Grimoire of Zero was released in 2017 and was pretty well received with fans loving the romance between the two very different MCs and the fun, sometimes drama-filled, adventures they went on. It was a magic-themed series that many of us prayed would get a second season and in 2022, it seemed our prayers were never heard. Then we looked at a new anime from the Spring 2022 lineup called The Dawn of the Witch and were quite surprised to see this wasn’t a new series per se, but a spin-off/semi-sequel to Grimoire of Zero! That’s right folks, The Dawn of the Witch isn’t a sequel but instead of focusing on the cute magical girl Zero and her strong beastfallen ally named Mercenary, our story takes place years later and looks at a different main man, Saybil, and his adventure as a young amnesiac mage trainee…this is a pseudo-sequel right? Questions aside, we’re reviewing The Dawn of the Witch today to see if this is the magic we wanted or the magic we didn’t cast.
Interesting Story but Not the Best Incantation
The Dawn of the Witch clearly tried to separate itself from Grimoire of Zero by using the same world, same characters, and same premise but not focusing on the original characters much more than using them as plot points. We give Dawn of the Witch a small bow as accomplishing this is a pretty daring move for any “spin-off” anime but it does it quite well…most of the time at least. Following the four new main characters, Saybil, an amnesiac mage who is failing due to his bad grades and inability to control his powerful magic—which does tie into Grimoire of Zero’s plot—and his two allies, a 300-year-old witch named Loux, Holt, a big oppai student and, Kudo, a lizard beastfallen. The merry four main characters are quite endearing and work well together but their backstories, aside from Saybil, feel very generic. Holt is a beastfallen who looks human but hides her antlers and has an ulterior motive and Kudo, is just trying to be a knight so he can represent those like him. Loux…her story is almost forgettable as she’s a tiny witch who has a powerful staff, Luden, and wants the Grimoire of Zero for herself to study.
This is the main issue with The Dawn of the Witch. Outside of a few twists and turns in the narrative, the story feels very…generic. One could almost compare it to a JRPG: team goes out, learns they have a mission only they can accomplish, and thus, take that mission on because why not? Grimoire of Zero was great due to its subtle hints of very real-world orientated issues between us humans and had a nice cute love story that felt different. Dawn of the Witch has some of these themes but on its own, it feels like it's trying to copy Grimoire of Zero but also be its own thing and that doesn’t work well in this 12-episode series.
A Whimsical Journey with a Fun Band
Now it might be quite apparent we don’t like the main cast as much as we adored the two from Grimoire of Zero but that doesn’t mean we absolutely despise these new characters. Saybil is a very down-to-earth MC who despite being extremely OP with his ability, isn’t overly aggressive or cocky. Likewise, Kudo, Holt, and Loux have their own strengths that make them fun to hear during dialogue-heavy sections and hold their own when they need to. Will they be our newest favorites in the anime world? Not by a long shot but we did enjoy their journey as brief as it was to watch.
That’s Better than Grimoire
One of the stronger elements of The Dawn of the Witch without a doubt is the animation. While Grimoire of Zero had a nice design choice and decent animation, The Dawn of the Witch is vibrant and very well animated with some of the magical battles and scenes looking pretty solid. We won’t sell it to be the best anime we’ve seen visually but overall the visuals for The Dawn of the Witch look better than its predecessor and we always appreciate that!
More Mercenary and Zero
Yes, Mercenary and Zero are in The Dawn of the Witch and they both have grown up—one has become our newest waifu—but they are put in the background in favor of these new characters/story. We understand Dawn of the Witch is trying to be its own tale set in the world of Grimoire of Zero but this is why we say the word “sequel” with quotations. In many ways, Zero and Mercenary have had their stories wrap up, and it feels like with The Dawn of the Witch but we didn’t get to see that wrap up first hand. Maybe Grimoire of Zero will get a conclusion sequel one day, but really, we want more of it than The Dawn of the Witch. Just keep trying to remember that in the end, this is a spin-off and not inherently a sequel.
What kills The Dawn of the Witch isn’t the average story or decent cast but the fact that this is a spin-off to a story we really enjoyed and it doesn’t actually feel like a sequel despite having themes that say otherwise. The Dawn of the Witch should have been a side story fully with an entirely new tale only mentioning characters like Zero so we aren’t reminded of a story we didn’t get to see to completion—unless you read the light novels—which hurts our love for The Dawn of the Witch. Despite all that, if you want a fun “watch once” magic adventure anime, then we think you’ll enjoy The Dawn of the Witch.
Did you feel differently about The Dawn of the Witch? Comment below to let us know why you agree or disagree with our review! Keep stuck to our amazing magical hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more reviews, anime news, and all things otaku!