Anime Reporter prepares for the Halloween season with a look at Witch Hunter, (aka Witch Buster), Jung-man Cho’s manhwa series. What’s a manhwa you ask? (Or possibly didn’t, I don’t know.) “Manhwa” is the Korean word for comic and is generally used to describe any form of comic from South Korea. These are often quite similar in style to Japanese manga, though not exclusively.
Witch Hunter is set in a world ravaged by witches, women of incredible arcane power who are often corrupted by the forces they wield. Tasha Godspell, our teenaged protagonist, is a member of WH, (you guessed it: Witch Hunter), an organisation devoted to protecting humanity from those witches waging war against them. Tasha is a likeable enough young lad and a more than capable hunter in his own right. Known as the Magic Bullet Marksman, Tasha specialises in using a variety of guns with different effects powered by his own mana energy. Quite helpful in equipping and carrying these guns is his Dimensional Gallery Pouch, which can store an ungodly amount of guns inside a nifty little space(It’s bigger on the inside). While Tasha is a skilled fighter and seems to know right from wrong, there’s very little that motivates him besides money, something which many of his comrades don’t look too fondly on.
Among his comrades is the fantastically gothic Halloween, a possessed Jack O’ Lantern puppet and one hell of a swordfighter. Halloween serves as Tasha’s supporter, similar to a witch’s familiar, something which is apparently quite unusual for non-witches within the story.
The first two volumes of Witch Hunter set up the premise pretty neatly, with more than a little funny banter and cartoonish bickering between Tasha and Halloween and a great quantity of imaginative and large scale showdowns between WH members and a few of those pesky witches that seem to enjoy murdering everyone so much. Volume 01 in particular establishes some of Tasha’s history and hints at some of his relationships without giving too much away. It soon becomes clear that, aside from his duty as a Witch Hunter, Tasha feels no hatred towards witches in general, making his job a complicated one. As things progress we’re introduced to two more of WH’s finest young fighters; Xing Bairong, the lighting fast melee fighter and Tarras Doberg, who can channel the power of earth. While these two don’t share Tasha’s greed, they’re far from flawless, often tripping over their own egos when they’re not trying to trip each other.
(Witches, as you can see, seem to come in two distinctly different styles in this series; conservative in the style of clothing worn and… well, conservative in the amount of clothing worn.)
The plot is well paced, moving along quickly, gathering up questions as things move along and providing just enough answers to keep things interesting. Characters are well designed both in terms of appearance and personality and the humour between characters is easily one of the highlights so far. While further reading might be required to judge is Witch Hunter will go down as a classic series, the first two volumes, sold in English as a single book, are certainly a tremendous start.
Witch Hunter Volumes 01-02 are currently available in English, French and Korean, as are a great deal more of the volumes. Anime Reporter will be bringing you more feedback on each pair of volumes along the way, but if you’re looking for a series with imagination, action and humour, this certainly seems like a good place to start.
80% – “One to Watch!” – Witch Hunter Vol. 01-02 start the series off with a tantalising premise, enough drama to peak most readers’ interest and a great big helping of personality to boot. It’s early days, but this series already shows a lot of potential.