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Manga / Bokura no Kiseki

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From a young age, Harusumi Minami has had recurring dreams of Veronica, a princess whose kingdom is on the verge of destruction. He believes them to be recollections of his past life, and that he is her reincarnation. Because of this, he is ridiculed by his classmates. One day, when the mockery escalates into bullying, he rediscovers magic - something Veronica had studied and used. Reassured his past life is not merely a fantasy, Minami tries to learn more about his past memories and the reason behind them...

Bokura no Kiseki is a fantasy mystery manga by Natsuo Kumeta. It began serialization in 2008 in Zero-Sum Ward, a sub-magazine of Monthly Comic Zero-Sum. In August 2015, it moved to serialization in Monthly Comic Zero-Sum after Zero-Sum Ward ceased publication.

Bokura no Kiseki provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Any female knight - or knight who was reincarnated as a female. Particularly standout examples are Takao and Hiroki. When things get serious, Veronica herself also qualifies.
  • Almost Kiss: Harusumi and Takao in chapter 12. Harusumi chickens out because he's not sure if Takao's feelings are romantic or merely loyalty inherited from Rida.
  • Arranged Marriage: Veronica and Eugene are to be married to represent an alliance between Zerestria and Moswick. Before things went south with Veronica's castle's destruction, that is.
  • Atlantis: Chapter 29 has a passing reference to Lemuria, as a land that Zerestria was once at war with. If that's meant to be the "real" Lemuria of Earth, then it suggests Zerestria and Moswick belonged to the mythic past.
  • Attack Reflector: Veronica's (and by extension, Harusumi's) unique magic is to reflect magic back to its sender.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Spirits were apparently strict monarchists, as they granted magic according to a rigid social hierarchy where those of higher rank gained more powerful magics. Yanuma demonstrates with a blast that carves a meter-wide trench in the ground, having the power of a knight-captain from a high noble family.
  • Badass Normal: Hiroki. Though she's the reincarnation of a squire, she can't remember how to use magic. She doesn't let that slow her down.
  • Big Brother Worship: It's understated, but Bart seems to have had a lot of respect for his elder half-brother, Glenn.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Nanaura. His personality and his status as a squire of Zerestria make him seem trustworthy early on, but in reality, he's behind both the message to Veronica on the blackboard and the attack on Kikuchi (and quite possibly the attack on Kamioka as well). However, there's someone behind him too, who he's apparently loyal enough to that he's willing to alienate his crush, Maki, on said person's orders.
  • Blood Magic: Magic requires a small personal sacrifice to the spirits, to represent the personal strength used to power it. The most common sacrifice is a freshly-plucked strand of hair. But blood as a sacrifice is extremely powerful, even when it's old and dried into a piece of cloth. As a result, during some darker times the nobles of Zerestria and Moswick would occasionally enslave people to use as blood banks for abundant prepared sacrifices. Glenn's mother was to be used this way before his and Bart's father saved her from the knights who had bought her.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Maki. After spending several chapters gathering allies for her plans of her own including trying to gain new magic, she discovers that everyone she thought was an ally had just been tricking her, and is blackmailed into giving up her plans. After that she's completely isolated and feels unable to trust anyone but herself. Not that this stopped her in taking more actions by herself..
    • Yanuma as well. He was the highest-ranking knight in Eugene's entourage, and pushes around fellow students who were lower-ranking in their previous life, threatening people with magic to get his way. But then he starts dealing with others who are willing to push back and point out that, despite his relatively high noble rank, he was still sacrificed as a pawn along with everyone else, and that Moswick doesn't exist anymore to give meaning to his rank. The final push comes when he outright attacks Meguro and Minami has to play the vengeance-driven bloodthirsty Princess, striking Yanuma right in his pride and fear together.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Averted with Harusumi and Takao, then played straight again within the context of their relationship. Harusumi asks her out very quickly and she accepts, but her past-life memories return and add some new complications. Now neither can spit out their questions about how the other regards them - whether Takao still likes Harusumi or is just retaking Rida's position as Veronica's bodyguard, and whether Harusumi isn't now waiting around for the reemergence of some old Love Interest of Veronica's instead.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Bishop Moston specifically wishes that Veronica doesn't get caught up in this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Harusumi's notebook, where he keeps notes of things he remembers, particularly about magic use.
