- Mangaka : Usonan (Story), Wookjaga (Art)
- Publisher : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, School Life, Shounen
- Genre : Yen Press
- Published : August 2022
It’s a good time to be a manhwa reader, particularly if you like holding glossy, full-color artwork in your hands. Yen Press has been steadily accumulating more manhwa titles under their banner, and one of their latest releases is the manhwa adaptation of the Korean novel, A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special.
The first volume of the manhwa adaptation has now been released in all its colorful glory, so we’re diving into a world of magic and mayhem to see what it’s all about.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special, Volume 1!
With humanity imperiled by the Shadow Labyrinth that encroaches on the world, protagonist Desir and a handful of magicians are victorious in the final battle against a terrible dragon. After the deaths of 150 million mages—99% of all mages in the world—they are the last six who braved the Shadow Labyrinth to save humanity. But their victory is short lived—the dragon’s dying ability destroys the world…or does it?
Desir awakens thirteen years prior, back during his school days at the Hebrion magic academy. Desir wants to use his knowledge of the future to stop the parallel shadow realm from eating away at the world—and to stop the senseless death and destruction he witnessed. He knows almost everything about the people he meets—and uses the advanced magical knowledge he gained in the future to propel himself farther into Hebrion Academy. In a place where bloodlines are more important than raw ability, Desir decides to shake things up and alter humanity’s future!
The artwork is impressive and enthralling, with the magic abilities bursting off the pages. Full-color panels are such a treat to behold, and A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special makes smart use of its resources, putting most of the effort into the battles. We wish the backgrounds and character artwork were just slightly better, but there’s no denying that Wookjakga is a talented artist, with some excellent framing and paneling choices.
1. Classroom of the Elite…Mages
There’s a pretty obvious comparison to make between A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special and the popular psychological light novel series, Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (Classroom of the Elite). In a system where commoners are given lesser education in the “Beta” program, while nobles receive preferential treatment in the “Alpha” program, Desir sees that humanity will fall to ruin again if Beta students aren’t given proper education.
Desir sets about changing that future by forming a small team of other Beta students, and plans to advance them to the Alpha course through a notoriously tough competition. This classroom and bloodline rivalry easily sets up character conflicts, and gives us a definitive goal for Desir and his friends. If you enjoy the class-based tension of Classroom of the Elite, you’ll enjoy A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special.
2. It’s All In the Details, Folks
A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special has a unique way of handling the shadow worlds, since they are, in fact, shadow copies of previous events. Clearing one of these realms usually involves “fixing” a particular aspect of that parallel world’s history, such as altering the outcome of a war to ensure it aligns with the real world’s events.
This depth really makes A Returner’s Magic stand out amidst a sea of other isekai/time-rewinding stories. There are also myriad other worldbuilding details, such as the various families and their politics, along with the aforementioned conflict between nobility and commoner mages.
A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special is an excellent manhwa by itself, but the first volume is all the more impressive for the editing work required to neatly fit the vertical-style webcomic into a traditional paneled comic.
The characters are engaging, the comedic beats hit nicely, and the magic looks spectacular in full color. If you’re on the fence about reading manhwa on your phone, then take a look at the physical release of A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special.
Are you going to check out A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special, Vol 1? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!