Coco begins her quest to become a witch
Chapter 1 of Witch Hat Atelier begins by asking “are athletes athletes from the moment they’re born . . . what about witches.” Coco is in enthralled by magic. A magic that flows through the world. Coco dreams of the being a witch, but is saddened to learn that she will never be one. Suddenly, a flying chariot lands in her village. Rushing to get a look, Coco bumps into a mysterious man. Meanwhile, witches have traveled to the village in search of “harian knitted lace.” While, Coco’s mother wants her help, all she can think of is the winged chariot. When the mysterious customer comments that Coco’s mastery over fabric cutting is “magic,” she raves about magic. The customer is intrigue.
Coco tells the story from her childhood, when her mother took her to a castle. Her she meets a witch that sells her a thin magic book with a free wand pen. This story piques the customers interest. However, before he can get more details there’s a loud crash. The children of the village try to play with chariot, seemingly destroying it. After offering to fix it, the customer introduces himself as Qifrey the witch. He needs to cast the spell in private. Coco enthusiastically offers her mothers shop. Qifrey asks Coco to guard the outside. Considering Coco’s love of magic this was never going to be a promise she kept. After running the other children away, Coco witnesses Qifrey “drawing” magic with a pen. After learning how magic is performed, Coco becomes quiet. Qifrey leaves with his merchandise but still wondering about the magic book.
Coco’s mother tells her that she fears that Coco will one day abandon her to pursue magic. Inspired, Coco uses the “pen” she was given years ago. Within the book she bought are symbols. She copies one of them with the pen, resulting in a spell working. Coco is ecstatic. Magic is real and she a non witch can use it. Despite her fear of the consequences, Coco can’t help but try another spell. Elsewhere, Qifrey ponders why someone would “sell a magic book to a child outside the magic community?” He jumps up finally realizing something. Meanwhile, Coco continues to explore magic. She notices that when she draws bigger symbols, the magic is greater. The neatness of the symbols correlate to the length of time they last. Coco draws another symbol. However, before she can see it’s effects, Qifrey rushes her outside.
Panicked he asks her “what kind of spell did she draw?” Ignorant of the symbols and the spells the create Coco has no clue. When her mom comes outside to find her she begins to turn into crystal. Qifrey considers erasing her mind but needs Coco to find out if one of “them” gave it to her. The only way to protect Coco and have her become more useful is to make her into a witch. Personally, I have always loved magic. While I haven’t given Black Clover much of a chance (I’m going to begin reading the manga soon), anime series like Little Witch Academia are among my favorites. My excitement to see the rest of this magical world and learn the rules mirrors Coco.
Her enthusiasm was magnetic. Her reaction, however, to her mothers crystallization was somewhat muted. She did tear up, but I felt that I was more emotionally hurt than she was. I suspect that she will be impacted by what happened to her mother for the rest of this series, especially considering that it was her fault. The art of Kamome Shirahama is stunning. Shirahama renders both characters and backgrounds realistically. Her use of thin lines is particularly impressive. Shirahama has drawn for several marvel series, Ms. Marvel, Star Wars, Doctor Aphra and Howard the Duck. I don’t know what will happen during Coco’s journey, but they way Witch Hat Atelier started has me excited to find out.