CBR14 Bingo: “Rec’d” – This book was recommended by Darcy, one of my favorite booksellers at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore.
My favorite independent bookstore is also doing book bingo this summer. With Witch Hat Atelier I was able to cross off a bingo square about recommendations on both my Cannonball Bingo (Rec’d) and Mysterious Galaxy’s (Staff pick) bingo cards. Happily that was the last square I needed to complete a Mysterious Galaxy bingo and now I get a 20% discount on a book at the store!
If you are not a fan of the giant eyes, no nose manga art style, you will find Kamome Shirahama’s art style a charming reprieve. The characters are more normal proportions and overall the art is lovely. Interesting note, Shirahama has done cover art for both Marvel and DC. They are also a talented storyteller as I was instantly engaged with Witch Hat Atelier.
Magic has a presence in the world but how much you interact with depends on how close one resides to a city. Coco was growing up in the countryside with minimal interaction beyond a spring enchanted to always produce pure water. One day a chance encounter as a young child ended with her receiving a book about magic and magic wand (that has a pen on the tip!). It sparked a desire to become a witch. Her mother sadly informed her that would not be possible, witches are born, not made by learning.
Years later, Coco secretly observes a witch, Qifrey, doing magic. To her surprise, magic is made by drawing symbols. Which got her wondering about the book of magic she acquired as a child. That night Coco tries to draw symbols from the book and was delighted to learn she could create magic! However, not understanding what she is doing a tragedy happens, and the book is destroyed too. Qifrey takes Coco under his wing to live at his atelier and become a witch.
Several other girls are also studying at the atelier; Richeh, Tetia, and Agott. Agott instantly bristles at Coco’s inclusion as she hasn’t passed the same test to become a student of magic. Qifrey intends to get Coco accustomed to the magical world before testing her. However, Agott has other plans and devises a way to have her test right away. Against the odds and using her mundane skills, Coco succeeds and cements her place of belonging.
The secret of magic is highly guarded due to abuses and horrors committed in the past when the knowledge of magic was widely known. In the upper magical echelons there is much interest in the book that Coco was given. No mundane person should have ever been given such a book. Who gave it and what was their purpose?
My 14 year old and I were delighted by this manga and intend to check out the rest of the series.
Note: I attempted to draw a witch hat in the Rec’d circle.