In thinking about this book I coined a new phrase – “Dice of Life.” In “Slice of life” narratives we are given a glimpse into the life of a person during a period, or situation. In “Dice of Life” we focus on a single, small, aspect of a life, dicing it up into teeny bits of which we watch only one.
Inumaru’s Witch Meets Knight (演劇部の魔法と騎士) is a “Dice of Life” story. We see these characters for mere minutes out of their days. Nothing beyond these few, momentary interactions are ever even hinted at. We don’t see them at home. The have no breakfasts or dinners. Their lives are finely diced up into homeroom and drama club. If they ever do anything else, we don’t see it.
And yet, this isn’t a bad book.
First, let’s talk about the art. Everything is drawn in stark whites or blacks, with no screentone or shading. I found it disconcerting until I got used to it, then I came to like it. Backgrounds are mostly hinted at, with a line of wall, or blankly drawn windows, so that the figure in the school’s black uniform is what you’re completely focused on.
The beginning of this Hirari collection follows Naitou (Knight) Kanata, a free spirit, who becomes obsessed by the hair of over-achieving Yuiichi (Witch) Minato, and the slightly non-linear story of how the two of them become part of the Drama Club…with the focus always firmly on the tension between them. Although it is surprising to them when they kiss, it is not at all surprising to us.
The last third of the book follows Irina, a quarter-Japanese Russian transfer student and her adventures with the drama club.
These lives are diced so small we are barely guessing at their totalities, but what we see is kind of fun. The sexual tension between Yuiichi and Naitou is a strong presence without being burdensome or creepy. Despite that, their relationships with the rest of the club are very normal and undramatic. For the dice of life we are given, it’s pretty yummy.
Art – 8 Interesting and good, with that weird contrast/conceit
Story – Dice finely, serve as garnish
Yuri – 6
Service – 0 Really, just not. There is simply nothing service-y, we don’t even see the kiss.
Overall – 8
There’s a whole lot of flavor in them there small chunks.