Ep. 108: Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard!? By Yuu Toyota
In this episode, Deb brings back the BL and we end up with possibly the best title for a manga we’ve covered on this podcast: Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard!? Despite reservations, a very fun time is had. Plus: The Return of the reader Q&A!
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IN THIS EPISODE
00:00 Cherry Magic Volume 1, by Yuu Toyota
50:41 THE BREAK
51:00 Reader Q&A! Talkin’ Censorship
Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard!?
By Yuu Toyota
Translated by: Taylor Engel
Lettering by: Bianca Pistillo
Cover Design: Tania Biswas, Andrewa Miller
Edited by: Tania Biswas
Published by Square Enix. Available in print / digital
Audio editing by David Brothers. Show notes by Christopher Woodrow-Butcher and Deb Aoki
BEFORE WE GET STARTED
Hey y’all! Chris here solo this week as Deb and I are in Tokyo, having the meetings and experiences in person that makes us such good Mangasplainers on the podcast. It’s also why these notes are so very, very late. So, yeah, a shorter one this week, but please enjoy! Also:
SPOILERS: We basically spoil the entirety of this series. This isn’t exactly just a volume 1 review. So, if you’re curious about this title, well, it’s really more about the journey than the destination.
MORE SPOLIERS: For Chip’s run on Daredevil, actually? That one kinda comes out of nowhere.
CONTENT WARNING: Lots of nudity in the Q&A section at 52:00
ABOUT YUU TOYOTA
Occasionally localized as both Yu Toyota and You Toyota (including by the author herself on Twitter), Yuu Toyota was born February 10th (uncertain year!) somewhere in Japan. Like many BL authors she’s fairly reclusive and so there isn’t a ton of info on her life.
Work-wise, she did a number of BL and short books before her breakthrough title, Papa and Daddy’s Home Cooking which ran from 2014-2020 in Comic Bunch magazine. Despite the title, it’s about two straight single dads hanging out and making dinner for their kids together. While the series hasn’t made it to print yet, Mediabang has made it available digitally in English.
And while Papa and Daddy’s Home Cooking did pretty well (21 volumes!), the BIG breakthrough for Toyota-sensei is today’s manga, Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! I’ve got some bad news though, because Deb made a pretty big mistake this episode: Cherry Magic is still being released in Japan. While the series has 8 volumes out in English, there’s at least 13 volumes of this series, because volume 13 is getting a release this December, 2023, in Japan. So, uh, please keep that in mind while you’re listening to this episode.
It makes sense that the manga’s still coming too, because the live action drama adaptation of this book was quite the hit, even earning a movie spin-off (trailer above), and there’s an anime schedule to make it’s premiere in January 2024. Mainstream BL anime isn’t produced super often, so it’s pretty cool that we’re getting what looks to be a very faithful adaptation!
00:00 Here’s what Square Enix has to say about Cherry Magic:
It’s complicated: A thirty-year-old virgin gets more than he bargained for when his newfound magical power reveals he’s the object of his male coworker’s affections!
Adachi, a thirty-year-old virgin, has developed the power to read people’s minds by touching them. After a brush with his very handsome colleague, Adachi realizes the guy has a raging crush on none other than Adachi himself!Square Enix
02:15 Ask the gay, HUH? Well let’s get REALLY HEAVY with your light reading!
But seriously: Being a gay dude in the closet, unsure how to interact with your coworkers, unable to meet someone because of stress and being closeted and work… I really have met that dude and it’s an incredibly hard place for him to be in. Using that material for a light and fluffy BL story has a lot of potential pitfalls. I do think it sidesteps that problem by having our protagonist Adachi not identify as gay… Or anything really. As someone going through the motions who hasn’t considered what his options really are, just what’s expected of him (and they handle that pretty clearly in the first few pages.
Oh, and “Karoshi” is the Japanese term for death from overwork.
