The Witch and the Knight Will Survive GN 1

The Witch and the Knight Will Live to tell the tale GN 1

The Witch and the Knight Will Survive appears to be written with “contrast” as its primary strategy. This first volume, which is marketed as a “dark fantasy” book, begins with a lyrical preface that would fit in perfectly with any of the ancient styles of renown uncut fairy tales. The tale seamlessly transitions between that feel of a storybook and actions of heinous fantasy action. Tragic events befall our main character, the titular knight Agredios, and he immediately retaliates with an act of blatantly inappropriate violence. But in his brief, merciful flash of insight, he recognizes a path for recovery, healing, and hope. The Witch and the Knight Will Survive is attempting to deliver a traditional “out of darkness” story with a side serving of fantasy town administration and occasionally clumsy detail communication.

The latter might be anticipated given the contrast described before. The witch who makes up the other half of the title, previously going by the name Ganancetia, is the complete antithesis of Agredios in personality and appearance. Her magical oddities frequently lack a distinct motivating cause. Up to the very end of the novel, she completely fails to defend herself. Nevertheless, she is viewed and welcomed more favorably by the Perla and Percie kids and newcomers to the community than Agredios does. Although it provides a strong thematic foundation, readers may become frustrated as they attempt to determine the precise nature of the forest’s “curse” and the circumstances surrounding some of the other arrivals.

The Witch and the Knight Will Survive’s quality may diverge in various ways as this volume progresses due to the plot and story’s expanding breadth. On the one hand, adding more characters enables more interactions and extensions of its concepts, particularly the entire town-building component. The manga is delighted to explain details like how washing clothes and taking a shower work magically in this world or how to use items like a killed fortress bee monster as resources. Additionally, the added duties and facets assist reduce the angst that sometimes overpowers Agredios in the earlier chapters.

Without that angst, Agredios does begin to accept his role as the least interesting character in his own narrative. The majority of the time in the second half of the novel, he feels that he is only acting as a sounding board for others to share plot details with in the town he is managing. And when a large portion of that exposition consists of oddly-ordered clarification of information that was hardly “secret” to the characters and merely serves to clarify things for an audience who perhaps should have understood them earlier, we in that audience start to feel like this type of information could have been ordered better.

To be clear, The Witch and the Knight Will Survive’s majority of narrative clumsiness scarcely comes off as “bad”. When you know to look out for the foreshadowing of the clarification of things like what the deal with the capital is, the curse and its stigma, and how those elements and other things combine to isolate the village and set it up for these rebuilding mechanics, it’s the kind of thing that definitely smooths itself out upon rereading. Griamelda, Agredios’s sister, is a complete character who falls into this type of difficult reading since the sporadic references that previously foreshadowed her don’t seem to be nearly enough to sell her appearance to the audience with some impact the first time around. It’s a frustrating tragedy since, once she’s included into the narrative, Griamelda develops into a compelling character who, in addition to making her brother’s presence more noticeable by sharing page space with him, feels as though she has a more substantial personality than him. This book surely does a good job of conveying the sibling interaction.

The tale, however erratic it may be, thankfully cannot overshadow The Witch and the Knight Will Survive’s striking visuals. The darker undertones of this tale are perfectly complemented by Gonbe Shinkawa’s style, which yet adds a pleasing degree of oddity. In spite of the fact that Ganancetia’s appearance fits the tone of the story, once Shinkawa has her moving and showing emotion, she transforms into a sincerely entertaining scroungy freak of a witch. These kinds of oddities serve to generally humanize a plot like this and the other characters who eventually move in. These other characters also suffer from this kind of noticeable aside oddity, such as Uhla’s behavior of dousing herself in bees, which is explained away as “just her thing.” Please create more characters who are merely possessive; they give this story flavor, and Shinkawa naturally illustrates them in a funny way.

When the action begins between these zigzagging expository arcs, the art also lifts this book beyond the visual components of selling characterisation, where the actual narrative may prove to be too messy. Huge spreads and pages are used when absolutely necessary. The flow of fighting can occasionally be a little difficult to follow, but as soon as you see a move like a character pushing a sword slash with their foot, you’ll be back to appreciating the visceral components of it all. Even in the midst of that action, the novel embraces some of its stranger impulses, as in the passage where Agredios throws Ganancetia at a cart driver. That difference is crucial, just like it is with so much else in The Witch and the Knight Will Survive.

The Witch and the Knight Will Survive, despite the unevenness caused by its commitment to that contrast, I believe, achieves a net good quality for its first volume. It has room to evolve naturally because of the background components that come together and the city-building structure, and the conclusion’s proper reconciliation of the knight and the witch gives it some more fun thematic flexibility. We eventually reach a tale about being what other people create of us and bringing out our finest in that way, among other things. It’s good to have that, combined with some excellent artwork and, as an added plus for me, a pure fantasy environment unrelated to any isekai or RPG-mechanic variants. If that’s a genre you enjoy exploring or even if the artwork captures your attention, it’s worth a look.

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