Generation Witch, Vol. 1

By Uta Isaki. Released in Japan as “Gendai Majo Zukan” by Ichijinsha, serialized in the magazine Comic Rex. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Jill Morita. Adapted by Janet Houck.

It’s been nice to see the ‘slice of life’ genre move, to a certain extent, beyond ‘a bunch of female students living their everyday high school life’ in recent years. We’re seeing slice of life manga with actual twists, and one of the more current ones, fitting in with manga’s current obsession with anything supernatural, is “slice of witch life”. Flying Witch is an example of the ‘pure’ slice of life genre, with regular characters and an ongoing plot, but now we also have Generation Witch, which is more of an anthology series, each new chapter featuring a new witch and new issues. This works in the book’s favor, as it allows stories to have more resolution than they otherwise might have, and also lets the stories be a bit more depressing and dark than you’d sometimes see in slice of life.

The premise is that this is a modern-day Japan, but in a world where about 1% of the population have magical powers of some way, shape or form. The world, somewhat surprisingly, seems to have adapted to this very well, and witches are quite popular and cool. This first volume shows us a series of stories that are basically ‘what is life like around someone who can do magic?’ We start with a traditional witch (complete with broom), who’s also an overprotective older sister, trying her best to save her sibling from a guy who might be a new friend but in reality turns out to be just another pervert. The longest story in the book, taking up about half of it, involves a young man who was teased for his dreams of using magic as a kid (his powers matched an anime girl), and so is trying to live like a normal person. We all know how that ends, he runs into a very eccentric witch who wants him to join her club which helps find people’s lost things.

The last couple of stories take a much more serious turn, and show the dangers of magic powers. The first is a somewhat disturbing story of a young salaryman who goes home to his “daughter”, who turns out to be his childhood friend who he promised to marry as a kid. Sadly, she’s a witch who can’t control her powers, which means a) she can’t leave the house, and b) she won’t grow beyond a little girl. But he’s with her anyway, in a thankfully chaste way, and it’s a bit melancholy how he tries to assure himself that he’s been very lucky. The last story is let down by the fact that we can see where it’s going almost immediately, but shows us a young girl who can see the future and her budding relationship with her classmate, and ends in tragic fireworks.

This was pretty solid, if not groundbreaking. The idea of an anthology series about witches is a good one, and this also looks to be 5 volumes and done in Japan, which seems just about right. If you like witches and don’t mind that sometimes there aren’t happy endings, this is a good book to pick up.

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