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The witch has been a constant archetype in the imagination of people since old times. Feared because of her deep knowledge, women were thought to have mysterious powers to awaken the spirits, invoke tempests or cure sickness. Those powers were tied to both life and death. In Japan, witches have populated manga in a peculiar way, as they can be good, evil or both at the same time. So, let’s grab our brooms, our favorite black cat and let’s travel to the world of the best witches in manga!
Warning: there are occasional spoilers and sensitive content throughout the article. Read at your own risk!
10. Dorothy wa Gokigen Naname?
- Mangaka: Sora Hoonoki
- Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 3
- Published: Jul 27, 2013 to Jul 28, 2014
Magic in an ideal world should serve only justice. Or at least that was what Dorothy’s teacher tried to do when he punished her for being so selfish. Now, a powerless and not so attractive Dorothy will have to enlist slaves in order to regain her witchy self and get revenge. However, whenever Dorothy makes a new slave, she has to kiss them, and that brings up more romantic confusion than anything.
Dorothy wa gokigen Naname? is a well drawn and balanced manga. However, graphically speaking, we cannot say it is very original. The strong point of Dorothy is the story, which never fails to surprise. Plus, did we mention we have lots of handsome boys? 😉
9. Liselotte to Majo no Mori (Liselotte & Witch's Forest)
- Mangaka: Natsuki Takaya
- Genres: Fantasy, Shoujo
- Volumes: 5
- Published: May 20, 2011 to Hiatus
So you are more into fairy tail stuff with a dark edge? Liselotte to Majo no Mori tells us the story of a noble lady who decides to move to a peaceful village in the company of a few of her attendants. One day, Liselotte is attacked by a mysterious witch close to the forest. She also meets a man called Engetsu and, together, they decide to uncover what is going on in the forest.
The idea behind Liselotte to Majo no Mori is fascinating. To combine the most basic European fairy tale concepts of evil witches with mysteries about the identities of several of the characters grabs our immediate attention. The drawing is good enough to center on the characters reactions towards the horrors of the forest. The bad news is that the manga went on hiatus and we don’t have idea if it will ever be completed.
8. Magical x Miracle
- Mangaka: Yuzu Mizutani
- Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Josei
- Volumes: 6
- Published: Mar 28, 2002 to Jan 28, 2006
Do you like Harry Potter and Cardcaptor Sakura? If you do, you will love Magical x Miracle. The protagonist, Merleawe, is on her way to the magical school when she gets kidnapped. It turns out that she has been chosen to impersonate the disappeared wizard Slythfarn. So now, in top of having the duties of a witch in training, Merleawe has to find out what happened with Slythfarn while impersonating him!
The style of Mizutani is so soft and cute that it will make you smile. She dresses up her characters in the most adorable and varied lolita fashion you could imagine (hence the similarity with Cardcaptor Sakura). The sweet adventure combined with magic is also there, so don’t worry, you won’t get bored. Add a mystery on the top, and you get a wondrous winning combo!
7. Kotonoha no Miko to Kotodama no Mahou
- Mangaka: Miyabi Fujieda
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, Magic, Romance, Yuri, Supernatural
- Volumes: 1
- Published: Jul 27, 2004 to Jan 18, 2006
This manga has an unusual twist in the Yuri department. The protagonists are a witch and a miko under the names of Gretia Dietrich and Tsumugi Tokigami. Gretia is a german witch who has been travelling over Japan admiring its traditional culture when she encounters the Tokigami shrine. Tsumugi is a special miko with the mission of storing power on behalf of the country… until Gretia breaks her bonds with the shrine. This means Tsumugi can live a more normal life now… and become enamoured with Gretia.
Although the style of Kotonoha no Miko to Kotodama no Mahou is rather simplistic, the two main characters are well defined. It is not only that their personalities have depth. Their interactions are simply enchanting, and you will enjoy how Tsumugi starts discovering the world outside her shrine. If you like shoujo stories that are all fluffy and positive, this unusual couple of magical girls may be right for you.
6. Witch’s Shop
- Mangaka: MiRi Hwang
- Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Shoujo
- Volumes: 9
- Published: 2011
Being a witch is awesome, but there is something that is even better: being a princess witch! HyoHwa is our lucky protagonist, who passes her time iddley together with her eight brothers. That is, until a danger comes to the kingdom and kills her mother. Now, in order to revive her, HyoHwa will have to travel to the human world to collect 10,000 pure human souls. But in the meantime, she can enjoy travel and romance!
