So, I decided to go back and read the manga of Maburaho. (Warning: mildly NSFW). It turns out that the animÃ© was wildly divergent. The whole “dies and becomes a ghost” thing never happened. Yamase shows up somewhat earlier, but still isn’t important, IMHO. But most of all, the biggest change is Yuuna’s character.
She’s a jealous bitch the ENTIRE time. And yet she wins in the end.
Continuing to revisit some of my earlier anime, I rewatched the one DVD of Maburaho that I have, and then went looking for the manga. Shockingly, it turns out that the writers of the anime did a fantastic job with the story — at least in the beginning; it’s much funnier, less clichÃ©d, and holds together better. In the manga, we don’t see Kazuki learn about his heritage for the same reason as in the anime. Everything still has to be explained to him though, as it starts off with Kazuki having amnesia… because Yuuna blasted him in a fit of jealous rage. That’s quickly forgotten (heh), and we get on with the story.
Rin never wants to kill him — while she’s still tsundere, she’s equally after him from the beginning. She also has lesbian stalkers from the kendo club. Kuriko is manipulating the entire school as part of her plot to expand the Kazetsubaki power base after she inherits the company. Dr Arai appears only twice in the manga, and Ms. Iba isn’t referenced by name. The dorm manager and all the other secondary characters were invented for the anime (except for the newspaper editor).
Kuriko tries several underhanded tricks to get Kazuki in the sack, all of which backfire on her — one of which makes it obvious that she’s actually fallen for him, because she gets angry that he doesn’t remember confessing to her (under the influence of a love potion, her prior attempt).
It’s also a very short manga, having only two volumes, and there’s no long-term plots. There appear to be a couple of hooks that got abandoned, and the whole thing ends rather abruptly with Yuuna winning. It turns out Kazuki was just claiming never to remember the promise throughout the manga because he was a big chicken and didn’t want to be bound by it. So when Dr. Arai points out that he could use his magic to recall the memory, he chickens out again, but finally admits it to Yuuna, then makes it snow again to show her he really remembers (it’s the only time he uses magic), and then Kazuki confesses his love to her. End story.
There was enough material in the manga for a 13-episode series, especially given the additions that the anime threw in. Had they not gotten ambitious, and thrown in the whole “ghost plot” I think it would have been a top-notch harem comedy; at least it would have been a much better series.