04:14 “Maybe the most insulting thing you’ve ever said to me.” Yeah I was uh, having a moment there, as funny as it was, but long-time listeners will know that Chip really does give me the gears for reading too much into or wanting too much from light entertainment on this podcast. In the opinion of these impartial show notes? I was right, but mean. I actually appreciate that Chip has ‘nudged’ me to consider the audience and intention of the author with the work, not just what I want from it. THANKS CHIP
07:34 The characters DO complain about nothing happening in the Omake, or bonus-strip from the author at the back of the book, and it’s pretty cute.
09:00 David points out that Adachi doesn’t use his powers for self-interest seemingly at all. He doesn’t even use them in service to the company, until his feelings for Kurosawa inspire him to do so. He intentionally reads the mind of a client, sees that he’s pissed that he wasn’t served cake, and saves the day.
09:50 In one of the chapters, Adachi goes to his romance-novelist pal for advice on what to do about Kurosawa’s interest in him. In the bonus feature, that character (also a 30 year old virgin) gets mind-reading powers too, and a will-they-won’t-they relatioship develops between him and a deliveryman, as they bond over his pet cat. It is perhaps a little more interesting on the whole, given that the person with the crush actually gets the mind-reading powers, and there’s a lot of potential there to see if he uses those powers unethically. Think Bill Murray getting to know Andy McDowell in Groundhog Day across a hundred lifetimes.
10:30 It is explained that, after reader feedback, Toyota-sensei “explains” how Adachi got his powers, included as a chapter-break in this volume.
11:20 Possibly the sexiest page in the book is this one from the bonus material that has Adachi reading Kurosawa’s mind, and Kurosawa imagining what it would be like to kiss Adachi’s neck. It’s very good.
11:38 Yeah we’re just totally, completely wrong here. WHOOPS! Volume 13 comes out in Japan in December, 2023. Volumes 10, 11, and 12 are currently up on Amazon to release in 2024 from Square Enix in the USA.
16:10 A particularly good gag (and fun bit of comics making) is this one, where instead of hearing Kurosawa’s thoughts, depicted as thought balloons, he instead just sees a series of images, Kurosawa imagining what it will be like for Adachi to stay over at his house. The explanation at the bottom of the page is perfect.
16:47 “Kiss The Girl” from The Little Mermaid is an odd reference, but I get where David is coming from.
17:10 Yeah, I don’t love the explicit sticker on this book, and it absolutely sets up misleading expectations of its contents. Perhaps, as a series (and as the author says in the omake) this BECOMES spicy later on…
…and so it needs to be stickered all the way through? It’s hard to fault anyone given the absolutely shitty political climate around LGBTQ issues and books… But yeah, this is volume is not explicit, and it’s disappointing.
20:00 We’ve actually covered a decent amount of BL manga here on Mangasplaining, though there’s always room for more. We actually tag all of our episodes at Mangasplaining.com, so you can see all of the episodes tagged “BL Manga” here.
21:41 This was a pretty cynical note to come from this BL Manga author as an aside, but I did actually chuckle.
22:54 Yeah, I don’t think he’s asexual exactly? Like maybe Demi, because he just hasn’t made a connection with anyone yet…? But honestly I think he’s more just someone who’s led an unconsidered life, and is now at a point where he’s having to really think about things. The Goddess even called him out for being oblivious… 😉
24:05 RaW Hero was probably the first “ecchi” manga we read here on the podcast, sort of like a sex-comedy but it’s also a superhero action manga.
26:00 The full Takahashi. Basically means a story that goes on way, way too long, by extending the plot unnaturally to spend more time with the characters and world, named after the manga of Rumiko Takahashi (Inu Yasha, Ranma 1/2, Rin-Ne). A lot of series that run in Shonen Sunday, where Rumiko Takahashi’s work also runs, tend to be this way. Probably more of a Shonen Sunday comment than a Takahashi-sensei one, as we all loved Ranma.
