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Manga / Hibiki's Magic

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Hibiki's Magic (Hibiki no Mahou) is a fantasy Manga series centering around a young girl named Hibiki. This manga is a collaboration between writer Jun Maeda, mostly known for his contributions to many Key/Visual Arts visual novels, and Rei Izumi, artist for .hack//Legend of the Twilight.

Hibiki is the apprentice to a skilled wizard by the name of Shirotsuki. Hibiki has absolutely no talent for magic, though, and her only real skill is making tea. Despite this, she serves and studies with her teacher everyday in his humble research facility in the woods until one day, one of his magical experiments goes horribly wrong. The facility burns to the ground, Shirotsuki's soul becomes trapped within the body of a gusk (a squirrel-like animal) and Hibiki is essentially forced to fend for herself. With nowhere left to live, she goes to the big city, and finds herself taken in by the famous Kamisaid Magic Academy, where Hibiki is (forcibly) granted the position of professor. And thus begins her journey into the world of magic...

Hibiki's Magic, while considered cute and Moe, breaks free of this appearance by delving into the darker side of magic and its consequences for magicians and normal people alike. Major themes throughout the work focus on love and deep bonds between people, sadness, inspiration, and hope.

The manga began in Shonen Ace in 2004, but later switched to Comp Ace in 2005. It had a lengthy hiatus from 2007 to 2013 (during which only three chapters were published) before finally concluding in 2016. The manga's chapters were compiled into six volumes, but only the first two were released in English by Tokyopop due to the manga's long hiatus and Tokyopop's closure in 2011.

This series provides examples of:

  • All-Loving Hero: Hibiki seems physically incapable of harboring negative feelings towards anyone. Best demonstrated in chapter 14, where she gets possessed by a "demon" who claims that he's going to take complete control of her body and every time she protests to anything he tells her to do, he responds by threatening to kill someone... She still considers him her friend by the end of it. Granted, at the end of the chapter it's revealed that he was lying, never had the power to harm her in any way, and had been slowly dying throughout the entire chapter, but still...
  • Amnesiac Lover: Shirotsuki and Yui. Especially heartbreaking because he forgets her more than once.
  • Artificial Human: Shi-chan is a homonculus given human form.
  • Art Initiates Life: When Shiiraasan gets her hands on a packet of magic crayons. But they can't create living things, leaving her with only a drawing when she tries to draw the person she wants with her most...
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The cute character designs hide a series of very bittersweet stories about the prices people pay for using magic and its unintentional consequences on those around them.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Misaki when Hibiki is grievously injured in a magical experiment. She is shown at her most emotional while trying to convince Ahito to go heal the poor girl.
  • Birthday Episode: In which the characters celebrate Ikko's and Hibiki's birthdays, as Hibiki's was the day before. Or was it?
  • Breather Episode: The Magic of the Mind, a largely inconsequential single-chapter story placed right in the middle of two extremely dramatic three-parters, one of which revolves around a childhood friend of Asuma's whose ambition drove him to an early grave, and the other being about Ahito's Dark and Troubled Past seemingly coming back to haunt him... oh, and Hibiki getting caught up in an accident that almost kills her.
  • Blessed with Suck/Cursed with Awesome: Using magic always comes with a price of some kind. It can be physical, such as healing someone at the cost of your own eyesight, or mental, such as losing your memories.
  • Blood from the Mouth: When Ahito was experimented on as a child, the pain he suffered through often involved him coughing up blood.
  • Body Surf: Shirotsuki's research was based on finding a way to live forever through swapping souls between bodies.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Ahito, Asuma, and Shi-chan most notably suffer from this.
  • Child Mage: Hibiki, although she isn't very good at magic.
  • Cool Shades: Ahito has a pair of these, although they do seem to serve the purpose of blocking his healing eye power when he's not using it.
  • Curse: Ikko specializes in these.
    • Ahito finds a cursed harmonica later on.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ahito was in love with a young girl named Mizuki whose magic, like all magic, came with a price. The more she slept, the deeper she slept until one day she'd never awake. Ahito agreed to undergo torturous experiments to gain magic of his own, which would heal her at the cost of his life force. One day, the cost of his magic nearly killed him, forcing a hospitalization. When he woke up, Mizuki was dead, and the magicians watching over them were more interested in her powers than her. This incident caused him to renounce all magic.
  • Deconstruction: Of the 'magic academy' genre, and using magic as a whole.
  • Demonic Possession: Hibiki becomes a victim of this for one chapter.
  • Equivalent Exchange: This is a key point of the series, as using magic for anything requires a sacrifice to be paid by the user.
  • Eye Scream: Ahito's surgeries involve a needle to the eye.
  • Geometric Magic: Shirotsuki specializes in magic circles.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Yui, Shirotsuki's lover.
  • Identical Stranger: Setsuna is the spitting image of Mizuki, to Ahito's shock.
  • I Know What You Fear: Shirotsuki hits Ahito with a spell that has this effect to stop him from attacking Hibiki.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Possibly, in chapter 21. The entire academy is under the influence of a spell that causes everyone to say everything they're thinking out loud, and at one point Hibiki is about to tell Ahito something... and just before she can finish the sentence Shii-chan shows up and sprays an antidote on her. Afterwards she doesn't even remember what happened while she was under the effect of the spell.
    • The final chapter gives us the rest of the sentence and reveals that she was about to say that Ahito would always be her incredibly dear... first ever student. Ahito's reaction makes it clear that he was expecting something rather different.
  • Magical Incantation: These are generally used to cast spells.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Asuma is as capable of sleight of hand tricks as he is powerful and very real magic.
  • Make a Wish: The demon girl that appears at the intersection once used to grant wishes to passersby, until she stopped when people started becoming greedy.
    • Ahito too, regarding Mizuki's fate. Again when he and Shirotsuki are able to save Hibiki's life.
    • Asuma as well regarding his friend Yuushin. In general, there is a lot of crying in this series.
  • My Greatest Failure: His inability to save Mizuki continues to haunt Ahito into the present day. Finally seems to move past this when he realizes that by insisting his power can't save anyone, he might just lose another important person - Hibiki.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The squirrel-like gusk that currently holds the soul of Shirotsuki, Hibiki's teacher.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Once more, Shi-chan.
  • The Power of Friendship/The Power of Love
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: The homunculus Lord Shiraasan (a.k.a. Shi-chan), who often wields a rocket launcher.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Asuma. Shows shades of it as an adult, but even as a child he scored first place on exams while still having time to goof off happily.
  • Spell My Name With An S: In the Tokyopop release of the manga, Ikko (イッコ) and Yukko's (ユッコ ) names were translated as "Itsuko" and "Yutsuko." However, this is incorrect, since both names contain a sokuon, a symbol that doubles the consonant that comes after it. The sokuon in their names is shown as a small "tsu" (ッ). The translators interpreted the sokuon as a full-sized tsu, instead of doubling the "コ" that came after.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: The cute character designs contrast with the serious tone and subject matter.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: Yukko's daughter's magic tears are used in a potion to save Shi-chan.
  • Taking the Bullet: Hibiki does this for Ikko when a spell goes awry, putting herself in critical condition as a result.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ahito and his baby cakes.
  • Wizarding School: Kamisaid Magic Academy.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Inverted, as using magic too much can shorten your life span or potentially kill you on the spot.
  • Woobie of the Week
  • Younger Than They Look: Asuma's sacrifice for his magic is that he ages much more quickly than normal.
    • Shiraasan qualifies, despite looking like a five year old. This is because she's probably closer to a few weeks old instead.

Alternative Title(s): Hibiki No Mahou