Anime Reporter keeps the Witch Hunter train rolling with Volumes 13-14 (that’s chapters 67-80), where two storylines converge and things have definitely turned in a more dynamic direction.
Anyone unacquainted with the series can find my first review of it here.
Anyone who hasn’t caught up with the events of Volumes 11-12 would be robbing themselves of some great revelations by reading any further in this review.
The superior storyline of Bairong’s royal family and the internal strife, plotting, treachery and murder all come to a close within Volume 13. Plot points and actions taken strike a lot of chords, ranging from downright messy and careless to just plain violent and cruel but, all in all, the story wraps itself up in a satisfying, if not particularly merry, package. I’m hesitant to give away any details regarding the storyline here that might spoil the ending but it really shouldn’t disappoint.
In truth, while reading this storyline, it is hard to shake the feeling that Witch Hunter, as a series, could have only benefitted if Xing, (you know which one I’m talking about by now, I’m sure), had been made the main character rather than Tasha. Alas, tis not meant to be, and as the last chapter of Volume 13 approaches, Xing slides firmly out of focus and we are returned to the kingdom of Britain to catch up with Tasha and Halloween.
Now, that’s not to say that this storyline is subpar. If anything, Volume 14 is one of the most interesting and well-written plot arcs revolving around Tasha. Let’s just hope that the series has well and truly found its footing and that things won’t slide back into the rather vague, possibly even sloppy, territory of before.
Many readers will recall that, at the end of Volume 10, Tasha was given an impossible and unwavering order: to relinquish Halloween to Merlin and the British Empire. A small amount of focus is given to Tasha’s and Halloween’s bond as master and supporter and there’s just a little bit more of that clumsy rom-com style tension between the two, but that can be overlooked and forgotten about fairly quickly. Ultimately, Tasha makes the choice that he was always going to, choosing his loyalty to his supporter over his orders and the two make a break for it under cover of darkness, living happily ever after, the end.
Wait, no, that’s not right. Ah, yes, that whole best laid plans of mice and men thing. Tasha and Halloween do indeed try to escape but Witch Hunter wouldn’t be a very good organisation if it wasn’t prepared to face this. Our two would-be escapees are brought into direct conflict with a mob made entirely of their former comrades and more than a few of them are out for blood.
When this battle comes to a close, Tasha finds himself a prisoner in some unusual circumstances and he’s not at all prepared for who his brutal and unpredictable warden will be.
Witch Hunter (Buster) Volumes 13 and 14 are strong examples of this series’ potential for darker storylines and well-executed character growth. It should be interesting to see where this series goes in the future, but, unless you read Korean or French, you might be waiting for some time, as Volume 15 isn’t scheduled to be published in English until well into June 2015.
Witch Hunter Volumes 13 and 14 are currently available in English from Seven Seas Entertainment. For more info on Seven Seas’ other titles, and they have quite a few of those, check out their site at gomanga.com
High Stakes: 8
Character Growth: 8
79% – “Onwards and Upwards” – This anime reporter had begun to harbour some serious doubts about this series’ longevity, but all signs are now positive that it can redeem itself. Time will tell how long this lasts,