You Should Read: 黒鋼の魔紋修復士 (Kuro no Hiera Glaphicos)

Kuro no Hiera Glaphicos (or Kurono for short) is a series written by Akihiko Ureshino (as his works list is too many to count, I’ll just link to his wikipedia page: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AC%89%E9%87%8E%E7%A7%8B%E5%BD%A6) , illustrated by Miyuki Ruria and published by Famitsu Bunko. The first volume in the series came out on March 30, 2012, the series currently spans 10 volumes, with the tenth volume released on July 30th, 2014 (to widely positive reviews). The series involves the unlikely partnership of its protagonists – the naive, sheltered but well-intentioned Valeria Costacurta, and the world-weary, cynical jerk with a heart of gold Dimitar Richternacht.

The setting is akin to a hodgepodge of Europe during the Crusaders and the Renaissance (which comes off as totally conflicting, but bear with me), in that while the kingdoms under the Holy Alliance (Ahmad, Heidelaute, etc.) evoke the imagery of Renaissance times, their conflict against the heretical kingdom of Bigelow is pretty much identical to the nature of the Crusaders (save for an unspoken cessation of hostility currently in effect). Magic exists, but in the form of magic tattoos, and while only 1 in 10 people might be able to use magic, only 1 out of 100 (of those who can be taught to use magic) can be called elites. Ahmad, in comparison to the other countries in the Holy Alliance, stands above everyone else due to their political, economical, and magical strengths, which earns them the jealousy of the aforementioned countries (so it’s pretty much the EU, in a sense). Also, there exists a position called Dominas – maidens who are akin to the Wives of God (think shrine maiden in Western terms). These girls also act as representatives of their respective countries, performing tasks such as emissaries, mediators, and sometimes intervening in conflict; as such, they are chosen from the best of the very best. There can only be twelve Dominas in existence, and Ahmad possesses three – another point of contention for their allies.
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You Should Read: 千の魔剣と盾の乙女 (Thousand and Aegis)

Thousand and Aegis (henceforth referred to as Senken (千剣)) is a series published by Ichijinsha Bunko, written by Tsukasa Kawaguchi and illustrated by Asio. The first volume saw print on December 20, 2010, and it currently has 13 volumes, with the 14th volume to be released on September 20, 2014, and is expected to finish somewhere around the 15th or 16th volume with the conclusion of its third arc. Though not a direct sequel, it is a spiritual successor of sorts to Tsukasa Kawaguchi’s previous Ichijinsha Bunko series Seizuyomi no Leena (星図詠のリーナ), given that both series takes place in the same world, and Senken explores many locations previously visited in Leena (as well as some hidden character connections).

The story’s premise is as follows: several hundred years ago, the Maou and his demon army appeared out of nowhere and trampled over the an entire continent; unable to stop their unrelenting assault due to the inability of conventional weapons to harm these demons (save for magical swords known as Maken (魔剣) which weren’t discovered until later, and divine weapons bestowed by the gods), the remaining survivors gathered in five capitals and separated them from the now demon-infested continent, biding their time for a counterattack. Fast forward to several years later where, thanks to the efforts of the Hero Sasha (also known as Finistere the Hero) who managed to destroy the Maou’s physical form and seal him in her body with the help of the divine weapon Claimgh Solais, humanity now has a fighting chance in retaking back the continent from the demon horde.

It chronicles the story of two sets of protagonists: Baltuetas, who was the favored student of Sasha the Hero when he was a child, and his companions Nighu and Nigel as they prepare for the eventual campaign against the Maou in order to rescue Finistere; and Amarach and his female companions Elicia, Phil and Nagi, who are all (except for Nagi) students of Baltuetas and friends, as they journey the lands in an attempt to become stronger and accomplish Rach’s dream of defeating the Maou.
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