Only One Wish

May 26, 2010 dreamkaleidoscope
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TITLE: Only One Wish
AUTHOR/MANGAKA: Mia Ikumi
PUBLISHER: Del Rey
RATING: Teen (13+)
CATEGORY: Shoujo
NUMBER OF VOLUMES: 1
SCORE: 6 (Fine)
RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF: Mia Ikumi (mangaka of Tokyo Mew Mew), Hell Girl, supernatural, romance

“Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.” We’ve all heard the saying before, but if given the opportunity to have our fondest wish come true, no (obvious) strings attached, most people would jump at the chance.

Only One Wish is a series of short stories connected through the character of a nameless young girl with the ability to grant wishes. Though referred to as an “angel” by those who meet her, she dresses more like a schoolgirl/witch and even has a black cat as a familiar. In a premise similar to the one put forth in the anime/manga series Hell Girl, there is a rumor going around that if a person sends a text message to a certain address, the “angel” will appear and grant that person a wish. The person can wish for anything they want, but they only get one wish, so it better be a good one.

A common criticism of Hell Girl was the fact that most of the stories were very formulaic, with most ending in the same way. That’s not the case for Only One Wish. Each story does involve the granting of a wish, but the results of those wishes are different in each case.

The first story is the most disturbing of the bunch and could accurately be called a horror story. Focusing on a trio of close-knit friends, their friendship begins to fall apart when Rikako generously uses her wish to ask the Angel to set her friend Ai up with the guy she has a crush on. The wish is granted, but Ai becomes so obsessed with her new boyfriend that she begins ignoring Rikako and their other friend Mai. Things get even worse when Ai’s boyfriend confesses to Rikako that she is the one he’s really in love with, feelings that Rikako returns. It is quite frankly bone-chilling to see how far these formerly close friends will go to get rid of their competition for a guy’s affection, even more so when you realize how true-to-life it is. No, jealous women don’t go around making wishes for their friends to be eaten by monsters — at least I certainly hope not! — but when a cute guy enters the equation, friendships can certainly be tested.

The next story is actually really sweet, contrasting with the darkness of the first, and is probably my favorite of the set. It’s about a girl named Misa who recently drowned while trying to save a kitten that had fallen in the river. Her wish is to be brought back to life, but because of the difficulty of resurrecting someone from the dead, the Angel sets a conditon on the wish: she will only resurrect Misa if Misa kisses Saito, the boy she has a crush on, before a twenty-four hour deadline that ends with the coming of the New Year. Upon being given a temporary body, Misa runs into her friend Akio, who is happy to see her alive. Misa tells him about the deal she made with the Angel and Akio agrees to help her kiss Saito. I don’t want to spoil the rest, because it has a clever twist, but I will quote the Angel’s words from the end of the chapter: “It’s not bad to have a happy ending every once in a while.”

The heroine of the third story is an aspiring author with an active imagination. In one of Kumi’s stories, a boy is shrunken through mysterious means and falls in love with the girl who takes care of him. She wishes the same would happen to her crush Takumi, with him returning back to his normal size once he falls in love with her. The Angel grants her wish, but Kumi fails to consider the possibility that Takumi will never feel the same for her that she does for him. Though her wish doesn’t go exactly how she wanted, by the end of the story, Kumi learns an important lesson about considering other people’s feelings.

In the last story, about a girl and a boy who accidentally switch cell phones, the Angel doesn’t grant a wish at all. Instead, Nana decides to make her wish — to find the cell phone’s owner — come true on her own. It’s kind of a silly story, with the boy coming up with the idea of them finding each other without knowing who they are instead of just setting up a meeting to exchange phones like a normal person, but their belief that they’re fated to meet is cutely romantic, and it is nice have a story in which the main character doesn’t rely on the Angel’s powers to make her wish come true.

There’s actually one more story in this volume — a bonus Tokyo Mew Mew mini-story in which one of the characters is cast in a drama based on Only One Wish. Since I’m not familiar with Tokyo Mew Mew at all, I didn’t find it particularly interesting, but Mew Mew fans might find it more amusing.

Artwork is cute, but generic. I’m not really fond of the way Ikumi draws her characters’ eyes, and a lot of the characters look the same despite there being a different cast for each story.

Only One Wish is a nice anthology of short stories, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must-read. Fans of Hell Girl, though, may like it.

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