The tragedy befalling the royal family is a usual plot, but combine it with witchery magic, and you have an interesting twist. The drawings of Hwang might not be the best around, but she compensates that with a cast of charismatic characters. The adventures of HyoHwa are guaranteed to make you smile.
5. Tenkyuugi: Sephirahnatus
- Mangaka: Tatsune Seno and Aya Takamiya
- Genres: Fantasy, Magic, School, Josei
- Volumes: 6
- Published: 2009 to 2016
There is a world where 22 laws of Earth can be invoked through cards by magicians. Of course that, in order to learn how to use such powers properly, aspiring magicians have to attend the magic school. This is the story of several of the students. Among them, a certain Nanao has special abilities that might change the world as it is known.
Tenkyuugi: Sephirahnatus is another jewel for anyone who likes CardCaptor Sakura and Harry Potter combined. The cast in the story is varied and the stories are complex enough to keep your attention. I mean, who does not love mysteries in a magic school? Just immerse yourself in the awesome art of Sephirahnatus and let the magic begin!
4. Sugar Sugar Rune
- Mangaka: Moyoco Anno
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Aug 2, 2003 to Apr 3, 2007
This is a story that involves a magical world where witches have to compete to become the queen. The current competition is between two friends: Chocolat and Vanilla. They will have to travel to the human world to win as many male hearts as possible while they become the best witches they can. Will their friendship survive? You will have to read Sugar Sugar Rune to find out!
This manga has everything a shoujo and magic manga lover could wish for. The style of Anno can be described as a little bit “rough”, but this combines well with the more modern fashion and personalities of the protagonists. The magic is interesting and the amount of adventure and romance keep a good pace. Plus, who does not love a good competition between best friends? Check it out!
3. Absolute Witch
- Mangaka: TaeYeon Kim
- Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 12
- Published: 2006 to 2010
There was a time when witches populated the Earth, but now there is only one left. Meet Skyla Pendleton, a girl on a journey to discover her own powers. Although married to a guy, she falls in love with the alchemist who teaches her magic. Skyla also will have to deal with her mission as Grand Witch, the mediator between nature and humankind.
To read Absolute Witch is a feast to the eyes, as the author combines the best locations expected from a medieval fairy tale with the expressiveness of asian manga. Skyla is an interesting lead, as she starts being a small child who suddenly grows physically. She has to learn to cope with her new body and abilities, maturing to the point of reflecting on motherhood and, by extension, on her duties towards the world. Skyla’s love story also grows in depth and complexity, as she also has a powerful rival, so you better check the manga to find out what happens in the end.
2. Ran to Haiiro no Sekai
- Mangaka: Aki Irie
- Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural, Seinen
- Volumes: 7
- Published: Dec 15, 2008 to Apr 15, 2015
Have you ever imagined how your life would be if your entire family were wizards? That would really spice things up, right? Well, it has its downfalls too, as Ran Uruma knows well. Being the daughter of the two most powerful wizards is not an easy task when you have powers but can’t control them.
Ran to Haiiro no Sekai has everything a young modern girl who loves magic could wish for. The style is visually compelling and full with detail. Ran is a charismatic teen who follows fashion on her own way. Nevertheless, the best part of her are her failed attempts to do proper magic, which will make you laugh. It might look too comedic, but we also have the occasional romantic scene and a whole magical world with hidden surprises expecting you to discover them in Ran to Haiiro no Sekai.
1. Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch (When They Cry Episode 1: Legend of the Golden Witch)
- Mangaka: Kei Natsumi and Ryukishi07
- Genres: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 4
- Published: Dec 22, 2007 to Aug 22, 2009
Rokkenjima is a secluded island, property of the rich Ushiromiya family in the 1980’s. The patriarch, Kinzou, is on the doors of death. Thus, the eleven members of the family get together to discuss, you know, who is getting which amount of assets. Only that, together with the treasure, the Ushiromiya family handles down the curse of a mysterious witch. Strange deaths start to happen, while the members of the family are slowly driven crazy. Is the witch real? Who is behind the killings? Who will get the family fortune or at least survive to tell the tale?
Umineko naku koro ni is a great work of suspense, horror and gore. Behind the brutal killings, there is a logic that the protagonist, Battler Ushiromiya, has to discover before it is too late. Besides that, the Golden Witch is one of those masterfully crafted evil characters. She will keep you at bay but fascinate you enough to keep pursuing her until the last consequences. Umineko Naku Koro ni is truly the best manga about witches around!
Evil witches… good witches… funny witches… the main thing is to pursue magic and let it live! Witches are a symbol of empowered women and girls after all! But do tell us, which is your favorite witch manga? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!