I love your Witchy Ways – Witch of Artemis V1 Review
Title: the Witch of Artemis
Author: Yui Hara
The very first volume of a brand new series, The Witch of Artemis v1 had a promisingly cute cover and a suitably CLAMP-esque summary, so I took it upon myself to have a flick through. The story follows Kazuki, a young boy who has recently lost his father and works in a shop for his older brother. Kazuki is a dreamer, and spends his time fantasising about a distant planet called Artemis his father told him about. This planet is where all the people who had magical powers went when they left Earth. After a chance encounter with a sorceress from Artemis – Viora – who has escaped to Earth, finds Kazuki saddled with a ‘death curse’. Fortunately Marie arrives and in a rather brusque way, takes him to Artemis to heal him. Marie, it transpires, is the Grand Witch of Artemis.
After that, the plot stalls a little bit. Kazuki finds he is unlikely to be going back to Earth any time soon, but doesn’t seen entirely bothered by this. What follows are a couple of cutesy chapters showing Kazuki a little bit around Artemis and establishing Marie’s character. Whilst people on Artemis have powers, they are starting to forget how to use them. Marie is known as a ‘phantom witch’, she doesn’t talk to people often, but she reveals she uses her powers to help people. The reasoning behind this is unclear – this is perhaps to extend a mystery as we’re lead to believe she has to help people; equally the encounters with Viora are unexplained, and then ignored until a brief reappearance at the very end of the book where Viora does a hefty bit of foreshadowing. Whilst both of these plots seem well set up, they are perhaps somewhat clumsily interlinked. The emphasis on the Viora plot falls by the wayside in this volume, where I think it would have benefitted from more of a push.
This first volume of the manga relies too heavily on Kazuki for my personal liking, as his character seems under-developed. He’s a bit of a drip, leaning too much towards the daydreamer and making it difficult to relate to him and his reactions. Marie looks like she has a good history to uncover, but the hints towards it are a little clumsily handled. However, this appears to be Yui Hara’s first manga, and for a first manga it is certainly a promising start. The art is precise, and cute and clearly drawn very conscientiously. The downside of this is that no real individual style or quirks are evident immediately, but the upside is that Hara is clearly proficient in the craft and will show fantastic results as her style progresses.
As the manga progresses you begin to feel Hara settling more into the story and the characters, so I look forward to the next volume as the plot will continue and Hara begins to get more into stride. The translation in this edition is a little iffy at times, surprising for a TokyoPop publication, but I wonder if this is simply because it is a debut manga from an unknown artist. It is simply on a couple of occasions where the wording seems clunky, or the chosen vocabulary doesn’t seem to quite fit, but this is not too often. It is not a hugely speech-heavy manga either, so it doesn’t change the overall impression too much.
The Witch of Artemis is very much a ‘stranger in a strange land’ story, but it is less about Kazuki’s culture shock than it is about building a world and that is being done in a proficient manner. There is certainly a lot of potential for development in this manga, and I look forward to the next volume being released.