Salarymen Adachi and Kurosawa have quietly got engaged and exchanged rings. Separated by Adachi’s job transfer to Nagasaki to open a brand-new store, they’ve managed to keep seeing each other as Kurosawa has arranged work assignments in the area so they can still spend some weekends together.
And the new store is a success, thanks to many of Adachi’s personal touches – and Kurosawa’s finding suppliers. So it’s not long until Adachi is recalled to head office – yet not before he’s shown Kurosawa the church where he witnessed a same-sex marriage being celebrated, a joyful event which has stayed in his memory.
Back in Tokyo, the two move in together as Adachi vacated his Tokyo flat when he relocated to Nagasaki. Has anyone in head office noticed how radiant the two are – and the fact that they’re both wearing rings? Their female colleague (and secret fujoshi) Nozomi Fujisaki has! But so has Adachi’s family in one of their facetime calls. The time has come for both men to ‘meet the family’, which also means telling them that they’re gay – a momentous step to take, from which there’s no turning back. And Adachi is surprised (and moved) to see how nervous the usually self-confident Kurosawa is at the prospect of meeting his family: his divorced mother, his brother and wife and their young and lively twins.
How will things work out for the two men? Will they meet family opposition? It’s not a good sign for Kurosawa when his father tells him now is not the time to visit as his mother ‘isn’t feeling well’ on hearing the news that their son is living with another man. Not wanting to alarm Adachi, he makes an excuse, pretending he has a sudden work commitment – and then feels bad about lying. How will they be able to proceed with their plans if their family members are opposed to their relationship?
Up until now, the light-hearted side of Cherry Magic! has remained uppermost in the mix – but with the eighth volume, mangaka Yuu Toyota shows us the very real consequences of embarking on a committed same-sex relationship in Japan. This is the most serious in tone of all the series so far – and none the worse for it as we get to see how this relationship has changed and enriched the lives of Kurosawa and Adachi. It’s also (as Tsuge is absent) the first volume that has no actual ‘cherry magic’ taking place (the mind-reading abilities gained on reaching the age of thirty by those who are still virgins). There’s a Mature rating but apart from plenty of affectionate gestures between the two protagonists, there’s nothing beyond kissing to merit the Parental Advisory warning on the front.
The eighth volume of Cherry Magic! arrives in English ably translated by Taylor Engel and lettered by Bianca Pistillo (as usual for Square Enix Manga). There’s an attractive colour full-page image at the front and a page of thanks and hints about the next chapters from mangaka Yuu Toyota at the end. However, unlike earlier volumes, there’s no extract from the next book, just a single-page image for Volume 9 which is self-explanatory (no spoilers here!). Volume 9 is due out in November 2023.
The ongoing success of Cherry Magic! with its sympathetic and relatable main characters can perhaps be judged by the fact that, after the popular award-winning Japanese TV series and film, a Thai live drama is currently being filmed – and now an anime TV series has also been announced, slated for 2024.
Even though the characteristic humour is absent from this volume, Yuu Toyota’s portrayal of Adachi and Kurosawa’s relationship is becoming much more insightful – and it’s nice to see the character growth in both men who have genuinely endeared themselves to readers over the course of the series. We’re rooting for all to go well for them!
Our review copy from Square Enix Manga was supplied by Turnaround Comics (Turnaround Publisher Services).