Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Within by Tania del Rio

Sabrina is a witch, and that means she not only has to go to regular school, but to magical school too!  Sabrina is torn between two very different boys: Harvey, a mortal who she's know since kindergarten and has had a crush on forever, and Shinji, and fellow warlock who's recently started going to Sabrina's mortal school too.  With her talking cat Salem, her friend Llandra, and her two fabulous aunts, Sabrina will navigate the confusing worlds of both high school and magic.

Meh.  Oh it was cute.  Fluffy and light.  Those that like shoujo manga will love this one.  In her introduction, Tania del Rio talks about being asked to do Sabrina and choosing to do it in the manga style.  She describes shoujo as "..aimed at young girls filled with romance, adventure, and beautiful, strong-willed heroines."  Well, I don't know about the "strong-willed" part.  It's appropriate that this comes from Archie comics, since Sabrina and her friend Llandra are Betty and Veronica like in there mooning over the same boy.

This book would not pass the Bechdel test.  I don't think Sabrina had a single conversation with her friends, her cat, or her aunts that didn't in some way involve her ever present dilemma over which boy she should chose.  Or, once she started dating Harvey, how Harvey wasn't acting enough like a boyfriend.

Sabrina did have one brief shining moment .  Shinji has taken Sabrina to a dance and afterwards is pressuring her to go broomstick riding with him, which isn't allowed.  Sabrina is saying no, and Shinji keeps pressuring her.  She finally puts her foot down, telling him to drop it and it's her decision to make.  Shinji then flies off, leaving her there.  Unfortunately, Sabrina then spends her evening lying in bed worrying that Shinji will never talk to her again and that he thinks she's a baby.  When he calls to apologize, Sabrina feels nothing but relief, so afraid that he wouldn't talk to her again.  I said it was a brief moment.

Sabrina wavers back and forth between to the two boys, not willing to make up her mind.  She really like Harvey, but Harvey doesn't act like he's interested most of the time, and Shinji clearly is.  Harvey, honestly, is much better.  He can't tell Sabrina that he likes her, and is relieved when Shinji suggested going to her and demanding she make up her mind.  He's relieved because he won't have to make the move.

I thought the only reasonable person in the story was Llandra, who totally calls Sabrina out on her wishy washyness.  Of course, I felt bad for her because the only reason Shinji was with Llandra was because Sabrina ended up with Harvey.

So yeah, that's pretty much what all the stories are based around.  Oh there's various magical hijinks happening in the background, but it's all really about Sabrina and her various boyfriend troubles.

And in true shoujo manga style, Sabrina, our main character, gets to wear midriff baring outfits while everyone else seems to manage to wear clothes that cover themselves.  Seriously, I almost shrieked out loud when I saw her witch costume for Halloween.  Your aunts let you out of the house like that, Sabrina?  Luckily most of the time she's wearing regular clothes.  It's just when she gets dressed up does it all come out.

So, lots of fun for the shoujo manga lover.  But not much to it.

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