  • Childhood Friends: Veronica and Carlo in the past were childhood friends, raised together in a monastery. Moto, Midou, and Hiroki in the present, who were in the same middle school.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: This almost happens when Hiroki claims to be the reincarnation of Veronica, but Midou convinces Harusumi to keep quiet until they can figure out what her intentions are.
  • Congruent Memory: The characters decide to try recreating conditions of the past to spark people's memories. Specifically, they start using magic to try to remind people of the magic-heavy attack on the castle. It doesn't work very well, though, lacking the sense of danger and urgency that the real attack had.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of the past-life world has some hierarchical and political resemblances to medieval Catholicism, though it allowed women to be priests and was responsible for regulating the practice of magic. Despite that resemblance, the main object of worship are the animistic Spirits who exist in everything and control magic through pacts marked on a person's soul.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Takao suffers from an inversion when she first regains her memories as Rida. Her mind remembers the correct ways to move in a fight, but her average high school girl body can't keep up, so she just ends up off balance and in slight pain.
  • Declaration of Protection: Rida to Veronica. Mirrored in their reincarnations, with Takao to Harusumi.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Moto to Hiroki.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • All the Zerestrians could tell that Veronica and Glenn were lovers. Actually, they weren't. The thought didn't even occur to them.
    • Then there's Moto's feelings for Hiroki. All the boys in the class easily figure it out during their first class gathering.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Or prettier. Ooki, a plain chubby girl who is the reincarnation of a beautiful female knight, gets bitten by this. Nishina tries to reassure her that everyone has something about themselves that they miss, especially since they were all in much better shape in the past.
  • Failure Knight: Takao. Deeply regretting failing to protect Veronica as Rida, she becomes even more determined to protect Harusumi in the present, rarely letting him out of her sight.
  • Functional Magic: A form of Theurgy, as the spirits of the world grant magic to those who make the proper pacts. However, only clergy and those of noble blood may make the pacts, leaving commoners out in the cold unless they join the clergy. As well, specific kinds of pacts are only available to specific people - most any noble can learn the basic attack spell and knights learn more powerful combat magic, but royals can also learn special spells exclusive to them such as Veronica's reflection magic, and priests also know the rite to grant others magic. Priests can also learn healing magic, but can only use it on other priests or else they'll lose all magic. A pact is said to be "engraved on the soul," but is also supposed to be wiped clean upon death - which has obviously left most everyone confused about why they still have magic in their new lives in the present day.
  • Guile Hero: Harusumi is pretty damn good at manipulating people and formulating strategies. Some of the manga's tensions come from the mindgames between him and the other factions.
  • Hearing Voices: Something keeps haunting Harusumi at random moments when he's alone in his bedroom reflecting on the situation. The Voice challenges and contradicts most of his hopeful thoughts, suggesting he should (or secretly does) want vengeance instead of peace, and hearing it leaves Harusumi bent over in pain. It is revealed in Chapter 71 that Harusumi is experiencing what the priests call 'Oracle'. Yamada describes it as "The Holy Spirits are whispering to Minami".
  • Heroic Bastard: Glenn Schreiber is the bastard son of Frederick Verbania, the head of a noble family and a servant woman, but he's one of the knights protecting Veronica's castle and her Love Interest.
  • Identity Amnesia: Zeze has some general memories about living in the castle in Zerestria, but he's not really sure who he was. (And he seems to feel he's probably better off that way.) Harusumi pretends to have this in order to protect himself from Veronica's potential enemies.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Moto" for Motoi.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Meguro embraces this mindset after remembering his previous life as a squire of Zerestria.
