Shy thirty-year-old salaryman Adachi has come clean at last and told his colleague and boyfriend Kurosawa about his recently gained wizardly ability: to hear the thoughts of anyone who’s touching him. And, to his immense relief, Kurosawa is not put off by this revelation, although he’s more than a little embarrassed when he thinks back to what Adachi must have heard him thinking! But now that there are no more secrets between them, their relationship seems to be set fair – until Adachi is called in to his boss’s office and told that the firm is planning to open a new shop in Nagasaki – 1,200 kilometres away! – and they want him to oversee the start-up and launch. This is a great offer, career-wise – but a potential disaster for Adachi’s personal life as he and Kurosawa have only just acknowledged that they’re in love and long-distance relationships are difficult to sustain at the best of times.
Adachi struggles with his feelings about the offer of the new post and the inevitable separation from Kurosawa just at the very moment that he’s realized how much he’s in love with him. This leads to a major misunderstanding as Adachi, not knowing how to begin to broach the subject of his move, seeks advice from others in the office but not Kurosawa – who inevitably finds out and is hurt that Adachi hasn’t told him. Agonizing over what he’s done (or not done), Adachi seeks out his old friend, novelist Tsuge (another thirty-year-old who’s magically gained the power to hear other people’s thoughts) for advice – and Tsuge makes a surprising suggestion: write a letter. “You won’t feel his thoughts and it’ll feel more sincere than a text.” So Adachi leaves a handwritten letter on Kurosawa’s desk before setting off for the airport, hoping that Kurosawa will understand his confusion.
For the first time in this series, the Mature rating is (just about) justified as it’s no spoiler to reveal that, at last, the two end up in bed together (and about time too, seeing how long Adachi has been unsure of himself and Kurosawa has been holding himself back!). But this volume is very much about Adachi’s growth in maturity and self-knowledge, as well as showing him – and us – a very different and relatable side to the outwardly confident Kurosawa. The mangaka’s style is still far from polished and if you prefer to see your romcom protagonists portrayed in beautiful drawings, then maybe you’ll be disappointed. However, she’s skilled at characterization and the facial expressions transmit a great deal of what her main characters are feeling. Even though this is already the sixth volume, Cherry Magic! has been (and will continue to be) a very slow-burn romance and it’s none the worse for it. Yuu Toyota has given us plenty of time to get to know Adachi and Kurosawa so when they finally fall into bed together, it feels earned, not forced as in some other romcoms.
The translation for Square Enix Manga by Taylor Engel, reads a smoothly and unobtrusively as ever and is aided by Bianca Pistillo’s lettering. There’s a page of helpful translation notes at the end. As in the earlier volumes, there’s a short chapter about Tsuge, his cat Udon, and his (unattainable?) crush, delivery boy/dancer Minato – and a generous sneak peek at the surprising events of Chapter 35 from Volume 7 (which is due out in May 2023). Another nice touch is the internal colour illustration which reverses the one on the cover with Adachi holding – or bravely attempting to hold – Kurosawa in the classic ‘princess carry’ mode (but without the cherry blossoms or Kurosawa’s blushing yet confident smile).
This is an important volume in the development of the relationship of Adachi and Kurosawa and it makes for a sympathetic and believable (in spite of the ‘cherry magic’) portrayal of a same-sex couple realizing how much they mean to each other.