26:25 Spoilers, David actually doesn’t mean Nozaki-Kun here, he actually means the office otaku comedy Wotakoi. We actually get to that in a little bit. Although there’s some of Nozaki-kun in this book too. These are both books that we’ve covered here on the podcast, you can check them out as they were in much earlier seasons.
27:44 Bromance Book Club is mentioned, a novel series about bros reading romance novels to understand women (at the start). It’s a series by Lyssa Kay Adams, and you can find out more here.
29:10 Naming a cat after where you found the cat is apparently a thing in Japan, as our side-story couple centers around finding a cat in an UDON box and naming it… UDON. Makes for a funny moment.
30:00 Deb mentions the “Sitting on a bench in a park” trope which I honestly wasn’t that familiar with as a BL trope… But very familiar with as someone who has seen it IRL a bunch in Japan. There’s a general sort of broishness like this that isn’t necessarily gay/queer/sexual that is all over here, and it’s quite heart-warming in a way.
30:31 Yeah, I think the lettering is overall fine, but kind of a mixed-bag at points as between multiple kinds of dialogue, narration, psychic narration, editorial captions, and sound effects lettering, it can get really, really busy. I think it was probably that the author was doing something with her letters on the Twitter serialization and the letterer was striving to match that intensity, but for me I found it just a bit much. No need to belabor the point though.
34:27 David mentions the pointy word balloons on page 62 as being something he had a hard time with, as while they’re supposed to be hurtful and “piercing”, they don’t actually pierce, and to Western readers just look like word balloons with long tales.
35:45 And the truth has been revealed, it was Wotakoi all along!
36:45 David specifically thought of the quick fantasy sequence in the preview of volume 2, where Adachi and Kurosawa are both wearing fantasy RPG costumes, as being particularly like Wotakoi.
37:00 The fantasy rpg video game trope is also elsewhere, as the “Want to stay at my place: yes or no?” sequence, particularly with its block NES-style lettering, recalls old-school games more than contemporary otome or girls’ romance games.
39:00 Shout out to Erica Friedman who mentions the Yuri manga She Loves to Cook, She Loves to Eat, by Sakaoki Yuzaki and published in English by Yen Press as being a good, light Yuri story with a broad appeal that she and her crew would love for us to read on Mangasplaining.
This is honestly a title I was looking for an excuse to read, so fingers crossed I can make it happen.
But yeah the Meatloaf manga, like Days on Fes, or Laid Back Camp. There’s a lot of comics about just chilling out these days, and they’re almost all coming from Japan. I should probably specify that comics about trauma can absolutely be important, for the creators, the readers, and the publishers, and truly excellent works. Hell I helped publish a book that is in that space. But comics could use more light reading and easy reading in general, in my opinion. And the readership to support it.
43:00 David likes the backgrounds in this volumes, which are more present than you might expect.
48:45 What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga has been mentioned many times on the podcast. I think this is the third or fourth time we’ve mentioned it just since episode 100. It was Jocelyne’s strong recommendation for the live action drama that had me check it out, and the first episode at least is very intense. It’s on Netflix internationally, I believe, if you want to check it out.
And with that, Deb closes out the first part of this episode with a bang.
“Spread a little Cherry Magic Around”Deb Aoki
50:41 THE BREAK – WARNING! NOT SAFE FOR WORK PAST THIS POINT
That’s right, it’s the long-awaited return of the Q&A feature here on mangasplaining! This week’s first question comes to us from David Bednar on Twitter. Take it away, David:
“Hey @mangasplaining – my nice young Christian brain doesn’t get censorship standards in manga. Why are nipples only a sometimes drawn? Why are little boy penises funny but grown up penises need tiny black bars or pixelation? Are there, like, repenised editions? Whats happening?!”David Bednar
There’s a lot going on with this. While I think we give a good overview on the podcast itself, I’ll try to provide some additional links with reference for you for further reading.
