Monday, May 25, 2020

Missed It Monday: Someday's Dreamers - complete series (Manga Review)

A teen girl in a tank top and skirt walks up a road carrying a suitcase
Missed it Monday is the regular column where I review manga/anime that I didn't get to read/watch when they first came out.

Someday's Dreamers volumes 1 and 2 (complete series) - 5.5/10 (*see below for full scoring rubric)

Someday's Dreamers is a two volume manga that was originally published by Tokyopop in English in 2006. I've watched the anime based on it as well as the "sequel" anime "Someday's Dreamers II: Sora" (which was the far better anime, and definitely worth checking out). So I was glad to finally get my hands on the manga it was based on.

Someday's Dreamers takes place in our world, but with one difference: some people can use magic. There is a formal government agency which regulates those who use magic in adulthood and the magic users (mages in the anime) are public servants who work to help others on a contract basis. Someday's Dreamer's follows Yume, a senior in high school, as she goes off to Tokyo to study with a professional and take her final exam to become a licensed magic user.

Her mom is a well-known, but retired, magic user, and Yume has exceptional skill and talent. But she also has a bleeding heart and is quite empathic. However, she's also conflicted about the role magic should play in the world and has not always been treated kindly for being a magic user. We see that prejudice come up in both flashbacks and in the current story. Someday's Dreamers follows her as she better understands how her heart, her head, and her magic must align and how she must accept what magic can and cannot do. She is gifted in ways that are extraordinary but also place a burden upon her.

Someday's Dreamer's, although published in a shounen magazine, is fairly reasonable in its treatment of women and emotion. There is only a little bit of fan service. But most importantly, Yume is at the center, it's focused on the value of her emotions and what that brings to her unique magic abilities, and it treats feelings as valuable. If you had told me this was published in a shoujo magazine, I would have totally believed you. This is a feelings driven, slice of life, sort of story about one young woman's growth and empowerment. Not bad for a shounen manga.

The manga, like the anime that is based on it, isn't perfect. It has a somewhat choppy flow to it that seems both indicative of the time period it was written in as well as the shounen audience. The lack of fluid writing actually reminded me a bit of the fast and somewhat erratic flow in "Wish" by Clamp which I recently read. But overall, with its strong emphasis on valuing feelings and strong female characters (the lead as well as the head magic user in the entire country), it more or less works.

The art too has a mix of positives and negatives. The line work is strong and confident. The characters and anatomy are solid throughout. However, there isn't much dramatic or creative use of screentones though, and more than anything, there's a rigidity to movement and posture that also reminded me of older shoujo art from the '90s as well as "Wish" that I mentioned above. However, I don't mind this style. Even better, it wasn't cutesy or moe, and the depiction of the female body and clothing were very tasteful overall (not withstanding two brief and minor bits of fan service) and that's also great to see in a shounen manga. The art certainly didn't hurt the story, although it didn't necessarily help it either. I would describe it as very competent, strong, but not memorable art.

Basically, you could do much worse than Someday's Dreamers. Even though it was a shounen, it could easily pass for a shoujo series, although it did have a slight coldness to it that might betray it as shounen. The art and the writing were definitely a bit choppy. But on the other hand, it had a strong lead and an emphasis on the value of feelings and empathy. Someday's Dreamers (volumes 1 and 2 - the complete story) gets a 5.5/10.

I would definitely recommend checking out the "Someday's Dreamers II: Sora" anime which is uniquely animated and has a powerful but ultimately lovely/sad ending. I haven't read the manga that it's based on nor the other manga, "Someday's Dreamer's Spellbound," but I hope to find copies in the future to see how they hold up.

  • Story interesting (0-10): 6 - I think there is a lot more to this world with mages to explore. I also think that some of the clients she takes on and their stories could have lasted a bit longer.
  • Characters interesting (0-10): 6 - we don't get much depth into anyone in two short volumes (about 7 chapters total). We know the rough sketch of Yume and a little of her teacher's story, but they're pretty much one-note characters.
  • Quality prose/writing (0-10): 5 - it's fairly choppy and I can't say there is anything in the writing that stood out to me one way or the other.
  • Emotionally plausible (0-10): 6 - Yume's a bleeding heart and I feel her pain as that comes into conflict with the reality of other people and the tough parts of society.
BASIC SCORE (avg.): 5.5/10

  • Emotional insight/depth (0-5): 0 - not really, although it features and focuses on emotions and their value, it doesn't bring up any insights, or things that really resonate. It's pretty by-the-numbers really.
  • True LGBTQ+ representation (0-5): 0
  • Female agency (0-5): 1 - Yume pushes ahead with her own way of doing things even when it hurts people.
  • Character growth/change (0-5): 1 - Yume definitely reconciles some of her inner conflict.
  • Quality art (0-5): 0 - fine, but not a bonus
BONUS POINTS (sum/8): +0

  • Homophobic/transphobic (0-5): 0
  • Misogynistic (0-5): 0
  • Fan service (0-5): 0 - a random shower moment and one other, but relatively insignificant. Overall anatomy and clothing are not revealing or disproportionate in any way.
  • Child/adult relationship (0-5): 0
  • Exploitative (0-5): 0
PENALTY POINTS (-sum/2): -0



Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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