Story/Art: Asahi Sakano
What They Say
In a world full of Evils, humanity’s only hope is the inhuman power of the witches.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening couple of chapters for Guardian of the Witch are fairly standard form pieces, moving fast to get us on the journey aspect of things. Asahi Sakano leaned heavily on the Attack on Titan setup for the foundation of what’s going on but has put that to the side as we get to the journey phase of the series, bringing our leads to a number of villages where Manasfa gets exposed to the real world some. Sakano’s artwork continues to be pretty good for this project and it’s my general view of a lot of shonen jump series in a kind of base way. It’s busy, dynamic, moves a lot and keeps the reader pushing forward panel to panel to get to the next bit. But it does take the time it needs to do a little exposition as well, though that’s still somewhat clunky here.
While the trio has escaped the walls and are on their journey, help has been called in from elsewhere quickly and the Rector has brought in another witch/guardian pair. Ruli looks to be a slightly nervous witch by appearances and she’s contrasted by her guardian Gen and the use of the metal magic powers. It’s definitely an interesting display of power compared to the more familiar flame of Manasfa at least. Not surprisingly, Gen’s all unable to speak normally and essentially insults power easily and often but it’s overlooked because of his skill and the need for it to go up against Fafner. But what we get from Ruli is key in that Gen cannot kill Manasfa even though he wants to; only the actual guardian of the witch can do that and to do otherwise has some pretty serious consequences. That shifts the nature of battles and fights just a bit more as they get underway to find Manasfa and her party.
When it comes to our main gang, being outside the wall of Berne by some distance it appears, Manasfa is really surprised by how big the world is even if it’s just looking like arid rocky countryside. What we get while they start their journey is the details from Nahta about her discovery. Namely that in finding a secret library in the rectory some time ago, she discovered it had almost nothing about witches. But she did find word that one had retired in the city of Noir before and that gives them a clue as retired isn’t how they’re usually referred to. It’s some distance away with seven villages to travel to first, which means lots of journey material ahead, but the potential for something to be had there is worth investigating first as a way to keep Manasfa alive.
The third chapter gets us on the road and with some clues to work with in trying to find a way to keep Manasfa alive. At the same time, we’re introduced to the new pursuers who are basically the same as them with different quirks and you can imagine how this might go when they cross paths later. It’s light on meaty ideas but it’s playing to familiar ones and has all the standard setup pieces that I expect for something like this. I continue to like Sakanko’s design work and the detail of most of the pages to give it a distinctive look. Right now it still just feels a lot like other projects and less its own beast, but that’s slowly changing.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: February 16th, 2020