Anime Review: This Boy is a Professional Wizard

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I had this whole plan to preface this post with my usual shenanigans: why I haven’t posted an anime review since March, why I haven’t kept up with posts like I promised I would have, not to mention my tenuous relationship with critiquing BL titles. But surprisingly, after I did a full rewatch of this short anime, everything I just said would simply prove a point from what I learned from this addition to the Konoda library.

So yeah. We’re going to discuss some boys love. And the shortcomings of being a depressed workaholic. And why you’re probably going to confuse things if you think about this one too hard like I usually do. But before I get into any of that, I must confess:

Toyohi

Why isn’t Toyohi my boyfriend in this scene?

This Boy is a Professional Wizard (Kono Danshi, Mahō ga Oshigoto Desu) is a quick glance at a budding relationship between a free-spirited Toyohi Utsumi, and an all-too-serious Chiharu Kashima. From the moment they met at a bar one night to the point when they confess their love (uhm… spoilers?) we the audience aren’t too sure how quickly time passes for such a short escapade between them.

As much as I would have liked to see more details about the world that is built around this short or anything from Konoda for that matter, I don’t think that’s the point. By no means am I an expert on the subject, but the romance that occurs between Toyohi and Kashima is framed as a normal, healthy occurrence between two lovers with a side helping of magic (not that I’m complaining). And since this particular anime got a TV release in Japan, the themes are arguably very modest.

Had this show been any longer in length, I imagine there would be too much detail to grasp onto that detracts from its romantic core, despite the fact that I am teased into wanting to know more about such trivial builds.

Overdoing it

You said it, guys.

But even without the necessary information to understand the setting of this story, there’s enough for me to talk about what I ended up getting out of it. And to do that, I’m going to go ahead and take a few liberties by asserting myself as the professional wizard, Kashima.

All his life, Kashima was convinced that he was really great at using magic. He studied magic, he practiced magic, he’d probably breathe magic if he had been given the chance. Now that he is an adult as part of an elite group of other wizards, he takes it upon himself to do a really good job, so much so, that he outshines even his prodigious classmate. Kashima would have been the perfect wizard for others to look up to in his organization, had it not been for the fact that he takes his job way too seriously!

Magic

Ugh! It’s like looking into a mirror!

Kashima’s serious persona may make him a master of all kinds of magical arts, and when you’re running a true meritocracy, I will agree that he is extraordinarily good at what he does. But by taking this one aspect of his life seriously, Kashima leaves himself vulnerable to what ultimately transgresses in the romance of this short tale: what happens when all anyone ever thinks of him is simply as a wizard?

This is the worry that Kashima has become aware of when he first reveals to Toyohi that he is a wizard. Toyohi, a seemingly basic human being, would certainly be intrigued by Kashima’s magic, but what would happen if that’s all the impression Toyohi gets of Kashima? Kashima seldom thinks of what his life would be like without his mastery of magic!

konoda-maho-kashima

This is my worry when I find myself interacting with others, whether they’re friends, colleagues, or even family members. Most of you who are reading this probably know me as that one rambling anime critic or that one philosopher dude, as that’s the kind of stuff I normally post about here. Yet beyond that image is a human being who is struggling to make a decent living who also cares deeply about his friends and community, even if he doesn’t exactly show it.

I was originally thinking about making a big to-do that I was writing this review on the intent that it was published on Yaoi Day (8/01), and yet I realized that being forced to talk about it strictly from that angle was exactly what I was most afraid of: to be boxed in to a caricature of my own volition.

konoda-maho-depression

Whether or not the thoughts that plague Kashima’s mind came from others at first, Kashima had placed too much pressure on himself to become the best wizard he could ever be, forgetting about any autonomy he would have had, had that part of him ever gone away. He is so convinced of his own lie, that it’s hard for him to accept that anyone could see him in any other way. From this point, I don’t think it would be wise to tell someone who might be in Kashima’s position that he could be anything else, because his attachment to being what he is (in this case, a wizard) is so strong, that being anything but could be even more alienating!

But just when I would have built up some kind of conversation about how Kashima needs to lighten up or keep himself more open to other possibilities, Toyohi has a much simpler response. Yes, Toyohi loves Kashima the wizard, and is totally wowed by all sorts of magic that he does. But what he loves more about Kashima is that he loves this line of work so much, that he takes it as seriously as he does. Toyohi’s love for Kashima isn’t a question of seeing Kashima as a wizard or as a simple, normal human being like anyone else. I think anyone who has ever been in a relationship can attest that being considered too niche or too generic is the worst thing you can identify in your partner. Rather it is the validation that Toyohi loves the passion that Kashima puts in to that work that makes all the difference.

Now one could argue what might happen if Kashima were to change his habits and do anything besides be a wizard and see if Toyohi still loves him for that, but I don’t think that was the point of this anime either. This Boy is a Professional Wizard offers a colorful look at the joys of a first meeting to the point of confession between two lovers who just so happen to be two guys.

Whatever they do after that… probably doesn’t matter for its entertainment value. Kind of like the majority of anime romances. Why would I complain about that?

Ending

I f***ing knew it!

So if you’re looking to explore that beautiful first love between a workaholic wizard who cares too much and his freelancing partner without a care in the world, check out This Boy is a Professional Wizard. I’m happy to have come back to this hobby of mine, and hope to write some more soon enough.

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