For this week’s Animanga Friday and in the spirit of Halloween, I am reviewing ‘The Witch and the Beast 1’ by Kousuke Satake. While tonight in true tradition, I will be watching Kakurenbo as well as the movie for Youjo Senki (The Saga of Tanya the Evil) – and pumpkin carving may be involved at the same time.
Disclaimer – I received an e-arc via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
A WITCH’S CURSE
Guideau: a feral girl with long fangs and the eyes of a beast. Ashaf: a soft-spoken man with delicate features and a coffin strapped to his back. This ominous pair appears one day in a town that’s in thrall to a witch, who has convinced the townsfolk she’s their hero. But Ashaf and Guideau know better. They have scores to settle, and they won’t hesitate to remove anyone in their way…
With it being Halloween month, I was in the mood for something horror-flavoured, and I came across this one. I have to say I fell in love with the art style form the moment I saw the cover, and while the manga itself is in black and white, that does not in any way subtract from the fantastic art-style which manages to balance between elegance and horror. I especially loved the design of the two main characters Ashaf and Guideau; however, it was pretty flawless throughout, and the transition between scenes as well as the action and dialogue was smooth and well done, and you could feel the emotion in it.
This is a dark manga, with blood and gore/body horror and an overall grim tone and so might not be to everyone’s tastes. However, it really brought the atmosphere and world to life here, and for me, it was one of my favourite parts of the book.
The plot was interesting and set the foundation for the rest of the series, although I will say that it took a little while to untangle, and there were a few places in the first part of The Witch and the Beast where I felt a little lost despite the flow of the art, and some of the information about what was happening and the characters could have been brought forward to make the beginning a little stronger. However, once the setting and characters and their motivations and backstory started to unfold, the storytelling picked up the pace and brought it all together, and from that point, I was hooked and could not stop reading.
The relationship between the two main characters was intriguing, as well as their roles in the Order of Magical Resonance, with enough breadcrumbs provided to leave me wanting more. They weren’t friends or enemies, and yet I really enjoyed the way they worked together, and I liked both their characters, although I am particularly interested in learning more about Ashaf as we have learned less about him so far.
Witches, curses and murder, what more could you want for some Halloween reading? This was just the first volume, and it shows a great deal of potential, especially with that ending, and I will eagerly be awaiting volume two, and I would certainly recommend the Witch and the Beast to anyone who likes the darker side of manga.
The Witch and the Beast Vol.1 – Kousuke Satake – **** (4/5 Stars)
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic manga. What manga are you reading at the moment? What manga would you recommend?