MANGA REVIEW | "How To Treat Magical Beasts" - Volume One
In some stories, magic and science conflict with one another. However, there are tales of when the capabilities of both the mystical and medical can come together in harmony. Kaziya's How To Treat Magical Beasts: Mine and Master's Medical Journal attempts the latter, with a mage and a veterinarian working side-by-side towards a common goal. It has its interesting concepts, but one cannot look past some of its glaring pacing issues.
How To Treat Magical Beasts takes place in a time where science is all the rage, and magic is almost a forgotten practice. The young girl Ziska was born into a lineage of famous mages, and has found herself working alongside a veterinarian named Niko. At times, Niko can be a little cold towards Ziska, as both have yet to grasp her actual capabilities. But as the two work to save the lives of many a mystical animal, their talents often go hand-in-hand with the most peculiar of results occurring.
One of the things that you'll first notice about How To Treat Magical Beasts is how beautiful the artwork is. Kaziya's style presents a foray of gorgeous and archaic architecture alongside a vivid, nature-filled world. Within the setting are some interesting and unique takes on such classic creatures as mandrakes, fire salamanders, and lindworms, all of which demonstrate various levels of personality and beauty. Even the ways Ziska emotes when a creature she cares about is in pain is done so with much detail in the eyes and body language.
When it comes to the actual storytelling, some of the narrative's issues start to peek from under its cracks early on. One cannot help but think that there's quite a bit too much exposition present in the conversations that Ziska and Niko have, especially when it comes to their craft and talents. Although I can understand that this is to perhaps assist with building the world that Kaziya is attempting to showcase, it somewhat bogs down the magic that this story is trying to convey. Explaining how Ziska's abilities work might give readers an understanding of what her talents are, but it takes away the mystery that helps make the mystical all the more enticing.
With that being said, I do believe that there is a chance of vast improvement in its narrative as How To Treat Magical Beasts progresses. The last chapter in the first volume (which acts as a mere part of a bigger story being told) brings about some interesting mindsets from our main characters, as well as the village that they reside in. However, as the story gets cut off right when things are about to get interesting, it might keep those who were kind of starting to lose focus on the overall story from wanting to continue on to the next volume. A shame, as I believe what might be around the corner for this manga will help cement the story as a must-read for fantasy lovers.
Though it has potential, the first volume of How To Treat Magical Beasts can't seem to easily lift the weight that its world needs to shine with the other fantasy manga out there. The artwork is great, and the surgery scenes are detailed wonderfully to demonstrate the seriousness of the craft. But how the story is being told isn't helping with pushing the narrative along as it should be. Maybe it'll get better in due time, but as it stands with its first volume, How To Treat Magical Beasts is a bit too wordy for the magic it's trying to convey.
Promotional consideration provided by Lianne Sentar of Seven Seas Entertainment