Search

Graphic Novelty²

Tag

Kamome Shirahama

Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 3)

The Knights question Coco after the accident at the riverbank. The power she and Agott displayed was too great for their level. They found nothing for now, but will come back later. The risk of the secret of magic getting out is too great, and they can’t afford to make exceptions for anyone. However, Quifrey finds a strange kind of ink in Coco’s bag. He takes her and the ink to a Mr. Nolnoa, who specializes in inks. They discover that it’s the same kind of ink that was used on the cobblestones in Coco’s adventure with the dragon – but what does it mean? And when Coco becomes plagued with nightmares and falls ill, can she recover with the help of her new friend Tartah?

The more I read this graphic novel, the more curious the story becomes. We see a darker side to the usually cheerful mentor Quifrey, and we have to wonder what game he’s playing at. There is also the mystery of the Brimmed Caps, which has deepened in this volume. I’m excited to discover more how it all comes together.

Tartah has been among the most interesting characters introduced so far. He has a condition called “Silverwash Syndrome,” which in this universe is comparable to color-blindness. He sees the world through a wash of silver, not in colors. When Coco falls ill, they work together so he can find an herb that will hopefully bring her fever down. There was some commentary about him fitting in, and how it’s a shame more accommodations weren’t being made to help him function and succeed in the world. By working together with Coco, they find a solution that gives both of them hope – not that he can become normal – but that he can learn to work around his affliction.

With the deepening mystery and interesting characters – now one with a disability that isn’t just magically fixed! – I’m looking forward to the next volume!

– Kathleen

Shirahama, Kamome. Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 3). 2018.

Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 2)

Coco and her cohort discover that the portal they fell through at the end of the last volume led to a magic maze, which is guarded fiercely by the dragon that’s hounding them. Agott, Tetia, and Richeh think it’s Coco’s fault they’re trapped. When they bed down in a safe place for the night, Tetia conjures a soft, warm cloud (a spell of her own creation!) for them to sleep in. That gives Coco an idea. What if they used Tetia’s spell to lull the dragon to sleep and sneak past it towards the way out? It will take many spells drawn in tandem for it to work. Can the girls get out?

Meanwhile, Master Qifrey has made a discovery while looking for the girls. Both the Brimmed Caps (evil witches who shield their faces) and the Knights Moralis (kind of a police force for magic users) could be after Coco – for the same reason. How can he keep her safe so she can learn magic and free her mother?

This manga likes to leave off on middle-of-the-story cliffhangers between volumes. It took me a minute to remember what happened at the end of the last volume and thus make sense of the beginning of this one. It ended much the same way as the first: that is, we wrapped up the arc started in Vol. 1 in the middle of Vol. 2; the middle of Vol. 2 started a new arc, ended in the middle of that arc, and will conclude at the beginning of Vol. 3. This is unlike other manga I’ve tried which wraps up each arc neatly within the volume. I hope I don’t have such a long stretch between this volume and the next!

We continue the world-building here with a society of both evil witches and the knights who keep magic users in line. It will be interesting to see how they operate and what their interest is in Coco. There is also some character development and backstory, regarding Agott in particular, that will make for a fascinating foil to Coco.

I said in my review of Vol. 1 that I liked the classical attention to detail to everyday items and chores. That is shaping up to be a common theme in this manga. One of the “lessons” Qifrey teaches Coco is to use magic for everyday applications so it “sticks.” As a result, he asks her to be in charge of a meal, which means practice for her, and gives us an idea of how magic is used for cooking in this world – and what kind of food they eat!

To me, this is a fantasy manga reminiscent of both Harry Potter and The Rithmatist (Brandon Sanderson), with the slice of life elements of A Bride’s Story, which I’ve grown to love. Looking forward to the next volume!

-Kathleen

Shirahama, Kamome. Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 2). 2019.

Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 1)

Coco is a young girl who lives in a world suffused with magic. She’s not a witch – witches are born, not made, everyone knows – but she wishes she was. She lives with her mom in the tailor shop they run. Upon a visit from a male witch named Qifrey, Coco discovers that magic is drawn, with a pen and ink, instead of spoken aloud as everyone had thought. She decides to try drawing from a book she had been given as a child – and accidentally traps her mother in crystal. Qifrey takes her to his atelier, his magic home, in order to train Coco as a witch’s apprentice and undo the spell.

The fantasy manga I’ve started so far all have a great knack for fascinating world building. The magic system of drawing, while not that new, is refreshing. I can always appreciate stories that show how hard work artistry can be 😉 What’s interesting to me is that a point is made to show that magic is everywhere in this world, but only a few people are shown how to use it… instead of the other way around where only a few people have magic within them in a non-magical world.

The art was cute, but thankfully, not over-the-top cute. It leans toward the cutesy style without being too much. There’s a classical quality to it, somehow. The light is either softly diffused or very dramatic, and a good measure of attention is given to the indoor scenes of kitchens and workshops and their respective tools.

Looking forward to the next volume!

– Kathleen

Shirahama, Kamome. Witch Hat Atelier (Vol. 1). 2017.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