So lately I’ve been ordering a lot of manga. I’m in the mood to discover my next big manga love story. I’ve also not been reading as much webcomics. At least not family-friendly ones. As such, I figured I would switch my webtoon recommendations for manga first impressions until I build up a nice stock of webtoons to recommend once again. And I am very excited about this week’s pick: The Witch and The Beast.
Why I Picked up The Witch and the Beast
This might shatter all your delusions of me being a fine manga connoisseur or something. I was looking at new releases when I saw volume 3 of The Witch and The Beast and I thought the cover looked great. Then I saw the volume 1 cover, loved that one as well and in my cart it went. That’s all, I’m afraid.
Dive into Kousuke Satake’s suave and explosive manga debut, about powerful women and good and evil, featuring a story of vengeance in a stylish, art-deco urban wonderland that’s one part Fullmetal Alchemist and one part Cowboy Bebop.
Ashaf: a soft-spoken man with delicate features, a coffin strapped to his back, and an entourage of black crows. Guideau: a feral, violent girl with long fangs and the eyes of a beast. This ominous pair appear one day in a town in thrall to a witch — a ruler with magic coursing through her tattooed body, who has convinced the townsfolk she’s their hero. But Ashaf and Guideau know better. They live by one creed: “Wherever a witch goes, only curses and disasters follow.” They have scores to settle, and they won’t hesitate to remove anyone in their way, be it angry mob or army garrison.
A dark fairytale set in a steampunk world of magic and monsters, The Witch and the Beast will entice and entrap manga readers looking for their next fantasy action fix!
My First Impression
If I had bothered to read the synopsis before buying the book, I would have been even more excited. And so far, it’s pretty true to the dust jacket. The Witch and the Beast is a modern fairytale that doesn’t shy away from violence.
What I liked
Kinda everything. The first volume really drew me in and I immediately wanted more. I really like the art style. Without any big exposition, I feel like I know the characters. And both Ashaf and Guideau are unusual archetypes that bring something unique to the story. I can’t really compare them to anyone else so far, and that’s saying something.
Although the first volume is presented as a series of adventure/mysteries that are only related through the main characters, there is a greater arc regarding politics and the bureaucratie of magic going on in the background that really grabbed my interest. I liked the standalone mysteries as well mind you.
Like I mentioned, it is violent, so if you do not have a stomach for some gore and the dispatching of innocent bystanders, The Witch and the Beast will be unpleasant for you.
A lot of those complicated intrigues that have me so fascinated at the moment could easily devolve into contrived nonsense. I’m not saying they necessarily will, but these types of set up are often very difficult to follow through on.
However, the writing is strong and the characterization fantastic so far. For anyone that enjoys the “dark” fairytale genre, I would enthusiastically recommend that you give it a try. I’m sure you can find a digital chapter out there to get a taste for it.
And if you have already gotten your hands on The Witch and the Beast, what did you think? Do you share my enthusiasm?