  • Legendary Impostor: An interesting example occurs when Hiroki claims to be the reincarnation of Veronica. All the characters know Veronica, but because of the reincarnations, no one knows what she looks like in the present time. It turns out Hiroki is really the reincarnation of Bart, and that she was pretending to be Veronica in order to serve as a Body Double until the real Veronica chose to reveal herself.
  • Love Confession: Significant in that all confessions that have appeared so far have been spur-of-the-moment, very public confessions.
    • First there's Harusumi's confession to Takao in chapter 1. He just randomly tells her he likes her in the middle of a crowded hallway. And, after a Beat and a shocked, "Whoa", she replies the same way.
    • Then there's Moto's confession to Hiroki in chapter 6. When she tries to leave to deal with a dangerous situation on her own, he loudly declares his love for her and insists on going with her to protect her. In the middle of the classroom. Much later, when the chaos finally dies down, she turns him down.
  • The Magocracy: Past-life society has strong elements of this. Only those born to noble parents (plural; bastards of one noble and a commoner don't count) could learn magic. It seems to be a purposeful demand of the spirits, with whom contracts must be made to learn different kinds of magic. As a result, most nobles learned magic and wielded it to maintain power over others. The clergy are the big exception, commoners can become priests and learn magic as the spirits' representatives in the world.
  • Minor Major Character: Prince Eugene. His presence pervades the story, as he was Veronica's husband and possibly one of the only people in the castle who knew why Moswick was attacking its ally Zerestria, yet readers know almost nothing about him beyond that he was the Third Prince of Moswick.
  • Missing Time: Magic seems able to inflict this by some kind of low-grade Trauma-Induced Amnesia. Kamioka talks about remembering the attack upon her as if she watched it on TV, and a lot of the characters have huge gaps in their memories from the attack on the castle that seem to correspond with heavy magic use.
  • Mugging the Monster: Those bullies in chapter 0 were this close to being blown to pieces via magic before Harusumi stopped himself. That being said, they were still knocked out with a weaker spell.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Kamioka for Harusumi. She's the first friend he made, and her getting wounded by magic is a major part of why Harusumi is insistent on keeping innocents away.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Harusumi says this to Yanuma. He thinks Yanuma's desire to force everyone to respect him with his rank in the past and his superior magic is similar to Harusumi's desire to attack his bullies with dangerous magic back in chapter 0.
  • Oblivious to Love: Most likely, Veronica and Glenn.
  • Painting the Medium: Once in a while, black Speech Bubbles with white text are used to represent someone speaking in the past-life language in the present day, usually when it's important to distinguish them from speaking in modern Japanese. Otherwise it's left up in the air which language they're speaking at any given moment.
  • Past-Life Memories: All of the reincarnated characters note they have extremely vague memories of how the war they died in started, and many of them can't seem to remember how it was they died. Especially prominent in the priests, who should have been evacuating the area, and thus would've been nowhere near the castle when it fell. (Even Jared/Midou, who snuck out to the castle anyways, shouldn't have gotten there in time.) Harusumi assumes that he's remembered all of Veronica's memories over the years, but with Teshimano's revelation that he remembers seeing Veronica fighting with Lucas, Harusumi realizes that Veronica must have lived beyond the memory that he had always assumed detailed her final moments.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Harusumi pretends not to have his memories of being princess Veronica to protect himself from mysterious attackers. Meanwhile, those same attackers are attacking him because they think he is the reincarnation of prince Eugene and want to prove it so that they can protect the princess from him.
  • Posthumous Character: Considering they all died at the castle and were reincarnated, all characters from the past are essentially this, appearing only in flashbacks or bonus chapters set in the past.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: Veronica was not formally trained in battle, but she still fought alongside her guards when Moswick invaded. In fact, being a princess helped her become a powerhouse because the Spirits grant greater magical power to those of higher status.
  • Protectorate: The castle for Veronica (though that didn't work out so well). Likewise, the school for Harusumi. Zeze theorizes that he's trying to get rid of his regrets for failing to protect the castle by protecting the school.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Harusumi is pretty fond of these. He'll occasionally combine it with a Death Glare for some truly terrifying expressions. It's part of his Guile Hero arsenal.
