Even though she’s only in fourth grade, Hibiki has a lot on her plate. She is a summoner, one who deals with spirits, and actually becomes the high summoner of the House of Saionji after passing her rites of initiation. This is a world where there exists evil spirits called Ayakashi and Hibiki’s powers are needed.
She gets these powers from the help of Japanese spirits called shikigami. Shikigami show up now and then in anime and manga, and in this book they’re often displayed as cute little animals who sit around Hibiki’s shoulder. One shikigami even gets mistaken for a parakeet by a boy who doesn’t know any better. The shikigami infuse Hibiki with their powers (and change her personality, thus having her be accused of Multiple Personality Disorder) and allow the girl to fight all sorts of dangerous situations. Hibiki’s grandmother also trains her, and this is no kindly old woman. She’ll go after Hibiki with a sword just to make sure her granddaughter is paying attention. She gets called the Demon Granny and it’s no wonder.
But Hibiki doesn’t just have to deal with spirits and her crazy grandmother. She also has to collect six magical jewels. It doesn’t take her too long to get one, but that only makes things more dangerous. Others will want these jewels so she’ll have to protect herself from thieves as well.
Summoner Girl is aimed at 13+, but I think older elementary school students would like it as well. There’s some violence, though not much. For a manga that deals with demons, quite a bit of it is actually pretty cute. The shikigami look like stuffed animals a person could hug and snuggle.
So far, Summoner Girl is a fairly easygoing magical read. It’s not very dark or intense, nor does it go deep into humor. It does have some dark moments and some humorous moments and it generally stays in the middle of the road. Hibiki is definitely a fun character and it’s interesting how the shikigami are portrayed. Further volumes will show more of how Summoner Girl will establish itself as a series, but for now it’s off to a light and amusing start.
Reviewed by Danica Davidson on July 24, 2012