Kugayama Reki does a fine job of creating a manga adaptation of author Kurokata’s 2014 light novel The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic. The story introduces three high school teens abruptly teleported to a fantasy kingdom to defend the realm from the advances of the Demon Lord. However, only two of the students were targeted by the summoning spell. Poor Ken Usato merely happened to be next to them and got sucked up by the spell accidentally. However, while his classmates Kazuki and Suzune are imbued with combat magic, Usato learns that he’s a rare exception granted powerful healing magic. So he’s literally dragged into service in the kingdom’s “rescue team” of battlefield medics.
The original light novel is arguably a fantasy comedy although it reads more like a typical isekai fantasy adventure that includes light humor. The story is never serious, but it’s also never especially hilarious. Sadly, most of its humor is both cliché and predictable. At least manga artist Kugayama Reki livens up the original prose a bit with vivid illustration and concise editing. The original character designs by KeG, based on author Kurokata’s minimal descriptions, are rather bland. Thankfully, the manga adds some visual detail that the original prose lacked. Kugayama’s illustrations have quite a cinematic presentation, deliberately using shading, perspective, and visual angles to make the mundane story more visually kinetic. Kugayama also broadens the visual palate, when possible, occasionally adding visual background gags to emphasize the story’s comedy.
Moreover, Kugayama wisely trims some of the boring redundancy from the original prose novel, allowing the manga’s storytelling to feel more purposeful. However, the manga can’t entirely escape the weaknesses of its source. The 195-page first manga volume adapts the first three-quarters of the original light novel, so this fantasy adventure manga contains only one action scene. The manga includes references such as Rose saying, “I was gonna let you leave on the seventh day until I saw ya doin’ cool sh*t,” except Usato didn’t actually do anything whatsoever, cool or otherwise. Similarly, Usato says, “Maybe I leveled up after all those fights in the forest,” although he didn’t fight multiple times in the forest, or anywhere else, for that matter. And moreover, supporting characters Kazuki and Suzune get relegated to such marginal status that the reader can be forgiven for forgetting that they even exist.
Kugayama Reki’s static illustrations are quite attractive; however, illustration of rapid motion and action scenes tends to be a bit confusing.
The official English translation of the manga contains the manga’s first six chapters. The translation retains honorifics and includes a few instances of adult language and some brief, bloody violence. As typical with contemporary translations, visual sound effects are in Japanese with subtle in-frame translation. The manga contains no sex or nudity.
Readers approaching the first volume of the Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic manga companion may be well served to know in advance that the book is entirely an introduction. The first volume of Kugayama Reki’s manga introduces the story’s initial set of primary characters and introduces the initial scenario but does little more. As a single volume, the first book isn’t especially rewarding or satisfying. It’s mildly humorous, but it lacks both adventure and action, and almost nothing of any significance happens. But the book may be a functional set-up for subsequent volumes. And, if nothing else, the manga is fairly attractive looking.