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Bring It or Keep It? – Mx0

Hello readers, faithful and otherwise. This is "Bring It or Keep It?" the series in which we take a look at a comic from beyond our borders and decide whether it should embrace multi-culturalism or stay a creepy xenophobe. Up for judgment this time is Mx0, a series that ran in "Weekly Shonen Jump" from 2006 to 2008. That's right all, this is the first series I'm looking at that is not brand new. There's been plenty of time for publishers to bring this title to our shores, but it seems there are no plans to do so. Have we been wrongfully deprived of a winning series or have the publishing powers that be made the right call in keeping this one away?

Mx0 is the product of manga artist and author, Yasuhiro Kano. Kano has published several manga series over the years, but the problem is that this rarely seems by design. For whatever reason, despite there being no shortage of work for the author, Kano has yet to achieve a hit the likes of many "Weekly Shonen Jump" authors. Typically, the series tend to get low ratings among readers and are canceled prematurely, forcing Kano to come up with a series that diverts enough from the previous to be a hit. The only series to get a distribution in the U.S. was Pretty Face, the series that preceded Mx0 and began in 2002 in Japan before being canceled in 2003. However, in my mind, Mx0 is far more marketable to a Western audience than Pretty Face.

With Mx0, we have a shonen series that focuses on romance and comedy, but with a difference: magic. Taiga Kuzumi is a freshman high school student who fails to get into his preferred Seinagi High, but through a series of misunderstandings, finds himself on school grounds and privy to its secrets. It turns out that the students of Seinagi High are taught in the ways of magic. Each Mx0 #1student is given a "magic plate," basically a card, named after a type of metal, that allows them to use magic. Students can choose whatever spells they like to program into their plates, with the number of spells and the number of uses being determined by the quality of the plate. Only problem is, Kuzumi is an idiot.

When Kuzumi first shows up at Seinagi, uninvited and unaware that magic is real, he ends up stealing the gold plate of one of the teachers and is seen running around using it by many of the students. No students have gold plates. Only professors. Since they can't kick the kid out with what he knows, they have to make him a student. He showed up late, so they are unable to make a plate for him and since the whole school saw him with a gold plate, the staff would look like idiots if it got out what actually happened. The setup is all very convenient. In the end it means that Kuzumi gets to be the only student at magic school who can't do magic, but has to pretend that he is super badass at magic. He is given a plate called Mx0 that can't cast any spells of its own, but can negate the magic of others. They paint it gold, tell him to fake it until he can get a real plate, and we have our plot. Also, dude has a crush on the teacher's daughter.

As I said, the plot is all very convenient, but Mx0 never claims to be deep. Most stories are composed of a series of elaborate misunderstandings, Three's Company style. This ends up being mostly very silly, but also mostly very fun. Luckily, Kuzumi is physically pretty tough, after years of getting owned by his big sister, because he is forced to constantly exert himself so that his friends and enemies won't find out what is really going on. These scenarios provide one half of the fun, while the rest comes from the actual magic conducted by the characters. They have a spell for just about everything, from using your voice like a sonic boom to making a giant claw from an arcade crane machine, to filtering all of your negative emotions into your stocking hat. Basically, the school stuff was fun, though predictable, and the magic was, on the whole, pretty creative. Combine that with likeable characters and decent art and you have what I consider to be a winner.

That said, we are probably never going to see a legitimate Western release for Mx0, based simply on the fact that it would have already happened. In a market in which the rights to a series are sold at the drop of a popular hat, a series that was canceled back in 2008 does not stand much of a chance. I honestly do think that the series would do much better in a Western market than Pretty Face, but the sad truth may very well be that Pretty Face did not even sell enough copies to make Mx0 worth the risk. Unfortunately, anything I say is just going to be supposition, but on the off chance that no one published it in the West because Player Affinity never asked, let me set the record straight now. Please give Mx0 a legitimate Western release. It deserves it more than most.

Verdict: Bring it (Please!)


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