MANGA REVIEW | "The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic" - Vol. 1
In the eyes of fate, there are no accidents. There are reasons for why things happen, for better or for worse. Even if you think an occurrence is but a mistake, it will slowly sort itself out in the long run. Such is what happens to Usato, the hero of The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic.
After becoming friends with student council members Kazuki and Suzune, the three are whisked away to a fantasy world. Both Kazuki and Suzune, who are top-tiered students, are destined for a life of heroism; Usato, on the other hand, was just brought along by mistake. However, when the crystal ball grows green after Usato touches it, it’s revealed that he’s got a rare kind of healing magic. And before you can blink, he’s dragged away by the Kingdom Rescue Team captain Rose.
Thus begins Usato’s new life, training day in and out under harsh and grueling situations. Although he grows frustrated by Rose’s training routines, Usato also grows some solid muscles and magical strength. But he’s not ready to dive into battle just yet; Usato has a couple more tests he needs to pass before then. This includes slaying a rare beast, one that Usato starts to feel sorry for.
While reading through the first volume, I couldn’t quite figure out the meaning behind the its. Despite the humorous training regimens Usato’s doing, it’s not exactly showcasing a “wrong way” to use his magic. Quite the contrary: Usato’s using it properly, as it’s helping him grow muscles and become a lot more immune to pain, poison, and all-around soreness. In fact, I’d go one step further and say that his usage of healing magic has been a lot more unique than most other Japanese fantasy series.
Meanwhile, the seemingly stronger Kazuki and Suzune take more of the role of second banana, as their regular training isn’t as intense as Usato’s. They quickly realize that when they start perusing through his diary, with log-in sounding worse than the last. However, seeing Usato becoming so strong that he can do push-ups with a ton of weights and Rose on his back gives them the motivation to push on further themselves. Despite them being friends for a quick second, Usato, Kazuki, and Suzune do manage to find common ground in their current situation.
With that being said, The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic can suffer from a lack of creativity. We’ve all seen heroes being thrown into the woods to become stronger. Characters with future premonitions — especially Beastmen ones — are not new, with the hero trying their best to avoid catastrophe. These aspects, despite being entertaining, do nothing unique with the situations, with every one of them ending in predictable fashion.
Only when Usato uses his magic do we see some sort of newness to the formula. I rarely see a healer use his powers on themselves, unless he does so in a group fashion. Here, Usato uses the power that’s been given to him to heal wounds, ward off poison, and even gain back his stamina. Although it’s setting him up to be a kind of Gary Stu in the fictional world, at least he’s got a relatable-enough personality that will make it easy for readers to dive into this adventure with him.
The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic may suffer from some of its same ole isekai tropes, but there’s a good amount here that’s worth reading through. Usato’s a fun character, and his interactions with Rose are enjoyable. What I hope to see is a little more from the side of Kazuki and Suzune, who have their own share of personality and growth on display. If the playing field can be evened out by Kugayama Reki, who’s adapting this from Kurokata’s original light novel, then The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic could potentially be another fun fantasy trip.
Promotional consideration provided by Eric Margolis of One Peace Books.