Call the Name of the Night Vol 1 [Manga] Review - Tearful, Joyful, and Whimsical
Mangaka : Mitsuboshi TamaPublisher : Yen PressGenre : Fantasy, Seinen, Slice of LifePublished : March 2023
There is a growing niche of fantasy manga that combines magic with whimsy, underlined by a seriousness that can often be tearjerking. Series like Tongari Boushi no Atelier (Witch Hat Atelier), Totsukuni no Shoujo (The Girl From the Other Side), and even Mahou Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus' Bride) are standout recommendations in this small pocket--and now they're joined by an excellent newcomer.
Yoru no Namae o Yonde (Call the Name of the Night) follows Mira, a ten-year-old girl with a "curse" that summons forth the night whenever she is distressed or anxious. Ostracized by friends and villagers, Mira goes to live in a far-away forest with Rei, a kindhearted physician--and mage--who wants to help cure Mira's condition.
Join us today on Honey's Anime as we review Yoru no Namae o Yonde (Call the Name of the Night), Volume 1!
There's a beautiful sadness to Mira's tale--a combination of childhood fears about the darkness, mixed with the reality of her anxiety attacks and the terror "the night" brings about in anyone caught up in her curse. Dealing with such a heavy burden at a young age is clearly difficult for Mira, but she perseveres, desperately trying to keep her attacks at bay.
Rei, whom she lives with, is a physician and doctor who can use magic. Kindhearted and eccentric, he tends to the garden, visits patients, and often wears women's clothing with style. He intends to treat Mira as a patient first and foremost, rather than analyzing her as a magical curio--but some of Rei's colleagues think of Mira as nothing more than a fascinating subject to be studied.
Mira and Rei's tale is a combination of gentle slice-of-life moments and more serious chapters delving into Mira's condition and her homesickness. Mitsuboshi's art style sits quite nicely alongside titles like Witch Hat Atelier, with a European atmosphere blending into a Ghibli-esque whimsy.
1. European Fantasy and Gentle Magic
There really aren't many manga with "daily life" magic; for all of the various demon kings or Excalibur academies and their over-the-top magical battles, readers looking for a quieter, European-infused manga are often left searching.
Thankfully, Call the Name of the Night helps fill this void, with fanciful moments like floating a ball of water to wash your face, or catching falling stars to turn into tasty "star jam." Mira is often accompanied by little bird-shaped shadows with klutzy personalities that help to bring some great humor to the story.
2. Metaphorical Therapy For Us All
Mira's curse--and her relation to it--will clearly evolve over the course of the series. Still, even within the first volume, Mitsuboshi cleverly wraps up Mira's condition (the curse of "the night") with both a literal and metaphorical sense of anxiety and depression.
Although that metaphor can sometimes feel a bit heavy-handed (sunlight chasing away the shadows), the subplot of conquering your curse is a beautiful analog for anyone suffering from social anxiety. Just be aware that Mira's anxiety attacks can feel pretty realistic--so if you're easily triggered by that type of content, please read with caution.
The bittersweet tale of Mira and the night is juxtaposed by happy, whimsical scenes that leap straight out of a fairy tale. A European-inspired fantasy rendered in beautiful manga style, Call the Name of the Night isn't a complex read, but it is one that'll stick with you long after the final pages.
Are you going to read Call the Name of the Night? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!
Author: Brett Michael Orr
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