A woman had a fairly normal upbringing in the world and managed to score her dream job after graduating from college — until she was transferred to a different department. The only things she knew there was apologizing, hanging her head to her awful supervisors, and overtime. And it was the last round of overtime where she ended up dying. Oh hey, this last part seems familiar doesn’t it?
Yep, you’d bet — when she woke up, she found herself reborn in a fantasy world. And now as Dahlia, she aims to start a new chapter in her second life that resembles nothing like her first!
Magic Artisan Dahlia Wilts No More takes some of the usual isekai tropes but focuses on crafting magical items. It starts out as Dahlia, while still a child and can only speak like a child, learning under her dad, Carlo Rossetti. As she grows up she aims to have a few modern-world conveniences (a hair dryer for starters) created in this world, but let’s just say mistakes, a whole host of dead slimes, and lots and lots of paperwork once some of her items sell like mad dominate her upbringing.
The story, however, takes two shifts — the first is when Carlo arranges for Dahlia to marry Tobias, a senior apprentice magical tool-maker. Before marriage Tobias seemed like a prudent guy, and while Dahlia wasn’t in love with him, she’s worked with him to where nothing about his character was in question. And with her father pushing this and feeling it wouldn’t impact her creating new inventions, she accepted it in stride. But over time Tobias’ ill-advised thoughts on how Dahlia should look, act, and do became present, and before she knew it, she fell back into her habits in the real world — listening to what others said.
The second shift is when Carlo abruptly dies. Both Dahlia and Tobias got themselves more focused on the jobs they had to do, them little time to leave for long. And some months later, despite all the work, they found time to get the house they wanted and sign the marriage certificate. And almost as Dahlia starts to write her name, Tobias announces he’s found true love and wants to break off the engagement.
The rest of the volume — and future volumes — will of course be making fun of Tobias for his many poor choices (and inane decisions), but really, it’ll be about Dahlia finally “not wilting” anymore. Two shots of life and you’ve let others dictate it for you? Absolutely not! So we get to actually find out what she thinks, what she drinks (and she drinks a lot), and with cool friends by her side and her desire to craft magical tools, what she does when she ends up starting her own business.
This manga is based off of volume 1 of the light novel, but those readers will see it’s taking the build-up approach rather than immediately starting with Tobias breaking his engagement with Dahlia. This does mean we get to see in visual form her earlier days before her business gets going and her upbringing with Carlo, but readers may feel a bit mixed about the slow build up. Personally I think it’s a good idea, but it didn’t feel like it was executed with the proper drama, so I felt slightly ambivalent at the start.
What could be an adjustment for light novel readers of Dahlia is the stand-in for tools. It seems like a small thing, but “apparatus” feels like an unnecessary change when tools, device, or item is right there. And, especially as the manga spends its first few chapters on Dahlia’s early upbringing, “magical apparatus” is used a lot. There are some choice lines in this manga that are great (“It’s like a freaking hand-me down! Only slightly used. Am I a five-second rule?” that Dahlia says after one inane thing Tobias says to her) and overall it doesn’t really affect the overall manga — I just found out it awkward.
With its singular magical tool-making focus and a focus on taking ownership in a new life, the concept of Magic Artisan Dahlia Wilts No More is approachable and worth a shot. With the addition of some nice art and designs of some of the tools, it’s worth a look, especially if you’re also in need of a female-focused protagonist as well.