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by Rebecca Silverman,

Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!

Anime Series Review

Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! Anime Series Review
On his thirtieth birthday, Kiyoshi Adachi realizes that the urban legend about remaining a virgin for thirty years is true: he's suddenly gained the power to read the minds of anyone who touches him. It's awkward and uncomfortable, but in the crowded elevator at work, he realizes someone's in love with him – and it's another man! Yuichi Kurosawa has been hiding his feelings for Adachi for a long time, but the two slowly grow closer now that Adachi knows about them. Maybe there's something to be said about this magic if it can help two people find the happiness that's been eluding them.

Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!: it's like My New Boss Is Goofy, but actually gay.

It would be easy to glibly write this series off that way, and there are distinct similarities between the two, not the least of which is that both series explore the bonds between men who work at the same company. But Cherry Magic is overtly a romance title, and the entire drive of its plot is the growing love between its protagonists, Adachi and Kurosawa, with a bonus secondary romance between Adachi's college friend Tsuge and Minato, a younger dancer/delivery man. The characters are all adults and act like it, and once you get past the ridiculous name for the show, it's a warmhearted treat for BL fans – or an easy entry point for the genre curious.

The premise is both straightforward and moderately cringe-inducing: on the morning of his thirtieth birthday, businessman Adachi discovers that he has developed the ability to read the minds of anyone he touches. He realizes that this is proof that the urban legend about thirty years of virginity giving you wizardly powers is true, and he's understandably a little freaked out. Things get even stranger when, in a crowded elevator at work, he hears that someone is in love with him… and it turns out to be the handsome and talented Kurosawa, with whom Adachi has barely ever interacted. Completely floored by the revelation, Adachi becomes more aware of his interactions with the other man, and along the way, he finds himself falling in love.

This allows for a more nuanced interpretation of the core myth of the story that a certain period of virginity gives you mind-reading powers. Although it doesn't seem that way at first, the story is tacitly acknowledging the fact that virginity is a social construct and that sex is by no means a requirement for a fulfilling life because Adachi hardly jumps into bed with Kurosawa immediately; in fact, sex is never even brought up as something Kurosawa wants or is pressuring Adachi to have with him. We can see that he'd clearly like to sleep with the other man, but he's incredibly respectful, waiting for Adachi to make the first move on that front and content to move at his pace. Looking at their entire relationship, it looks like the magic is more of a cheat to help someone who might want to find a romantic partner have an easier time doing so. Adachi was unable to make any steps in the romance direction until he realized that someone out there loved him, and it was the magic that allowed him to understand that. The same goes for Tsuge, who is in a similar position; both actively want love but are stuck in a place where they don't know how to find it. There are flaws with this theory, of course. However, it's still a nice way to think about the story's underlying themes, which essentially amount to the idea that there's always someone out there for you and that a relationship built on mutual respect and romance is the gold standard.

That mutual respect aspect is a significant piece of the plot. Adachi and Kurosawa talk to each other about when something is or isn't working for them, and they don't let misunderstandings fester or accumulate. This isn't about teenagers in adult bodies; it's about actual grown-ups who act like it. They're still human, so issues arise, such as when Kurosawa is hurt that Adachi doesn't consult with him about a potential promotion, but that's a conversation starter, not a reason to pitch a fit and threaten to break up. There's tension to the story, but it's devoid of melodrama, which you can't say about many works in the genre. Things are a bit more fraught on the Tsuge/Minato side, but that makes sense when we consider the difference between the two couples: Minato is seven years younger than Tsuge and their main point of contact is Tsuge's cat Udon. Adachi and Kurosawa are the same age and work in the same office, so they naturally share more points of reference.

Manga readers will notice that the anime largely follows the plot of Yū Toyota's books, with a little reordering when it comes to the Tsuge segments and judicious use of the time skip in the final episode, which is necessary to wrap things up in the most satisfactory way possible. Toyota's clean lines mostly transfer over to the anime character designs, although Minato and Udon suffer a little bit, but the overall animation is a disappointment. It has moments when it needs to be closer to perfect and does pull through, but for the most part, it's very lackluster in the visuals department, with the color scheme's fondness for shades of brown not doing the production any favors. Luckily, the voice acting is excellent, particularly by Ryōta Suzuki and Chiaki Kobayashi, as Kurosawa and Adachi. Major bonus points to Suzuki for his rendition of Kurosawa's internal soundtrack, especially his "First Date with Adachi" song, which must be heard to be believed.

Cherry Magic is a low-key, warmhearted story about two people falling in love and finding happiness. It eschews many of the tropes of BL, feeling more like a plain old genre romance than anything more pigeonholed by subgenre, and it just leaves you with a smile on your face at the series' end. It could look better, but don't let that stop you from watching this kind, mature romance.

Overall (sub) : B+
Story : A-
Animation : C
Art : B-
Music : B

+ Warm story with very good vocal performances, no unnecessary melodrama. Characters act like actual human people.
Art and animation aren't great, Fujisaki shipping real people is a little off-putting.

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Production Info:
Director: Yoshiko Okuda
Series Composition: Tomoko Konparu
Storyboard: Kazuki Akane
Episode Director: Kazuki Akane
Music: Tomoki Hasegawa
Original creator: Yū Toyota
Character Design: Takahiro Kishida
Art Director: Takeshi Satou
Sound Director: Yūko Miyamura
Director of Photography: Jun Kubota

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Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! (TV)

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