Witch Hat Atelier #5–7 by Kamome Shirahama
Published by Kodansha Comics, 2019–2021
Genre: Manga, fantasy
Re-readability: We’ll definitely return to these.
Rating: Pete’s: 4 out of 5 stars Indiana’s: 5 out of 5 stars
Click here for a summary and our review of the first four books.
In Witch Hat Atelier #5, Coco and Tetia must escape the mysterious Romonons while trying to break the forbidden spell placed on Euini that has turned him into a monster. In #6, the girls travel to the Great Hall, the center of magical society. There, they must impress Beldaruit of the Three Wise Ones through a display of magic that catches him by surprise, but surprising him isn’t easy. #7 explores Qifrey’s past and his quest against the dangerous Brimmed Caps while Coco tries to reach the mysterious Tower of Tomes.From the publisher
Indiana: Once again, I have to praise the richness of the illustration style. I feel like each panel was intricately detailed and really helped to transport me into the world.
Pete: Shirahama’s style is really incredible. I can only hope that these books become an anime, but it would have to have a production style that matches her incredible attention to detail. The setting of these three volumes really lent to her immersive style, especially the parts set in the Great Hall.
Indiana: Agreed. I also really enjoyed Beldaruit’s character, who seems to run the place with his strange and wonderful magical abilities. I’m not quite sure exactly what’s going on with the magicked creature/chair that he rides on . . . regardless, the test that he set for the apprentices, which felt like filler at first, was actually a clever way to drive the story forward and bring him closer to Coco.
Pete: He’s a fantastic character—I hope this isn’t the last we see of him. I’ve enjoyed the emphasis on Qifrey and Olruggio’s relationship in these volumes. I was not a fan of Olruggio’s strictness when he was first introduced, but now it’s clear that he is a necessary foil to Qifrey and helps to keep the atelier together.
Indiana: I was also happy to finally get more of a backstory on Qifrey, who we’ve gotten several mysterious hints about along the way. His childhood is pretty tragic and helps us understand why he’s so insistent on taking on apprentices, whereas Olruggio is not so enthusiastic about it. The last few panels with those two characters left me with chills and I’m intrigued to see what will happen to their relationship (not to mention Qifrey’s quest) as the series progresses.
Pete: Things are getting dark for sure. I love this series’ more serious themes, and I can’t wait to watch Coco learn more about the Brimmed Caps and their dangerous magic.