chiaki rushes to Yosuke’s aid and in a move of near-desperate passion he tests the boundaries of his own subconscious fear. Plus it feels rewarding just having it happen already.
The last portion of the book is a mostly unrelated short story that follows two side-characters in their own romantic little entanglement. A misunderstanding turned into a convenience over free body-heat slowly begins to taper into true affection – a sweet and fluffy tale of first love between the student council president and another member of the massage club. The two have wildly different personalities, which make for a great contrast, a certified case of opposites attracting. It ends the volume on a really uplifting note.
A long-in-the-coming account of Yosuke’s past and a really enjoyable short story lift this seventh volume of The Magic Touch up from its predecessors and ultimately proves one of the most satisfying of the series to date. It’ll be worth seeing if and how things differ when the story continues in volume eight.