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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Vol. #02 Light Novel Review

4 min read
Wandering Witch continues with several tales about idiots and a few that portray humanity in a dim light.

Elaina unexpectedly runs into Saya in the Country of Truth Tellers.

Creative Staff
Story: Jougi Shiraishi
Art: Azure
Translation/Adaptation: Nicole Wilder

What They Say
A runaway princess, a zombie nation, a divine cat, and lots and lots of bread. These are just a few of the many highlights that color the travels of our young witch. Each place she visits is a new story waiting to be told, rife with encounters that are anything but typicalÑand rarely ending the way anyone expects. Such is the magic of wandering, you see. You never know quite where you’ll end up. A tale can take a turn at any moment and become something else entirely…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Wandering Witch continues into Volume 2 with another fourteen short stories about Elaina’s encounters with different people and places. Unfortunately, none were particularly fun or gripping, and I found myself less invested in Elaina than when I started.

Part of this is because Elaina is the one thing these stories have in common, and there’s virtually no character development for her. In Volume 1, we at least got to see her mature during her path to becoming a witch under her mentor. There’s none of that growth in Volume 2. Actually, it’s worse because Elaina’s inconsistent as a character. In the previous volume, she was introduced as an unfettered spirit who travels randomly and scrapes by using bogus fortune-telling. In Volume 2’s “Before the Snow Melts,” she abruptly informs us that she’s occasionally duty-bound to “help solve some country’s problems” as if she’s a pillar of society. Moreover, her champion-of-justice fervor for the orphaned beastkin Elise and her righteous attitude towards the official who summoned her are at odds with her flippant indifference toward the injured robbery victim in “Regarding the Bomb.”

Another reason I didn’t enjoy the stories is because the majority of Elaina’s encounters are with idiots. Saya, the creepy stalker girl from Volume 1, returns in “The Country of Truth Tellers” as an inept representative of the United Magic Association tasked with helping an even more inept witch undo a spell she cast for an ungrateful king. Their bumbling antics are supposed to be comic, but they just come off as tiresome. In “A Paradise for the Resurrected,” Elaina goes out of her way to rescue ten people from a zombie-infested town, only for them to reject escape at the last minute and wind up zombies themselves. And “The People Who Hunt the Lazy” is particularly pointless. There’s no real cause or resolution to the supposed job truancy crisis, and the whole concept of Elaina “taking a break from [her] travels” is preposterous because her behavior while on “vacation” is no different than usual.

Extras include the first six pages printed in color, five black-and-white illustrations, and afterword.

In Summary
Wandering Witch continues with several tales about idiots and a few that portray humanity in a dim light. If you like Elaina’s brand of snark, you’ll get it in spades. However, if you’re seeking a strong story arc, character development, or something uplifting, look elsewhere.

Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: June 23rd, 2020
MSRP: $15.00

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