  • Real-Place Background: The setting is based on Sendai, Miyagi.
  • Rebellious Princess: While mostly mindful of her responsibilities, Veronica definitely wasn't a conventional princess. She was very easy-going and flouted rules of propriety left and right.
  • Reincarnation: The main basis of the series. Not only is Harusumi the reincarnation of Veronica, nearly everyone in Class 4 is a reincarnation of someone who was in the castle when Moswick attacked. According to the religious myths of the past, only those who were killed by magic can be reincarnated.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Played with. Harusumi's girlfriend Takao is the reincarnation of Rida, his primary bodyguard in the past. After she remembers this, things get complicated. All Harusumi wants is for her to stop treating him like royalty and for their relationship to return to how it was; Takao, on the other hand, is convinced that Harusumi is really yearning to meet the reincarnation of Veronica's Love Interest, Glenn, and that when Glenn's reincarnation finally appears, she'll lose Harusumi.
  • Shrinking Violet: Tsuzuki is a shy nerdy boy who doesn't like fighting very much. His past self, Aubrey, seem to be the same way even though he was a squire.
  • Sinister Minister: Lucas Erlanger, the only priest besides Bishop Gale whose reincarnation has not yet been revealed. In the memories of his past life, Teshimano remembers seeing Lucas attack Veronica, and Lucas's reincarnation is the top suspect for attacking Kamioka at the beginning of the series. Not to mention, when he finally appears in a flashback, there is something just not right about him.
    • A flashback that Teshimano had reveals that it may be a case of Just Following Orders, as Glenn was begging Lucas to cease doing as Prince Eugene ordered him to do.
    • Bishop Gale can also be very off-putting - he has a very penetrating stare and always looks angry or contemptuous. And he was definitely somehow involved in the attack on the castle.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: There's a lot of this feeling among the Zerestrians towards the Moswickians when everyone in Class 4 regains their Past-Life Memories. In particular, Meguro, reincarnation of a squire of Zerestria, freaks out and tries to kill Nishina, who was a knight of Moswick. Teshimano and Harusumi talk him out of it.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Carlo seems to suffer from whether he should follow the church's possibly nefarious plans, or protect his precious friend Veronica. His present self Ootomo is haunted by not knowing for sure which he picked in the end. It's a mixture of both. He went through with the church's plans, but at the last moment went back to try to save Veronica.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Moto, Midou, and Hiroki in middle school.
  • Undying Loyalty: Rida to Veronica. The fact that Rida's reincarnation Takao shares this feeling for Harusumi just makes Harusumi uncomfortable.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Maybe. Momoka admits rather bluntly that her past self, Lilly, had a huge crush on Hiroki's past self, Bart. Momoka's subsequent embarrassment seems to be at least as much at her sudden bluntness as the possibility that it looks like she just confessed to another girl.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Harusumi's more elaborate manipulations of other people to settle a crisis or find out something important about the motives of those around him. Usually of the We Would Have Told You, But... or No Time to Explain varieties (the latter sometimes trending into Indy Ploy and Batman Gambit), as he has to think quickly when a crisis pops up, giving the most general directions (if any at all) to his allies. His tendency to manipulate even his allies has put people off, though, and he has to move almost as quickly to soothe hurt feelings and prevent distrust.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Because of how his commoner mother, the mistress of a noble, was treated and discarded, and because of how he was treated as a result, Glenn gained a cynical outlook on love. He acknowledges that he likes Veronica, but he has no idea if those feelings are what would be called "love".
  • The Wise Princess: Veronica. While she didn't seem to have a lot of political power - her having elder brothers that are ahead of her in line for the throne are vaguely alluded to, her marriage is decided for her - she's shown to be responsible and intelligent, with a firm conviction to protect the people living under her care. Her regret over her failure to do so seems to have carried over to Harusumi. Zeze theorizes that's why he's so obsessed with protecting their school.