Chapter 1 – Witches Blow A New Pipe
In 2018 Tite Kubo’s Burn the Witch one-shot was released, the series is linked to the Bleach universe and features the same art style. Burn the Witch will be a limited series with only four chapters ending with the release of the anime on October 2nd. The anime will be a “theatrical anime project,” that will be streamed in several episodes on Crunchyroll. Chapter 1 of Burn the Witch is 60 pages long, although it’s unclear whether the other chapters will be.
Chapter 1, Witches Blow A New Pipe, reintroduces us to the main characters Ninny Spangcole and Noel Niihashi. Ninny is a famous pop star the lead singer of a girl band Cecile Die Twice, she’s rude and abrasive. Noel is a super serious student. She begins the chapter chacing a Bud Buck, a creature that resembles a deer with bat wings. They’re interrupted by a massive batlike creature. Noel uses the spell Blue Spark to defend herself and the Buck. Ninny arrives and uses Flash Bumper: Spell 44 that captures Noel and the Buck in a net. The biggest threat to London are dragons who are responsible for “72 percent of all deaths.” The Reverse London Natural Dragon Management Agency Wing Bind is responsible for conserving and controlling the dragon population.
The World of Burn the Witch
Noel and Ninny are members of Wing Bind after each job members are rewarded. Noel loses achievement points for picking a flower off the Buck while Ninny gains some for saving them. Suddenly, an explosion occurs in a distance tower as Balgo clings to the tail a fire breathing “dragon canine,” Osushi. Neither Ninny nor Noel cares to help him until their told they will get overtime. Ordinary citizens are forbidden from interacting with dragons unless they pass a test. When humans come into contact with dragons they accumulate a substance in their bodies called dragotoxin. The Wing Bind has a mechanism to test for this toxin by requiring the human to lick the screen.
Humans and Dragons that violate the Dragon Contact Prohibition Act are sentenced to 100 years in prison or they will be executed. Finally, if a human develops a high enough dragotoxin they become Dragonclad. They are considered “infected” with a disease whose most significant symptom of the dragonclad is attracting dragons. Balgo is a dragonclad and is suddenly attacked by a massive dragon. Ninny uses Barrier Tape to seal off the area and Noel uses Spell 4: Stun Ball. Assuming they had subdued the dragon, Noel calls headquarters for their reward. However, the dragon is a Dark Dragon. Ninny calls for an emergency blockade, meanwhile, Noel attempts to call the Sabres. However, Ninny stops her from calling, planning to fight the Dark Dragon themselves to “prove how strong they are,” and become Sabres.
The Dark Dragon
Unlike normal dragons, Dark Dragons target humans. Wing Binds are allowed to kill Dark Dragons. Ninny charges at the Dark Dragon, while Noel uses a small gun and fires off Spell 75. Elsewhere, a group discusses the presence of a Dark Dragon. They appear to be heads of each of the different Corps, present are Bruno Bangnyfe of the Magic Circle Corps: Inks, Roy B. Dipper of the Incantation Corps: Anthems, Cquntnire Milieve of the Liturgy Corps: Sacreds, Tronbone Takkinen of the Minstrel Corps: Pipers, Sullivan Squire of the Tactical Corps: Sabres, Harry Shayk of the Accounting Corps: Billionaires, Wolfgang Slashhaut of Personnel Affairs Divine Punishment Corps: Gallows, and Saka Rynn of the Development Corps: Patchworks who was absent. They conclude that Balgo Parks should be eliminated.
I’ve been excited about this series for years and it didn’t disappoint. I have always loved the art style of Tite Kubo, although his story choices aren’t always great. However, he does create interesting universes. Burn the Witch chapter 1 is largely an introduction to that universe. Chapter 1 reintroduces our main characters while introducing several new ones and setting up the conflict. Each character feels real and is visually distinct. This chapter could have felt overwhelming with all the new jargon but I thought it was paced well. That said, it’s disappointing to hear that this series is going to be limited, but considering Tite Kubo’s health issues I guess this is the most he can do. There’s still a lot to explain, but I’m excited for the rest of this series.
Burn the Witch can be read for free on Mangaplus.