Regardless of their problems from their previous existence, most reincarnated characters who are given a second chance at life in a different realm seize the chance to begin afresh. Sena, though, is distinct. Her agoraphobia worsened over her first eighteen years in Japan, allegedly due to bullying at school, to the point where even her guardian angel didn’t think she could or would leave the house. Said angel isn’t paying attention when she plumps up the confidence to attend school on her eighteenth birthday, which leads to a run-in with our old friend Truck-kun, who kills her. Sena is resurrected in a fantasy world with medieval influences to atone for her error, yet she is still Sena. This implies that problems such as agoraphobia and social phobia are not instantaneous.
This is a really lovely admission that magic can’t solve every issue and that getting a new life doesn’t make your previous mental health issues go away, which also sets A Reincarnated Witch Spells Doom distinct from many other isekai stories. Sena is angry at her agoraphobia, but she also acknowledges that it is a natural part of who she is, and she is obviously making an effort to manage it better than she did on her first experience. She engages with an elderly peddler who visits her home every few months to deliver supplies, and she has a safe exploration radius around her dwelling in the forest. She summons her courage and starts to venture outside of her comfort zone as a dashing young man collapses at her gate, slightly outside of her predetermined comfort zone. Sena can change; she simply needs to put forth the necessary effort, as demonstrated by the events leading up to her first death. That adds a significant amount of realism to a genre that primarily deals with power fantasies, which is really beneficial to the volume.
Naturally, Sena has another issue that prevents her from going into town. She is one of the people with magic in her new world, where it happens often. However, she is limited to using the spells “explode” and “perish.” Sena, who is normally self-critical, thinks that these are her abilities because, in Japan, she used to wish for the end of the world and the disappearance of all people in order to deal with her uneasiness. By the end of the book, it appears that she has completely misunderstood it, but when she was ten years old, her “explode” spell gave her a frightening experience in the town. Once more, this is primarily because of her mental health problems from her previous life; she is predisposed to believe that people will think poorly of her, and this, together with her discontentment with her magical abilities, caused her to retire to her home in the woods. It just felt safer than putting herself out there and, she supposed, letting others see her.
Everything starts to alter for her with the appearance of Keith, who is standing in for her regular peddler companion. Keith, whose true identity is very obvious, isn’t scared of Sena, even though her strange magical abilities and way of life have a slight confusion for him. Sena’s abilities might be exactly what he needs to solve a significant issue the kingdom is facing regarding a dragon or two. He has also been tasked with sorting out this dilemma. That’s certainly part of the reason he asked her to go with him, but it’s also obvious that he’s concerned for her. He appears concerned by Sena’s severe seclusion, given that her mother passed away a few years prior to the events of the novel. She’s not the infamous witch in the sense that the word “witch” connotes negativity (though Sena might only be thinking that way), and she has a lot going for her that piques his curiosity, including unusual new spices from her past existence. They are obviously developing a love subplot, and it’s off to a good start as they both have emotional stuff to offer each other, particularly in light of Keith’s family’s significant problems.
The main issue with this is how clumsy a lot of the world-building and explanation are. The magic system, which Keith goes into great detail to explain throughout the book, is intriguing and somewhat novel, but it isn’t really worked into the plot. This jumps out as a very major storytelling problem, especially considering how much more seamlessly the remainder of the explanation—the incident that caused Sena to stop going to town and her relationship with her parents—is included. Strangely, the explanation of the dragon fight has the opposite issue of being a little too sparse, so it’s obvious that this is a series that’s still attempting to find its footing. However, the language is fluid and the artwork appealing, so this might be one of those games that improves with time. A second book is definitely worthwhile to see where things end up.
Things are going fairly well for A Reincarnated Witch Spells Doom so far. The most compelling aspect of this first volume is definitely Sena’s character, who makes it simple to want her to succeed as she struggles to deal with her problems. If you’re overly tired of isekai, this book might not be for you, however that part seems to be there only to support Sena’s mental state. If nothing else, it’s worth a look.
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