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REVIEW: Witch Hat Atelier GN 1 & 2




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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1659
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:26 pm Reply with quote
Awww yeah! Definitely one of the best ongoing mangas in recent years. Keep reading it! It gets better with every chapter! And yeah, Agott is a little bitch at first, but after a while, she does get better, so rest assured, your concerns about her do get addressed.
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Milijango



Joined: 13 Apr 2019
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:28 pm Reply with quote
Witch Hat Atelier has quickly become my favourite story in the wizarding school genre. The initial appeal for me was definitely Shirahama's art, but she's clearly a very well-rounded mangaka as the world-building and character writing totally do it justice. I've just finished volume 5 and hope this really blows up, it's completely deserving of more attention.
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kotomikun



Joined: 06 May 2013
Posts: 863
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:58 pm Reply with quote
This one really is a hidden gem, mysteriously lacking any sign of an adaptation (maybe after a couple more volumes...). Complex and relatable characters, highly detailed world with a tricky conflict between an establishment and a rebellion that both have serious flaws, an interesting magic system that attempts to make sense of the magic-circles ubiquitous to most magical anime/manga, and artwork that puts most other manga artists to shame (not many people can make black-and-white comic art look this good).

My only major criticism is that sometimes it feels a little too perfect--though the specific details are creative and interesting, the story structure as a whole seems rather familiar, and it's wholly dedicated to telling that story in exactly the right way. The main difference between this and LWA (and even Potter to some extent) is that the latter often takes wacky detours and plays around with its own ideas, making the characters feel more human. Some would say LWA does that a little too much... but Witch Hat rarely, if ever, deviates from its efficient plan, which comes off as a bit clinical at times. Though, as of volume 5, it's starting to look like it'll branch out and do more unexpected things, so we'll see what happens.

It's also mildly disappointing that volume 5 seems to have dropped the poetic preview-blurbs on the back and switched to more standard ones, but, well, that's like complaining about only getting 4 unexpected golden eggs.
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Milijango



Joined: 13 Apr 2019
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:55 pm Reply with quote
kotomikun wrote:
This one really is a hidden gem, mysteriously lacking any sign of an adaptation (maybe after a couple more volumes...)


I left this out of my original comment but I do not envy any studio tasked with adapting Witch Hat art... it's much closer to western fantasy art than the traditional manga style. You'd need nothing short of a movie budget to faithfully recreate the character design alone.

As for the plot being potentially formulaic (vague spoilers up to volume 5) spoiler[it appears that the central question of Witch Hat is "who can be trusted with power?" We've gotten a sense of what drives the anarchic faction, and volume 6 seems to take us to the seat of witchcraft power. Anti-authoritarian messaging is pretty much a given but I'm not sure what else I want to see.][/spoiler]
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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1659
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:13 am Reply with quote
Quote:
It's also mildly disappointing that volume 5 seems to have dropped the poetic preview-blurbs on the back and switched to more standard ones, but, well, that's like complaining about only getting 4 unexpected golden eggs.


I know, right? I kinda liked the poetry-style preview blurbs on the backs of the books. They kind of gave the books a fairy tale-like feel.
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Blood-
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 20383
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:59 pm Reply with quote
I normally watch anime adaptations before sometimes checking out their source material but this one sounds like my cup of witches brew. May not wait.
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Alan45
Village ElderVillage Elder


Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 8704
Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:45 pm Reply with quote
@Blood-

Yeah, you need to see this one with the original artwork. It is going to be hard to duplicate the quality and detail of this one. Recommended.
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Blood-
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 20383
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:07 pm Reply with quote
Good to know, Alan45!
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