Regarding manga translation and production imprint Studio Proteus, you can see the wide array of work for Eros Comics on their Wikipedia page. They were largely responsible for not just translation and sound effects, but de-censoring (repenising, to riff on David’s turn-of-phrase) this manga. Not just penises, but all sex organs (from many, uh, species, in the case of Bondage Faeries.). Now here’s the thing, I literally cannot find any reference for them doing this work online anywhere–I think it’s a victim of being an old-internet problem and those pages just aren’t online anymore, if they ever were in the first place. But having spoken with a number of people who worked with/for Studio Proteus over the years, well, it’s true. And frankly all that work is pirated to death, so if you do a google search you’ll see that the genitals of the various characters are intact, and they were (largely) not in the original Japanese.
That said, most hentai manga today is drawn with everything intact, and with a good bit of detail too! Not simple a “white cone of light” or “outline”, artists draw it all… Because for the most part their love of sex, bodies, and sexy stories is why they’re making hentai in the first place. The censorship comes later through digital means, including those silly black bars, mosaic blurs, regular blurs, white-out, etc. Here’s an example by Kazuhide Ichikawa from his work, where the genitals in his promo image are whited out after being fully drawn.
What it ultimately comes down to are the laws that you’re subject to as an artist, and whether you’re subject to those same laws when your artwork isn’t displayed in your own country. Japan’s laws state that sexual organs need to be obscured in some way. The level to which they are obscured is up to the artists (and how much contempt they have for those laws/what they can get away with). A good example is the gay bear GMPD artist Jiraiya, who did the cover of (and a story for) Massive, which we covered on the podcast. On his Twitter, which is an American company, he posts little snippets of his work without censorship, even though many of his contemporaries like Gengoroh Tagame and Kazuhide Ichikawa, do not. Here’s a good (and somewhat funny) example: When Jiraiya posted this image on Twitter, headquartered in America, it was uncensored. When he posted it on Pixiv Fanbox, a sort of Patreon-style-site for artists which is headquartered in Japan, he added censorship bars. So he’s technically obeying PIxiv’s TOS and the law, but could also get shit on for it too if anyone has a bone to pick with him. And it wouldn’t matter HOW much he censored it, because there’s no rule that says how much it needs to be censored, it’s up to the censor.
Anyway, go follow @JiraiyaJPN if you’re still using Twitter. It’s been a hell of a few weeks.
And shout-out to publisher Fakku for publishing uncensored manga in North America. They’ve put a LOT of work in to bring uncensored hentai to North America, and are worth supporting with your dollars if that’s your thing. I would show you what we’re talking about, but we’ve already established penises are funny in a way other genitalia is not, so uh, you can click that link if you need to.
Quick Annecdote: This is not just a Japan issue. Back in the 2000s, the comics magazine Hustler Comix needed to have a special Canadian edition printed because depictions of non-consensual sexual activity are banned in Canada… And what constituted consent was up to the censors who reviewed the material, so BDSM (which featured heavily) was basically outlawed. So we’d get the “Canadian” editions of Hustler Comix in to the shop back in the day, and the ropes used to tie a guy to the bed by a seductive lady were blacked-out, but otherwise unedited. Every country has its own laws, weirdly applied, and that’s why the internet got so popular so quick.
The Dragonball thing. I covered it pretty thoroughly, but if you want more with attributions, you can check out the “controversy” section on Wikipedia’s page for Dragonball. Anime News Network also has this complete reprinting of a letter from the editor in a single issue comic of Dragonball by VIZ back in the day. In the end, there isn’t a fully-uncensored version of Dragonball in English, with Bulma’s bare-boobs generally getting a bra covering them in situations where they weren’t originally, except when it’s an explicit part of the joke. But more on that in a second. Eventually though, the non-sexual nudity was generally restored.
