25 Days of Manga, Day 4 of 25 – A Witch’s Love at the End of the World Vol. 1 (Review)

Publisher: Yen Press

Author/Artist: Kujira

Translator: Eleanor Summers

Letterer: Sarah Linsley

Genre: Fantasy, Yuri

Rating: T (Teen/13+)

Release Date: 11/17/2020

MSRB: US $13.00 / CAN $17.00

Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of A Witch’s Love at the End of the World Vol. 1 from Yen Press in exchange for an honest review of the volume. I was not compensated for my review, nor will I be compensated post-review. All manga reviews are spoiler-free and image-free unless noted in the review. Opinions are my own.

Day 4 happens to fall on a Friday so, TGIF reader! It’s been a long week, but a solid start to December. That being said, I’ve worked really, really hard so I’m going to give myself a treat. A volume of Yuri manga! So, today, we’ll be staying warm with A Witch’s Love at the End of the World Vol.1, a November Yuri release from Yen Press. 

A Witch’s Love at the End of the World Vol. 1 (hereafter A Witch’s Love) is set in a world where humans have utterly decimated witches due to prejudice and fear, pushing them to the edges of society and into the darkest corners of our world. The story, by and large, follows star student Alice, a girl who lives in a world of sorcery, shadows, mystery, and diligent study. Driven by her desire to excel -and her desire to live up to some very great expectations- life is rather routine for Alice, in terms of being a student. That is until Mari, a completely inept recruit, enters the school and soon… Alice’s heart.

Enter Sternenlichtl, the setting for Alice’s trials and tribulations, as well as Mari’s struggles to prove that she’s not some rogue human who made it into a witching academy. It’s a classic setting, but thus far, well executed. Hopefully, we’ll get a taste of all the kinds of magic in this world, as well as a better feeling of the school outside of “shrouded in mystery”.

I found Alice a curious character, in large part because initially, she comes off as quite cold. That’s quickly subverted as you soon find out that Alice is burdened by a world’s worth of responsibility as a direct descendantof the school’s founder and a high class witch. It’s further subverted when the “love” aspect of the title kicks in, and you realize that of course: Alice is just a girl.

Mari is equally as interesting. From the start, she’s set-up as a bad witch: not an evil witch, but bad at being a witch. She’s all but called incompetent outright. However, her fate as a witch quickly becomes entangled with Alice once Mari becomes pupil to Alice’s tutor. I’d say between the two of them, Mari is my favorite. I’m always here for an underdog.

Leads Alice and Mari both make an interesting pair: Alice is incredibly reserved and quite serious, especially since she’s quite important in the academic world of Sternenlichtl. Mari, on the other hand, is outspoken and believes in community with humans, despite them being the downfall of witches. The dynamic between them opens the story up to the Yuri aspect, as well as the tension between a human-hating witch and a human-sympathetic witch. 

The art for this first volume is lovely. Alice’s hair is a standout example of how lovely things can be. I imagine it took the mangaka quite a bit of time to draw her flowing, blonde locks. Additionally, the uniforms are quite charming. Then again, I’m a sucker for a pretty uniform, especially with a charming circle skirt. The uniforms feel particularly fitting for a magical boarding school: bonus for the uniform change when the witches have flying lessons.

A Witch’s Love Vol. 1 ends on a cliffhanger: purposely, given the events towards the end of this inaugural volume. It’s enough that I’m hooked and want to see what happens to Alice and Mari, especially since their budding romance feels quite genuine, despite this still being volume 1. 

In truth, I’m not sure how this story will resolve or where it will go in volume 2. What I can say is that I’m more than willing to dedicate myself to seeing this series through to the end. Currently, this series is complete at three volumes in Japan: I estimate it’ll be complete next year in North America. Volume 2 doens’t come out until February 2021, which means a long wait to see where this volume’s cliffhanger will go.

(I suppose it’s worth suffering for, haha!)

Anyways, as always… on to the next read!

TL;DR: A Witch’s Love at the End of the World Vol. 1 is a solid opening to a series set in a magical academy in a world that loathes witches. Leads Alice and Mari offer an interesting peek into the world of and the singular goal of revenge that all witches harbor while also giving a taste of the magic that makes up the world. The Yuri, while still soft, feels genuine, and makes the reader want to see what Alice and Mari’s ultimate fate will be in a world -and school- where magic and revenge take precedence over all else. Volume 1 ends on a cliffhanger that will leace readers eager for volume 2’s Winter 2021 release.

Read If You Like…
*Yuri and/or WLW-focused media
*Magical Academies/Schools
*Boarding School Manga
*Friends to Lovers/Frienemies to Lovers

Rating: ★★★★ / 4 out of 5 stars
Bingo Card: N/A

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