The Witch and the Beast is a fantasy manga featuring one very angry, and another very composed witch hunter. This is a fairy-tale inspired work and as I am a total fan of fairy-tale reinterpretation I was impatient to dig in.
As we crack the manga, we are welcomed by a few coloured pictures that sets the mood up nicely for the rest of the volume. The illustrations are rich with immense detail, particularly in the foods, I found. They are also extremely gruesome in some parts, so sensitive people be warned. The character design for the two main characters was oddly nondescript, I thought, their eyes are great, but the rest of them stays very mundane, until they start performing magic. Maybe that was the whole point? I don’t know, but I thought the secondary characters had more personality and details in their features, which seemed strange to me. The action often erases the details so as to let readers focus on the movement, and maybe that is why the illustrator chose to have simpler designs for his main protagonists.
As for the story, this is really an introduction to our heroes. There is in fact very little characters involved and we concentrate on getting to know Guideau and Ashaf. We get a quick glimpse into why they hate witches when they are sent to retrieve, perhaps kill or at the very least interrogate the beloved saviour of a town, yes a witch who amazingly looks after the wellbeing of people. But the real story starts with serial ritualistic murders piling up quickly, and we are left on a cliff-hanger as all the questions start rising in our head.
With mangas it’s very hard to have an opinion on the first volume. They usually take time building their world before getting into the real story. I have been very surprised by the depth of some, despite their lightness in the beginning. I do not know if the answers are going to satisfy me and the buddying characters are going to develop fully yet, but I do know I want to continue this series to find out! I like the world and the mystery is promising to be nicely convoluted, I’m in.