Anime Reporter dishes up some more massively magical manhwa mayhem with Witch Hunter manhwa volumes 05-06 (Chapters 17-24). Carrying on from where we left off last time (here), the tale shifts a few gears and introduces us just a little bit more to the world of Witch Hunter.
Quick recap on what we know so far: A few hundred years ago, witches declared war on humanity. Witches are women with access to huge stores of magical energy which they can process through their hats. When someone becomes a witch, it is usual for their magical powers to corrupt them and for little of their human personalities to remain intact. There are four head witches controlling four different territories, North, South, East and West. In the centre between these territories is the centre, where WH has their headquarters. WH (Witch Hunters) work to defeat the enemies of humanity and several witches and non-witch magic-users are among their ranks. Up until now, the series has focused mainly on Tasha Goodspell and his
supporter, Halloween, who recently changed from a pumpkin-headed puppet into a young woman when one of the seals limiting her magical powers was broken.
In Volume 03, we get to see the focus shift away from Tasha and onto one of his WH comrades, Xing. We learn that Xing was one of three royal brothers, each given the opportunity to become the emperor of the Bairong empire. This flashback tells us that one of the brothers was to become the leader of his nation, while the other two would become exiled upon their brother’s appointment. Needless to say, this is not a peaceful story of brotherly love. While Xing has largely been portrayed as an arrogant and unlikeable fighter, this story arc certainly portrays him in a new light, not only making him more likeable, but significantly more interesting as a character.
After we’re brought back to the present day, thought still with quite a few flashbacks and forwards to navigate through, we see Tasha adapting to Halloween’s new form. Cho Jung-Man, the series’ creator, likes to broadcast his sense of humour and makes no secret of his appreciation for his own female characters’ bodies, but even Tasha seems inclined to roll his eyes at Halloween’s new wardrobe and, frankly, I’m inclined to agree. While Halloween at least manages to stand out from other female characters, there’s a slight problem emerging among the antagonists. Namely, it’s bloody hard to remember which scantily clad supermodel/preteen in a funny hat is up to which nefarious deeds. While witches are given different outfits and hats to distinguish them, there aren’t a whole lot of different styles at play and it’s increasingly hard to become invested in plots when we’re not sure if a foe is a brand new baddy or someone we’ve seen before. The asides and behind the scenes plotting are particularly hindered by this lack of distinction.
Aside from the slight cringe factor of Halloween’s new duds, Tasha’s plot is fairly driven, with a brand new mission spinning out of the latest atrocity at the hands of witchkind. Some blunt foreshadowing tells us that things aren’t going to go too smoothly for Tasha on this trip. A few more of WH’s elites are introduced to the mix with equal measures of battle scenes and exposition and it’s really starting to feel like a cast is developing. The volume rolls to a close with Tasha, Xing and Cooga’s plans unexpectedly derailed by a sudden ambush by a quintet of witches.
Bolstered by the series’ wonderful use of cartoonified asides for comic relief, Volume 06 is a pleasure to read, entertaining and action-packed!
Witch Hunter Volume 05 and 06 are currently available in English from Seven Seas Entertainment. For more information, check out Seven Seas at GoManga.com
80-% – “Intense” – Witch Hunter continues on in truly great form with a charming and approachable sense of humour and some solid character development for its protagonists. If some of the obscurity around the series’ antagonists and female characters can be resolved, there’s little to hold this series back!