- Mangaka : Chikamoto, Masaru (Writer); Shinkawa, Gonbe (Art)
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Seinen
- Published : April 2023 - Presents
Nowadays, if you’re a fan of high fantasy stories featuring monsters, knights, and magic, then you are spoiled with tons of options. There are countless manga in this genre that you can read today, such as Overlord, Mushoku Tensei, Rising of Shield Hero, and many others. But as you might’ve noticed, this kind of story has mainly become the domain of Isekai manga.
If you want a non-isekai story, then your options suddenly become extremely limited. You can read Goblin Slayer, Delicious in Dungeon, and Banished from the Hero’s Party, and maybe a few others. Fortunately for us, there’s a new addition to this list. It’s called The Witch and The Knight Will Survive, and here’s our brief review of this new high fantasy manga.
When Agredios comes back to his village after a long hunt, he notices an eerie silence in place of the usual rowdiness of his village. So he immediately heads to his home. Imagine his surprise when he finds both of his parents lying lifeless on their bed. Clutched in his father’s hand are letters addressed to Agredios and her younger sister. In the letter, his father explains that a witch cast a curse on the village that slowly killed everybody. As the son of the lord of the village, it is now Agredios’ duty to rebuild the village back to its glory. But first, he must hunt and kill the vile witch that has caused this genocide.
Blinded by sadness and rage, Agredios dons his knight's armor, and immediately rushes into the forbidden forest, searching for the damned witch. As he weaves his way into the center of the forest, he stumbles upon a woman clad in greenish plant armor. Without any hesitation, Agredios unleashes his strongest moves, uses all of his weapons, and casts all the magic that he knows. He does everything he can in order to obliterate the woman. All to no avail. And when he finally finds out the true identity of the woman, Agredios’ life will change forever. For better or worse.
1. Breathtaking Illustrations
The first thing that you’ll notice when you open up the pages of “The Witch and The Knight Will Survive” is the mind-blowing illustrations. From the massive trees to the lush forests, or the sturdy rows of houses that are clearly inspired by the architecture of Medieval Europe, and also the paths that begin as well-built stone roads and slowly transition into unbeaten paths full of grass and other kinds of plants as we get deeper into the forbidden forest, everything is drawn with such an astonishing level of care and detail.
But the beauty is not limited to the landscapes and greenery. It also extends to the character design and also the movements and the expressions of those characters. The humanoid characters may not stand out all that much to most people, but the design of the enormous monsters and creatures, such as the giant hornet that hides its hive inside its body or the towering and beefy deer with its menacing pair of antlers, are amazing.
The highlight of the art, however, is definitely the movement of the characters, particularly during fight scenes. The sight of Agredios jumping off the roof of a building to stab a raging monster while his sister is ready to deliver the finishing blow is such an intense and thrilling scene to see. Their movements look so fluid and dynamic that it feels as if they are truly moving through the pages.
2. Fascinating World Building
In this era of endless isekai manga, a medieval European town is most likely the most common setting that you can find in manga these days. So it can be difficult to differentiate your work if your story takes place in a similar setting. However, The Witch And The Knight Will Survive manages to stand out from the crowd. Interestingly enough, it’s not really the town that makes this manga different from the rest, but it is actually the forbidden forest that surrounds the town.
At first, it looks like any other forest with its overgrown trees and grass, but once we get deeper inside, we begin to see all sorts of magical things. Fascinating stuff like numerous strange plants all over the place, the trees that are gradually getting bigger as we get closer to the center of the forest, and the best part of them all, the giant magical creatures that freely roam the forest. Granted, we only get a glimpse of this forest in this first volume, but from what we can see thus far, it is certainly shaping up to be an interesting world.
1. Snail Pace
Based on what we can see in this first volume, the story of The Witch and The Knight Will Survive seems to have two competing objectives. The first one is to find the cause of the incident that suddenly took the lives of so many innocent people, including the protagonist’s parents. The second one is trying to rebuild the village that has now lost most of its inhabitants.
The first one is a revenge story with an emphasis on action and adventure, such as the Vinland Saga. While the second one is more like a slice-of-life, city-building story that focuses more on the interaction between characters and resource management, sort of like How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom.
Since the story hasn't decided which way to go yet, the pace ends up taking a big hit. Because the pacing in this first volume is painfully slow. At the end of this volume, we’re no closer to finding the truth behind the incident as we were at the beginning. And since the story itself hasn't decided which direction to take, the first objective pulls the story to this side, while the second one pulls it to the opposite side. As a result, the story doesn’t really move anywhere at all.
The Witch and The Knight Will Survive is an interesting take on the usual knights and witches story that has been plaguing almost every isekai story in recent years. It has fascinating world-building and breath-taking illustrations, but the story itself is also painfully slow. Hopefully the subsequent volumes can improve this pacing issue.
Have you read The Witch and The Knight Will Survive? If you have, what do you think about it? Let us know in the comment section below.