Cultural mores are very different, this panel of Goku probably still makes some people squeamish, but Michaelangelo’s David and the Mannekin Pis statue do that too. Like that school principal who got fired last year for defending students’ rights to see the statue. So let’s err on the side of art.
Speaking of things that are funny, David mentions wrestler Brian Danielson talking about floppy penises in the wrestling locker room. Which is pretty hilarious, all things considered.
We mention Crayon Shin-Chan in passing, as the anime based on the manga by Yoshito Usui is quite popular around the world. The funny, rude little boy is occasionally naked (google ‘elephant dance’) and that receives a lot of push-back and calls for censorship, in countries including India and Malaysia. Of course, it never would have made it to air in the first place in North America.
David mentions a time when censorship made the series arguably funnier, as the team of demons from HELL in Dragonball Z had to get digitally edited to make them safe for American kiddos, and became the HFIL, or Home For Infinite Losers.
And we’re not even going to talk about Mr. Popo getting edited/edited-out for very good reason.
But still on the subject of Dragonball, the horny old dude who has aged a little poorly (lots of horny dudes in Shonen manga have aged poorly, looking at you Minoru) is Master Roshi! He’s maybe one of the last holdovers from old-style, sex-comedy shonen manga that dominated Jump in the 70s and 80s. I think he’s stuck around because Master Roshi is beloved. And his nose-bleeds-at-nudity have gone from a trickle in Dragon Ball volume 1…
… to a flood in volume 9, as David mentioned.
Also, that panel of Bulma did not have a bra on in the original Japanese, AFAIK.
Oh and we covered this previously, but the bloody nose response to sex in manga is about your blood circulating through your body when you’re horny, like getting an erection. It’s also a slightly-less-gross visual gag that implies ejaculation. Now you know.
I’m running out of time a little here, we talked a LOT for this Q&A, but here’s a few more quick hits to round out the series.
- The manga David mentions that’s a bit like Clone High? That’s Teenage Renaissance! David, by Yuushin Kuroki. Only the first three chapters were ever translated, and they’ve already disappeared from the JUMP app, but you can find them on MangaPlus.
- This article at The New York Times about breasts in contemporary and classic artwork, and how female artists have started rendering the female nude is really good reading!
- This article about the lowering of the age limit where children can go into opposite-gender baths in sento and onsen shows the changing social mores around nudity, even in a non-sexual context, in Japan.
- Anime Corner has this look at the anime and manga of Attack on Titan being censored in Malaysia, adding underclothes to the titans. I think this maybe has the opposite, effect, as they’re gross monsters with no sexual characteristics to begin with, but covering them up creates a different implication? Anyway this went viral a few years back, and I find it very funny.
So, David, I sincerely hope that answered your question.
1:08:00 Question #2: Scott The Human didn’t have a question, so much as a comment:
“Proposed spin-off: Comicsplaining, with Deb in the Chip role?”
Snagglepuss. Honestly. Lol.
Anyway, looks like we’re going to do an episode of Comicsplaining! We’re waiting to see when the best time would be to record and air the video, it’s particularly difficult since we’re actually on the road right now. But it’s coming, and it will, in fact, feature Daredevil: Born Again, by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli. Thanks for the suggestion, Scott The Human!
And that’s this week in Mangasplaining! This episode is also available wherever you get your podcasts, so please subscribe and leave a review, so others can discover our show. Also, if you’d like to get the latest episode delivered straight to your inbox along with exclusive interviews, articles and new chapters of manga you can’t read anywhere else, subscribe to our Substack newsletter. See what you’re missing at Mangasplaining Extra!
Next week on Mangasplaining:
Get ready for Kyoko Okazaki’s River’s Edge, with a lovely cover design by Becky Cloonan.
Thanks so much for listening! Please support your local comic and manga specialty shop when purchasing these books, and you can find one near you at comicshoplocator.com. You can also check your local library for print and digital lending options, they have TONS of manga! Finally, thanks to D.A.D.S. for their musical accompaniment for this episode.